What did/do Christians teach about the role of women in society? I have to explain christian teaching about the role of women in society, and I am not completely sure on what points to talk about.

Expert Answers
Stanton Winder eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two views concerning a woman's role among Christians. 1) They are the egalitarian approach which see women as equal to men in all aspects including personhood and role and function in society. This would mean that a woman would have the same opportunity as any man as far as Christian teaching is concerned. 2) The other viewpoint is the complementarian view which sees women as absolutely equal in personhood, but their role and function in the family and in the church to be one of submission to men as leaders in the home and church. In the broader society their role would be no different than men.They could serve as heads of companies as well as the president of the United States.

lzeduhelp21 | Student

Did teach: Women (and slaves) found much more acceptance and dignity in the new religion of Jesus of Nazareth that sprung up in the Roman Empire in the early first through fourth centuries than had been available to them in other walks of life. Often rich women would offer their homes and funds to support the young church. Much of the teaching from the early church comes from the Apostle Paul’s letters to other local churches. Paul gives advice on teaching women in these specific churches. Important ideas to start with would be found in 1 Timothy 2:11–15, 1 Corinthians 14: 34–35, and Galatians 3: 26–29.

Do teach: Currently the church’s teaching on women can vary depending on how conservative or liberal the church or denomination is. While it’s important to remember views on women can be as different as the person you talk to, generally speaking, more conservative views stress the roles of women as submissive to their husband's leadership in the church and home. Liberal theology would allow for women to lead in equal partnership with men in the home, church, and world.

Conservative teaching would give the husband autonomy in spiritual, financial, and familial decisions, while the wife takes an active role in raising children and household duties. If a woman is not married, she must respect the authority of her father and pastor. In the church leadership, only men are allowed to have leadership roles in spiritual matters, and study groups are often divided by gender. These types of churches see gender as an important way to understand the nature of a human’s personality and action.

Liberal teaching tends to emphasize women and men leading in the church based on skills and passion and husbands and wives having duties in the home decided by preference (or undertaken together). These views allow for context while studying the text of the Bible. Many denominations (including Methodists, Episcopalians, and Quakers) have strong traditions of allowing women to lead inside and outside of the church.