Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Women in ministry: The logical core of the debate
by Walker, Douglas H., Ph.D., Trinity International University, 2011, 198; 3487789
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the current debate among evangelical scholars about the proper roles for women in Christian ministry. Its goal is to determine what issue, or set of issues, lies at the logical core of the discussion. This knowledge will allow scholars to direct their research to the items that constitute the logical starting point of the discussion and, by virtue of their logical priority, offer the greatest hope for advancing the discussion. Conversely, it will allow scholars to recognize those items of discussion that contribute little to the resolution of the debate, and to avoid them.

Chapter 2 summarizes and systematizes the competing hierarchical and egalitarian models of ecclesial gender roles. This chapter first establishes that the debate over women in ministry is part of a broader debate over gender. It then summarizes the various models of ministry roles for women, and determines that the question that divides hierarchicalists from egalitarians is whether or not women are allowed to occupy the highest positions of leadership and authority within the church.

Chapter 3 continues the analysis by demonstrating that the broad discussion over gender consists of four logically independent debates, one of which is the debate over women in ministry. Three of the four debates concern gender roles within church, family and society, respectively; the fourth debate is about a general principle of gender relations. These four debates are routinely conflated, which fact indicates that scholars have failed to appreciated the logical independence of the debates. This points to a fundamental logical confusion within the gender debate.

Chapter 4 completes the analysis by demonstrating that the logically fundamental issue within each of the debates about gender roles in church, family and society is the question of male headship vs. gender parity. Within each of the four debates, analysis must begin by establishing the meaning of headship/egality within that particular relational context, whether the concept of headship or egality applies within that relational context, and how it applies. Once these points have been established, the analysis within each of the three contextual debates may then proceed to questions of rules and exceptions to rules. This fact suggests that there is a common strategy for solving each of the four debates, although each of the debates will have unique sets of issues. The dissertation concludes by proposing a way forward, based upon the logical ordering of the concepts as identified herein.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Feinberg, John S.
Commitee: Averbeck, Richard E., Osborne, Grant R.
School: Trinity International University
Department: Theological Studies
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clerical studies, Biblical studies, Womens studies, Theology
Keywords: Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, Ministry, Women religious
Publication Number: 3487789
ISBN: 9781267073938
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