González on the role of women in Early Church leadership


This is an excerpt from Justo González’s ‘The Story of Christianity vol. 1’ on the role of women in early church leadership:

It is clear that by the end of the second century the leadership of the church was entirely masculine. But the matter is not quite as clear in earlier times. Particularly in the New Testament, there are indications that women also had positions of leadership. Philip had four daughters who “prophesied” – that is, who preached. Phoebe was a female deacon in Cenchreae, and Junias was counted among the apostles. What actually seems to have taken place is that during the second century, in its efforts to combat heresy, the church centralized its authority, and a by-product of that process was that women were excluded from positions of leadership. But still in the early years of the second century, governor Pliny informed Trajan that he had ordered that two Christian “female ministers” be tortured.

Justo González, The Story of Christianity, vol. 1

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