Were women priests and ministers?

Most mainline Protestant traditions accept women as ministers and priest, but many other churches do not. The earliest church did have women in all positions of leadership, and historians have been working on gathering evidence for at least 40 years. There is no question. Yes, women were priests.

Unfortunately many in the church have actively tried to bury this history. Phoebe, whom Paul named as a Deacon, is often dismissed as a ‘helper’. Junia, whom Paul identified as an Apostle, had her name buried and replaced by a Junias, a man’s name. Prisca (Priscilla) was so important to the first generations that she was mentioned six times in Acts and Paul’s letters, four of those with her name being before her husband.

Take a quick walk through Romans 16 and see some of the women Paul thanked who were in Rome when his letter arrived. That letter was written before the Gospels were written. If your version of the Bible tries to bury the work of these woman, look at the New Revised Standard Version, a translation that actively tried to recognize women’s contribution to our faith story.

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