The Methodist Defense of Women in Ministry: A Documentary History

The Methodist Defense of Women in Ministry: A Documentary History


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John Wesley promoted the ministry of women in early Methodism. Amazing women like Phoebe Palmer, Catherine Booth, and Frances Willard—founding figures in the holiness movement, the Salvation Army, and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union—claimed biblical precedent for their groundbreaking ministries. They withstood the onslaught of criticism and hostility from those who thought they had stepped out of their proper sphere. Methodists have championed the cause of women and developed biblical, spiritual, and practical arguments for their ministry for two and a half centuries. More than fifty documents from the history of Methodism chronicle the tortuous journey leading to biblical equality in this family of churches. At a time when the ministry of women is under serious attack in a number of quarters, yet again, we all have much to learn from the witness of Wesleyan Christians who argued for women's ministry. This story illustrates how faithful women, when they knew they had the Lord's approval, stood "like the beaten anvil to the stroke." Courage. Defiance. Perseverance. Faithfulness. These qualities define the Methodist defense of women in ministry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498283328
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 11/10/2017
Pages: 310
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

Paul W. Chilcote is Professor of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio. He is author of more than twenty books, including A Faith That Sings (2016).

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

1 The Early Methodist Defense of Women in Ministry 17

2 Zechariah Tart and the Wesleyan Protagonists 39

3 Defenders of Women in Revivalist Methodism 59

4 Autobiographical Apologetics 80

5 The Early Holiness Movement and Phoebe Palmer 102

6 Catherine Booth and the Salvation Army 126

7 Free Methodist Perspectives 148

8 "Woman's Right to Preach" in the Nazarene Tradition 167

9 Late Nineteenth-Century Female Apologists 187

10 Late Nineteenth-Century Male Apologists 210

11 Two Distinctive Early Twentieth-Century Women 230

12 Champions of Full Clergy Rights 252

Epilogue 275

Sequential List of Documents 277

Alphabetical List of Documents by Author 280

Bibliography 283

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Loud applause to Paul Chilcote for continuing his noteworthy vocation of recovering Methodist women’s substantial presence, influence, and writings. In this latest volume, he recovers specifically their writings on the defense of women in ministry, from Mary Bosanquet in the eighteenth century to Georgia Harkness in the twentieth. His recovery work in this regard not only informs but also, and even more importantly, moves us now—in this present hour—to affirm boldly and unequivocally the full equality of women in ministry.”

—Priscilla Pope-Levison, Southern Methodist University

“Discrimination against women in ministry is very much alive and pernicious as ever in its subtle and blatant forms. In the face of this enduring challenge, Paul Chilcote brilliantly chronicles centuries of biblical, practical, and spiritual defenses for women in ministry by famous and more obscured Methodists. At once scholarly, pastoral, and prophetic, this book is encyclopedic in its documentary scope and eminently useful to all who appreciate the ‘extraordinary call’ of God to ministry.”

—Wendy J. Deichmann, United Theological Seminary

“‘I do not believe every woman is called to speak publicly, nor more than every man to be a Methodist preacher. Yet some have an extraordinary call to it, and woe to them if they obey it not.’ [Mary Bosanquet to John Wesley, 1771] With such telling selections, incredibly exacting commentary, and engagement with the full range of pertinent scholarship, Paul Chilcote covers the long saga of women’s campaign for recognition of such extraordinary calls.”

—Russell E. Richey, Duke University

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