Back to series

"Jesus, Women, & Children" by Bill Patton
Date: 2017-05-14
Text: Luke 1:1-4
Series: Mother's Day; Guest Speaker
Download Message
Download our classes on Narrative Theology and Creation

2017-05-14 • Bill Patton • Luke 1:1-4
While the women are proclaiming the resurrection, the men are filled with crushing doubt.

When Jesus appears to the men, He gently corrects them: “O foolish ones, slow of heart to believe”.

Luke does not want his readers to miss Jesus’ concern for women, and the extraordinary faith of the many, many women who believed him.

It’s no wonder then that Christianity was embraced so enthusiastically by Gentile women who had read Luke’s account!

Critics allege that Christianity has always been hostile to women. Really?

Was Christianity Hostile to Women? Well, if it was, apparently no one bothered to tell the women in the second century because they flocked to Christianity in droves.

It is well established that Christianity was extremely popular with women during this time period. Sociologist Rodney Stark estimates that perhaps 2/3 of the Christian community during this time period was made up of women. This is the exact opposite of the ratio in the broader Greco-Roman world where women only made up about 1/3 of the population.

This means that women intentionally left the religious systems of the Greco-Roman world with which they were familiar and consciously decided to join the burgeoning Christian movement. No one forced them to do so. No one made them become Christians.

On the contrary, Christianity was a cultural pariah during this time period. It was an outsider movement in all sorts of ways — legal, social, religious, and political. Christians were widely despised, viewed with suspicion and scorn, and regarded as a threat to a stable society.

And yet, women, in great numbers, decided to join the early Christian movement anyway. Women pop up all over the place in our earliest Christian sources. They are persecuted by the Roman government, they are hosting churches in their homes, they are caring for the poor and those in prison, they are traveling missionaries, they are wealthy patrons who support the church financially, and much, much more.

Indeed, so popular was Christianity with women, that pagan critics of Christianity (Celsus, Lucian) mocked Christianity for being a religion of women.

Let that sink in for a moment. In the ancient world, Christianity was mocked for being too pro-women! That is a far cry from what one hears in cultural conversations today.

Let this sink in: We wouldn’t be here today worshipping Jesus if countless faithful women through the history of the church hadn’t been there.