Women & the Church

Kirsten Heacock Sanders
Instructor: Kirsten Heacock Sanders
Code: TH658
Section: HA
Location: Hamilton AC240, Digital Live
Schedule: Weekends: Fri 6:00–9:30pm, Sat 8:30am–4:30pm
Dates: Feb 5–6, Mar 5–6, Apr 9–10

Course Description

Christian doctrine affirms the material order as good and given by God in all its particularity. However, all too often gendered existence seems to beckon more toward the Fall than it does to creation. In this course, we will look at the biblical, theological and cultural factors that contribute to questions of gender and theology. We will analyze important texts from the theological tradition that have sought to address the question of women in the church, and we will do our own exegetical digging to discern how the biblical material comes to play. All of this is in service of moving our discussion of gender from one marked by sin to a discussion marked by grace.

Course Objectives

  • Gain a familiarity with biblical narratives about women in the Old and New Testaments
  • Understand and evaluate contemporary questions from feminist and womanist thought
  • Understand and analyze biblical, theological, and cultural concerns surrounding women’s full participation in local church ministry
  • Work to develop a paradigm for faithful living of God’s intentions for gendered creatures

The course consists of five key sections:

  1. Gender, Culture, Church
  2. Women in Scripture
  3. Power and Constraint: Diverse Women Speak
  4. Thinking Faithfully about Gender

Reading List

We will be reading selections from the following, along with additional assigned chapters:

  1. Frederick, Marla. Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
  2. Jones, Beth Felker. Marks of His Wounds: Gender Politics and Bodily Resurrection. Oxford: OUP, 2007.
  3. Keener, Craig S. Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1992.
  4. Lapsley, Jacqueline. Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005.
  5. Witt, William. Icons of Christ: A Biblical and Systematic Theology for Women’s Ordination. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2020.

Apply by January 15th

Accepting applications for Spring 2021 degree programs through December 15, 2020. Applications for individual courses accepted through January 15, 2021.
Detailed Application Dates & Deadlines


The following tuition rates are for new students enrolling (without a declared degree) in one of our online courses.

*Tuition rates for students enrolled in a declared degree program may vary by campus. See tuition & fees for more information.


$ 350

No Additional Student Service Fees

Best for: Personal Enrichment

Participation: Auditors are restricted to non-participating member status in classes. In other words, auditors may not:

  • Participate in class discussion (except as authorized by the instructor according to the terms included in the course syllabus)
  • Submit written work
  • Sit for exams for the purpose of receiving an evaluation.

Credit/Grading: Auditors do not receive graduate credit nor a grade. Your Gordon-Conwell transcripts will note "AU" in place of a grade reflecting that you audited a course.

Application Requirements:

  • Online application.
  • No additional materials required.

Special Non-Degree Student

$ 1650

24% Discount off standard tuition; Student service fees apply.

Best for: Students who desire structured feedback or anticipate enrolling in a future degree program.

Participation: Special Non-Degree Students are fully enrolled students expected to participate in all elements of a course as outlined in the course syllabus.

Credit/Grading: Your Gordon-Conwell transcript will reflect a letter grade, and course credit may be applied toward a future degree program. If you are new to graduate-level coursework and nervous about grading, you may elect to take the course for Pass/Fail. Rather than receive a grade, your transcript will only reflect whether or not you received a passing grade. Degree programs allow a limited number of pass/fail courses.

Application Requirements:

  • Online application.
  • Undergraduate transcript(s).
  • Reference required if undergradute GPA is under 3.0.

Have Questions?

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