Silence or Privilege: Women in Churches of Christ, 1897-1907


Last January I began a series surveying the privilege of women to speak or their restricted silence within assemblies of Churches of Christ from 1897 to 1907.  I never completed the series because Discipliana (the journal of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society) was interested in publishing an article on the topic.  That article will soon appear in the Fall issue of the journal.

I have now restored access to the blog articles.  They are available at “Silence or Privilege? Women in Churches of Christ, 1897-1907” (1, 2, 3, 4).  In the next few days I will post the final installment, part 5.

The posts tract the varying positions of the Tennessee Tradition (the most conservative and influential on this issue), the Sommer (or Indiana) tradition (the most progressive and limited in influence), and the Texas Tradition (a strange mixture that ultimately merges in opinion with the Tennessee Tradition).

By the mid-20th century, Churches of Christ had silenced women in their assemblies except for singing and baptismal confessions as well as excluding them from teaching males in Bible classes.  But it was not always so among them.

If interested, read the previous posts and soon I will complete the series in my next post.


John Mark

2 Responses to “Silence or Privilege: Women in Churches of Christ, 1897-1907”

  1.   Jimmy Hinton Says:

    Dr. Hicks,
    I’m preaching at the Somerset Church of Christ in PA and I found an old log book with very detailed records the other day. I was looking at a page dated from 1917 and they had several men’s meetings where women were not only present but they were leading the opening and closing prayers in those meetings. I haven’t gone through yet to see when that practice fizzled out but it made perfect sense when I began reading this blog. Thanks for the wonderful blogs–very useful.

  2.   John Mark Hicks Says:

    Jimmy, thanks for you further information. I would be interested to document your observation and know something about the early history of the congregation. Was it part of the “Sommer orbit” of influence or was this practice connected to something else?

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