Women not into theology?

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CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
I have noticed something. I think my observation is broadly accurate with many noticeable exceptions. Christian women are not into theology. Especially, I think (though I'm not sure), wives. Some (most?) of the blame seems to rest on those teaching theology. For example, my wife and I both majored in ministry at BJU. I took a class called "Poetic Books" in which I learned to identify the particularities of Hebrew poetry and literary composition, explore the various classes of Psalms, and deal with interpretive difficulties in Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. She took "Women in The Bible," a profoundly worthless class full of moralistic biographies of the Biblical women. This general pattern repeated itself throughout college. The message was clear: "Women need to learn their 'womanly' duties and leave all the other stuff to the men to figure out." So, I have some questions.


Is the theological literacy gap something the Church should be concerned about?

Is there something in the way theology is taught that orients it toward men?

Like my experience at BJU, is there something in our culture or Christian sub-culture that says theology is not for women?

Does the marketing of certain products specifically for women (i.e., women's Bible study programs) undercut the Church's overall teaching efforts?

Are wives hesitant to engage in theology, because it could potentially lead them into painful disagreement with their husbands?

I realize these questions are somewhat diffuse, so if this thread needs to get split, I'm all for that.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Maybe this would have been better in the Men's Only Forum, since you likely aren't talking to the women here...
 

PresbyDane

Puritanboard Doctor
Well I heard a sermon today with Paul Washer where he said something to the effect of
"Young lady if you are sitting here today, engaged to be married with a man that does not know more scripture than you, you need to brake up and not go through with the wedding"

And not to be labled the shovanist, the Theological responsibility like all other responsibility in the family lies with the man, so I think he should know more theology.

That being said I do not think that woman should know nothing, and men everything, but I think that in the homes where the woman knows the most theology, there is a man that needs to look at his responsabilities.
 

CNJ

Puritan Board Senior
Yes a man should look at his responsibilities. But as a woman I have learned that theology informs orthopraxy (sp?), the practice of ones faith. Reformed theology, once I discovered it, made me rest in God's providence. My husband got me to study the WC when I was dating him in 2000 and our pastor answers my theological questions also now. If I didn't study theology, I would be a miserable believer.

Now I like to read novels, also, but had trouble finishing all four books of the Twilight series because I kept reading theology which was more interesting than vampires! Currently my theological reading is in the area of eschatology. There is a blessing promised in reading Revelation and for over five months I have been blogging about views of Revelation. See my "Millennial Dreaming" song here in my PB blog and see another blog that I started with two men. I am NewKidonthe Blogg on it. Click on this blog --
Millennial Dreams

I am just speaking for myself as a woman. Some women may think it is not feminine to be informed in theology. Yet they homeschool and disciple other women and need to often give theological explanations to their friends. Certainly their theological explanations can be spoken in a gracious manner, reflecting their womanhood--never the "thus says the Lord" type of instruction.

Since my husband has dementia now, he has less ability to instruct me. I show him respect and defer to him in all ways I can. Does his dementia mean I should give up learning about my faith? I think not. When I share what I am learning, he cannot follow it all now, although once he had a huge theological library that we sold or gave away last summer.
 
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KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I have noticed something. I think my observation is broadly accurate with many noticeable exceptions. Christian women are not into theology.

It depends upon what you mean by 'into' theology. If you are referring to talking about theology, then men are in the lead. But if you are referring to living theology, then, in my experience, the women have the men beat by a country mile. :2cents:
 

Theognome

Burrito Bill
Actually, Toni and most of her friends love to discuss theology, so I haven't seen this phenomenon you speak of.

Theognome
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Charlie, your thread title, not sure if you are only trying to be provocative but my wife just told me...

Your thread title,

It's not true!
 

awretchsavedbygrace

Puritan Board Sophomore
I dont think Charlie is trying to be provocative. I only know some women who are into theology. Including my "wifey", a few sisiters at church and the sisters on here. I guess it depends on what church you attend?
 

CNJ

Puritan Board Senior
Apologies

I really didn't need to mention my husband's dementia. So sorry. Now I see that post that objected to dementia as an exception has been deleted since I read it.

Cordially from your sister in Christ,
 

Idelette

Puritan Board Graduate
I think you have a valid point..... I certainly know of many women that are very disinterested with theology. Prior to the Pb, there were only a few women that I knew of that were interested in discussions such as myself. But that is not always the case!

In some cases......I think it is far more difficult for married women to care for their husbands, their children, their homes....and still have time and energy to devote to deep theological study. There are far too many responsibilities today, and it is much easier to read something light. So on some level, I think it is much more difficult for women to get involved than men.

I also know many Christians that believe theology is not an appropriate subject for women at all. And it is something that they heavily frown upon. I've had people tell me that I shouldn't be wasting so much time reading the reformers or the puritans....and I think many people assume that women are incapable of that kind of learning! I do agree that the husband should be further along, and he ought to be the one to teach and lead....but I'm not sure that theology is a subject that is completely inappropriate for women to study.

Another reason.....I think many of us are uncertain of how much discussion is permissible. At what point are we correcting and teaching men? Many of us dare not cross that line, so we would much rather avoid deep discussions that would lead us to exercising authority over a man. There are many discussions here on the board ,for example, that I've been very interested in, but I would much rather bow out of....lest I teach a man. So I'll give my input here and there...but I am careful not to enter certain discussions with men. I think that can very well be a concern of many women today!
 
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Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
I think there are fewer women interested in theology than men, in general. This isn't even theology, but we are doing a women's study at church on The True Woman by Susan Hunt, and some of our women say they just don't understand it. The only thing I can think is that they have never heard of covenant theology so are new to some of the concepts and terms in the book. But it is very biblical, so I don't understand why it is so hard for some of them to grasp. (Our church plant has many people who have not been in reformed churches before.)

When I became a real Christian, I read many R C Sproul books, TableTalk, other reformed writers, etc. My husband just wasn't there yet, so for a long time I knew a lot more than he did. Now, he is a Christian and reads the Bible more than I do, but I have read a lot more theology than he has. I don't see it as a contest, and I certainly don't think I should keep myself ignorant just so I know less than he does. But I can't explain why some people love to read theology and others have no interest.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I think you can make a generalized statement that more men are interested in theology than woman. There were certainly times in my life where I felt like a bit of a freak because I wanted to dig deep. To this day, I'll sometimes look up and think, urp, I'm the only female in this conversation!

Quite frankly, most of the books written to women are awful. In some cases, I think men have made a quick exodus from woman-dominated churches, and that may have carried over to a suspicion in conservative churches toward woman being "too strong."

We are at our best when both man and woman diligently seek to understand God's word and apply it in our lives. As a mother of three sons I find myself particularly burdened with wanting to rear men who will be godly and well able to teach their households. While my husband takes the lead in this, the kids spend a lot of time with me in a homeschooling household!
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Okay, the only ladies I have known that like to discuss theology, I found online (and several have become friends in real life). At most churches, not all, try to lead into any theological or Christian living issue and they either shut down, evaded it with a perky comment, or looked at you like "we're women, we're not supposed to be discussing this.

I agree that most women's studies are fluffy, boring, or simply not applicable to everyone that may be looking for a study group. There have been times where Men and Women studies were going on at same time and, truth be told, I would have rather been studying what the men were studying. There have been some studies where I just felt like I just didn't fit.

Yes, it's a gap that should be worried about. Because guess who is stepping in and trying to fill that gap...yep, you guessed it...Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur. Elizabeth George and Nancy Leigh DeMoss are probably the exceptions, but they still focus on "women things" as they ARE women.

My husband and I have discussed theology for years. It's probably been a good portion of our conversations.


I think I'll just happily read what is on my shelves, discuss with my PB, hang out here at the PB and with a few other women online that actually enjoy life beyond manicures.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
I think you have a valid point..... I certainly know of many women that are very disinterested with theology. Prior to the Pb, there were only a few women that I knew of that were interested in discussions such as myself. But that is not always the case!

In some cases......I think it is far more difficult for married women to care for their husbands, their children, their homes....and still have time and energy to devote to deep theological study. There are far too many responsibilities today, and it is much easier to read something light. A woman's job in the home never seems to end! So on some level, I think it is much more difficult for women to get involved than men.

I also know many Christians that believe theology is not an appropriate subject for women at all. And it is something that they heavily frown upon. I've had people tell me that I shouldn't be wasting so much time reading the reformers or the puritans....and I think many people assume that women are incapable of that kind of learning! I do agree that the husband should be further along, and he ought to be the one to teach and lead....but I'm not sure that theology is a subject that is completely inappropriate for women to study.

Another reason.....I think many of us are uncertain of how much discussion is permissible. At what point are we correcting and teaching men? Many of us dare not cross that line, so we would much rather avoid deep discussions that would lead us to exercising authority over a man. There are many discussions here on the board ,for example, that I've been very interested in, but I would much rather bow out of....lest I teach a man. So I'll give my input here and there...but I am careful not to enter certain discussions with men. I think that can very well be a concern of many women today!

Thank you. This is just the sort of response I was hoping to elicit. Several others have been helpful too. Lady Flynt (and others), do you think that the Christian sub-culture views women as un-theological? To clarify, I believe that women are just as intelligent and capable as men, yet it seems that any book written specifically for women is intentionally dumbed down. When Christian products are marketed toward women, it never seems to be aimed at the "thinking woman." My experience in both the church and the Christian school movement is that women are expected to concentrate only on those areas which pertain most obviously to daily living, plus memorizing Prov. 31. Do you think that some Christian sub-cultures have actually made it difficult or undesirable to be a theologically inclined woman?

---------------
Edit: By the way, one impetus for this thread was the recent thread about the man changing churches due to doctrine, but it was painful for his wife because she had good relations there and didn't really get the doctrinal issues. Several other men on that thread expressed similar ideas. I recently went through the same process, but my wife understood completely what was going on.
 

Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
Okay, the only ladies I have known that like to discuss theology, I found online (and several have become friends in real life). At most churches, not all, try to lead into any theological or Christian living issue and they either shut down, evaded it with a perky comment, or looked at you like "we're women, we're not supposed to be discussing this.

I agree that most women's studies are fluffy, boring, or simply not applicable to everyone that may be looking for a study group. There have been times where Men and Women studies were going on at same time and, truth be told, I would have rather been studying what the men were studying. There have been some studies where I just felt like I just didn't fit.

Yes, it's a gap that should be worried about. Because guess who is stepping in and trying to fill that gap...yep, you guessed it...Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur. Elizabeth George and Nancy Leigh DeMoss are probably the exceptions, but they still focus on "women things" as they ARE women.

My husband and I have discussed theology for years. It's probably been a good portion of our conversations.


I think I'll just happily read what is on my shelves, discuss with my PB, hang out here at the PB and with a few other women online that actually enjoy life beyond manicures.

I wouldn't lump Kay Arthur in with Beth Moore and certainly not Joyce Meyer. Kay Arthur has done some very good Bible studies and an elder told me that she is a member of a reformed church.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Okay, the only ladies I have known that like to discuss theology, I found online (and several have become friends in real life). At most churches, not all, try to lead into any theological or Christian living issue and they either shut down, evaded it with a perky comment, or looked at you like "we're women, we're not supposed to be discussing this.

I agree that most women's studies are fluffy, boring, or simply not applicable to everyone that may be looking for a study group. There have been times where Men and Women studies were going on at same time and, truth be told, I would have rather been studying what the men were studying. There have been some studies where I just felt like I just didn't fit.

Yes, it's a gap that should be worried about. Because guess who is stepping in and trying to fill that gap...yep, you guessed it...Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur. Elizabeth George and Nancy Leigh DeMoss are probably the exceptions, but they still focus on "women things" as they ARE women.

My husband and I have discussed theology for years. It's probably been a good portion of our conversations.


I think I'll just happily read what is on my shelves, discuss with my PB, hang out here at the PB and with a few other women online that actually enjoy life beyond manicures.

I wouldn't lump Kay Arthur in with Beth Moore and certainly not Joyce Meyer. Kay Arthur has done some very good Bible studies and an elder told me that she is a member of a reformed church.

Her studies drove me batty. So much focus on memorizing the "symbolic markings" we were supposed to be doing and not enough time taken in actually understanding what was being said. I see a verse or a paragraph and I can actually see a picture in my head. Spend 40min dissecting a single word and I forget where it even fit in with the passage.

All three are annoying to me.

-----Added 5/28/2009 at 09:45:19 EST-----

I think you have a valid point..... I certainly know of many women that are very disinterested with theology. Prior to the Pb, there were only a few women that I knew of that were interested in discussions such as myself. But that is not always the case!

In some cases......I think it is far more difficult for married women to care for their husbands, their children, their homes....and still have time and energy to devote to deep theological study. There are far too many responsibilities today, and it is much easier to read something light. A woman's job in the home never seems to end! So on some level, I think it is much more difficult for women to get involved than men.

I also know many Christians that believe theology is not an appropriate subject for women at all. And it is something that they heavily frown upon. I've had people tell me that I shouldn't be wasting so much time reading the reformers or the puritans....and I think many people assume that women are incapable of that kind of learning! I do agree that the husband should be further along, and he ought to be the one to teach and lead....but I'm not sure that theology is a subject that is completely inappropriate for women to study.

Another reason.....I think many of us are uncertain of how much discussion is permissible. At what point are we correcting and teaching men? Many of us dare not cross that line, so we would much rather avoid deep discussions that would lead us to exercising authority over a man. There are many discussions here on the board ,for example, that I've been very interested in, but I would much rather bow out of....lest I teach a man. So I'll give my input here and there...but I am careful not to enter certain discussions with men. I think that can very well be a concern of many women today!

Thank you. This is just the sort of response I was hoping to elicit. Several others have been helpful too. Lady Flynt (and others), do you think that the Christian sub-culture views women as un-theological? To clarify, I believe that women are just as intelligent and capable as men, yet it seems that any book written specifically for women is intentionally dumbed down. When Christian products are marketed toward women, it never seems to be aimed at the "thinking woman." My experience in both the church and the Christian school movement is that women are expected to concentrate only on those areas which pertain most obviously to daily living, plus memorizing Prov. 31. Do you think that some Christian sub-cultures have actually made it difficult or undesirable to be a theologically inclined woman?

---------------
Edit: By the way, one impetus for this thread was the recent thread about the man changing churches due to doctrine, but it was painful for his wife because she had good relations there and didn't really get the doctrinal issues. Several other men on that thread expressed similar ideas. I recently went through the same process, but my wife understood completely what was going on.

I would say that marketing is marketing. You find "women's stuff" (and you have to admit, women have a lot of "stuff") marketed towards women. Areas like Theology, are for both men and women, so there is not going to be any specific marketing towards women.

Maybe we should suggest it. Can you picture Calvin's Institutes pink floral bound with a snazzy title like, "The Woman's Guide to..." or "Tea With Calvin" or "A Reformed Breakfast Devotional" :p

You don't find a lot of stuff marketed as "just for men" (except hair colour ;) and a few daddy manuals). Women are the cash machines, men just work for it. (well, as far as marketing is concerned, Reformed gents know how to drop a pretty penny on a library)
 

jollymommy4

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't have a thank you button yet--so thank you to Yvonne for this:

Another reason.....I think many of us are uncertain of how much discussion is permissible. At what point are we correcting and teaching men? Many of us dare not cross that line, so we would much rather avoid deep discussions that would lead us to exercising authority over a man. There are many discussions here on the board ,for example, that I've been very interested in, but I would much rather bow out of....lest I teach a man. So I'll give my input here and there...but I am careful not to enter certain discussions with men. I think that can very well be a concern of many women today!


and Lady Flint for this:

I agree that most women's studies are fluffy, boring, or simply not applicable to everyone that may be looking for a study group. There have been times where Men and Women studies were going on at same time and, truth be told, I would have rather been studying what the men were studying. There have been some studies where I just felt like I just didn't fit.

:ditto:
 

SueS

Puritan Board Freshman
I wonder if some of the problem might be tied to various types of churches - Arminian, charismatic, independent, etc. I remember that during the 28 years at my former church, when there was a social gathering at someone's house, the men would gather in the living room while the women stayed in the kitchen. How I longed to be in the living room listening to the "real" conversations rather than the idle chit-chat in the kitchen!!! There's not much of a theological nature in most independent/charismatic churches anyhow, but it's even worse among the women. Since becoming reformed and switching to a PCA church I've found many of the women to be much more knowledgeable and much more interesting. That's not to say the problem doesn't exist in a reformed church but I don't think it's nearly as bad.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Yes and no...various churches, yes...branches of the faith, no. I've felt like a freak in Reformed churches as well as Arminian churches. I've found a few Non Reformed women that enjoy theology just as I've found a few Reformed women that do.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Re: the shallowness of women's bible study materials, I have to wonder if there's a simple explanation: do the Reformed traditionally emphasize segregated teaching material, or rather men and women learning together? If this is not a Reformed emphasis, it's little wonder we don't find more "biblically strong" women's Bible Study resources out there.
 

Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
Re: the shallowness of women's bible study materials, I have to wonder if there's a simple explanation: do the Reformed traditionally emphasize segregated teaching material, or rather men and women learning together? If this is not a Reformed emphasis, it's little wonder we don't find more "biblically strong" women's Bible Study resources out there.

I think the materials are out there, but what is chosen is not always optimal. We have joint studies with men and women in Sunday School and on Sunday evening. I think it is appropriate and good for there to also be opportunities for the men and women to gather separately for studies, fellowship, and prayer.
 

Idelette

Puritan Board Graduate
I wonder if some of the problem might be tied to various types of churches - Arminian, charismatic, independent, etc. I remember that during the 28 years at my former church, when there was a social gathering at someone's house, the men would gather in the living room while the women stayed in the kitchen. How I longed to be in the living room listening to the "real" conversations rather than the idle chit-chat in the kitchen!!! There's not much of a theological nature in most independent/charismatic churches anyhow, but it's even worse among the women. Since becoming reformed and switching to a PCA church I've found many of the women to be much more knowledgeable and much more interesting. That's not to say the problem doesn't exist in a reformed church but I don't think it's nearly as bad.

That is so funny that you bring that up Sue! I often feel the exact same way when I go to social gatherings....I'd much rather be in the living room discussing important issues with the men! LOL!

In some ways I think you might be right.....reformed women are certainly much more knowledgable than others. But, I have experienced that feeling in reformed circles as well!
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
And not to be labled the shovanist, the Theological responsibility like all other responsibility in the family lies with the man, so I think he should know more theology.

That being said I do not think that woman should know nothing, and men everything, but I think that in the homes where the woman knows the most theology, there is a man that needs to look at his responsabilities.

Agreed! It shouldn't be from the woman's neglect, but from the man's diligence.

I've found that men seem to excel at grasping and articulating nuances of theology while women tend to put shoes on it. A man may be able to expound on the implications of God's sovereignty and encourage others with his erudition while the woman puts shoe leather on it and lives it, day in and day out.

We have two men in our church are are really theologically astute. Two others are pretty sharp and strong in their faith. On the other hand, the one woman who is probably the most theologically educated, from a didactic perspective, is a young single woman. But there are two women in our church who are visibly crushed by their sin and vigorously pursue their walks in such a way that convicts the rest of us.

These are just observations and not necessarily rules. But they do seem to carry a certain amount of consistency.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I wonder if some of the problem might be tied to various types of churches - Arminian, charismatic, independent, etc. I remember that during the 28 years at my former church, when there was a social gathering at someone's house, the men would gather in the living room while the women stayed in the kitchen. How I longed to be in the living room listening to the "real" conversations rather than the idle chit-chat in the kitchen!!! There's not much of a theological nature in most independent/charismatic churches anyhow, but it's even worse among the women. Since becoming reformed and switching to a PCA church I've found many of the women to be much more knowledgeable and much more interesting. That's not to say the problem doesn't exist in a reformed church but I don't think it's nearly as bad.

That is so funny that you bring that up Sue! I often feel the exact same way when I go to social gatherings....I long to be in the living room discussing important issues with the men! LOL!

In some ways I think you might be right.....reformed women are certainly much more knowledgable than others. But, I have experienced that feeling in reformed circles as well!

:ditto:

Question: the women here on the PB that feel this way, were most of your friends in highschool male or female?
 

Idelette

Puritan Board Graduate
I agree that most women's studies are fluffy, boring, or simply not applicable to everyone that may be looking for a study group. There have been times where Men and Women studies were going on at same time and, truth be told, I would have rather been studying what the men were studying. There have been some studies where I just felt like I just didn't fit.

Yes, I would have to agree with this as well....sometimes I do find women's books to be dumbed down. I rarely read any of them anymore, because I don't find myself growing. Probably one of the few women's study books that I find profitable are by Nancy Leigh DeMoss....
 
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