Oxford Christadelphians

Gender equality and gender roles

Our approach to the participation of women and men in leading services of worship

Historically, in the Christadelphian community, as in other Christian denominations, there have been gender-based distinctions over who should carry out certain roles. In practice this has meant only baptised men leading services.

At its best, this distinction was intended to respect biblical teaching and be a symbolic representation of the relationship between Christ and his church – men taking the symbolic role of Christ; women taking the symbolic role of the church. At its worst, this distinction simply echoed wider societal assumptions and practices and even suggested to some that women were not, in fact, equal to men in the eyes of God.

As a church, we affirm unequivocally that men and women are equal in the sight of God. We affirm that any societal or cultural hierarchies, whether based on gender, race, or class, should have no meaning amongst followers of Christ – we are “all one in Christ Jesus”.

We have spent many years reflecting on biblical teaching around gender and have carefully examined the traditional conclusions of our community. In the light of this study and reflection, the majority of our members believe there should be no gender-based restrictions on participation in any aspects of our church activities. The way we organise our services has now changed to encourage more participation of baptised women in leading services, giving talks, and voicing prayers.

However, to accommodate the conscience of those members who see the traditional gender-based symbolism as important and helpful, we aim to make clear to all members in advance when a service is not going to follow traditional gender restrictions.

Anyone who would like to know more about the scriptural basis for our conclusions is welcome to contact us.

For visiting Christadelphians

We respect that some visitors from more traditional Christadelphian churches may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with our approach to services. If you are thinking of visiting our church and have questions about the arrangements for a particular day, please contact us.