GOD HAS GIFTED CHRISTIAN WOMEN IN MANY AND VARIOUS WAYS. HE HAS DONE THIS SO THAT WOMEN MAY SERVE CHRIST’S CHURCH, THE CHURCH WILL BE BUILT, AND THE LOST WILL HEAR ABOUT THE SAVING GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
One of the ways many Christian women are gifted is through their writing ability. Today we have the privilege of reading what our female co-workers in the gospel have written throughout 2000 years of church history. Their contributions cover different genres and include, amongst other things, prayers, eulogies, hymns, letters, poems, and books.
Countless examples can be seen in even a brief look at history.
Continental Reformer Katharina Zell’s character, courage, and clear understanding of the Reformation faith repeatedly come out in her letters, the hymn book she edited, and her husband’s eulogy.
Lady Jane Grey’s writing shows God’s sovereignty in his evident gifting of someone so young, and in how much good writing she produced in such a short time.
Puritan Anne Bradstreet’s poems describe a range of human emotions, which help Christians to understand their own experiences and feelings through the ups and downs of life this side of eternity. Her poems also act brilliantly as a reality check, since there is a common theme of holding loose to this world.
In the 1800s, Jane Barker wrote letters from Sydney to her sister back in England. They reveal the privilege, necessity, and sacrifices of mission work so that other people will hear about Jesus. And they show the importance of good deeds, good preaching, suitable clergy, and the danger of heresy.
More recently, Dr Erica Sainsbury, who served on Moore’s Academic Board until her death on Christmas Eve 2021, wrote several hymns. Like her sisters before her, Erica’s writings reveal her theology. An example of this is seen in the third verse of her 1991 hymn ‘God Almighty, Great Creator’.
“Raised again to heaven in triumph, Now he sits at God’s right hand, Making priestly intercession For his own from every land. He will come to judge the nations, Hosts of angels in his train, His new kingdom to establish, Over all forever reign.”
Although we have access to numerous things written by women over the last 2000 years, the number of their contributions is dwarfed in comparison to those of men. This has been mainly due to females not being members of the clergy or in vocational ministry for most of that time. (It is also true that lay men didn’t write as much as male clergy.) It is only in more recent decades that the contribution of female Christians has significantly increased in the form of things such as articles and books. And then, with the coming of the digital age, Christian women’s writings exponentially increased. Ease of access, affordability, flexibility in when and what to write, and distribution have all helped women of different backgrounds, ages, and gifting serve the church across the globe through their writing. What one woman writes in Uganda can benefit someone in Slovenia. At no other time in history have more Christian women written than right now. Many women are very keen to write! And we want to keep encouraging women with good theology to write, as writing ministries can be very influential for good or bad.
I have the privilege of witnessing firsthand the writings of female students and female graduates of Moore College. Their theological convictions as reformed evangelicals come through in their work. I think it would be excellent if these women were further encouraged to write and more men and women had the opportunity to read their writings. Along with reading what Moore College women have written, I have also enjoyed other women’s writings—both those with theological training from other colleges, as well as those who have not undertaken formal training. These women demonstrate depth and insight about God’s word and its implications for our lives. I hope that they continue writing.
I am keen that reformed evangelical women contribute more to Biblical Studies, Christian Thought, Church History, Ministry Practice, and Missiology. That is why the Priscilla & Aquila Centre now has writing awards for Christian women in these areas. Through God gifting women by his Holy Spirit, many women are excellent writers, and these awards are an encouragement for women to write. These awards say, “We want to read what you have written!” “We think it is worthwhile.” “We want to learn from you.”
Too often, there is the false assumption that if a woman is conservative theologically, she is not well thought through theologically. Ironically, those supposedly more “pro-women” and not as theologically conservative can patronise conservative women at times with these assertions. People having access to what more reformed women believe through their writings will hopefully help to show how well thought through many of these women are in the robustness of their theological thought, their ability to exegete Scripture, and their grasp of history, for example. These awards are an opportunity for more people to know who these women are. And they are an opportunity for women to serve the church further while growing in their writing gifts. It is hoped that many of the entries will be published on various platforms.
The Priscilla & Aquila Centre Writing Award competition closes on December 1 each year. It has two categories.
i) One article between 800 and 1000 words (poetry or prose).
ii) One article between 2500 and 3000 words (prose, not poetry).
Up to three awards will be distributed. 2 x $1000 each for the 800-1000 words and 1 x $2500 for the 25003000 words (pending funds available and appropriate entries).
Maybe you or a woman you know would like to enter? Or perhaps you would like to partner with us financially with the writing award? I would deeply appreciate every contribution, no matter the amount.