I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. – 1 Timothy 2:12
Two factors correspond directly with the decline of American mainstream denominations. The first factor is the prominence and growth of youth ministry, which is a topic better left to another time. The second factor that corresponds directly with the decline of American Protestantism is the ordination of women. To put it simply, the more women who are ordained to the ministry, the smaller those churches have become. Statistically this corresponding relationship between female ordination and the death of Christianity is more akin to a law than a rule. And yet, studies are demonstrating that more and more women are being ordained to an office that from a Biblical standpoint is reserved only for qualified men.
A new study has been revealed which demonstrates a radical and steady increase in female clergy in American mainline denominations. Published by Eileen Campbell Reed, the study entitled, “The State of Clergywomen in the U.S.: A Statistical Update,” reveals that more women than ever are standing behind the pulpit each Sunday.
The new statistics show:
- In 1960 women were 2.3% of U.S. clergy. In 2016 women are 20.7% of U.S. clergy.
- In most Mainline denominations, the percentage of clergywomen has doubled or tripled since 1994.
- Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ clergywomen have reached numerical equity with clergymen.
- More women of color and fewer white women are going to seminary to earn MDivs since 2008.
Consider the following graphic.
Here’s another graphic.