Then & Now: Pauline conversion

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The Independent Online
First century: Paul of Tarsus writes to Timothy at Ephesus:

'First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way . . . For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

'I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling; also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire, but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion. Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.'

20th century: the Methodist Church became the first main Christian denomination to adopt a policy of using male and female imagery in referring to God. A report, endorsed by its annual conference, said: 'Much traditional God-talk can easily be seen as legitimising and perpetuating the power and privilege of males.'

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