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>Women Can Be Prophets – We Say Prophetess


The Six Prophetesses Of The Bible
Six women in scripture are expressly stated as possessing the title of prophetess: five under the old covenant and one, Anna, is mentioned in the gospels. In addition, Philip is mentioned in Acts as having four daughters who prophesied which brings the number of prophetesses to ten. Conversely, a woman in the book of Revelations calls herself a prophetess but she is considered false.
On occasion, other women in scripture also prophesied, but were not expressly described as prophesying. These women include: Rachel (Gen. 30:24), Hannah (1 Sam. 2:1-10), Abigail (1 Samuel 25:29-31), Elisabeth (Luke 1:41-45), and Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:46-55).


A prophetess is simply a female prophet. Just like a prophet, a prophetess is a person called by God. A prophet (male or female) is the mouthpiece for the one who sends him or her; the prophet speaks on behalf of the sender (Exodus 7:1-2). A prophet is considered a seer (1 Samuel 9:9), because God gives him or her the gift of foreknowledge. God reveals his secrets to prophets (Amos 3:7), and true prophesy is initiated by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11 both rank prophets as second only to apostles.
Furthermore, predictions should be tested to see if they come to pass. Prophets who make all sorts of predictions, but they don’t come to pass should be ignored (see Deut 18:20-22, Jer 28:9). Still, discernment is required because certain prophecies have stipulations of coming to pass that are contingent upon the recipient’s response (see Jonah and the judgment upon Nineveh).
Marital status is not a prerequisite to be considered a prophetess. Of the ten female prophets mentioned in scripture:
1.                  Three were married (Deborah, Huldah, and obviously Isaiah’s wife)
2.                  One was a widow (Anna)
3.                  Four were virgins at the time (Philip’s daughters)
4.                  And two do not even have their marital status mentioned (Miriam and Noadiah)
Even during times when women held low standing in the eyes of men, the Bible tells stories of women in God-given positions of power and influence. After all, it is just like God to choose what mankind considers as the “weak things of the world to put to shame the things which [mankind considers] are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
God gave certain women divine approval and divine authority to speak to his people. Just as their male counterparts, many used their position for good but some for evil. Following is a descriptive overview of women prophets mentioned in the Bible.


Micah 6:4
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
Miriam was the older sister of Aaron and Moses. She is the sister described in Moses’ adoption story. In an effort to control the Jewish slave population, Pharaoh had decreed that all Jewish baby boys were to be killed. Jochebed, the mother of Miriam and Moses, defiantly refused to allow her baby son to be murdered. She hid him as long as possible. When Jochebed could no longer hide Moses she put him in a little ark of bulrushes and laid it in the reeds by the rivers bank.
Miriam watched over her little brother in the reeds. One day the Pharaoh’s very own daughter was bathing in the river when she happened to find baby Moses in the reeds. She was enchanted with the little baby boy. Miriam, seizing the opportunity, bravely approached Pharaoh’s daughter and suggested someone that could nurse the baby. The nursemaid she had in mind was her mother. Because Miriam took the initiative, Moses was able to spend his formative years with his biological mother. Miriam and her mother saved Moses’ life before he could ever save a single Israelite.
As an adult, Miriam is given the title of prophetess. She leads the women in publicly celebrating and worshiping God after the Israelites cross the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20-21).


Judges 4:4
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
Besides being a prophetess, Deborah was a judge. As told in the book of Judges, Deborah is the fourth judge to lead the nation of Israel (Judges 4:1-5:31). The Hebrew word for judge is “shaphat ” which means “to deliver” or “to rule”.
As a judge of Israel, Deborah would have a wide range of responsibilities including: deciding controversies, giving verdicts, and executing judgments. In addition, an Israelite judge was tasked with delivering the people out of self-imposed bondage by being lead by God’s spirit in military action. Of all the leaders of the book of Judges, Deborah is shown in the best light: she issought for her decisions, she is honorably called “a mother in Israel“, she boldly speaks forth God’s commands, she honors God in a song of victory, and no scandals (compare to King David) or moral controversies (compare to Sampson) are mentioned about her.
Reading the book of Judges seems like perpetual déjà vu; it’s like driving around the same neighborhood block over and over again. The pattern goes like this: first the Israelites forget all God’s done for them and drop him like a bad habit, then they start worshiping other gods and living wickedly which inevitably gets them into bondage. After suffering miserably the Israelites remember the God they dumped and beg him to rescue them. God moves with compassion and raises up a Judge to deliver them.
The story of Deborah begins with the Israelites once again in bondage and beseeching God for deliverance. The people of Israel have suffered cruelly for twenty years under the oppression of Jabin king of Canaan and his military commander Sisera. Deborah summons Barak, an Israelite General, to go to war with 10,000 men against Sisera. Deborah says that God has promised them victory.
Barak, however, is reluctant to go to war against Sisera unless Deborah goes up with him. His reluctance could have been because General Sisera had 900 chariots of iron, a formidable military advantage for the times. Because of his lack of confidence in God, Deborah prophesies that victory will be obtained, however the glory will not go to Barak but to a woman instead. The great Sisera will be defeated by a woman! Naturally, we assume Deborah is referring to herself.
So, Deborah, Barak, and the Israelite army go up to Mount Tabor. Sisera gets wind of their plot and takes his massive army, along with the 900 chariots of iron, to the river valley of Kishon. Choosing the flat lands gives a clear advantage to Sisera and his iron chariots. However, Deborah is unfazed because her trust is in almighty God. Deborah tells Barak that God has gone out before them and to go down to the valley and utterly defeat Sisera. Just as Deborah prophesied, God miraculously gives complete victory to Barak and the Israelite army.
As a point of interest, Sisera wasn’t killed in the battle by a man. Sisera was apparently a wily fellow because he escapes the battle and goes to hid out at the home of a supposed ally, Heber the Kenite. Heber wasn’t home but his wife, Jael, allowed Sisera into their tent and hid him under a rug. When the infamous Sisera passed out from exhaustion, Jael snuck over and killed him by driving a tent peg through his skull. Thus the glory for the victory over Sisera did indeed go to a woman just as Deborah prophesied.
The godly leadership of Deborah brought the nation of Israel forty years of peace.


Kings 22:14
So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke with her.
Huldah is a prophetess mentioned in 2 Kings 22:14-20 and 2 Chronicles 34:22-28. She was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, during the reign of King Josiah.
2 Kings 22 begins with Josiah, at the tender age of eight years, becoming King of Judah. Josiah was a righteous ruler following in the foot steps of a long lineup of wicked kings. Under the leadership of his godless ancestors, Judah had descended into idolatry and forgotten God. Josiah was attempting to rehabilitate the nation’s standing with God. A major aspect of his reform was the repairing of the temple of the LORD. During these renovations of the temple, Hilkiah the high priest makes an amazing discovery by finding the Book of the Law. Astonishingly, Judah had abandoned God to the point of being completely ignorant of the Law!
The book of the Law reveals that covenant curses will fall down on the nation because of its many years of evil and rebellion against God. When the book is sent to the king and the contents read to him, he rips his robe in anguish and weeps. King Josiah commands five of his top leaders to go and inquire of the LORD, and see if judgment is indeed going to fall.
So the five officials, including the High Priest, go and seek out the counsel of the Prophetess Huldah. Huldah authenticates the book and presents a grim prognosis. She doesn’t sugarcoat her response but plainly and truthfully presents God’s verdict.
As is necessary for prophets (see 2 Kings 5:10-12 for the story of Elisha and the rich and powerful general Naaman), Huldah is not moved by big titles or intimidated by the power of men. This attitude is affirmed by the way she responds confidently and with authority to the high ranking government officials. She refers to the king as just any other man by saying in an unceremonious manner to “Tell the man who sent you to me“.
Huldah continues by prophesying that divine judgment will indeed fall on the nation of Judah. God, however, responds with mercy to the king. Because Josiah had shown humility and responsiveness to God, he will not see this horror in his lifetime. Judgment will not fall until after Josiah is dead and buried.
The conclusion to this story is found in 2 Chronicles 35:20-27. Judgment did indeed fall upon the nation of Judah just as Huldah prophesied, but King Josiah didn’t die in peace.
Some that oppose women holding any role of prominence within the church believe this is some sort of “Ah-Ha moment”. These agenda driven naysayer’s use Deuteronomy 18:22 to impugn Huldah’s status as a true prophet of God. They say that if Huldah was any sort of prophet worth her salt then her prophecy would have come true.
The problem with this perspective is with the underlying interpretation of Deuteronomy 18:22. The passage speaks of ignoring false prophets who say all manner of outlandish things but they never come to pass. However, this scripture alone is incomplete and a common sense comparison of scripture to scripture reveals that many prophecies clearly have conditions.
It is doubtful that anyone would argue that Jonah wasn’t a true prophet of God, yet Jonah prophesied something that didn’t come to pass. Jonah prophesied that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days, but it wasn’t (see Jonah 3:4, Jonah 3:10). Did Jonah or worse yet, God, make a mistake? No, of course not! The king and people of Nineveh repented from their evil ways upon hearing Jonah’s prophesy, so God suspended his judgment. The same can be said of King Hezekiah and Isaiah’s prophecy over him (see Isaiah 38:1-5).
These examples illustrate an excellent point. Most prophecies of judgment are contingent upon our response. Huldah may have prophesied a judgment of mercy over young King Josiah, but the prophecy was still contingent upon his response. The few people that like to impugn Huldah’s status as a true prophet of God, conveniently ignore the fact that King Josiah died in battle because he blatantly ignored the command of God to not go to war against Neco, king of Egypt (2 Chron 35:22 NLT) . If Josiah would have obeyed God and not leaned to his own understanding then he would have surely died in peace.



Nehemiah 6:14 NLT
Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.
Noadiah was a prophetess that Nehemiah didn’t particularly like. Noadiah was trying in some unclear way to thwart Nehemiah. Just like numerous men in the Bible, Noadiah attempted to stop God’s will for Israel. Noadiah is similar to Balaam the prophet who used his gifting for evil (Numbers 22-24).

Isaiah’s wife

The major prophet Isaiah considered his wife to be a prophetess.
Isaiah 8:3
And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.


Luke 2:36
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Anna is a prophetess that bears witness to the redeemer. She is mentioned in Luke 2:36-38. She was very old and spent all her time worshiping God by fasting and praying at the temple. Upon seeing the baby Jesus she praised God; she joyfully told of the child to everyone in the community seeking deliverance for Jerusalem.

The Daughters of Phillip

Acts 21:8-9
On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Of notable mention are the four daughters of Phillip. They are briefly mentioned as prophesying in the book of Acts. The Greek word used in Acts 21:9 for prophesying is prophēteuō. Prophēteuō means “to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict“.
The scripture is unclear on what exactly or how often these women prophesied. Perhaps their prophesying was used to edify, exhort, and comfort the church (1 Corinthians 14:3-4). Perhaps their prophesying was given for learning and for comfort (1 Corinthians 14:31). Or, perhaps these women foretold of future events (1 Peter 1:10). Whatever may be the case, Phillips four daughters had a prophetic ministry and prophesied by inspiration of the Spirit of God.
Ironically, the gift of prophesy operating on Phillip’s daughters is the fulfillment of another prophesy. The prophet Joel foretold in Joel 2:28 that when the Holy Spirit would be poured out “your sons and daughters shall prophesy“. Acts 2:17 reaffirms Joel’s Old Testament prophesy.


False prophetesses and their magic bands

Ezekiel 13:17-23
“Now you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who are prophesying from their own inspiration. Prophesy against them and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe to the women who sew magic bands on all wrists and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature to hunt down lives! Will you hunt down the lives of My people, but preserve the lives of others for yourselves? 
. . . therefore, you women will no longer see false visions or practice divination, and I will deliver My people out of your hand. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel chapter 13 deals with the denunciation of false prophets and prophetesses. These false prophetesses told deliberate lies. Even more, they subsequently profaned the name of God by pretending to have received the lies they told from him. These women encouraged the wicked and profane and discouraged honest and good people. These women practiced divination and where not true prophets of God.

The Jezebel at the church of Thyatira

Revelation 2:20 NKJV
“Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
This woman referred to as Jezebel, calls herself a prophetess, but that alone doesn’t make her a prophetess. While addressing the corrupt church in Thyatira, Jesus mentions this woman as having an unacceptable influence on the church. Furthermore, Jesus is obviously not impressed with her claim to being a prophet; She is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Jezebel could be this woman’s actual name or a nickname because her wicked actions parallel Queen Jezebel’s in 1 Kin 16 and 2 Kin 9. She teaches and seduces God’s servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. Jesus is displeased with the church of Thyatira because they tolerate this Jezebel. 

>America: You’re Still Discriminating As To Sex

>”Crude Oil” to:


Does sex discrimination exist in the 21st-century workplace? Some seem to argue that such is a thing of the past. Not so. Here is a site that investigates this issue.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


by Ruth A. Tucker

—-Scroll down for “Women lose before Supreme Court (June 2007)”
—-Scroll down for “Thoughts on Race and Gender”
—-Scroll down for Testimonial of Stan Gundry

Since “My Calvin Seminary Story” went public, there has been much debate as to what sex discrimination actually is. The argument, in my case, seems to be that if a Calvin Seminary Board committee and mediators can’t find purposeful sex discrimination, then there is none.

It is difficult to find a precise legal definition of sex discrimination, but rarely is there evidence of sex discrimination that is obviously purposeful, as in: We gave Ruth Tucker a terminal appointment because she is a woman.

One of the reasons that sex discrimination is so insidious is because it is so universally denied. Denials typically work. But my situation is significant as a case study because it is so rich in documentation. It involves three male administrators who insist they have no gender bias. But the facts speak for themselves.

In 2000, I was hired as the first full-time woman faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary, a small denominational school connected to the Christian Reformed Church. That I was the first woman in 125 years was a story significant enough to rate an article with my photo in the Grand Rapids PRESS. On January 2, 2003, with no warning, a new 3-man administraation removed me from tenure track and gave me a terminal appointment.

The reasons given for this singular action initially related to false claims of poor faculty and student evaluations. When these reasons were shown to be groundless, “ungodly conduct” and “defecits” and “deficiencies” were added. I insisted from the beginning that all documents related to my case be opened up. The administration refused, claiming “confidentiality.”

My position from the beginning until now has not changed. I maintain that if all my so-called “deficits” were added up, they do not exceed those of my colleagues. Indeed, I am absolutely convinced that an independent observer would rank me high alongside my all-male colleagues. Thus, my charge of sex discrimination. (If this is not a case of sex discrimination, then why was a highly qualified professor demoted and treated so badly?)

I love classroom teaching, especially when it is lively and interactive. A male Seminary Board member (evaluating me in January 2004 when I was kept off tenure track a second time) described my teaching style, both positively and negatively: “Dr. Tucker was warm and welcoming of the students. . . . She was able to engage students well. I got the impression that Dr. Tucker loves to talk about and debate various issues. I found this challenging, but I do wonder if some students might find this style a bit intimidating.”

I suppose I should appreciate the fact that a board member is concerned about my intimidating students. I have to wonder, however, if he would have said the same thing if I were male–like all my colleagues. Nevertheless, my students evaluated me well. My course evaluations for the very next quarter (summed up on a statistical overview that I received by mistake) showed that I was second highest of all the faculty evaluated.

There are so many facets of my story that it’s hard to easily summarize it. And it’s possible that sex discrimination was not the major motivation. But that I was the first and only full-time woman faculty member at the school in its 125-year history is very signigicant and that brings the matter of sex discriminaation to the fore whether one likes it or not.

Why was I uniquely singled out among all my male colleagues to be so harshly disciplined. In acadamia, short of being fired outright, nothing is worse that being removed from tenure track and given a terminal appointment.

This was done despite the fact that the majority of my colleagues supported reappointment without reservation. Likewise, I recieved very strong evaluations from the Seminary Board members who evaluated me (in both 2003 and 2004), and the Student Senate supported my reappointment.

What is most significanat about this reappointment process is that the Seminary administration carried out a hatchet job without supporting evidence. Indeed, it was one of the 3 administrators who gave me a damning evaluation that was quoted at length to justify my being given a terminal appointment. His was one of two evaluations by “colleagues” that did not support my reappointment.

If one of the administrators submitted an evaluation for me (as he admitted in the mediation process), I surely do not assume that the other 2 administrators did not submit evaluations as well. So, the question that I’ve never had answered is: Were the 2 evaluations against my reappointment BOTH made by administrators? (And the biggest question of all: Why are administrators submitting “faculty” evaluations in the first place?)

Whatever the answers are, the bottom line is that I was given a terminal appointment by 3 new administrators who broke every rule of due process. That is precisely why they have insisted on “confidentiality” whenever I have asked that all the documents pertaining to this matter be opened up.

The seminary is closely tied with Calvin College and both institutions publish their compliance with the law regarding sex discrimination. See below for Calvin’s nondiscriminatory policy.

“Women lose before Supreme Court (June 2007)”

From TIME Magazine (June 18, 2007, p. 56): “The Justices recently decided 5 to 4 that workers are out of luck if they file a complaint under Title VII–the main federal antidiscrimination law–more than 180 days after their salary is set. That’s six measly months to find out what your co-workers are making so that you can tell whether you’re getting chiseled because of your sex, race, religion or national origin.”

In my brief consultation on three occasions with attorneys, I was told that I’d missed the 180-day time limitation. Such limitations severely handicap woman and others who are already working in hostile environments. Had I filed a suit within the 180-day limitation, I knew that any hope of reconciliation would be shattered. I would be without a job and before a court that is not known for being supportive of women in the workplace.

So for those who say rather sarcasticly, Why didn’t you sue, the answer isn’t so easy.


One of the most often-repeated denials at Calvin Seminary is that there is no sex discrimination at the school. AND, surely not among the three administrators who have all been on record as opposed to sex discrimination.

That the administrators are not tainted with any gender bias is simply assumed by most people who read or listen to their “pro-women” statements. They assume that if there is no proof of obvious sex discrimination, then there is none. But we should be very cautious about making such assumptions. I have been surprised in several instances to receive comments from men who have stated that my story has made them contemplate their own gender bias. That is the first step in seeking to overcome such bias.

The same is true of racism. A few years ago one of my seminary colleagues attended a seminar on racism. He came back very irritated by some of the presentations and insisted that he had absolutely no race bias. Yet, he was very much a part of a seminary system that has excluded African Americans from administrative, faculty, and staff positions. Not obviously so. But just as there has been no full-time women on the faculty (until I came), there have been no African Americans. By their very absence, the school is guilty of systemic racism. And this colleague who denied any race bias, I believe, was deceiving himself and others. 

I know that I am not free of racism. But by being ever conscious of the racism that is unconscious, I seek to become less racist than I am. I’ve lived in an integrated neighborhood for nearly 30 years and my son went through public schools where the majority of students were minorities. Race has been a part of my life for decades. I cringed when my 17-year-old son told how he was verbally abused as a “nigger-lover” when he was seen at a movie or fast-food joint with a black neighbor girl. It hurt him and how much worse must she have felt? Because of such experiences I am very conscious of race issues and I seek to bring race balance to my writing and teaching. But that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m not infected with racism.

This past year there was a problem with a giant dead tree across the alley just behind my garage. Huge limbs were falling off and it looked as though the tree could come down any day. Neighbors and I called the city for months but it seemed to take forever before it was finally removed–at the expense of the neighbor across the alley in whose yard the tree stood. I was upset about the situation, and on one occasion I caught myself with racist thoughts. Fortunately, I caught myself, and my thoughts stopped dead in their tracks (though not necessarily never to return). The fact of the matter is that the failure to remove the dangerous tree had nothing to do with the owner’s race. Yet, I momentarily thought those thoughts—–and I repented.

When I was teaching a seminaray course last year with a segment on racism, I opened the the all-white class session by saying: “There is racism in this school.” I paused just listening to the silence. Then I said: “There is racism in this room.” By now I really had the attention of the twenty or so students. I just stood there leaning out at them over my podium and waited as the silence ticked away. And then I said: “I know there is racism in this classroom because I am here.” I talked about myself, and then some of the students opened up about their own racism.

I wonder if there will ever be anybody at Calvin Theological Seminary who will come forward and say to me (like men outside the school have said): “Yes, I’m infected with gender bias and I want to hear your sex discrimination complaints.” The question is: Will Calvin Seminary ever take such a first step toward gender reconciliation as to admit that there is sexism at the school–institutionally and personally? I will report it here if it happens.

Unconscious Sex Discrimination

Stan Gundry (Zondervan publisher and former church history professor) has published online a fascinating story:

From Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers to Woman Be Free: My Story

This story tells long journey in becoming an egalitarian–a journey often impeded by fear, above all, “fear of being taught by a woman, or worse yet, fear of admitting I had been taught by a woman, my wife.”

He testifies how the residual effects of sex discrimination continued after he should have been rid of such. Thanks, Stan, for an open and honest story, including this paragraph that continues your thoughts on fear: 

“This last fear was the most pernicious and enduring of all. I remember with great shame an episode in the early 1980s, well after I had become an egalitarian, indeed after I had been forced to resign from the Moody faculty for supporting my wife’s egalitarian views as expressed in Woman Be Free. I had been invited to Houghton College to debate the women’s issue with a gentleman who held the traditional hierarchical view. Even back then I normally refused to engage in point by point argumentation of the issues. I simply told the story of how I had become an egalitarian and what I had found compelling that changed my mind, but with one huge omission and distortion. I failed to acknowledge Pat’s key, indeed pivotal part in my journey to biblical egalitarianism. Why? Fear. So I want to say with unambiguous clarity now, Pat started me on this journey and was my teacher along the way.”

Calvin’s Nondiscriminatory Policy

Calvin College does not discriminate with regard to age, race, color, national origin, sex, or disability in any of its education programs or opportunities, employment, or other activities. Questions pertaining to Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex . . . may be directed to the Director of Admissions. 

The government site it helpful:

From a website: The University of California Santa Cruz:

What is sex discrimination?

It is unlawful and violates UCSC policy to discriminate against any academic or non-academic employee or any student because of her/his sex.

For students this prohibition covers any academic program, student service, any benefit or opportunity provided by UCSC and student employment.

For employees this prohibition covers hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.

The law also prohibits academic or employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals on the basis of sex.

The law and policy prohibit both intentional discrimination and neutral job or academic policies that disproportionately exclude individuals on the basis of sex and that are not job related.


It is my desire to publish my story along with the stories of other women who have faced sex discrimination. This site is incomplete. I will be posting more on my own story and including stories of others.

Seminary loses discrimination ruling

The Lutheran, Jun 2000 by Elizabeth Hunter

A candidate for a 1995 faculty position at the Lutheran Seminary lat Gettysburg (Pa.) was discrimmated against because of her gender, said a regional office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a March 31 ruling.

Calling the decision an “unfortunate” reversal from an April 26, 1999, ruling in which “the EEOC found there was no basis for [the] charge,” Norma Wood, seminary dean, said the school was “profoundly disappointed.”

The new EEOC ruling says a review of the resumes of both the female candidate, Lauve Steenhuisen, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and the successful candidate, a white male, “clearly shows that [Steenhuisen] was more qualified than the successful candidate,” who “failed to meet the requirements and who had little relevant experience.”

Steenhuisen’s attorney,Victoria Toensing, said EEOC officials determined that Darrold Beekmann, who is retiring this summer as seminary president, hired the male candidate despite opposing votes by faculty and student committees. “We are disappointed that [seminary officials] have refused to discuss any settlement of this case and have been in denial about their sex discrimination,” Toensing said.

John Spangler, Gettysburg’s director of communications, said it was “erroneous to report that the seminary has been unresponsive.” He said the president recommends a candidate, but the board of directors makes the final decision. “Neither the search committee nor the faculty at any time supported Dr. Steenhuisen’s candidacy. In fact, Dr. Steenhuisen lacked a major qualification… the master of divinity or master’s in theology or its equivalent,” Spangler said.

“[Gettysburg] hired a highly qualified teacher for the position sought by Dr. Steenhuisen,” Wood said. “We believe [she] was treated fairly. … We have done nothing wrong. We intend to continue to vigorously defend the seminary before the EEOC and, if necessary, in the courts.”

Elizabeth Hunter
Copyright Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Jun 2000

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Ruth A. Tucker, Ph.D.

Ruth A. Tucker, Ph.D. 

My Sites

My CTS Story

I began teaching at Calvin Theological Seminary in 2000–the first full-time woman professor in the school’s 125-year history. In 2003, less than 3 months after Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. was installed as the new president, I was, without warning, removed from tenure track and given a terminal appointment. I have repeatedly asked that all the evidence be opened only to be blocked by a dishonest cover-up. When independent mediators were retained by the seminary board in 2005, they called for “retroactive pay to 2003,” among other things. That report was buried. I finished my second terminal appointment on August 31, 2006, and shortly thereafter published my story at

My Amazon Review: Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

What a fantastic resource this is for working women. For women who confront sex discrimination this is a must read. I wish it had been available for me when I was derailed from my teaching career (“My Calvin Seminary Story”). The case studies alone are worth the (hefty) price of the book. I particularly like their definition of sex discrimination: “In the broadest sense, sex discrimination occurs when a person is or people are treated unfairly in the work context because of gender. Unfair treatment can concern levels of compensation. . . . [But it] can also occur in terms of non-monetary rewards, in terms of opportunities, and in terms of on-the-job treatment.” This is a book for every college and public library.

My Amazon Review: Bad Leadership

This is a must for people working in Christian organizations and for laypeople in churches. There is bad leadership in the church and it often looks a lot like good leadership. Kellerman writes about the “recent revelations of wrongdoing by leaders of the Roman Catholic Church . . . that was so abhorrent it makes us all ill.” She continues: “the idea that some leaders and some followers are bad, and that they might have something in common with good leaders and followers, has not fully penetrated the conversation or the curriculum” [of leadership training]. Her book is aptly titled for my situation (“My Calvin Seminary Story”) where poor leadership derailed my career.