23 Aug 2022


Nancy Sehested: We Have This Treasure

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 872

Pages: 3

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Information on Author and Historical Context 

Nancy Sehested is a woman who is called into ministry to serve. However, despite the call, she has had a rough path, as women were initially not accepted in ministry, as they were considered unfit. Consequently, this made her feel trapped, yet she remained faithful to her call. The context in which she wrote the piece was when women were persecuted and considered as unworthy to stand on the pulpit (Shurden & Shepley, 1996). Nancy currently serves as a co-pastor in a church in Ashville. She also should be retiring as a chaplain in a state prison where these have been serving. She has also so far served in Shekinah gathering as a pastor and in many similar gatherings. More than that, she comes from a pastoral family where the father and grandfather were pastors. In addition, she was the founder of the Southern Baptist Women in 1983. In 1987 when she joined a Baptist church as a pastor in Prescott memorial church, the church was cut off the other fellowships because of allowing a woman on the pastoral team. 

Analysis and Interpretation of Document 

We Have This Treasure documents the pains and struggles of a travailing woman who wants to break out into her purpose but the societal and cultural standards limit her. Nancy Sehested. Who was brought up in a church setting accepted her call as she grew up and despite the low opinion that the society had of women on the pulpit, she was determined to wait with hope that one-day things would change (Shurden & Shepley, 1996). First, Nancy recognizes the fact that God accepts women in his presence as he accepted Mary, who chose to stay on his feet instead of being busy doing service of any other kind. This implies that despite the current setting and beliefs in her church, Nancy believed in the bible concept where Jesus received women at his feet in Luke 10:42. She also seems to criticize the church's beliefs against women by stating that where the Spirit of God rules there is freedom. The statement insinuates that the current oppression of women could imply that the church has locked the spirit of God out. As such, it insinuates that there needs to be more revival where the church leaders may operate as the spirit of God would command of them (Shurden & Shepley, 1996). 

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Moreover, she uses the metaphor of the children of Israel who were under much slavery and bondage in Egypt and they were anticipating change when Moses came to rescue them with a promise to take them to the Promised Land. She describes their experience as exciting, as they now had a vision of new life in the new land. Almost immediately, they were confronted by the desert experience that seemed endless, robbing them of all their hope. In the article, Nancy compares these ancestors to the women experience in her time. She says that for the ancestors, the only thing that made the situation bearable was the good food that they ate. By this, she expresses the hard situation of the women, she asks them to remember the times when their hopes and expectations have been met with disappointment and pain; the times when their visions have been victimized and preyed upon. This shows how hopeless and disappointed the women who want to join the clergy are as they like the children of Israel left the land of bondage and sin and accepted Christ joining the churches with the hope and vision of serving. However, their hopes were shattered as the clergy loathes seeing a skirt on the pulpit (Shurden & Shepley, 1996). They believe that the woman is unfit for the call and is best suited for jobs such as changing diapers and other household chores. 

In yet another place, Nancy urges the clergy to enter a new phase of doing things, recognizing the treasure in earthen vessels. She in this portion urges them to realize the call in the woman and to do things in a befitting way. She almost becomes the voice of the voiceless by airing her pain and dissatisfaction with the current way of doing things. Finally, she urges the women in her category to stand by each other and pray for each other in the testing times. This call for unity is important as it urges the women to come together in unity as unity is strength. 

Finally, she compares the situation of the women with what Paul went through after this conversion as the Jews felt that he was a gentile who was uncircumcised. As a result, he was not accepted into their circle. This example is used as Paul is known as the most influential person after Jesus in the New Testament despite the hatred that he initially received. The implication is that the women can be as effective in ministry as Paul was (Shurden & Shepley, 1996). This past urges the clergy indirectly to allow women in service. 

Relevance of Document 

This document is relevant, as first, it encouraged the women who had a call of God in that period but were overlooked based on their gender. It showed them that many others shared in their plight and informed them to come together in unity. In addition to that, the document is relevant as it also showed the plight of the women to the clergy, and if they read it properly, they saw the criticism, which they received rightfully because most of it was from the Bible. Moreover, the document is vital in the present day as it shows the women in the clergy the struggle of their predecessor, making them accept the call of God even more and prompting to serve more diligently. 


Shurden, W. B., & Shepley, R. (1996).  Going for the jugular: A documentary history of the SBC holy war . Macon, Ga: Mercer. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Nancy Sehested: We Have This Treasure.


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