Women and the Church

BOOK CHAPTER

“Your Daughters Shall Prophesy (As Long as They Submit): Pentecostalism and Gender in Global Perspective.” With Andrea Hollingsworth. In The Liberating Spirit: Pentecostals and Social Action in North America, ed. Michael Wilkinson and Steven M. Studebaker. McMaster Divinity College Press; Pickwick, 2011.

Abstract

Pentecostalism has the paradoxical quality of being at once limiting and liberating for women in their ongoing struggle for equality and empowerment. In this essay we suggest that where Pentecostalism is limiting, the influences of European cultural, theological, and ecclesiastical traditions are largely at work, but where it is liberating the ingenuity and courage of Spirit-filled women and men is present, creating a Spirit-space where all are included. In this Spirit-space, noncritical, noncontextual biblical readings are replaced with a hermeneutic of liberation that prioritizes the “Spirit poured out on all flesh” and new voices emerge to read and interpret the text. We suggest that attention to text and voice (interpretation and proclamation) are two ways in which Pentecostal women have mined resources within the tradition and therefore provide an apt starting point for a retrieval of neglected themes in Pentecostalism that can empower women and strengthen the church. Working toward increased equality and agency in the lives of Pentecostal women in all parts of the world will involve challenging dualistic ontologies and literalistic Bible readings and championing creative uses of resources within the Pentecostal tradition.