Pentecostal hermeneutical considerations about women in ministry
At first, the Pentecostal movement made no distinction between genders in the ministry. Anyone anointed by the Spirit was allowed to minister, whether to pray for the sick, testify about an encounter with God, preach or teach. The emphasis was not on the person of the one ministering, but on the Spirit equipping and empowering the person. Due to Pentecostals' upward mobility and alliance with evangelicals in order to receive the approval of the society and government since the 1940s, women's contribution to the ministry faded until in the 1970s some Pentecostals with an academic background started debating about Pentecostal hermeneutics; questioning also the omission of women from ministry. Although many Pentecostals still read the Bible in a fundamentalist manner, the article proposes a hermeneutical strategy-in accordance with the way early Pentecostals interpreted the Bible-that moves from the experience with the Spirit to the Bible, allowing one to experience the confusion and conflict necessarily associated with contradictory statements found in the Bible about issues such as women in the ministry. While the author agrees it is important that discrimination against women in the church should cease, the purpose of the article is not primarily to discuss this discrimination; it is rather to show how a movement's hermeneutical viewpoint and considerations can cause the movement to change its stance about an important issue such as women in ministry.
- Faculty of Theology