"It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us": Toward a Feminist Pneumatological Argument for Women in Ministry
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
While the issue of women in ministry has made large gains within the United States, there are still portions of the Christian church that are battling over this matter, one of which is classical Pentecostalism. Though Pentecostalism is a tradition that affirms that the Spirit has been poured out on men and women, historically this has rarely resulted in females having equal access to all ecclesial positions. It is my contention that the future for women in ministry within Pentecostalism depends upon an argument that addresses both the anthropological and ecclesiological aspects of the issue in a manner that takes up pneumatology as the methodological starting point.
I begin, therefore, by situating the problem historically and academically. Chapter Two addresses the historical context within Pentecostalism, surveying the formal policy concerning the role of women in ministry in three Pentecostal denominations. Chapter Three then examines the academic literature that has emerged within the past few decades concerned with the issue of women in ministry within Pentecostalism, noting the lacuna that this dissertation fills. Next, Chapters Four and Five shift the conversation to the specific issues of theological anthropology and ecclesiology, respectively. These chapters delineate Pentecostal and feminist resources from which an argument for women in ministry can be constructed. Finally, Chapter Six outlines a pneumatological approach to theological anthropology, designated as imago Spiritus, and expands on the feminist models of the church through the lens of pneumatology. With regard to the former, the motif of new creation is examined in view of Spirit baptism. With regard to the latter, various feminist metaphors of the church are reconstructed from a pneumatological perspective. The result is an argument that justifies women‟s full participation in ministry that resonates with both a Pentecostal and feminist spirituality.