The role of women in church leadership is controversial; however, the Pentecostal tradition, and specifically the Assemblies of God, has held that women can serve at all levels of church leadership. There is no role that is off-limits to women. Citing their distinctive approach to theology, Pentecostals embrace women’s leadership in policy, but in practice, women are often frustrated by the lack of opportunity and representation in leadership roles. By exploring the rhetorical history, how Pentecostals talk about the role of women, the purpose of this book is to expose those rhetorical constraints that create dissonance and discontentment. This book explores how Pentecostals use and are used by language that shapes this dissonance and how that impacts the lived reality of both men and women in the Pentecostal tradition.
“Words matter–especially in a tradition whose hallmarks, it can be argued, are inspired speech. Pentecostals live in a space defined by orality: ‘speaking in tongues,’ prophecy, exhortation, preaching, and the ‘call’ to ministry. Joy Qualls brings the importance of the rhetoric that both empowers and disempowers women in one Pentecostal denomination to the conversation, at a time when the voices of harassed and abused women have finally taken center-stage. Words matter.”
–Kimberly Ervin Alexander, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, Regent University School of Divinity
Joy E. A. Qualls is Associate Professor and Department Chair of Communication Studies at Biola University. She is a sought after speaker and writer. Her work can be found in Influence Magazine and she is the author, along with Loralie Crabtree, of “Women as Assemblies of God Church Planters: Cultural Analysis and Strategy Formation,” in Women in Pentecostal and Charismatic Ministry: Informing a Dialogue on Gender, Church, and Ministry (edited by Margaret English de Alminana and Lois Olena).
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