Rosinah Mmannana Gabaitse


 The Pentecostal movement remains one of ambivalence, tensions and paradoxes. On the surface, worship and practice appear democratic, yet research shows that women and men do not occupy the same status because the movement endorses male dominance and submission of women to men. While there is a sense that men and women are equal because both can receive the Spirit, women still remain in the margins. Sometimes women are affirmed and accepted because of the emancipatory role of the Spirit, but at other times they are marginalised through oppressive interpretative practices of the Bible. Although women are given voice, especially because of the belief within Pentecostal churches that the Holy Spirit speaks through men and women, the same voice is taken away when women are subordinated to male power. As such the Pentecostal space is ambivalent, although women are not completely silenced, they occupy a subordinate position. In this article I seek to demonstrate that the marginalisation of Pentecostal women is due to a considerable extent to the ways in which the Bible is read and interpreted within the Pentecostal tradition. I seek to demonstrate that there is a link between the marginalisation of women and Pentecostal hermeneutical strategies such as literal readings and proof-texting of the Bible. I will also highlight how the interpretation of the Trinity is also implicated in the marginalisation of women. In the final section of the article I will demonstrate how Pentecostals’ openness to the work of the Holy Spirit should be a destabilising principle for all Pentecostals’ oppressive activities, especially Pente-costal hermeneutics which tends to favour men over and above women.


Pentecostalism; Bible; Interpretation; Marginalisation and Women

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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