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‘Thy Daughters Shall Prophesy’: The Assemblies of God, Inerrancy, and the Question of Clergywomen

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In 1935, the General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA) officially opened the pastorate to ‘matured women…who have developed in the ministry of the Word’. Today, the AG remains the only major conservative denomination to fully affirm female ordination. Unfortunately, this achievement remains largely ignored in contemporary scholarly literature, largely due to the influence of an article by Barfoot and Sheppard in 1980 which dismissed the AG’s official endorsement of clergywomen as having little lasting impact as the denomination matured into ‘priestly’ tranquility. In this article, I argue that such an interpretation is historically outdated. By extending Barfoot and Sheppard’s analysis of the General Council minutes to the present day, we find instead that significant progress has been made. Such a positive trend invites a reappraisal of the Assemblies of God’s scriptural hermeneutic underlying its enthusiastic endorsement of female ordination and also suggests cross-denominational application among similarly inerrantist denominations.

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