Women And Revival Work Acts 2:17-21—Revival’s Magna Charta -- By: Mimi Haddad
PP 12:1 (Winter 1998) p. 44
Women And Revival Work
Acts 2:17-21—Revival’s Magna Charta
Mimi Haddad received her MATS from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is pursuing doctoral studies in historical theology. At present she is serving CBE as Coordinator of Development and Public Relations. Priscilla Papers 8:3, Summer 1994.
A friend of mine attends a church that longs for renewal. The pastors acknowledge a sense of spiritual ineffectiveness among their members, and they have sought the power of the Holy Spirit to quicken, empower, and revive personal and corporate ministry. In prayer this congregation asks for an out pouring of the Holy Spirit, but with an unspoken proviso, that God honor their gender bias: God may pour out His Spirit, but men alone may exhibit the Spirit’s empowering. Yet nothing seems further from the tenor of revival and the passage in Acts where the Holy Spirit was poured out not only on Gentiles, but also on women.
History is replete with examples of Joel’s prophesy fulfilled. Writing in the second century, Justin Martyr described the cooperation of women in ministry with men as follows: “Both men and women were seen among them who had the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit of God, according as the prophet Joel had foretold.”1
Seventeenth-century theologian Henry Dodwell observed that both men and women were recipients of the gift of prophecy. He wrote:
...the extraordinary gift of the spirit of prophecy was given to others besides the apostles; and that not only in the first and second, but in the third century, even to the time of Constantine, men of all sorts and ranks had their gifts; yea, and women too. Therefore we may certainly conclude that the prophetic saying of the Psalmist, 63:11, was verified: ... “The Lord gave the word, and great was the company of women publishers, or women evangelists.”2
Charles Finney, a well known American revivalist, in his 1835 Lectures on Revivals of Religion, encouraged those who seek revival to “give the meeting to the Spirit of God.” All members of Christ’s body were encouraged to exercise their gifts, male and female alike.
A. J. Gordon, a great nineteenth-century proponent of women in ministry, observed as two inseparable events revival in the church and the participation of women in ministry. Pentecost, Gordon asserts, “brought equal privileges to women ... female prophecy is not the exception but the rule.”3
Mrs. A. J. Gordon...
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