Book Review“: What Women Want: Pentecostal Women Ministers Speak for Themselves” By Kimberly Ervin Alexander and James P. Bowers (Seymour Press, 2013) -- By: John P. Lathrop

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 28:3 (Summer 2014)
Article: Book Review“: What Women Want: Pentecostal Women Ministers Speak for Themselves” By Kimberly Ervin Alexander and James P. Bowers (Seymour Press, 2013)
Author: John P. Lathrop


Book Review“: What Women Want: Pentecostal Women Ministers Speak for Themselves” By Kimberly Ervin Alexander and James P. Bowers (Seymour Press, 2013)

John P. Lathrop

John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Boston campus. He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. His most recent publications are Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013).

The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) is one of the major Pentecostal bodies in the United States. This book contains the results of a study conducted in that denomination regarding women and ministry. Some books that deal with this subject focus on biblical texts to either support or limit women’s place in ministry. This book, however, asks women ministers what they want. Not surprisingly, what they want is equality in ministry. The Church of God has 3,088 licensed women ministers in the United States; 726 of them participated in this survey (29). Those who made up this sample group are from different age and ethnic groups (13). The respondents come from different parts of the country (30-31) and have varying degrees of education (55). One thousand randomly chosen male ministers in the denomination, called ordained bishops, were also invited to participate in the study, and 16 percent of them responded (34).

This book is written by two insiders in the Church of God: Kimberly Ervin Alexander and James P. Bowers. Both are people of high academic credentials, with PhDs. Alexander is a historical theologian who has in the past served as an assistant vice president for a seminary and is also a past president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (12). Bowers has served as a pastor and seminary vice president (12).

The main body of the text consists of seven chapters: Hearing Their Voices; What They Believe about Family; How Power and Leadership Function; Are Women Flourishing as Ministers?; What Women Can Expect in Compensation and Advancement; What a Pentecostal Woman Minister Looks Like; and Looking from the Outside by Cynthia Wooleever. Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 each contain two responses from women ministers in the Church of God to the material presented. The book also contains three appendixes. The study in this book is very detailed, with many facts and figures, some of which are presented in graph and chart form as well.

The fact that the Church of God has 3,088 licensed women ministers in the United States may at first seem to be a very encouraging sign, and, in some ways, it is. At least the church recognizes that women...

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