This chapter traces the development of Scandinavian Pentecostal Medical Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from a focus on basic medical care in the 1920s to an emphasis on fighting rape as a weapon of war in the 1990s. The chapter highlights the efforts of key individuals such as Gunnerius Tollefsen, Osvald Orlien, and Denis Mukwege, while also recognizing the contribution of other missionaries, doctors, nurses, and midwives. The last section is devoted to an overview of recent Congolese-Scandinavian initiatives that attempt to combat sexual violence and bring about change on individual, communal, and state levels.
Denis Mukwege is the pentecostal pastor/medical doctor who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace prize (with Nadia Murad) “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” At Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DR Congo he is asked, as a follower of Jesus, why he chooses to work in such a difficult and dangerous place. How can love can overcome hate? How is the Holy Spirit at work in reconciliation in the Congo? Does his work say something about theodicy?
In Women Talking, novelist Miriam Toews crafts the fictive response of abused women of a Bolivian Mennonite colony. Toews addresses both the lack of biblical knowledge and interpretative skills afforded to female members of the colony and the implications of the overt and implied use of Scripture by male leaders to wield power over the community. By giving voice to these women, Toews assumes the mantle of a “prophet not welcome in her own town.” Though she has been “shunned” by not a few of her fellow Mennonites, I call for all churches – not least Pentecostal – to hear her voice as a model for prophetic artistry.
A particular and insidious type of gendered violence (often referred to as family, domestic, or intimate partner violence) is now considered the greatest health risk to Australian women aged 25–44. Over one woman a week has died at the hands of her partner since 2012, with countless families affected by these dynamics. However, in Sydney’s preaching pulpits, there has been resounding silence regarding this pressing issue with women’s safety relegated a “sacrifice zone” of the church. This chapter outlines the testimony of a charismatic Anglican woman named Jen Barker who, prompted by the Spirit, moved through Pentecostal women’s theologizing spaces and back into her own church, working collaboratively with others on her platform Fixing Her Eyes to assist in bringing this issue to light in wider public discourse. This chapter situates mainstreaming within the wider global #metoo and #churchtoo movements as a work of the Spirit.
This chapter explores the contribution of Shelly Rambo’s pneumatology to Pentecostal theological responses to suffering, especially of women who experience sexual violence. Rambo’s understanding of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the aftermath of trauma offers an alternative to the Spirit as a victory-bringer, or co-sufferer. I show how her understanding of “witness” can assist the church in responding to the needs of survivors. Her concept of the “middle Spirit” also can inform a Pentecostal understanding of the work of the Paraclete, as the One who accompanies women into the promise of new life through the liminality of Holy Saturday.
The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) launched Men’s Fellowship groups in 1955, modeled on civic service clubs, because they feared that church women were displacing laymen in their voluntary efforts. Despite their egalitarian roots, Canadian Pentecostals embraced postwar assumptions about binary gender roles with male breadwinners (and soulwinners) and female homemakers who nurtured family and church relationships. Exploring the history of Pentecostal masculinities exposes the roots of gender oppression that Pentecostal women continue to experience in their churches. Complementarian assumptions about gender difference persist and can (unintentionally) empower expressions of toxic masculinity that infiltrate and thrive in Pentecostal church subcultures.
The women of Shanghai’s Door of Hope represent a now-forgotten stream of the pentecostal movement that was adept at addressing the abuse and exploitation of women. This chapter will seek to address this historical memory lapse in two way. First, it will retell the story of the women at the Door of Hope with a focus on their connection to the nascent pentecostal movement. Second, the chapter will take a note from Catholic resourcement and use the writings of the women as a source for constructing a pentecostal theology that is better able to respond to systemic violence against women.