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All Manner of Evil Spoken Falsely

Acts of Sodomy, the Pentecostal Presses, and the Narrative of Charles Fox Parham

Andrea S. Johnson

Abstract

This article uses archival sources and secondary sources to argue that narratives from various pentecostal church presses reflected shifts in the broader understanding of homosexuality when discussing the 1907 arrest of pentecostal founder Charles Fox Parham for “unnatural offenses.” In the early 1900s, gay men were free to pursue other men in separate spaces of towns and were generally left alone as long as they did not attract attention. Although there was growing recognition that homosexuality might be a matter of biology, the more popular literature on the topic through the 1920s proclaimed that homosexuality was a choice, influenced by environmental factors. Pentecostalism was then in its infancy, and two schools of thought became prevalent regarding Parham’s arrest: there were those like his wife, who denied the truth of the matter, and those like his protégé Howard Goss, who believed that the behavior was a temporary failing, not a permanent tendency. During World War II and the Cold War, beliefs about the causes of homosexuality shifted again, and as the gay rights movements flourished and the field of pentecostal history became professionalized, authors tended to examine the details of the incident rather than draw conclusions about the accusations. This examination of pentecostal narratives demonstrates the power that narrators have either to emphasize or to minimize certain details, allowing them to shape the reputations of leaders of the movement.

Complementarianism and Egalitarianism—Whose Side Are You Leaning On?

A Pentecostal Reading of Ephesians 5:21–33

Melissa Archer and Kenneth J. Archer

Abstract

With the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage among Christian communities and the increasing concern of the influence of the LGBTQIA communities upon politics, there has been a resurgent concern to reaffirm “male headship” for church, state and marriage. Emphasizing so-called biblical gendered roles has become a way to argue against feminism and same-sex marriage. Along with the resurgence of the traditional understanding of divine order as patriarchy comes an undermining of women in leadership roles, especially in ministry. Pentecostals generally have been more liberal (challenging the tradition of patriarchy as related to ministry) than conservative (maintaining that females should be silent in church and subject to male authority) regarding females in ministry. In this article we will state fairly and accurately the two contemporary positions—complementarian and egalitarian—by drawing primarily from their official websites and key theologians, and then present a pentecostal reading/hearing of Ephesians 5:21–33. We will exegetically engage the passage and then raise important questions concerning these understandings in light of a pentecostal hermeneutical perspective that privileges Luke-Acts, especially Acts 2. The goal will be to understand the passage and then move toward a pentecostal egalitarian understanding of humanity and society, thus affirming the beauty and dignity of female and male without affirming the hierarchical position of patriarchy or matriarchy.

John Wigger

Abstract

In 1980 Jessica Hahn was sexually assaulted by two pentecostal preachers, one of whom was one of the most famous televangelists of the time. Her experience reveals why our current dialogue about powerful men and the reluctance of survivors to come forward applies just as much to Pentecostals, and evangelicals more broadly, as anyone else. For nearly seven years Hahn was pressured into silence. When her story became the center of a national scandal in 1987, she faced unrelenting scorn in the press and silence from the church. Thirty years later she has retreated into obscurity while her most famous assailant, Jim Bakker, is still on television, preaching the gospel. Building on research for the recently published PTL: The Rise and Fall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Evangelical Empire and from a subsequent interview with Hahn, this essay challenges Pentecostals to re-examine her story, as a necessary step in responding to the #MeToo movement.