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Published Date: October 30, 2010

Published Date: October 30, 2010

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Your Daughters Shall Prophesy: The Rise of Women’s Ordination in the Holiness Tradition

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, while many American denominations were still silencing the public voices of women in the churches, the founder of the Church of the Nazarene purportedly exclaimed: “Some of our best ‘men’ are women!” Since its founding in 1908, the Church of the Nazarene—like several other major Holiness denominations—has ordained women to all offices of ministry in the church. In this regard, the Holiness tradition stands out in an extraordinary fashion from most other major Christian traditions in America at that time. In the words of sociologist Bryan Wilson, “The Holiness Movement in its varied forms brought women to the fore, perhaps more than any previous development in Christianity.”1

Before 1920, there were nineteen American denominations that officially granted clergy rights to women. A full eight of those (42 percent) were from the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition; this is especially noteworthy when compared to the next most prominent tradition, the Baptists. Three Baptist denominations (16 percent) ordained women before 1920.2 Of the denominations of the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition, five were newly founded. It is striking to note that the Salvation Army (1870), the Church of God (Anderson) (1881), the Pentecostal Holiness Church (1895), the Pilgrim Holiness Church (1897), and the Church of the Nazarene (1908) all ordained women since their inception at a time when women’s ordination was still an exceptionally rare occurrence.3

But why were these denominations so different? What was it about the Holiness tradition that led to their unusually early acceptance of the ordained ministry of women? The answers to these questions are complex and cannot be determined with full precision. Nonetheless, some strong conjectures can be made. Through examining the histories of these denominations as well as the memoirs of the women ministers who served within them, we can distinguish one important feature of the Holiness tradition which may have led to its unusually early acceptance of women’s ordination: its strong emphasis on the present and transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, I propose that at least three implications of this Holy Spirit emphasis helped to facilitate the acceptance of women’s ministry and women’s ordination: (1) a preference for leadership based on “prophetic authority” vs. “priestly authority,” (2) an encouragement for all people, including women, to give public testimony at church gatherings, and (3) the development of flexible and entrepreneurial denominational structures. It is likely that all of these factors positively affected the opportunities for and the eventual acceptance of the ordained ministry of women.

In this article, I will first track the birth of the Holiness movement out of Methodism and out of the theology of Phoebe Palmer and highlight how their views of the Holy Spirit laid the groundwork for the eventual Holiness acceptance of women’s ordination. Second, I will illustrate the growing importance of the Holy Spirit in the Holiness tradition over time. Finally, I will examine all three of the aforementioned implications of that Holy Spirit emphasis by looking primarily at two of the largest Holiness denominations to emerge in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the Church of God (Anderson) and the Church of the Nazarene.

The blossoming of the Holiness movement from the soils of Methodism

The Holiness movement emerged in the nineteenth century as a renewal movement within the Methodist tradition. Holiness advocates considered John Wesley (1703–1791) to be their main spiritual forefather. During his lifetime, Wesley was committed to a renewal work within the Church of England, which eventually came to be identified as Methodism.

As Wesley developed this theology over the years, he would become famous for his firm conviction that Christians must experience the “double cure”—not only justification, but also sanctification, which results in the Christian’s ability to love God and others with “perfect love.” Wesley called his doctrine of sanctification “Christian perfection,” and, from 1739 to 1777, he issued a publication on the doctrine entitled A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.

Within Wesley’s Methodism, women were employed for ministry purposes in unprecedented ways. This would later encourage the corresponding prominence of women in the Holiness movement. Yet, Wesley’s own views about women in ministry evolved over time. His mother, Susanna, likely had a formative influence on him, as he once attributed to her the title of a “preacher of righteousness.”4 Still, Wesley’s own views were initially quite conservative. In a 1748 letter to Thomas Whitehead, he expressed disgust for the Quaker practice of permitting women to “preach to a church assembly.”5 However, in 1754, Wesley made an important qualification to this rule. When interpreting Paul’s injunction that women be silent in the churches in a commentary on 1 Corinthians, Wesley remarked that women should indeed be prohibited from speaking publicly “unless they are under an extraordinary impulse of the Spirit.”6 Here Wesley had identified a significant “loophole” for the ministry of women—the call and gifting of the Holy Spirit.7 This foreshadowed the prominence that the Holy Spirit received in later Holiness arguments for women’s ministry. Over the years, Wesley became increasingly supportive of women’s ministry in his growing evangelistic movement, eventually encouraging them to preach widely as he observed the fruitfulness of their ministry.8 Although Wesley never did advocate the full, official ordination of women in the church, the Methodist movement still played a pivotal role in pioneering new opportunities for women.

All renewal movements eventually need to be renewed themselves. By the 1850s and 1860s, many perceived this to be the case for the Methodist church.9 Certain people within the church longed to bring back the spiritual vitality of Wesley’s days. As they turned to his writings for guidance, many honed in on Wesley’s doctrine of Christian holiness (which he called “perfection”), which had lost prominence within the Methodist movement. Their resulting efforts to revive Wesley’s doctrines on the importance of sanctification and to bring renewal to the Methodist church came to be known as the Holiness movement, and Wesley’s A Plain Account became their manifesto.10

However, although Wesley was often acknowledged as the greatest authority within the Holiness tradition, many of the peculiar characteristics of the Holiness movement must be attributed to Phoebe Palmer (1807–1874), who has often been called the “mother” of the Holiness tradition. In the words of Charles Edwin Jones, “The confidant of powerful men in the church, [Palmer] permanently modified American Methodist teaching on perfection through them. . . . Mrs. Palmer’s ideas were to pervade all future Methodist debate concerning holiness.”11 Palmer spread her ideas through publications, speaking engagements, her famous Tuesday Meetings for the Promotion of Holiness, and through National Holiness Camp Meetings.

It is clear that Palmer, as a woman leader, exhibited tremendous influence in shaping the entire Holiness movement. This, no doubt, molded popular perceptions of what ministries were proper for women. Palmer never explicitly discussed the official ordination of women in the church. However, she did vigorously argue for women’s right to preach the gospel and to testify publicly about their religious experience at a time when many still urged complete silence of women. Palmer profoundly shaped common Holiness views on women in her book Promise of the Father (1859). In this four-hundred-page tome, she passionately laid out an argument for women’s preaching based on the “promise of the Father”—that is, the Holy Spirit—which was equally endued upon men and women alike at Pentecost.

As the Holiness movement grew, so too did the intensity of the conflicts between Holiness proponents and the Methodist churches. Hard-line Methodists opposed to the Holiness movement found it “too extreme, too emotional, to fit into the new formalism of urban and suburban Methodist respectability.”12 As a result, many Holiness advocates eventually broke away from the Methodist ranks to found new denominations. In fact, it is estimated that there were at least twenty-five holiness sects founded between 1893 and 1907 alone, although others were also founded after that time.13

Background on women in the Church of God and the Church of the Nazarene

Although at first the Holiness movement did not intend to break from its Methodist roots, by the early 1880s, the conflict had intensified, and certain people advocated separation. They were called the “come-outers.”

The Church of God (Anderson)

One of the more prominent “come-outers” was Daniel Sidney Warner (1842–1895). Warner became the primary founder of what would become the Church of God (Anderson) denomination. Initially, Warner had been a member of the Church of God of North America (General Eldership). However, he eventually became embroiled in a conflict with them over the issue of sanctification. As a result, Warner and several members of the church broke away and eventually established a new group in 1881 which was in favor of Holiness ideas. The new movement was simply called the “Church of God”—though, at the time, Warner did not consider himself to be founding a new denomination as he had previously become adamantly opposed to sectarianism and denominationalism.

One outstanding feature of the Church of God was that women played a prominent role in the movement from the very beginning. For example, in the movement’s news magazine, called The Gospel Trumpet, there were reports from at least eighty-eight women heavily involved in evangelistic outreach between 1891 and 1892.14 In the year 1895, the Church of God movement was comprised of 353 congregations, 50 of which were pastored by women (14 percent of all congregations).15 By 1925, that percentage had more than doubled, with 220 out of 685 congregations being pastored by women (32 percent of all congregations).16

The Church of the Nazarene

The Church of the Nazarene was founded in 1908 by Phineas Bresee (1838–1915). Bresee was born to Methodist parents in New York. He was eventually ordained as a Methodist minister and moved to California. There, Bresee attended a revival in 1884 conducted by two leaders of the National Holiness Association. As a result of a powerful and mystical experience that he had there, he soon became an ardent believer and promoter of Holiness doctrines. However, similar to Warner, Bresee soon came into conflict with the Methodist establishment that he served. After some time, Bresee finally split with the Methodists to found the Church of the Nazarene, a new Holiness church focused on the poor.

The Church of the Nazarene as a denomination was born through a variety of mergers of smaller Holiness organizations. In 1907 and 1908, the merger of three movements—the Church of the Nazarene, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America, and the Holiness Church of Christ—birthed the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, a national organization with 10,414 members and 228 congregations.17 The word “Pentecostal” was eventually dropped from the denomination’s title in 1919 to prevent confusion with the growing tongues movement.

It is clear that the denomination supported women in all aspects of ordained ministry. Three out of the four groups that merged into the Church of the Nazarene in 1907–1908 had already been in favor of ordaining women.18 The New Testament Churches of Christ (NTCC) is an especially remarkable example. The NTCC was an association of churches co-led by Mary Lee Cagle (1864–1955), an evangelist, pastor, and church planter. When the NTCC composed its “Government and Doctrines” statement in 1903, a line was inserted which simply said, “We believe that women have the same right to preach the gospel as men have.”19 The NTCC then merged with another group in 1904 to become the Holiness Church of Christ.20 When the Holiness Church of Christ finally merged to form the Church of the Nazarene in 1908, women comprised 13 percent of the ordained ministers in the Church of the Nazarene, “a statistic due in large measure to Mary and her sister evangelists.”21

The Holy Spirit in the Holiness tradition

The emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit was not always strong in the Holiness tradition, but it increased over time, as the movement shifted from emphasizing “perfection.” This increasing emphasis on the Holy Spirit would be important, since one of the primary Holiness arguments used to allow women access to the pulpit was the argument from Pentecost.22 These women were fulfilling the words that God spoke through Joel and Peter: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your . . . daughters will prophesy” (Acts 2:17 TNIV).

This argument was especially popularized by Phoebe Palmer’s aforementioned book, The Promise of the Father. The inside front cover of Palmer’s original book had a picture of the scene from Pentecost with a prophesying woman featured prominently in the middle of the page. Palmer queries:

If the Spirit of prophecy fell upon God’s daughters, alike as upon his sons in that day, and they spake [sic] in the midst of that assembled multitude, as the Spirit gave utterance, on what authority do the angels of the churches restrain the use of that gift now?23

The Church of God (Anderson) and the Church of the Nazarene both reflected this similar emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit in their midst. For the Church of God, “The original Pentecost experience and the church which lived close to that period were looked upon as models of the pure church.”24 Additionally, Warner and his colleagues initially “sought to forsake denominational hierarchies and formal creeds, trusting solely in the Holy Spirit as their overseer and the Bible as their statement of belief.”25 Within the Church of the Nazarene, Bresee insisted that “the great dispensational truth is that Jesus Christ baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit, sanctifying and empowering them.”26

This emphasis on the Holy Spirit contributed to three important factors within the Holiness movement which created a favorable environment for women’s ordination: (1) a preference for leadership based on “prophetic authority,” (2) an encouragement for all people to give public testimony at church gatherings, and (3) the development of flexible and entrepreneurial denominational structures.

Prophetic vs. priestly authority

The Holiness emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit led them to value “prophetic authority” over “priestly authority” within their movement. Susan Stanley observes that a Christian religious movement that chooses its leaders based on the authority of the Holy Spirit is characterized by “prophetic authority,” while a movement that “vests authority in ecclesiastical office” is characterized by “priestly authority.”27 She uses these terms to explain why Holiness proponents so readily placed women in positions of authority—it was because their very conception of the source of that authority was different. A woman’s ability to be granted priestly authority in most major religious traditions has always been difficult, since priestly authority is typically based on tradition, personal connections, and educational or other natural qualifications. On the other hand, institutions that value prophetic authority are usually more accepting of women’s ministry, since it is the Holy Spirit who does the choosing, and human ordination is simply an affirmation of the Holy Spirit’s choice.28

G. L. Cole, a leader in the Church of God, wrote an article in 1905 justifying the ministry of women, entitled “The Labor of Women in the Gospel,” in the Gospel Trumpet. The first Bible verse that he quotes to support women is Joel 2:28–29. He called the day of Pentecost the ushering in of a new “Holy Spirit” dispensation. A key component of his argument is Ephesians 4:11–13, which says that God gave some to be “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.” He treats these offices as gifts that only God has the power to bestow: “Through the distribution of these gifts officers are constituted in the church. Without these gifts neither men nor women are fit for office in the church. God made no discrimination of sex on Pentecost: all alike were baptized with the Holy Ghost.”29 He concludes his positive argument for women leaders in the church with this definitive statement:

What office may women hold in the church? Answer: Any office wherein God sets them by virtue of the gifts he bestows upon them, and they may hold no office for which they have no corresponding gift from God. The same is true with men.30

Other later leaders reasoned along similar lines. For example,
F. G. Smith shared this view in a letter to a “sister in Christ” in August 1920:

Again, I call your attention to the organization of the church by the Holy Spirit. A man is an evangelist because he has the gift of evangelizing. It is not because he is a man, but because he has that particular gift. The gift itself is the proof of his calling. If a woman has divine gifts fitting her for a particular work in the church, that is the proof, and the only proof needed, that that is her place. Any other basis of qualification than divine gifts is superficial and arbitrary and ignores the divine plan of organization and government in the church.31

Early leaders in the Church of the Nazarene used similar reasoning about prophetic authority. Fannie McDowell Hunter, an evangelist in the NTCC, wrote a treatise entitled Women Preachers in which she contrasted priestly authority and prophetic authority. She argued that the fact that women were not admitted to the Old Testament priesthood should in no way hinder them from exercising authority in the church, since the source of authority in the church is now prophetic authority. Quoting a “Rev. Anna Star,” she argued that priestly authority is irrelevant since “the priest was typical of Christ in his humanity” and “the office of priest was done away with in Christ.”32 Indeed, “women may have been debarred from the priesthood, but not from exercising the higher office of prophet” which is especially prominent in the post-Pentecost age.33 She also quotes Ephesians 4:11–12 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 to demonstrate that prophets are “an established order of ministers in the church of Christ” and can be considered preachers.34

Thus, in the Church of God and in the Church of the Nazarene, we observe the common Holiness conception that authority within the church was to be determined by the Holy Spirit (prophetic authority). This allowed women to rise to significant positions of leadership, overcoming traditional authority patterns (priestly authority).

Public testimony

Rebecca Laird notes that “a common requirement for membership in a holiness group was giving testimony to sanctification. . .” and that “this . . . led to an emphasis on spiritual egalitarianism or the ‘priesthood of all believers.’”35 Phoebe Palmer was instrumental in shaping the Holiness practice of giving public testimony to sanctification, which was one of the core elements of her theology. She even warned those who refused to testify to their sanctification that they might in fact be in danger of losing it, basing her admonition in part on Romans 10:9–10.36 As a result, within the Holiness movement, both men and women were encouraged to speak publicly before mixed audiences on a regular basis.

In addition to this, we have seen that one of the most commonly used arguments for the ministry of women was the argument from Pentecost—that the Holy Spirit now empowers all women to prophesy. This link between Holy Spirit empowerment and prophecy inevitably led Holiness proponents to encourage and to support women’s preaching. Of course, to do this, they had to equate prophecy with preaching and other forms of public speaking in the church successfully. In doing so, they most frequently quoted two Bible texts. The first was Revelation 19:10: “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy” (TNIV). This verse implied that, since women had now been endued with the prophetic gifts, they must testify publicly about Jesus Christ. Any such testimony qualifies as the “Spirit of prophecy.”37 The other Scripture was 1 Corinthians 14:3, which G. L. Cole (Church of God) explained in the Gospel Trumpet:

Paul defines the term “prophesy” by saying, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” 1 Cor. 14:3. In this chapter prophecy is numbered with the gifts of the Spirit. The same thought is brought out in the following texts: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation.”38

Here, Cole demonstrates that, since women have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to prophesy at Pentecost, they must use that gift of prophecy in order to be fully obedient to the word of God. Likewise, with regard to the Church of the Nazarene, Mary Lee Cagle defines the ministry of prophecy in this way:

Now, if we can find the meaning of the word “prophecy” it will help us some. . . . Read 1 Corinthians 14:3,4, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” I throw out the challenge: is not that what every Bible preacher does? (see v. 12) (1) He teaches the people what God says; (2) he exhorts the people to obey God; (3) he comforts the people with promises of God. . . . No matter what men have to say about women preaching, God said, “She shall.” And when God says, “She shall,”: by the grace of God “She will.”39

Therefore, these examples demonstrate that the link between the Holy Spirit and prophecy in the Holiness movement also worked in women’s favor, since they were consequentially given numerous opportunities to speak publicly at mixed Christian gatherings.

Flexible and entrepreneurial organizational structures

According to 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (TNIV). Holiness leaders recognized that a certain measure of freedom and flexibility would be required within their denominational structures if the Holy Spirit was to do his most powerful work.

We have already noted that Warner, the founder of the Church of God, was opposed to denominationalism. He believed that the Holy Spirit desired to rid the church of “all rubbish of creeds, traditions, and inventions of sectism [sic] which the dark ages of the past have heaped upon her. . . .”40 As a result, the Church of God’s initial organization was marked by “simple . . . democratic structures” that were especially appealing to “people who were increasingly fearful of . . . complex ecclesiasticism.”41 Warner’s church was not marked by onerous hierarchies and regulations, but was instead submitted to “the guidance and instruction of the sanctifying Spirit, free of denominational and sectarian trammels, as he pictured them. . . .”42 Stanley has argued that this early anti-institutional atmosphere within the Church of God facilitated the ministry of women, since it provided them with more freedoms to exercise their gifts and even to pioneer new ministries.43

The Church of the Nazarene was not adamantly opposed to denominationalism in the same way that the Church of God was; however, it was similar in that it, too, valued organizational flexibility and freedom. Phineas Bresee was initially a minister within the Methodist church, which has an episcopal form of government. He started to resent this structure when he first began to have conflicts with the denomination over his advocacy of Holiness doctrines. In order to quench Bresee’s efforts, his bishop transferred Bresee to undesirable congregations on more than one occasion. Bresee eventually responded by leaving the Methodist church to found the Church of the Nazarene. When he did so, he elected to put into place a congregational form of government where churches would be free to choose their own leaders. Rebecca Laird notes the positive impact that this had on women’s ministry:

This congregational form of government opened the way for women to lead in the early days of the denomination. Women like Lucy Knott and Maye McReynolds worked tirelessly alongside Bresee and other lay people to build satellite mission congregations throughout the city of Los Angeles. As the women were well-known to those who attended the mission services, it is not surprising that they naturally came to serve the group as pastors.44

In her study of the first generation of ordained women in the Church of the Nazarene, Laird also observes that one common theme between them was that “most served as pastors or leaders of organizations that they had founded. . . . Each woman helped create the social structure in which she ministered,45 sensing a freedom in the Holy Spirit to do so.


Throughout the church’s history, there have been numerous examples demonstrating that traditions that emphasize the present and transforming ministry of the Holy Spirit tend to lead to egalitarian patterns of social relations in gender, race, and class.46 With regard to women’s equality, the Holiness tradition is one case study of this. The Holiness tradition was rooted in the heritage of John Wesley and Phoebe Palmer, who both justified forms of women’s preaching on the basis of the extraordinary empowerment of the Holy Spirit. As the Holiness movement grew, so too did the emphasis on the importance of the Holy Spirit. Eventually, Holiness denominations were founded with characteristics ideal for the flourishing of women’s leadership—including prophetic authority patterns, an emphasis on public testimony, and flexible denominational structures.

In a world where human social structures are often broken and oppressive—even in the church—the study of women in the early Holiness movement provides hope for the future. It also provides us with a sobering reminder of how the church can only achieve the Galatians 3:28 community—that is, a community of equality in race, gender, and class—through the blessing and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.


  1. Bryan R. Wilson, Religious Sects (New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 1970); quoted in Susan Stanley, “The Promise Fulfilled: Women’s Ministries in the Wesleyan/Holiness Movement,” in Religious Institutions and Women’s Leadership, ed. Catherine Wessinger (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1996), 139.
  2. Mark Chaves, Ordaining Women: Culture and Conflict in Religious Organizations (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997), 16–17.
  3. Chaves, Ordaining Women, 16–17.
  4. Quoted in Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from New Testament Times to the Present (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1987), 237. During her husband’s long absences, Susanna Wesley would have informal religious services in her home with sometimes as many as two hundred in attendance.
  5. Quoted in Tucker and Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, 240.
  6. Quoted from Wesley’s exposition of 1 Cor. 14:34–35 in a publication entitled Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament in Tucker and Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, 240. Italics mine.
  7. Tucker and Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, 240.
  8. Tucker and Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, 241–42.
  9. Charles Edwin Jones, Perfectionist Persuasion: The Holiness Movements and American Methodism, 1867–1936, ATLA Monograph Series, ed. Kenneth E. Rowe, vol. 5 (Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1974), xvii.
  10. Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997), 6.
  11. Jones, Perfectionist Persuasion, 5.
  12. Jones, Perfectionist Persuasion, xvii.
  13. Estimated by Merrill Elmer Gladdis, “Christian Perfectionism in America” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago), 458; quoted in Stanley, “The Promise Fulfilled,” 141.
  14. Susan Stanley, “Women Evangelists in the Church of God at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century,” in Called to Minister . . . Empowered to Serve, ed. Juanita Evans Leonard (Anderson, Ind.: Warner Press, 1989), 36.
  15. Susan Stanley, “Church of God Women Pastors: A Look at the Statistics,” in Called to Minister . . . Empowered to Serve, 175.
  16. Stanley, “Church of God Women Pastors,” 175.
  17. Jones, Perfectionist Persuasion, 121.
  18. “The fourth group, the Pentecostal Mission, stalled in joining them for seven years and the ordination of women was one of the main ideological differences. It is important to add, however, that the firm stance against ordaining women held by J. O. McClurkan, the founder of the Pentecostal Mission, did not keep them from serving as evangelists, missionaries, and teachers. . . . However, McClurkan’s position did not prevail after his death, and his wife, Frances Rye McClurkan, was ordained six years later.” Rebecca Laird, Ordained Women in the Church of the Nazarene: The First Generation (Kansas City, Mo.: Nazarene Publishing House, 1993), 12.
  19. Laird, Ordained Women, 111.
  20. Stanley, “The Promise Fulfilled,” 141.
  21. Priscilla Pope-Levison, Turn the Pulpit Loose: Two Centuries of American Women Evangelists (New York, N.Y.: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004), 152.
  22. Laird, Ordained Women, 14.
  23. Phoebe Palmer, Promise of the Father; or, a Neglected Spirituality of the Last Days (Boston, Mass.: Henry V. Degen, 1859), 22.
  24. Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century, Studies in Evangelicalism, ed. Donald W. Dayton, vol. 1 (Lanham, Md.: The Scarecrow Press, 1996), 213.
  25. “Church of God: Our History,” 5 August 2007,
  26. M. E. Redford, The Rise of the Church of the Nazarene (Kansas City, Mo.: Nazarene Publishing House, 1948), 13.
  27. Stanley, “The Promise Fulfilled,” 142.
  28. For this reason, Christian movements that have traditionally valued prophetic authority based on the Holy Spirit have tended to be more welcoming toward women’s ministry, including the Quaker, Wesleyan, Holiness, and especially the Pentecostal movement. For more on the concept of prophetic vs. priestly authority in the Pentecostal tradition, see Charles H. Barfoot and Gerald T. Sheppard, “Prophetic vs. Priestly Religion: The Changing Role of Women Clergy in Classical Pentecostal Churches,” Review of Religious Research 22, no. 1 (Sept. 1980): 2–17.
  29. G. L. Cole, “The Labor of Women in the Gospel,” Gospel Trumpet, 28 Dec. 1905, 1–2, cited in “Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy—Internet Resources, 1 Aug. 2007,
  30. Cole, “The Labor of Women in the Gospel.”
  31. F. G. Smith, “Editorial,” Gospel Trumpet 14 Oct. 1920, 1–2, cited in “Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy—Internet Resources, 1 Aug. 2007, Italics mine.
  32. Holiness Tracts Defending the Ministry of Women, ed. Donald W. Dayton, vol. 11, Women Preachers, 1905, The Higher Christian Life: Sources for the Study of the Holiness, Pentecostal, and Keswick Movements (New York, N.Y.: Garland, 1985), 16.
  33. Hunter, Women Preachers, 17.
  34. Hunter, Women Preachers, 12.
  35. Laird, Ordained Women, 28–29.
  36. Charles Edward White, The Beauty of Holiness: Phoebe Palmer as Theologian, Revivalist, Feminist, and Humanitarian (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Francis Asbury Press, 1986), 139.
  37. See, for example, Cole, “The Labor of Women in the Gospel.”
  38. Cole, “The Labor of Women in the Gospel.”
  39. Pope-Levison, Turn the Pulpit Loose, 153–54.
  40. Dieter, The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century, 213.
  41. Dieter, The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century, 217.
  42. Dieter, The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century, 217.
  43. Stanley, “The Promise Fulfilled,” 149.
  44. Laird, Ordained Women, 43.
  45. Laird, Ordained Women, 141. Italics mine.
  46. This is also true of periods of revival. For more of this, see especially Susan Hyatt, In the Spirit We’re Equal: The Spirit, the Bible, and Women—A Revival Perspective (Dallas, Tex.: Hyatt Press, 1998).