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Claiming the Power of the Pulpit: Florence Spearing Randolph Preaches on the Taboo of “Antipathy to Women Preachers”
Author Johnston, Donna Giver
Date 2016
Format Journal Article
Description Pages 12-22 (11 pages)
Genre Article
Language English
Subject Preaching
Notes Copyright © 2015 Donna Giver-Johnston. Presented here with permission of Donna Giver-Johnston and the Academy of Homiletics.
Abstract In the theatre of nineteenth-century American religion, women played the role of social reformers and Sunday school teachers. Women preaching was a taboo. Florence Spearing Randolph confronted sexism and racism by interrupting the dominant cultural and church narrative that restricted a black woman’s call to preach. She responded to the questions of her place as a southern black woman, her authority as an ordained minister, and her voice as a public preacher by claiming the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of her call, and the power of the pulpit. In her sermon “Antipathy to Women Preachers,” Randolph appealed to biblical witness in order to construct an inclusive narrative of call. She effectively utilized a three-part rhetorical strategy of naming the taboo, arguing authoritatively against it, and then summoning women to answer God’s call to the pulpit to preach a liberating word.
Collection Academy of Homiletics
Contributor Academy of Homiletics