A former Assemblies of God minister has announced his transition to a female identity.
Paul Alexander previously served as president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS), an academic group which studies Pentecostal and Charismatic expressions of the Christian faith. Alexander controversially guided SPS in a more progressive direction. In 2013 he urged that the Pentecostal tradition should be open to the promotion of homosexual, transgender and intersex “realities” as faithful representations of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. Alexander stated that Jesus was “healed” from wrong views during his earthly ministry.
Later in 2013, Alexander was dismissed from the clergy rolls of the Assemblies of God, the denominational equivalent of defrocking. He continued as co-president of Evangelicals for Social Action and on staff at Eastern Seminary until 2016, when he departed both organizations. Alexander and the mother of his three children divorced.
In 2018 Alexander began a staff role at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City as Executive Strategist for Movement Building and Partnerships. Middle Collegiate Church is a politically engaged congregation that describes itself as progressive and inclusive.
Alexander described his upbringing in a devout Assemblies of God family in Kansas, and stated in 2007 in Mennonite World Review that in the early 1990s he listened to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh as he studied ethics and theology with an eye towards future ministry.
According to Mennonite World Review, in his mid-20s, Alexander said he lost his faith for a time, but rediscovered it by returning to some of the sources of early Pentecostalism and by taking a class from neo-Anabaptist theologian John Howard Yoder. He also started reading Anabaptist theology and taking note of early Pentecostals persecuted for their pacifist beliefs.
Alexander was largely formed in conservative, Evangelical institutions, receiving a master of divinity degree from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri, and a doctorate from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
The new professor went on to teach theology and ethics at Southwestern Assemblies of God University from 1998-2006, and Azusa Pacific University from 2006-2010.
Alexander founded the group Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice in 2001, and in August 2016 Love for All, a research, education, and media company “dedicated to expanding wisdom, compassion, and justice.”Google+