Assistant Professor of African American Church Studies
B.A., University of Michigan in Flint
M.Div., Interdenominational Theological Center
M.A. Vanderbilt University
Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
Paula McGee joined the faculty of Memphis Theological Seminary in 2016. She grew up in Flint, Michigan and is often recognized for her achievements in women’s basketball. She is a member of the 1983-84 women’s basketball championship teams, and has a retired jersey that hangs in the Galen Center.
Ordained as a Missionary Baptist preacher, Dr. McGee started Paula McGee Ministries, a non-profit whose mission is to empower others to “accept their greatness.” After being invited to preach at several prosperity supermegachurches, she returned to Southern California to pursue a doctorate degree and study black megachurches and theologies of prosperity. In 2009, she was awarded the Fund for Theological Education Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation entitled: The Wal-Martization of African American Religion: T.D. Jakes and Woman Thou Art Loosed, to be released by Orbis Press in Spring, 2017.
Dr. McGee describes herself as a public theologian, because she believes that most social justice issues end up as questions of “ultimate concern.” She raises critical questions about these New Black churches and their celebrity pastors. These religious entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the new identities of post-civil rights, middle-class African Americans, who have become comfortable with their access to the American dream. As a result, many have disregarded the stories of struggle and the social justice mission of the traditional Black Church. Her research and work is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. She concludes that this reality is the most devastating to the world’s poorest citizens because they are asked to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” when they have neither straps nor boots. The voices of the poor are not only becoming more marginalized, but they are also being silenced. Not because they have nothing to say, but because too many of us have simply stopped listening. Dr. McGee intends to speak so that not only their voices are heard, but that her voice resonates with the great cloud of witnesses of those called prophets that dared to speak truth to power.