Pentecostalism and Spirit-empowered discipleship

By Joseph Sunde

What distinct features does Pentecostalism bring to discussions about stewardship and whole-life discipleship?

In Flourishing Churches and Communities, one of three tradition-specific primers on faith, work, and economics, Dr. Charlie Self provides a response to this question, exploring how Pentecostal considerations influence our approach to such matters.

In the introduction, Self offers a basic portrait of Pentecostalism and “Spirit-filled” Christianity that is easy to connect with some of the key drivers of stewardship — vocation, virtue, responsibility, obedience, discernment, decision-making, etc.:

Spirit-filled Christianity touches all of life. Living in the power of the Holy Spirit includes active participation in the economy, work as worship, and “providential increases” (John Wesley) in the influence of the kingdom of God…

…The heart of Pentecostal identity is the present reality of the work of the Holy Spirit, who empowers all believers for gospel service. This includes the expectation of continual encounters with God that enrich calling and effectiveness and release believers to follow in the delivering, healing, and reconciling work of Jesus Christ.

Pentecostals are Bible-centered, passionate, and practical. They are the ultimate synthesizers of ideas and practices found in older traditions. Pentecostals affirm the empowering work of the Holy Spirit that enables believers, individually and in community, to live holy lives, with increasing evidence of virtue (see the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and the character traits of 2 Peter 1:3-8), joyous expression of the manifestations of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12-14), and evangelistic effectiveness. All this work takes place in the real world of commerce, raising families, politics, and all other expressions of human life. As we “connect the dots,” we discover that a biblical worldview empowered by the Spirit will foster discipleship that will create, refine, and sustain wise participation in the economy within an ethos of stewardship and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

As a life-long Pentecostal who has long sought out other traditions for insight in this area — much to my benefit! —  I’m grateful to Dr. Self for offering a thorough and distinctly Pentecostal approach to such matters.

For more, see Flourishing Churches and Communities: A Pentecostal Primer on Faith, Work, and Economics for Spirit-Empowered Discipleship.  For more in this series on faith, work, and economics, see the WesleyanBaptist, and Reformed primers.

From the Acton Institute PowerBlog.  Image courtesy Acton Institute.

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