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Pentecostalism and Emergence: Theology

Pentecostalism and Emergence: Theology February 22, 2010

More about my reflections in advance of the Society for Pentecostal Studies at which I am presenting a paper on what emergence and Pentecostalism have to learn from one another.

My friend, Dallas Gingles, who also knows something about Pentecostalism and about emergence recommended that the one book I need to read is Amos Yong’s The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology.  I can see why he pointed it out to me, because of paragraphs like this:

A pneumatological soteriology understands salvation to be the work of both Christ and the Spirit from beginning to end.  To use Pauline language: the Holy Spirit enables the proclamation, hearing, and understanding of the gospel, justifies through the resurrection of Christ, provides for the adoption of believers, accomplishes rebirth and renewal, sanctifies hearts and lives, and provides the down payment for eschatological transformation.  In all of this, the Spirit is not an appendage to Christ in the process of salvation, but saves with Christ throughout. (p. 82)

In this, Yong has bound himself too closely to the traditional ordo salutis for my taste, but you gotta start somewhere! 🙂  I’ve written myself about the American tendency toward “binitarianism,” in which the Spirit is even less than an appendage — she’s often left out of the economic Godhead altogether.  We lead with Jesus, we pay homage to the Father, and we forget about the Spirit.  (A thought experiment: Of all the sermons you’ve heard in your life, and give a percentage to the number about which the Father, the Son, or the Spirit has been the primary divine subject.  I’m guessing that, unless you’re Pentecostal, the Spirit comes in a very distant third.)  So I’m fond of Yong’s quest for a robust pneumatological theology.

And I can see why Dallas thought that Yong would be a good read for me in preparation for my paper, because Yong is sympathetic to my own theological leanings, and, most significantly for me, my preferred theological method.  For example:

The road is wide open for the development of a world pentecostal theology that is in via (along the way); more aptly put, it will be a pneumatological theology of quest.

That last line is money.


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