Guide The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologies in Global Contexts

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Fire from heaven: the rise of pentecostal spirituality and the reshaping of religion in the twenty-first century. Csordas; Thomas J. Sacred Self. Daswani, G. University of Toronto Press. Dempster, M. Called and empowered: global mission in Pentecostal perspective. Hendrickson Publishers. Dowd, R.

Deo Publishing 31 Oct Flory, Richard, M. French, T. Early Interracial Oneness Pentecostalism: G. Haywood and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Pickwick Publications. Freston, P. Evangelical Christianity and democracy in Latin America. Frieder Ludwig African Christian presence in the west. Africa World Press. Gornik, M. Word Made Global. Green, G. The spirit over the earth: pneumatology in the majority world. Langham Global Library. Hanciles, J. Orbis Books. Haynes, J. Religion and Development: Conflict or Cooperation? Palgrave MacMillan. Hollenweger, W. The Pentecostals. Jacobsen, Douglas G.

A reader in Pentecostal theology: voices from the first generation. Indiana University Press. Jenkins, Philip and ebrary, Inc The new faces of Christianity: believing the Bible in the global south. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu Pneumatology: the Holy Spirit in ecumenical, international, and contextual perspective. Baker Academic. Kay, W. European Pentecostalism.

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Kim, K. The Holy Spirit in the world: a global conversation. Interdisciplinary and religio-cultural discourses on a spirit-filled world: loosing the spirits. Land Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom. CPT Press. Macchia Baptized in the Spirit. A Global Pentecostal Theology - Chapter.

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The Spirit in the world: emerging Pentecostal theologies in global contexts. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Martin, David Pentecostalism: the world their parish. Maxwell, David African Gifts of the Spirit. McCauley, J. Logic of ethnic and religious conflict in Africa. Menzies, W. Miller, Donald E. Global Pentecostalism: the new face of Christian social engagement. Ogbu Kalu African Pentecostalism. Oslington, P.


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Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics. Paul Gifford Perry, D. Pinnock, C. Flame of love: a theology of the Holy Spirit. IVP Academic. Richard Burgess Robeck, C. The Cambridge companion to Pentecostalism. Ross, K. Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Edinburgh University Press. Sahoo, S. Pentecostalism and Politics of Conversion in India.

Cambridge University Press Virtual Publishing. Smith, D. The University of Chicago Press. Smith, J. Thinking in tongues: Pentecostal contributions to Christian philosophy. Thorsen, J. Tomalin, E. The Routledge handbook of religions and global development. Indeed, to even speak about ecumenism from a Pentecostal perspective is an "acrimonious task" see Robeck The other half includes large churches such as the Zion Christian Church, other AlCs of which a majority has Pentecostal roots albeit that it is contested whether they are appropriately regarded as Pentecostal - see Kalu , some older, well-established Pentecostal churches see Kalu , new waves of Pentecostal churches emerging since the s including Rhema and Vineyard churches and a plethora of others that defy easy classification in any census or opinion poll.

Many are stand-alone congregations, albeit that they may form part of new networks. In particular, it is no longer possible to say in urban areas whether churches are independent in the sense of AICs , Pentecostal or both; evangelical, Pentecostal or both. Either way, it is appropriate to speak of the "Pentecostalisation" of the face of Christianity in Africa Asamoah-Gyadu Outside of South Africa the denominational history of Christianity amidst movements for indigenisation, resistance and revival is even more complex and defies easy classification see Kalu The divide between the ecumenical movement and the Pentecostal movement is by no means a clear-cut one.

Some Pentecostal church leaders have been at the forefront of ecumenical engagements with social justice issues. There may be numerous cases of people who are at home in both movements. In a way it is unbearable to speak of two movements connected with an "and". If the ecumenical movement is not moved by the Spirit and in that sense "Pentecostal", it would be futile. If the Pentecostal movement is not "ecumenical" in orientation, it would be fostering a divisive spirit. To use an "and" as a logical connector is therefore to articulate a painful underlying problem.

That there are tensions is undeniable, although one necessarily has to generalise in order to capture such tensions. To do so is rather bold, not only because it hides the differences within Pentecostal movements and within the ecumenical movement, but because there have been all too few attempts to address such tensions. In this contribution I will seek to sharpen the differences between these two movements even though there is a need for blurring the boundaries since the two movements overlap and should be dimensions of each other.


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To sharpen such differences is to acknowledge the pain expressed in the "and" that is used in the heading above. Both movements emerged at roughly the same time, namely the first decade of the 20th century after some antecedents in the previous century. Both movements had distinctly African roots. The need for ecumenical fellowship was prompted by collaboration and conflict in the field of mission in the African context Amanze Early Pentecostalism was influenced by a distinctly African spirituality and forms of worship that are deeply rooted in an African "primal" worldview Anderson , , However, the two movements soon developed distinct geographic and demographic profiles, symbolised by the names Edinburgh and Azusa Street.

As Anderson observes, the racial integration in the Azusa street meetings was unique at that time in that people from ethnic minorities could discover a sense of dignity denied to them in society at that time: "it was a revolutionary movement where the marginalized and dispossessed could find equality regardless of race, gender or class" Anderson The ecumenical movement lourished especially in Europe and in the British Commonwealth, while the Pentecostal movement lourished where Christianity became established everywhere else, notably in North America, Africa, Latin America and South East Asia.

It has now become an amorphous movement so that many scholars speak of Pentecostalisms in the plural see Karkkainen while almost all scholars seek to offer some form of typology of branches within the movement see Anderson The tensions between these two movements remain undeniable. It is clearly not only about free style worship versus a set liturgy. How should this divide between the so-called "ecumenicals" and the "evangelicals" then be described?

Is it a matter of an intellectualising approach to Christianity fides quae creditur versus an emphasis on the experiential dimension of the Christian faith fides qua creditur? Or diverging positions on personal ethics, especially on abortion, homosexuality and patriarchy see Kalu ? Or a focus on personal ethics rather than on issues of social, economic and environmental justice from which Pentecostals in the past tended to shy away Karkkainen ?

Or between mission as "evangelism" and mission as "development" see Bwalya, Marlin and Peter ? Or between liberalism and fundamentalism? Or between a private personal morality and a public concern over social justice? Or between secular this-worldliness and an interest in the other-worldly "supernatural? In this contribution I will explore a different line of inquiry to understand this divide, namely in terms of doctrine "faith" as in Faith and Order. I am not suggesting that the divide is over doctrine, but that doctrinal reflection may indicate where the tensions lie and perhaps also where bridges between these movements may be constructed.

I will suggest that the core issue is related to understanding the relationship between the work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit between the second and the third articles of the Christian confession , but also the relationship between the Father and the Spirit between the first and the third articles of the Christian confession. This is significant given the self-acknowledged "potential Trinitarian anemia" in Pentecostalism see Karkkainen I will explore this by investigating the most obvious doctrinal feature of the Pentecostal movement, namely its emphasis on the movement of the Holy Spirit.

I will focus on what is distinct about a Pentecostal pneumatology. I will draw mostly on Pentecostal scholars and will engage with their work as someone who is more at home in the ecumenical movement than in the Pentecostal movement in the narrower sense of the word all churches are Pentecostal in the same way that all churches are catholic and apostolic if not by name. My aim is to understand the challenges posed to the ecumenical movement by Pentecostal pneumatology.

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Pentecostal Pneumatology: Spirit baptism. There can be little doubt that empowerment through Spirit baptism is a distinctive feature, probably the distinctive feature of the Pentecostal movement see Karkkainen , also in the African context Kalu and also amongst "spirit type" AICs see Anderson The Pentecostal movement expresses at its core an experience of the fullness of the working of the Holy Spirit and the practice of spiritual gifts Anderson , As Frank Macchia observes, Spirit baptism is "an empowerment for witness as evidenced by heightened participation in extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, especially speaking in tongues".

It is also evidenced in other manifestations of the presence of the Spirit such as healing, prophetic utterances whether predictive or diagnostic - see Anderson and deliverance from evil spirits. As Macchia also notes, this "crown jewel" of Christian experience is sometimes underplayed by Pentecostal authors for the sake of developing a more ecumenical Pneumatology. There are even Pentecos-tals who are backing away from the importance that this doctrine had historically Macchia It is quite significant to note with Karkkainen that after a Spirit movement that is already a century old no academic Pentecostal pneumatology yet exists see Yong , , though.

Even then, there is no one Pentecostal pneumatology so that one may well ask: Whose pneumatology? Which Spirit? Karkkainen In Pentecostal discourse Spirit baptism is primarily understood as an experience of empowerment for Christian service and mission that is distinct from conversion, initiation through water baptism, regeneration and sanctification. This suggests three distinct aspects if not stages of the work of the Spirit in believers, namely regeneration, sanctification and empowerment for witness Macchia Spirit baptism is then connected to the third element.

By contrast, in reformed and evangelical discourse, Spirit baptism is understood in terms of regeneration. What is signified in water baptism is Spirit baptism, namely regeneration involving a radical change in a person, a passage from death to new life Macchia In sacramental traditions there is but one baptism, namely in water and Spirit Eph This does allow for a repeated endowment or filling with the Spirit but not for a one-time event subsequent to conversion to Christ. For Macchia, however, Spirit baptism is best understood as a post-conversion experience of charismatic empowerment for witness.

Macchia quotes Christoph Blumhardt's famous comment that one must be converted twice, first from the world to God and then from God to the world. If so, the Pentecostal doctrine of baptism in the Holy Spirit may be seen as a "second" conversion, an awakening of one's vocation in the wold - and a charismatic empowerment for such witness. This understanding of Spirit baptism would be regarded in other traditions in terms of the specific gifts of the Holy Spirit as opposed to the general fruits of the Holy Spirit in terms of Christian virtues that enable one's ministry within Christian communities and one's vocation in the world.

Anderson speaks of an "inseparable link between Spirit baptism, spiritual gifts and Christocentric missions" as the "central plank of the whole structure of Pentecostalism from its beginnings". This empowerment for mission, ministry, service and vocation would typically not be described as "baptism" outside a Pentecostal context, but given some metaphorical extension there seems to be little more than a difference in terminology at stake.

The underlying question is how conversion, sanctification and empowerment for service vocation are related. All three may be regarded as the work of the Holy Spirit and therefore as a "blessing". The difference of opinion, also within Pente-costalism, emerges on the "doctrines" of "consequence" and "subsequence". The notion of consequence refers to "initial evidence", namely that speaking in tongues is the consequence or primary evidence of Spirit baptism. There may be debate about the "primary" but not on the legitimacy of such evidence as long as this is not made prescriptive which is the case only in some forms of Pentecostalism.

The notion of subsequence indicates that Spirit baptism is a definite and subsequent experience to conversion. It is an external and almost sacramental confirmation of the inner grace received from God's Spirit Karkkainen This was already maintained in the holiness movement where the term "second blessing" was used to refer to sanctification, if not perfection. If so, Spirit baptism is a third work of grace, namely empowerment for service, that follows some time after conversion and is evidenced primarily by speaking in tongues. Spirit baptism is therefore a distinct experience that follows conversion and sanctification.

Some Christians may therefore be "saved" but no yet filled with the Spirit Anderson Elsewhere the gift of the Spirit Spirit baptism is primarily regarded as an experience linked to conversion and not a distinctive subsequent experience that Christians should be encouraged to seek Anderson This inhibits any grading amongst Christians.

However, there can be no problem about subsequent blessings or about empowerment for service in Christian life.

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Others would question the emphasis on speaking in tongues as the primary evidence or consequence if not proof of Spirit baptism. Also amongst Pentecostals since speaking in tongues is not practiced by all this is sometimes weakened to "usually" and "not necessarily". As long as this does not become normative there need not be any ecumenical divergence on this point.

It may be normal, but not normative. The real danger, in the Pentecostal and the ecumenical movements alike, is to systematise the movement of the Holy Spirit, to specify its conditions and to prescribe the signs that give evidence to that see Anderson , with reference to John V Taylor. Only if Spirit baptism becomes an additional step in the order of salvation, a separate aspect of regeneration or another, higher stage of sanctification, would there emerge a point of controversy.

This may be the case in ecclesial praxis in both the ecumenical movement and the Pentecostal movement but such differences can be resolved through dialogue. For example, speaking in tongues may be interpreted as the sanctification of human speech through which the unruly tongue is tamed and transformed into a source of telling truth and praising God Macchia One may also point to the link between sanctification as cleansing and as dedication and consecration for a task.

If so, there may be an inward cleansing and outward empowerment for a holy task Macchia If ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit is associated with the coming reign of God, there may still be differences in terms of discerning the Spirit, but both movements may then be regarded as inspired by God's Spirit to bring comprehensive salvation to the whole world.

Through Spirit baptism the church is commissioned to usher in the reign of God in the power to make all things new and is allowed to participate in the final sanctification of creation Macchia Given this brief description of the core focus of a Pentecostal pneumatology on Spirit baptism, there should be ample opportunities for dialogue and mutual enrichment between the ecumenical movement and the Pentecostal movement.

There are especially two issues that tend to emerge from such dialogue, namely on the relatedness of the Spirit and Christ and of the Father and the Spirit. There may well remain serious differences between the ecumenical movement and the Pentecostal movement in discerning the movements of the Spirit.

In Trinitarian categories such differences may be understood in terms of the relationship between the work of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. Some in the Pentecostal movement may observe an arid lack of evidence of the transforming movement of the Spirit in the established churches that participate in the ecumenical movement. They would want to ask: "Where is the Spirit? A church that seeks to follow where the Spirit leads will have to expect the unexpected and be prepared to be shaken to its core. In short and in an attempt to capture very general trends, Pentecostals typically wish to emphasise the relative independence of the Holy Spirit, the freedom of the Spirit to blow where it wants to see Asamoah-Gyadu , to stimulate movements that cannot be controlled by the institutional church.

They would question the tendency to control the Spirit through ecclesiastic mechanisms such as the ordained ministry, the sacraments, biblical exegesis and higher theological education. They are concerned that the Spirit is quenched by ecclesial gatekeepers who insist that the Spirit works primarily through Christ, the body of Christ, episcopal representatives of Christ, the disciplined exegesis of the canonical witnesses to Christ, the proclamation of the Word the Logos related to Christ and ecclesial control over the sacraments. As Asamoah-Gyadu notes, the leadership of charismatic churches castigate the traditional mission churches as "cold, dead, bookish and moribund institutions that had no sense of the supernatural".

He adds that "The high level of clericalism and the routine process of incorporation into the church through the sacraments of infant baptism, confirmation and communion had created a large body of nominal Christians for whom religious experiences of the born-again type were alien.

Indeed, the letter of the Word remains empty if the Spirit of the letter is not grasped. In response, ecumenical theologians from so-called mainline churches may wonder whether claims for the presence of the Spirit in some manifestations of the Pentecostal movement are indeed referring to the Spirit of Christ. They call for a discernment of the spirits, together with a reading of the "signs of the time" through contextual analysis, in order to recognise the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.

They may point to the danger that such claims often constitute little more than rival claims to exercise or impose religious authority see Tanner , also Anderson and are open to abusive charismatic leadership see Herbert , with specific reference to financial gains accumulated by excessively wealthy pastors and the entrenchment of positions of clerical power and authority. They would be concerned about claims to direct spiritual illumination that cannot be tested within ecclesial communities and through ecumenical fellowship. They would worry about forms of exegesis where the spirit is not directed by the letter.

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They may well harbour resentment over the spiritual legitimation of an upward social mobility, especially in non-Western contexts through the preaching of the prosperity gospel for a sympathetic yet critical discussion, see Asamoah-Gyadu , also Kalu More specifically, Christians in mainline churches would be concerned about the kind of power that is associated with the transformative work of the Holy Spirit. If it is indeed the Spirit of Christ who is at work, that power would be based on the strange power of the cross, which is the power of love and therefore of vulnerability and not of success.

Love is indeed a transforming power, but not one based on military, political, financial, technological or muscle power see also Yong It cannot be captured in the Pentecostal vocabulary of "breakfhrough", victory, glory, and blessings, if not success and prosperity - where the shame, poverty and deprivation of the cross are scarcely evident see Asamoah-Gyadu Indeed, "The neo-Pentecostal overemphasis, on material prosperity, breakthroughs, power, health, wealth and success as indicators of God's favours has the potential to undermine the central message of the cross in demonstrating God's power or glory through weakness" Asamoah-Gyadu This emphasis on victory may well lead to a pastoral inability to respond to misfortune and deprivation Asamoah-Gyadu Instead, the Holy Spirit is also a gentle dove, a Spirit of humility, patience and meekness, love joy and peace Anderson , As Anderson observes, "Overemphasising the power of the Spirit often leads to bitter disappointment and disillusionment when that power is not evidently and immediately manifested.

Pentecostal pneumatology must not only provide power when there is a lack of it, but must also be able to sustain people through life's tragedies and failures, especially when there is no visible outward success. As Bernd Oberdorfer adds, "The Spirit does not form a community of triumph without scars, but rather a community of transformation, of forgiveness, of the healing of memories - yet without these narratives of transformation falling into oblivion, leaving space only for the enthusiasm of present experiences of being saved or of being safe.

In response to such ecumenical concerns, Pentecostals may argue that they are more sensitive to the material and spiritual needs of those who are not predominantly of European descent. In the African context there is a constant drive and a legitimate longing for power outside of oneself to overcome evil when faced with sickness, oppression, poverty, injustice, evil spirits, witchcraft and so forth see Anderson Secular critics would say that Pentecostalism tends to thrive where modernity and some form of capitalism are embraced amongst a rapidly urbanising population in non-Western contexts.

This is evident in the use of audiovisual technology, Western dress codes, and consumerist lifestyles for a critical discussion of the impact of the use of media on Pentecostalism in Africa, see Kalu If so, the ecumenical movement represents "old" money, while the Pentecostal movement represents "new" money, so that the one would tend to envy the other. There may remain real differences on the scope of mission see Kark-kainen , on social ethics over the benefits of socialism and of capitalism and on personal ethics over homosexuality and abortion.

However, such differences would then become relativized. Either way, there remains a common need to test whether claims to discern the movement of the Spirit are indeed referring to the Spirit of the crucified Christ - and not to Protestant or Pentecostal support for the spirit of capitalism for a discussion see Meyer f. This suggests that further conversation is needed on the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

The issue is whether the Spirit is being subordinated to Christ. The sensitivities in this regard would suggest that the filioque controversy not only divides Western Christianity from Eastern Christianity but also the ecumenical movement from the Pentecostal movement. Of course this is oversimplified. Many ecumenical theologians have called for deleting the filioque from Western versions of the Nicene Creed, while probably all Pentecostals would acknowledge the intimate relationship between Christ and the Spirit see e.

Anderson on spirit-type churches in Africa. Indeed, Pentecostalism entails an experience of the work of the Spirit that is informed by an appreciation of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Evangelical phrases such as being "born-again" and "Jesus saves" are typical of Pentecostal churches Anderson Karkkainen , even claims that Christology the full gospel , not pneumatology, represents the centre of Pentecostal spirituality.

The gateway to the experience of the Spirit is the work of Christ. He adds that "Pentecostalisms, no less than other Christian movements, are not free from the temptation to domesticate the Spirit" Moreover, Pentecostal Christian generally have a very high regard for the authority of Scripture the Word , presumably also over contemporary revelations the Spirit.

Yet the tensions are undeniable so that this at least sets the agenda for further conversation. Pentecostal Pneumatology: The Spirit commissioned by the Father? In my view Trinitarian categories may help us to relect on another dimension of the tension between the ecumenical movement and the Pentecostal movement. According to the Nicene Creed, the Spirit "proceeds" from the Father. In other words: the Spirit is commissioned by the Father.

How, then, is the relationship between the work of the Father and of the Spirit to be understood? In a discussion of reasons why Pentecostalism lourished over the past years Grant Wacker mentions the escapist? He observes that the genius of the Pentecostal movement lies in its ability to hold two seemingly incompatible impulses in tension, namely to balance the most "eye-popping features of the supernatural" with the most "chest-thumping features of the natural" and to do so without overtly admitting that Wacker , It provides a synthesis of otherworldly spirituality and this-worldly pragmatism.

Indeed, it holds together a premodern notion of miracles, the modern use of technology and a postmodern sense of mysticism. Allan Anderson concurs that the growth of Pentecostalism is related to its ability to adapt to and address people's spiritual and material needs. This is characterised by "A belief in a divine encounter and the involvement or breaking through of the sacred into the mundane, including healing from sickness, deliverance from hostile evil forces, and perhaps above all, a heady and spontaneous spirituality that refuses to separate 'spiritual' from 'physical' or 'sacred' from 'secular'" Anderson xiii.

There can be little doubt that this emphasis on the miraculous, on the extraordinary, on the sublime, on the "supernatural", on the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, stands in opposition to cultures where scientific reductionism has become dominant. The emphasis on the inexplicable counters a rationality where the need for explicability is taken for granted see Anderson Pentecostal-ism is a resistance movement against such reductionism through a recognition that everything cannot be brought under one's locus of control see Yong Where a verbal rationality becomes overpowering, speaking in tongues serves as an ecstatic reminder that religion does not fall within one's locus of control.


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  • Mac-chia sees ecumenical significance in speaking in tongues that "calls into question the adequacy of human speech to capture the divine mystery and lodges an implicit protest against any effort to make one language or cultural expression determinative of how the gospel is understood. The world of science and technology has brought immense benefits to large sectors of the population in different parts of the world.

    It has lifted many out of a life of misery. This is clearly embraced in the Pentecostal affirmation of an upward social mobility. Nevertheless, the secular soteriologies based on education and health services do not and cannot address the material, psychological and spiritual needs of many. This is addressed in two forms of ministry that are widely emphasised in the Pentecostal movement, namely miraculous healing and deliverance exorcism from demonic possession see especially Onyinah The attraction of Pente-costalism is clearly related to these ministries since they address real needs quite directly, namely around sickness and death and the elusive but pervasive influence of evil forces.

    Religion is thus a source of power that must be effective in solving life's debilitating problems. Of course, both these ministries have parallels in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, but tend to be underplayed in the ecumenical movement, except in the secularised form of "development" and a critique of ideology.

    The question that should be raised from within the wider ecumenical movement is how this emphasis on the "supernatural" is related to the "natural". How can both reductionist and dualist construals of the world be avoided see Yong ? Yong argues that the Pentecostal emphasis on the supernatural rightly contests the naturalistic paradigm of modernity. However, in doing so Pentecostals appeal to the apostolic witnesses where the emphasis on the miraculous was not aimed at revealing God as more powerful than the laws of nature but to highlight God's power over the magic of pagan deities.

    If the work of the triune Creator includes the establishment of the laws of nature, is the Spirit not acting against the providential care of the Father in temporarily suspending such laws in order to bring about quick miracles of healing and deliverance? Is the Spirit supplementing the inadequacies of the work of the Father? Moreover, are the laws of nature not good, reliable and beneficial?

    Given that such laws cannot be fathomed by the best of science, is there not enough room within such laws to allow for the amazing, the extraordinary, the sublime, if not the miraculous?