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Pentecostal Theology: A Theology of Encounter

, 2008
ISBN: 9780567044426

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Pentecostals (traditionally) do not think theologically so much as they think practically. This book will present Pentecostal theology as well as the particular style of Pentecostal thinking and praxis that makes it different. Pentecostalism is not just distinctive because of its belief base but also because of the worldview it owns. The latter is based on a certainty that a religion that does not work is not worth much. Consequently, they look for expressions of life and vitality in their faith. These dominate, rather than an expression of the cerebral, though this is changing. Nevertheless, the sense of the immediate, the God of the now not the distant past, underlie how they do theology. Pentecostal theology tends to be seen through the eyes of people, not theologians; through the community, not traditions (though they have them); through their faith and worship, not ancient creeds. It is a theology of the dynamic, seen through the lens of experience. It is a functional theology that exists to operate; to incorporate an experiential dimension. Pentecostal theology does not operate as other theologies which often only detail a list of beliefs; it does this but also and (more) importantly, it explores them in the context of praxis. Thus, this volume incorporates praxis as part of the enquiry relating to theology.

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“There are three major groups within Pentecostalism, the first (which also encapsulates apostolic traditions) affirming two main works of grace, salvation and the baptism in the Spirit, the latter often associated with the gift of tongues and understood to be the means of gaining greater power to function as believers. In this group, sanctification is understood to be an ongoing aspect of the life of the believer. A smaller Wesleyan Holiness group affirms much of the above but identifies another crisis experience after conversion resulting in ‘entire sanctification’.31 A further group which holds similar tenets to the former group but has a non-Trinitarian understanding of God also exists in large numbers, often referred to as Oneness Pentecostals.” (Page 12)

“Pentecostals have always emphasized experiential Christianity rather than doctrinal confession” (Page 15)

“In 1953, Newbigin identified Pentecostalism as a third stream alongside Protestantism and Catholicism.33 More recently, Omenyo noted that Pentecostalism is becoming the norm for African Christianity34 while Espinoza concluded that ‘a Pentecostalization process is helping to usher in a period of spiritual renewal throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas’” (Page 12)

“For Pentecostals, revelation is not just intended to affect the mind but also the emotions; theology is not explored best in a rationalistic context alone but also with a readiness to encounter the divine and be impacted by one’s discoveries in a way that will enlighten the mind but also transform the life. Indeed, Pentecostal theology may be best identified as a theology of encounter—encounter of God, the Bible and the community.” (Page 21)

Keith Warrington is the vice principal and director of doctoral studies at Regents Theological College in Cheshire, England. He is the author of 10 books, including Discovering the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. His areas of expertise are New Testament and Pentecostal/Charismatic studies.


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