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Journal of Youngsan Theology - Vol. 50

[ Article ]
Journal of Youngsan Theology - Vol. 49, No. 0, pp.7-43
ISSN: 1738-1509 (Print)
Print publication date 30 Sep 2019
Received 30 Jun 2019 Revised 07 Aug 2019 Accepted 14 Aug 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18804/jyt.2019.09.49.7

Pentecostal Theology: A North American Perspective
Amos Yong
Fuller Theological Seminary, Missiology (amosyong@fuller.edu)

오순절 신학: 북미 관점
아모스용

Abstract

This essay focuses on the development of academic Pentecostal theology, especially in the English language, as such has emerged in the last generation. While Pentecostal theologizing can be identified going back to the origins of the modern movement at the turn of the twentieth century, scholarly versions of such did not emerge until the 1970s-1980s when the first Pentecostal began to earn Ph.D.’s in the theological disciplines. We begin with trends initiated within the field of Pentecostal studies albeit traced within a global horizon, explicate facets of the discussion that crystallized in the North American arena, and then chart contemporary efforts to develop distinctive Pentecostal theological contributions to broader academic and ecumenical conversations. The goal is to provide a state-of-the-discussion of academic Pentecostal theology at the present time.

초록

이 소고는 지난 세대에 대두된, 특히 영어로 저술된 학문적 오순절 신학의 발전에 초점을 맞추고 있다. 오순절의 신학화는 20세기 초 근대운동의 기원까지 거슬러 올라간다고 확인되지만, 이에 대한 학술적인 형태는 오순절학자들이 신학 분야에서 철학박사 학위를 받기 시작한 1970-1980년대가 되어서야 출현했다. 이 소고는, 세계적 지평 내에서 그 추세를 찾아볼 수 있음에도, 오순절 연구 분야 내에서 개시된 추세들로 시작하고, 북미 지역에서 확실시된 토론의 양상을 밝힌 다음, 더 광범위한 학문적, 전기독교적 대화에 오순절 신학 특유의 공헌을 발전시킬 현대의 활동상을 요약할 것이다. 이 글의 목표는 현 시점에서 학문적 오순절 신학에 관한 최신의 토론을 제공하는 것이다.


Keywords: Walter Hollenweger, Birmingham School, Cleveland School, Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Holy Spirit, Pneumatological Theology, Pentecost
키워드: 월터 홀렌베거, 버밍햄 학파, 클리브랜드 학파, 오순절신학저널, 성령, 성령 신학, 오순절

I. Introduction

Our focus in this essay is on the development of academic Pentecostal theology, particular in the West and especially in the English language, as such has emerged in the last generation.1) This is to recognize that while Pentecostal theologizing can be identified going back to the origins of the modern movement at the turn of the twentieth century,2) scholarly versions of such did not emerge until the 1970s-1980s when the first Pentecostal began to earn Ph.D.’s in the theological disciplines.3) We will begin with trends initiated within the field of Pentecostal studies albeit traced within a global horizon, zero in on facets of the discussion that crystallized in the North American arena, and then chart contemporary efforts to develop distinctive Pentecostal theological contributions to broader academic and ecumenical conversations. None of these discussions claim to be exhaustive within the confines of a short essay.

The following discussion presumes but does not connect explicitly to more or less recent systematic theological and doctrinal textbooks designed for use in Pentecostal colleges, universities, and seminaries. These have been driven mainly by denominational needs, and generated and then disseminated through available publication and educational channels, for instance the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel’s Life Publishers,4) the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)’s Pathway Press,5) or the Assemblies of God’s Gospel Publishing House,6) among a few others in this genre. Yet there have also been more interdenominational options nurtured in seminary environments spawned by the charismatic renewal movement such as Regent University7) and Oral Roberts University,8) as well as more recent attempts to bring Pentecostal theology up to date with regard to newer developments.9) In general, however, these texts follow a logic derived from more historic and evangelical forms of conservative Protestant movements, adding to such frameworks sections or chapters on topics more closely related to Pentecostal spirituality such as the baptism of the Spirit, divine healing, and the charismata. Our overview will highlight how academic Pentecostal theology can be understood as an ongoing exercise in discerning what is unique about the Pentecostal perspective in relationship to these Evangelical and wider Protestant counterparts.


II. From Pentecostal Studies to Pentecostal Theology

By now widely recognized as the doyen of Pentecostal studies,10) Walter Hollenweger’s lifelong work11) has emphasized modern Pentecostalism as a global phenomenon from its very beginnings. Those who read Hollenweger as making only historical claims about the movement, however, have not understood the theological implications and applications of his achievements. Delineation of what he calls the five “roots” of the movement―e.g., the black or oral root related to William Seymour’s African or slave spirituality and to indigenous spiritualities in Latin America and Asia; the catholic root of the eighteenth century Wesleyan movement; the evangelical or Holiness root of the nineteenth century American movement; the critical root of Azusa’s interracial environment; and the ecumenical root including trans-Atlantic churches, organizations, and networks―identifies not only the whence of Pentecostal spirituality but also its effectively transnational and, according to contemporary parlance, global character.

Hence Hollenweger has always emphasized that Pentecostal theology be understood as a multicultural and transcultural phenomenon and reality. Although not ignoring the written theological texts produced by the Pentecostal movement over the decades of the twentieth century, Hollenweger insists that the theology of Pentecostals around the world is to be found as much if not more so in their songs, worship, prayers, sermons, and liturgies. In that respect, there is a need to attend to the cultural factors at work in Pentecostalism in these various contexts: the spirituality of African religious traditions, the shamanism of East Asian regions, or the popular pietism of indigenous traditions across the Americas, for instance. Proper study and understanding of Pentecostal theology thus requires not just training in traditional theological sources but in the ability to interpret religious, cultural, and historical realities around the world.

For most of the 1970s and 1980s, Hollenweger was professor of mission at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom where he attracted and mentored many Pentecostals in their doctoral studies (some of whose work I will return to momentarily). In 1995, Allan Anderson, by then already an established scholar of African Pentecostalism, came to the University of Birmingham as an honorary lecturer and, from then on expanded on the research arc carved out by Hollenweger, particularly in the areas of the history of Pentecostalism and of Pentecostal mission.12) Consistent with Hollenweger’s approach, Anderson was both historian and theologian, certainly primarily the former but no less substantively laboring in the latter domain. Inevitably, his books on global Pentecostalism begin historically, with the origins of the movement traceable to multiple sites around the world, with focus on mission and migration trends and dynamics. Yet just at predictably, Anderson would turn in the second half of his monographs to theological topics, not only traditional dogmatic loci like pneumatology, soteriology, eschatology, and the doctrine of Scripture, but also expected Pentecostal themes like the charismata, healing, and evangelism. Even further, he also ventured to provide both historical and theological coverage of developments in Pentecostal engagements with ecumenism, education, other religions, politics, and society. The point is that while writing primarily as a historian, Anderson’s readers were introduced to Pentecostal theological ideas, would be shown how Pentecostal beliefs were connected to Pentecostal practices (and vice versa), and would be invited to think critically about these aspects of contemporary Pentecostal Christianity.

Over the last few decades, then, the University of Birmingham has been one of the major destinations for Pentecostal students from around the world seeking doctoral level theological education. Many have worked primarily as historians or scholars of their movements using anthropological or other social scientific methods of study. A few, either directly under Hollenweger and/or Anderson, or working with other mentors but yet closely with these Pentecostal scholars, have developed and published as theologians in their native Spanish or Asian languages (e.g., Juan Sepulveda in Chile, Norberto Saracco in Argentina, and Hyeon-sung Bae in the Republic of Korea).

Most prominent theologically of those trained at Birmingham are black British Pentecostals like Robert Beckford and, slightly less prolific, Clifton Clarke. The former has in the last almost two decades written a half dozen volumes about Pentecostal theology not only in dialogue with Dread (Caribbean) and liberation theology resources, but also in an interdisciplinary manner engaging with cultural, musical, and film theory.13) The latter, also a missionary to Ghana and more recently a missiologist and theologian of mission at Regent University in the USA, has published on African christology, African Pentecostal theology, and Islam, among other topics.14) Clarke may be a bit more conventional theologically speaking vis-à-vis the classical Pentecostal tradition but both are attuned to local cultural realities and contexts, expertly translating the latter into, if not also troubling, the prevailing Eurocentric discourses of the emerging Pentecostal theological academy.

Hollenweger’s legacy, even among Pentecostal theologians who have studied elsewhere than Birmingham, has been to accentuate the global horizons of the Pentecostal movement. In that respect, it should be no surprise to be able to identify the advent of Pentecostal theologians from the Asian, African, and Latin American continents. Singaporeans like Simon Chan and May Ling Tan-Chow show how Asian Pentecostal theologians are making their mark. The former was already known before the turn of the twenty-first century as an evangelical theologian of spirituality, but along the way has published particularly in the area of ecclesiology, including interventions in ecclesiological questions from his specifically Pentecostal perspective.15) More recently Chan has also written about Asian theology, including in this venture Pentecostal insights and implications from Pentecostal movements.16) Tan-Chow,17) on the other hand, worked in the area of social theology, theology of culture, and theology of interfaith relations, albeit from a distinctively Pentecostal perspective, and her death at a young age prevented further writing. If the latter’s has been a one-off contribution on an important set of theologically related topics, the former’s has been a sustained voice both within and outside specifically Pentecostal theological circles.

Similar trends can be observed among Latin American Pentecostal theologians. Hispanic Eldin Villafañe18) burst onto the theological scene with a book on Hispanic Pentecostal social ethics in the early 1990s, but he has contributed widely across the decades in both English and Spanish language publications in urban theology and ministry and social justice, all unsurprisingly drawing critically from liberation theological impulses. Peruvians Bernardo Campos and Darío López Rodriguez have been publishing widely in Spanish for almost two decades, arguing in specifically Pentecostal categories derived from the New Testament book of Acts (see further below), although the latter is now beginning to be translated into English for an Anglophone audience.19) If theologians like Villafañe, Campos, and Rodriguez have had a recognized presence amidst the Latino Pentecostal conversation, others like Puerto Rican Samuel Solivan and Hispanic Sammy Alfaro have registered important signals at this nexus. Solivan’s only book20) has been the first full-length articulation of a Pentecostal liberation theology and is thus a must-read not just for Hispanics and Latino/as but for all interested in Pentecostal theology. Alfaro is still at the beginning of his theological career but already has published an important christology constructed in conversation with Hispanic hymnody.21) Variously Hispanic and Latino Pentecostal theologians have been in solidarity with others in the Latin American theological tradition, especially in terms of the prevalence of liberationist themes deriving from that region of the world, but the former have not neglected the Pentecostal accents, whether that be in terms of the criticality of the work of the Spirit (pneumatology) or the eminence of the Day of Pentecost narrative in the New Testament.

Perhaps to be expected, Pentecostal theology in Africa has begun blooming the latest, following the fact that Pentecostal institutions of theological education have also been slowest to develop in that part of the world. Leading the way has been an Anderson advisee, Ghanaian Opoku Onyinah,22) whose research has been on African Pentecostal demonology. Other Ghanaian Pentecostals include E. Kingsley Larbi23) and Joseph Quayesi-Amakye,24) the former’s major offering being a more general introduction to West African Pentecostal theology and the latter more focused on Pentecostalism’s interface with the public square, albeit deploying specifically Pentecostal modes of analysis (studies of prophetism and exorcism, for instance). Most notably at the vanguard of African Pentecostal theology is Nigerian social ethicist Nimi Wariboko. Although he has lived and worked in the USA for the last two plus decades, his diasporic sojourn has brought him full circle to engage important aspects of economic and political theology―important aspects of his work in social ethics―from an explicitly African Pentecostal set of perspectives.25) In particular, Wariboko has probed deeply into Pentecostal spirituality to identify what he calls the “pentecostal principle” 26) that nurtures the creativity and novelty essential to navigating the unpredictabilities of modernity as part of Christian faithfulness “in the Spirit.”27) Although his primary theoretical interlocutors are continental philosophers and thinkers, Wariboko is intentional about thinking deeply and thoroughly through the Pentecostal experience, attending to the phenomenology of Pentecostal spirituality in order to address the important theological and ethical issues of our time.


III. The “Cleveland School”

I have begun with Pentecostal theological trends mapped across the majority world canvas in large part in an effort to trace the influence of Walter Hollenweger’s seminal contributions in forming the field of Pentecostal studies. We will return later to pick up on these global themes and routes, but for now I want to focus our assessment on the North American scene. Of course, such demarcations are in the end somewhat arbitrary since, for instance, those we will be discussing have contracted with publishers from across the Atlantic as well. Yet any efforts to track the emergence of Pentecostal theology through and after the turn of the twenty-first century cannot superficially treat the role of North American Pentecostals.

In many ways, one of the prime instigators of academic Pentecostal theology was Wesleyan historical theologian Donald W. Dayton. Not only was his Theological Roots of Pentecostalism28) published by a reputable academic book series, but it also provided a historical and theological genealogy for Pentecostal thought that allowed, finally, for scholarly analysis. If it is by now almost commonplace to think about John Wesley as the “grandfather” of modern Pentecostalism, as mediated through the nineteenth century American Holiness movement,29) then the ground for such a historiography was laid by Wesleyan scholars such as Dayton.

On Dayton’s heels was Steven Land, in particular his Ph.D. thesis completed in the early 1990s at Emory University and subsequently published as Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom.30) Where Dayton opened up lines of conversation between Pentecostalism and the Wesleyan tradition, Land’s analysis of Pentecostal spirituality was grounded in the early years, the first decade of the movement in fact, and then forged through extension of Wesley’s idea of heart religiosity and engagement with leading Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards’s theology of religious affectivity. The genius of Land’s achievement was that now Pentecostals were no longer speaking in tongues to themselves but were engaging substantively with other reputable theological traditions.

More important, however, was that Land’s thesis was the inaugural volume of the Journal for Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series, edited by Land and two of his colleagues in biblical studies at Church of God Theological Seminary (now Pentecostal Theological Seminary) in Cleveland, Tennessee: John Christopher Thomas and Rickie D. Moore. The Journal of Pentecostal Theology was itself launched in 1992, and its supplement series further cemented this group of Pentecostal seminary educators at the forefront of Pentecostal theological scholarship at this time. With 45 volumes (at the time of writing in June 2016) and counting― with some already mentioned in the preceding discussion so far― Land and his colleagues have set the agenda for Pentecostal theology in important ways that deserve, I would argue, the label of “Cleveland School.” At least two aspects of this “school of thought” are deserving of more extended comment.

First, the journal and the book series have perennially set the pace for Pentecostal theological exploration. The series has featured rethinking of topics across the theological landscape from a distinctively Pentecostal perspective: reconsideration of dispensational and other foundational eschatological notions;31) rethinking about the doctrine of God, particularly with regard to Oneness Pentecostal theologies;32) developing theologies of religions rather than missiologies to people of other faiths;33) or formulating a Pentecostal ecotheology.34) If some are making efforts to reorient traditional Pentecostal thinking about fundamental theological matters (i.e., those working in the area of eschatology), others are continuing to push against the grain of the predominant trinitarianism or forging altogether innovative pathways for the next generation of Pentecostal theology.

Second and no less theologically important, the series has consistently featured works on Pentecostal hermeneutics and Pentecostal biblical interpretation. Perhaps in part because two of the founding co-editors were trained in Old and New Testament studies respectively,35) they have published others who have continuously attempted to deepen and develop Pentecostal approaches to and engagements with sacred scripture. On the one hand there have been explicit hermeneutical proposals― for example in prophetic hermeneutics36) or a triadic hermeneutic of Spirit-scripture-community37)―that have added to the ferment in Pentecostal hermeneutical inquiry.38) On the other hand, there have been a slew of studies on Luke-Acts, arguably the Pentecostal canon-withinthe- canon,39) each contributing to Pentecostal biblical understanding and also either explicating important theological themes of Pentecostal spirituality or securing by various means the specifically Lukan character of Pentecostal theologizing. Yet Pentecostal theological thinking has been enriched also by other scripture studies, including efforts to discern the audial character of scriptural reading that resonates with the oral cultural sensibilities of Pentecostal culture,40) or proposals regarding the pneumatological interpretations of New Testament books,41) to name just two important strands. Common threads nevertheless include literary and narrative approaches to the scriptural texts, albeit read unabashedly through the lens of Pentecostal spirituality and experience. So while most of these works are quite properly categorized as studies in biblical interpretation rather than in theology more strictly defined, and even though there is much more to Pentecostal biblical scholarship than seen in this Supplement series, yet the role of such endeavors to the overall development of Pentecostal theology ought not to be minimized or overlooked (to be further unveiled below).

In the last decade, there has been a further iteration of what I am calling the “Cleveland School” manifest in the formation of the Centre for Pentecostal Theology on the campus of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary. Birthed in large part out of John Christopher Thomas’s agreement to affiliate with the University of Bangor, Wales, and advise students toward the Ph.D. degree in Pentecostal theology, the Centre is instituted on the conviction of Thomas (and his colleagues at Cleveland) that the authentic core and nerve of Pentecostal theology is to be derived from its first generation of beliefs and practices manifest in Azusa Street and its various tributaries. Methodologically, then, Pentecostal theological thinking at the Centre begins with research in the periodical literature of the movement at the turn of the twentieth century before embarking on exegetical or constructive undertakings. A number of published Ph.D. theological theses reflect this methodological approach, for instance to healing,42) eschatology,43) the Lord’s Supper,44) or worship.45)

Beyond this genetic approach to guide contemporary theological reflection, the Cleveland School is also situated within the Holiness wing of the modern Pentecostal movement and hence accentuates not the “four-fold” gospel of Jesus as savior, healer, Spirit-baptizer, and coming king prominent among the Foursquare or other more Reformed oriented branches of classical Pentecostalism but the “five-fold” gospel that includes confession of Jesus as sanctifier. This means both that there are concentrated efforts to formulate a Pentecostal theological ethics46) and, perhaps more importantly, that the five-fold christological frame is brought to bear consistently on a range of theological topics, including but not limited to ecclesiology,47) preaching,48) worship,49) and the Christian life.50) The five-fold construct lifts up christological commitments at the heart of Pentecostal piety even as it names and puts to theological work the manifold motifs that energize reflection in many directions: theology proper, soteriology in its various dimensions, missiology, Christian practice, etc. In these respects, this “school” of Holiness Pentecostalism has renewed and revitalized Pentecostal theology variously.

As members of the Cleveland School have begun to churn out doctoral graduates, Thomas and his friends have seen fit to supplement the Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series with another publication line linked to the Centre, which they have called CPT Press. The Press has seen fit to keep available older volumes from the Supplement series even as they have reprinted other books deemed relevant to Pentecostal studies and Pentecostal theology.51) Of theological relevance are monographs of Centre dissertations (revised appropriately) like one on Spirit christology52) and edited volumes such as one on the accomplishments of N. T. Wright.53) The Press has also published the work of Pentecostals renowned in other arenas such as Lukan scholar Martin Mittelstadt54) and theologian of religions Tony Richie.55)

To reiterate the obvious: while the next section will show that North American Pentecostal theology is certainly by no means reducible to the stimulus of what I have here portrayed as the Cleveland School, the impact of the scholars from and related to this Church of God site should not be underestimated. The reverberations will continue both with the further output of the two book series and as its primary protagonists continue in their scholarly work.56) To be sure, these Holiness Pentecostal scholars are, consciously or not, ensuring that the fivefold message and theological vision will remain viable if not dominant for the next decade or more of Pentecostal theology.


IV. “Pentecost” and Pentecostal Theology

Alongside the Holiness trajectory from Dayton through Cleveland and beyond have been a number of other developments such as the forging of pneumatological theologies like that of charismatic Baptist theologian Clark Pinnock,57) and the maturation of ecumenical theologies such as in the work of Croatian Pentecostal Miroslav Volf 58) and Finnish Pentecostal Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen.59) With the arrival of these European voices have also come ecumenical and dialogical interfaces with mainstream Protestant traditions, including but not limited to interactions with theological giants such as Jürgen Moltmann60) and Michael Welker.61) Pentecostals like D. Lyle Dabney have gone to Europe to study with theologians like Moltmann and have returned to extend the efforts charted in the vein of pneumatological theology.62) Leading the way in building bridges to and from the continent along the pneumatological venue was American Pentecostal Frank D. Macchia.

Macchia went to study at the University of Basel and wrote his Th.D. thesis on the social vision of the Blumharts, turn of the twentieth century German Lutheran ministers and theologians who were nevertheless visited by charismatic phenomena.63) From out of this milieu and background, however, Macchia went on to develop, in a series of articles in the Journal of Pentecostal Theology and elsewhere, what he not too long later crystallized in a book-length argument that presented a fullorbed systematic theological vision around the symbol of baptism in the Holy Spirit at the heart of Pentecostal spirituality.64) If Pinnock and Dabney were the first to propose a kind of theology of the Third Article― a systematically reconfigured theological construct in which the various doctrinal loci were reconsidered from the vantage point of pneumatology, effectively starting with the Holy Spirit, as it were―then Macchia’s more specific achievements were to orient such a pneumatological theology not just around the person and work of the Spirit in general, but around the Pentecostal notion of Spirit baptism in particular. From this Pentecostal vantage point, Macchia teased out a Spirit-baptized trinitarian theology, ecclesiology, and theology of the Christian life, in each case revisiting the chief theological and practical ideas from the perspective of encountering the Spirit and then being initiated upon the Spirit-filled path. This was followed by a reformulation of the traditional Protestant doctrine of justification by faith, now reframed by the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit and by following out the implications of rereading the New Testament from this Day of Pentecost starting point.65)

Pinnock and Macchia have inspired thinking about Pentecostal theology both in terms of pneumatological theology and in relation to the centrality of the Spirit baptism symbol. Amos Yong was one who has followed closely in this direction, even as he has attempted to think with the ecumenical Christian theological traditions and the global Pentecostal movement as that has unfolded across the majority world. Although beginning in the area of theology of religions,66) his work was from the beginning anchored within the Day of Pentecost narrative and woven around the pneumatology of Luke-Acts.67) If Macchia’s efforts have gestured toward a revisioning of the systematic theological enterprise, Yong has pushed through toward what might be called a thorough pneumatological systematics,68) one that not only begins with the third triune person but, precisely because of this vital Pentecostal starting point, also foregrounds the eschatological work of divine redemption traditionally linked to the work of the Spirit and in that respect achieves also a more robust eschatological and trinitarian theology. Along the way, Yong has proposed that the many tongues of Pentecost, inclusive of “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8) from its inception (Acts 2), invites thinking theologically about plurality that constitutes the present world Christian context. This can be seen in his efforts to think through the relationship between beliefs and practices in the public sphere,69) to develop an apologetic for methodological interdisciplinarity in dialogue with the sciences, 70) and to attend to the diversity of human experiences at their various levels, perspectives, and domains,71) among other topics. Prioritization of Spirit baptism had brought the Day of Pentecost account to the fore, and this has galvanized Pentecostal reflection toward pneumatological, eschatological, and trinitarian reassessments of diversity in harmony across the theological spectrum.

Yong’s efforts, however, have also been directed toward enabling the contributions of others to this pneumatological programme. In large part this has been facilitated by two book series of which he has served as co-editor. The first, the Pentecostal Manifestos published by William B. Eerdmans (and co-edited with James K. A. Smith), has produced seven volumes, including the afore-referenced works of Wariboko (on a Pentecostal social ethics), Macchia (on a pneumatological theology of justification), and Yong himself (on a pneumatological theology of creation and science). The primary thrust of the Manifestos series was to enable the more senior or established Pentecostal theologians to speak boldly into other areas from their distinctive perspectives. Thus other books in the series include a Pentecostal “contribution to Christian philosophy”,72) Pentecostal inventions in theological method,73) a Pentecostal approach to the doctrine of the Trinity,74) and a Pentecostal assist to the discipline of practical theology.75) Charis―Christianity and Renewal: Interdisciplinary Studies―is the second book series more recently instigated by Yong (with co-editor Wolfgang Vondey), and is, as indicated, not merely theological and committed to a multi-disciplinary engagement with the phenomenon of renewal Christianity, understood here to include Pentecostal, charismatic and related movements. Yet it is nevertheless for that reason not less but more complexly theological, including works on pneumatology,76) political theology,77) and hermeneutics,78) among other topics. These proposals contribute to Pentecostal theology variously: at the level of pneumatology proper, of theology from a pneumatological and Pentecostal (including Day of Pentecost) perspective, and of trinitarian theology via starting with the Spirit.

Such proposals in pneumatological theology have gained momentum in the wider Pentecostal academy. More recent Pentecostal theologians are also not only beginning with the Spirit but also reconsidering even other loci from a pneumatological perspective. There are proposals in theological methodologies,79) hermeneutical options,80) aesthetic postures and attitudes,81) for instance, from such Pentecostal-pneumatological stances, each one of which, it ought to be noted, insist on a plurality of options in keeping with the many tongues Day of Pentecost pattern.82) Hence these contemporary turns reflect both particular projects in pneumatology as well as reevaluation of other theological topics from uniquely Pentecostal vistas.


V. Conclusion

Pentecostal theology in the second decade of the second century of the modern movement thus exhibits inquiries ranging across a wide spectrum. There are denominational projects that hew closely to Evangelical theological models but the most energetic streams are coming from theologians working in conversation with majority world impulses in those contexts. Even in the North American and Western Pentecostal academy, the frontlines are advancing in conversation with global South perspectives, with ecumenical sensitivity, and with heightened attentiveness to the pluralism of the late modern world in its various domains. At its core, however, such Pentecostal theologizing regarding diversity and plurality is much less pragmatically or politically motivated than it is theologically―specifically, pneumatologically―animated. The Spirit of Pentecost inspires such a pluralistic paradigm, many would argue, so that in this case, Pentecostal theology is precipitating also within the wider theological conversation both a renewed engagement with pneumatology in particular and with pneumatological theology more generally. Perhaps the time yet might be ripe for what some have called a theology of the Third Article,83) a theology not just of the Spirit but a theological imagination that is Spirit-led, even as Pentecostal theologians will play key roles, if not lead the way, in such ventures.


Notes
1) I attempt to account for contributions from outside the West of which I am aware but only when they are of explicitly theological import and written/published in English; the output of Pentecostal theology in Spanish, Korean, and other languages is increasing but beyond my ken and the scope of this essay.
29) See Hollenweger’s third root above.
56) Thomas for instance has recently produced a massive theological dialogue with Mormonism even as his co-authored theological commentary on the Apocalypse has finally seen the light of publication. See John Christopher Thomas, A Pentecostal Reads the Book of Mormon: A Literary and Theological Introduction (Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2016); John Christopher Thomas and Frank D. Macchia, Revelation, The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2016).

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