Pentecostals are known for an experiential spirituality that emphasizes immediate encounters with God through the Holy Spirit. But how should such experience be understood? Is it, in fact, quite so immediate?
Neumann argues that Pentecostal experience of God is mediated by the Spirit’s work through Scripture, the Christian tradition, and the broader cultural context. Using the work of three contemporary Pentecostal theologians–Frank D. Macchia, Simon K. H. Chan, and Amos Yong–the book demonstrates that a mediated view of experience of God is forging a more mature Pentecostal theology. As further evidence of this maturation, Neumann engages these Pentecostal theologians in ecumenical dialogue with leading representatives from Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant traditions.
This collection of essays was first presented at the 37th annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, held jointly with the Wesleyan Theological Society at Duke University in March 2008, under the conference theme, “Signs, Sighs, and Significance: Pentecostal and Wesleyan Explorations of Science and Creation.” Along with a companion volume of Wesleyan essays published also by Pickwick Publications, the twelve chapters here represent both Pentecostal reflections/responses to the science-religion discussion and Pentecostal contributions to the ongoing exchange by biblical studies specialists, historians, and theologians, among those trained in other disciplines. Together the essayists model an actual dialogue in which Pentecostal scholarly reflection is impacted by science-religion discourses on the one hand, while Pentecostals reach deep into their own tradition to explore how their pre-understandings and commitments might enable them to speak with their own voice into pre-existing conversations on the other hand. This volume thus represents one of the first-hopefully the first of many-in which Pentecostals register their perspectives on a major issue of our time. In a world dominated by science, and at a time when theologies of creation that encourage and require care for creation and the environment are proliferating, The Spirit Renews the Face of the Earth provides a set of Pentecostal perspectives on these important matters.
The main thesis of Spirit-Word-Community is that Christian theological reflection in a postmodern world starts with the experience of the Holy Spirit, but is at the same time post-foundationalist in terms of being formed by the word and being adjudicated by various communities of interpretation. Yet the book’s hermeneutical and methodological proposals are not merely prolegomena to theology but already involve and assume theologically substantive claims derived from a pneumatological point of view. Hence, this is a pneumatological theology which illuminates the hermeneutical process precisely by showing how the Holy Spirit engages the human imagination to empower liberative practices in a world that remains graced by her presence and activity. Spirit-Word-Community is meant in each of these senses to be a contribution to the formulation of a comprehensive theology of the Third Article for the twenty-first century.