Emerging African American Pentecostal Sources in Public Theology

In: International Journal of Public Theology


Theological authority is of paramount importance for the future of African American Pentecostal public theology. Largely ignored as authoritative sources by white Pentecostals in the years following the Azusa Street Revival, black Pentecostals were often snubbed by black denominations as well. Consequently, at the traditional table of theological discourse, black Pentecostal pastors have been notably absent. The question of theological authority in black Pentecostalism can be answered, in part, by examining its historically relevant contributions to theology in general, and to black liberation theology in particular. Early social prophetic theologians left a treasure trove of leadership hermeneutics and models for public engagement. This article highlights four pastors who left legacies built on their roles as pioneers in the black Pentecostal movement. The biographic profiles reveal sources of i) historical authority within the broad contours of the black Pentecostal tradition, and, ii). innovative hermeneutics as valid models for engaging public theology.