Azusa-Era Optimism: Bishop J.H. King’s Pentecostal Theology of Religions as a Possible Paradigm for Today

Journal of Pentecostal Theology

Abstract

Even as we celebrate the centennial of the Azusa Street Revival, the ideology and reality of religious pluralism currently challenges Pentecostal Christians to articulate an adequate theology of religions. J.H. King was an important Pentecostal pioneer influenced by the Azusa Street Revival. Well educated and widely traveled, Bishop King had considerable first-hand contact with non-Christian religions and addressed theology of religions often and in depth. King’s theology of religions at its core is characterized by optimism, that is, by a positive and balanced but non-dogmatic sense of hopefulness. Completely consistent with classical Pentecostal values, King’s thought provides important possibilities for a contemporary Pentecostal theology of religions paradigm. This paper surveys salient features of King’s theology of religions before offering suggestions about appropriation and application. Special stress is placed on continuity of Pentecostal heritage with creativity in development of Pentecostal theology of religions today.

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