Response to Professor Nimi Wariboko

in Pneuma
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Professor Wariboko has rightly responded to Fire from Heaven in the context of the entire span of my writing from The Secular City to The Future of Faith and has pointed out some persistent themes. The thesis of The Secular City was that God remains present and active in a secularizing world, albeit not always under “religious” auspices. A new generation of thinkers, including Charles Taylor, has now picked up this theme. Fire from Heaven described the “surfacing” of this primal piety in the global Pentecostal wave, and The Future of Faith suggests what the next stage may be. The Pentecostal movement and the resurgence of Islam have made it clear that the “secular” is now only one possible worldview among others. Also, there are a number of different forms of secularism. The emerging global cosmopolis will be multicultural, a world city “where strangers meet.” Using the metaphor of jazz, faith now follows no “score” but improvises within a chord structure, with players responding to each other. The question of whether the Pentecostal movement can “play” in such a setting is still an open one.


The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies




Harvey G. Cox, Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the 21st Century (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995).


Harvey G. Cox, The Secular City: Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective (New York: Macmillan, 1965).


Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).


Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Foreign Affairs, 1996).


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