Recent discussions in ecclesiology have highlighted the difference between abstract models and concrete ethnographic studies. It is all too common for these two different approaches to be self-contained without any interaction between them. In the light of this context, this study considers recent Pentecostal ecclesiology and identifies two strands of thought, namely, ecumenical and retrieval approaches. Both of these approaches are classified as blueprint approaches and neither of them draws upon concrete studies of congregations. In order to address this weakness, and make a constructive proposal, the discussion draws on studies of congregations to provide empirical perspectives with which to engage. The outcome is a recommendation that renewal ecclesiology should be understood as a distinct strand that includes four core features, namely: the location of pneumatology as central rather than peripheral, the importance of relationality, the rediscovery of sacramentality, and the impact of doxology for mission.
Miroslav VolfAfter Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans1998). For a Roman Catholic response in relation to pentecostal studies see Ralph Del Colle “Communion and the Trinity: The Free Church Ecclesiology of Miroslav Volf—A Catholic Response” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 22 no. 2 (2000): 303–327.
Simon ChanPentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press2003). The chapter is also reprinted as Simon Chan “Mother Church: Toward a Pentecostal Ecclesiology” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 22 no. 2 (2000): 177–208.
Amos YongSpirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic2005). This model is further developed in relation to disability inclusion and hospitality in Amos Yong Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity (Waco TX: Baylor University Press 2007) 193–225.
Wolfgang Vondey“Pentecostal Ecclesiology and Eucharistic Hospitality: Toward a Systematic and Ecumenical Account of the Church,”Pneuma: Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies32 no. 1 (2010): 41–55. Also see Wolfgang Vondey People of Bread: Rediscovering Ecclesiology (New York / Mahwah NJ: Paulist Press 2008).
Thomas A. Smail“Spiritual Renewal and the Resurrection of Christ,”Theological Renewal8 (1978): 2–6(at 2); Mark J. Cartledge “Theological Renewal (1975–1983): Listening to an Editor’s Agenda for Church and Academy” Pneuma: Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 30 no. 1 (2008): 83–107 (at 98).
See Mark J. CartledgeCharismatic Glossolalia: An Empirical-Theological Study (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate2002) 195–197 for a discussion of how Calvin’s sacramental theology can be used to interpret glossolalia.