Pentecostal Experience and the Affirmation of Ethnic Identity

Māori Experience and the Work of the Spirit in the Book of Acts

In: Pneuma

The purpose of this article is to examine the work of the Spirit in the book of Acts in relation to pentecostal experience and cultural identity among Māori in New Zealand. It discusses the many tongues of Pentecost as symbolic of the Spirit’s affirmation of ethno-linguistic diversity and explores the story of Gentile inclusion in Acts 10, where this inclusion must be worked out in the face of ethnic division. This discussion is brought to bear on the context of Māori and pentecostal church communities in New Zealand. Given the ongoing disruption of ethnic and cultural identity for Māori, this article draws on a series of interviews with Māori pentecostal church leaders, demonstrating connections between experiences of the Spirit and divine affirmation of cultural identity. Finally, these observations are discussed in relation to the work of the Spirit and the issue of ethnic identity in both Acts 2 and Acts 10.

  • 3

    Aaron Kuecker, The Spirit and the “Other”: Social Identity, Ethnicity and Intergroup Reconciliation in Luke-Acts (London: T & T Clark International, 2011), 16.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5

    Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles, 131.

  • 6

    Kuecker, The Spirit and the “Other,” 116.

  • 8

    Ibid., 117.

  • 11

    Ibid., 40.

  • 12

    Ibid., 41–42.

  • 13

    Amos Yong, The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005), 93.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14

    Luke Timothy Johnson, Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church: The Challenge of Luke-Acts to Contemporary Christians (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2011), 153.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles, 354.

  • 16

    Ronald D. Witherup, “Cornelius Over and Over and Over Again: ‘Functional Redundancy’ in the Acts of the Apostles,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 49 (1993): 64.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18

    Ibid., 196–197.

  • 19

    Ibid., 215.

  • 20

    Ibid., 200.

  • 21

    Samuel Solivan, Spirit, Pathos and Liberation: Toward an Hispanic Pentecostal Theology (London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1998), 115.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22

    Amos Yong, Hospitality and the Other (New York: Orbis Books, 2008), 83.

  • 25

    Jürgen Moltmann, “A Pentecostal Theology of Life,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 9 (1996): 3–4.

  • 26

    Gastón Espinosa, “Ordinary Prophet: William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival,” in The Azusa Street Revival and Its Legacy, ed. Harold D. Hunter, and Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2006), 58.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27

    Craig S. Keener, “Why Does Luke Use Tongues as a Sign of the Spirit’s Empowerment?” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 15, no. 2 (2007): 178.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29

    Laurie Guy, Shaping Godzone: Public Issues and Church Voices in New Zealand 1840–2000 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2011), 40; and Ani Mikaere, Colonising Myths—Māori Realities (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2011), 156.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 31

    Raj Bhopal, “Racism, Socioeconomic Deprivation, and Health in New Zealand,” The Lancet 367 (2006): 1959.

  • 32

    Graham Hingangaroa Smith, “Beyond Political Literacy: From Conscientization to Transformative Praxis,” Counterpoints 275 (2005): 32. For a recent summary of the various inequalities between Māori (and Pacific people) and other New Zealanders, see Lisa Marriot and Dalice Sim, Indicators of Inequality for Māori and Pacific People (Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington, 2014) in which they demonstrate that, in general terms, the disparities have worsened in the years since 2003.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 33

    Smith, “Beyond Political Literacy,” 32.

  • 35

    Tahu Kukutai, “Māori Demography in Aotearoa New Zealand: Fifty Years On,” New Zealand Population Review 37 (2011): 49.

  • 37

    Mason Durie, “Te Hoe Nuku Roa Framework: A Maori Identity Measure,” The Journal of the Polynesian Society 104, no. 4 (1995): 464.

  • 39

    Durie, Ngā Kāhui Pou, 264.

  • 40

    Simon Moetara, “Māori and Pentecostal Christianity in Aotearoa New Zealand,” in Mana Māori and Christianity, ed. Hugh Morrison et al. (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2012), 77.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 42

    Allan Anderson, “Varieties, Taxonomies, and Definitions,” in Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods, ed. Allan Anderson et al. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2010), 15. Anderson’s notion of “family resemblances” is useful in this regard.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 43

    Philip D. Carew and Geoff Troughton, “Māori Participation in the Assemblies of God,” in Mana Māori and Christianity, ed. Hugh Morrison et al. (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2012), 102.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 44

    Ibid., 94.

  • 46

    Moetara, “Māori and Pentecostal Christianity,” 78.

  • 48

    Mark J. Cartledge, The Mediation of the Spirit (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2015), 26–27. Cartledge argues that “experientialist religious discourse should be respected as containing genuine theology.”

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 49

    Frank D. Macchia, “Christian Experience and Authority in the World,” Ecumenical Trends 31, no. 8 (2002): 12.

  • 50

    For example, see Joel Robbins, “The Globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity,” Annual Review of Anthropology 33 (2004). Also, see Allan Anderson, To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 63. For interesting discussions on indigenous forms of Pentecostalism in Asia and Africa see Paulson Pulikottil, “One God, One Spirit, Two Memories: A Postcolonial Reading of the Encounter Between Western Pentecostalism and Native Pentecostalism in Kerala,” in The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologies in Global Contexts, ed. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2009), Koo Dong Yun, “Pentecostalism From Below: Minjung Liberation and Asian Pentecostal Theology,” in The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologies in Global Contexts, ed. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2009) and Ogbu U. Kalu, “Sankofa: Pentecostalism and African Cultural Heritage,” in The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologies in Global Contexts (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2009).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 56

    Durie, Ngā Kāhui Pou, 97.

  • 58

    Manu Pohio, December 16, 2015.

  • 60

    Norm McLeod, December 17, 2015.

  • 62

    Michael Belgrave, “Beyond the Treaty of Waitangi: Māori Tribal Aspirations in an Era of Reform, 1984–2014,” The Journal of Pacific History 49, no. 2 (2014): 196. At the end of World War II around 25 percent of Māori lived in urban centers, but by the 1970s that proportion had grown to at least 75 percent.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 63

    Norm McLeod, December 17, 2015.

  • 65

    Mina Acraman, November 9, 2015.

  • 66

    Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles, 360–361.

  • 67

    Néstor Medina, “Jürgen Moltmann and Pentecostalism(s): Toward a Cultural Theology of the Spirit,” Toronto Journal of Theology Supplement 1 (2008): 111. (Emphasis in the original.)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 195 116 2
Full Text Views 166 18 2
PDF Downloads 34 25 2