Pentecostals and Roman Catholics on Becoming a Christian

Spirit-Baptism, Faith, Conversion, Experience, and Discipleship in Ecumenical Perspective


In Pentecostals and Roman Catholics on Becoming a Christian, Dr. Karen Murphy explores the fifth round of the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue (1998-2006). Discussing Spirit-baptism, faith, conversion, experience, and discipleship, Dr. Murphy notes areas in which the Dialogue has evolved since its inception in 1972. She unpacks the commonalities that bond Catholics and Pentecostals and examines theological divergences and challenges to dialogue. While Catholics approach becoming a Christian from a sacramental perspective, most Pentecostals think of Christian initiation in non-sacramental, or conversionist, terms, a reality that fosters ongoing tensions between the two traditions. Dr. Murphy reveals how Catholics and Pentecostals seek to overcome this dichotomy by honoring spirituality and experience as integral to the ecumenical encounter.
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Biographical Note

Karen R.J. Murphy, Ph.D. (2013), Fuller Theological Seminary, is Affiliate Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Fuller Seminary and Adjunct Professor of Christian Studies at George Fox University.

Table of contents


1 Introduction
 Importance of the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue
 Outline of Chapters

2 Roman Catholic and Pentecostal Rapprochement
 The Development of Roman Catholic Ecumenism
   Current Ecumenical Trends in Roman Catholicism
 The Development of Pentecostal Ecumenism
   Theological and Historical Challenges to Pentecostal Ecumenism
   Current Ecumenical Trends in Pentecostalism
 Catholics and Pentecostals in Dialogue
   Foundation of Dialogue
   Nature of Dialogue
   Purpose of the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue
   Current Challenges to Dialogue
 Introduction to the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue
   The First Four Phases (1972–1997)
   The Fifth Phase (1998–2006)

3 Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Christian Initiation
 Introduction to the 1998 Session (Bolton, Ontario)
 Introduction to the Final Report
   Outpouring, Presence, and Charisms
   Two Moments of Spirit Reception
 Biblical Perspectives
   Spirit Baptism is a Gift from God
  Spirit Baptism is Personal and Trinitarian Revelation
  Spirit Baptism is Pneumatological Empowerment and Christological Presence
  Spirit Baptism is Transformational
 Patristic Perspectives
  Patristic Support for the Rediscovery of the Charisms in Initiation
  The Normative and Sacramental Nature of Spirit Baptism?
 Contemporary Reflections
  Catholic Perspectives
  Pentecostal Perspectives
 Summary and Valuation

4 Faith and Christian Initiation
 Introduction to the 1999 Session (Venice, Italy)
 Introduction to the Final Report
  The Nature of Faith
New Testament and Patristic Perspectives
  The Salvific Nature of Faith
  The Ordo Salutis of Christian Initiation
  Formation in Faith
  The Communal Nature of Faith
  Faith and Baptism
 Summary and Valuation

5 Conversion and Christian Initiation
 Introduction to the 2000 Session (Vienna, Austria)
 Introduction to the Final Report
  Conversion as Christological Event
  Conversion as Process, Event, or Series of Events
 Conversion and Roman Catholicism
  The Nature of Conversion
  The Sacramental and Communal Context of Conversion
  The Evangelistic Quality of Conversion
  The Importance of Baptism
 Conversion and Pentecostalism
  The Nature of Conversion
  Conversion as Event or Process
  Pentecostal Conversion and Water Baptism
 Biblical Perspectives
  Catholic Analysis
  Pentecostal Analysis
  Reflections on Biblical Perspectives
 Patristic Perspectives
  Conversion as Transformation
  The Patristic Challenge: The Authority of the Church Fathers
 Contemporary Reflections
 Summary and Valuation

6 Experience in Christian Life
 Introduction to the 2001 Session (Celje, Slovenia)
 Introduction to the Final Report
  Renewed Catholic Openness to Experience Leading up to Vatican ii
  Pentecostals and Experience
  Experience in the Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue
 Biblical Perspectives
  The Personal Nature of Experience
  Experience as Transformative
  The Communal Quality of Experience
  Discernment in Experience
 Patristic Perspectives
 Contemporary Perspectives
 Summary and Valuation

7 Christian Formation and Discipleship
 Introduction to the 2002 Session (Sierra Madre, CA , USA )
 Introduction to the Final Report
 Biblical Perspectives
  Discipleship as “Following” Jesus
  Discipleship as “Abiding” with Jesus
  The Role of the Holy Spirit in Discipleship and Christian Formation
  The Communal Nature of Christian Formation
 Patristic Perspectives
  Diverse Ways of Following Christ
  The Holy Spirit and Discipleship
  Christian Formation in Catechesis and the Catechumenate
 Contemporary Reflections
 Summary and Valuation of the Session

8 Summary and Assessment
 Looking Forward

 Primary Sources: Dialogue Documents
  Final Reports
  Dialogue Information
  Agreed Accounts
  Hard Questions
  Position Papers, Cited and Consulted
 Secondary Sources
  Lectures and Conferences
  Books and Articles



Anyone interested in ecumenism, Roman Catholicism, and Classical Pentecostalism, as well as those interested in Spirit-baptism, conversion, faith, or experience, who desire to understand sacramental and non-sacramental perspectives on these topics.

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