In this address, I outline a history of pentecostal/charismatic reception. I explore different ways that pentecostal/charismatic believers have received, appropriated, and used Acts 8 throughout our history. I propose that a reception of more than one hundred years of pentecostal musings over Acts 8 provides a snapshot of our extended pentecostal family. I suggest up front that this family history exposes pentecostal/charismatic notions about the nature of biblical interpretation. I conclude with general observations from my research and suggest further implications for students and scholars interested in reception history.
Christian theology has historically constructed a “normative” human body: white and male. Theological conclusions, then, are filtered through this systematic way of viewing the world, invariably excluding bodies that do not conform. Pentecostal theology, I argue, has the resources to transgress these myopic confines imposed on the body, freeing the body through sound and movement rather than adhering to static categorization. Thus, I begin by exploring U.S. history around the body, demonstrating how specific bodies have been strategically opposed and denigrated for the sake of maintaining “white” supremacy. Next, I use Paul Tillich as a case study for the theology’s “normative” body, enabling me to enter my central argument: Pentecostal theology is able to reconsider, reconstitute, and reform the “normative” body, removing arbitrary parameters and categories. The body, I contend, is movement and sound that refuses the oppressive forces that try to contain through classification and subjugation.
Multiple independent sources from within living memory report that Jesus taught his disciples, shortly before or after his resurrection, that he was divine and that the divine Spirit could be distinguished from him and from the Father. These sources cohere well and suggest that later affirmations that God is Father, Son, and Spirit develop material that goes back to the earliest period of Christian faith.