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Black Folk Religion in Black Holiness Pentecostalism

Spiritual Formation Among Black Pentecostals

Antipas L. Harris

This essay seeks to understand theological rudiments embedded in traditional black Pentecostal spirituality to enhance spiritual formation in contemporary black Pentecostalism. Its conclusions contribute to a praxis-oriented discourse on the black folk religious tradition, black holiness Pentecostalism, and a contemporary ethnically diverse society in which black people continue to suffer disproportionately. The salient question is, what transformative proposals emerge from black ‘spiritual praxis’, or a conversation between black religious heritage and contemporary black America? While this essay does not attempt to draw conclusions for contemporary lived practice, it unearths jewels in black Pentecostal spirituality that deepen insight into faith formation in an increasingly diverse society wherein the dominant formational paradigms have lodged within the tunnel vision of Western categories.

Contemplative Aspects of Pentecostal Spirituality

A Case Study of a Retreat Experience in Asia

Xiaoli Yang

How is the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit working through contemplative aspects of Pentecostal spirituality in Asia where Christianity thrives in a hostile environment today? Are there any insights that Pentecostal churches of the Global North can learn and experience deeper transformation through the Holy Spirit in a post-Christian world? This article shares a recent experience of a retreat with a group of Asian Pentecostal pastors. It describes how they, both individually and as a group, encountered God through contemplative practice within the praxis of their spiritual tradition. Drawing from their experiences grounded in Scripture, the article explores the key theological issues of silence, body, and response. Pentecostal churches are therefore encouraged to be eager to learn from the lived experiences of pastors in Asia and receptive to contemplative aspects of Pentecostal spirituality.

Mookgo Solomon Kgatle

In Mark, the life of the disciple is presented as being essentially continuous with that of Jesus. A disciple is one who is able to become a diakonos and a doulos, which come with following Jesus. However, the disciples of Jesus in general and James and John in particular demonstrated a misunderstanding of discipleship when they made a request for seats of honor in Mk 10.35–42. This article demonstrates through a social scientific reading of Mk 10.43–44 that Jesus’ teaching on diakonos and doulos is a call to true discipleship. This shall be achieved by studying the literature review on Mk 10.35–45 as a point of departure. The meaning of the words diakonos and doulos in Mk 10.43–44 shall be explained as part of exegesis on the text. The purpose is to demonstrate that Jesus’ response to discipleship misconceptions is a call to true discipleship.

Anna M. Droll

This essay argues for the missiological significance of dreams and visions (D/Vs) as mediators of new, welcoming spaces for engaging the religious other. The discussion suggests a correlation between two important conversations, that of the church envisioning the role of Christianity in the midst of religious plurality, and that of anthropologists and dream researchers who point to D/Vs as valued experiences in religions of the world. In light of the research on the value of dreams and visions in spirituality, how might D/V experiences, narrations, and interpretations provide bridges for interfaith dialogue? Keeping in view the value of D/Vs for spirituality, this paper offers a distinctly Pentecostal perspective with the following thesis: When D/V experiences are assessed for their spiritual value within a pneumatological re-envisioning of missiology and soteriology, the possibility of their significance for fostering welcoming spaces for interfaith dialogue becomes apparent.

Jonathan Rowlands

In this article the author offers a theological reading of John Coltrane’s seminal 1965 album, A Love Supreme. He suggests it is feasible to interpret Coltrane’s work as a musical parallel of sorts to the phenomenon of praying in tongues. The author contends that such a reading is not only possible but also desirable, since it issues a challenge to the modern Church regarding its worship practices and the use of glossolalia, making the issue important for modern Pentecostal Christian communities.

Pentecostal Theology

A Conversation on the Full Gospel

Wolfgang Vondey

The book Pentecostal Theology identifies the so-called ‘full gospel’ as a comprehensive theological narrative of the Pentecostal movement. The full gospel is essentially a liturgical narrative aiming at participation in Pentecost through an experiential, hermeneutical, and theological move to and from the altar that yields a biblically and theologically organized and embodied theology. The reviewers of the book have raised a number of observations concerning the systematic and constructive argument of Pentecostal Theology. This essay responds to the concerns by discussing the nature of theological inquiry among Pentecostals, the method of the full gospel, and the continuity and discontinuity in Pentecostal theology.

Reaching Out and Receiving In

Reading the Lukan Banquet (Luke 14.12–24) as a Trinitarian Theological Paradigm of Hospitality in a World of Hostility

David Thang Moe

This article examines the contrasts found in the Lukan banquet parable (Lk. 14.12–24). While most scholars tend to focus on the role of the banquet host or on the role of the guests, many interpreters forget the role of the servant in the parable. This article re-considers the equally important roles of the inviting host, the invited guests, and the sent servant for a paradigmatic relation between a trinitarian theological paradigm of hospitality and a trinitarian church’s hospitable identity and vocation in a contemporary world of hostility. It is argued that a trinitarian church must embody the Trinity in its twofold inseparable move of reaching out to the other by crossing their cultures as a metaphorical reflection of external Trinity and of receiving them in by making a hospitable space for the other as a reflection of internal Trinity.

Steven M. Studebaker

Wolfgang Vondey’s Pentecostal Theology is a creative, constructive, and far ranging contribution to the development of Pentecostal theology. Grounded in the Pentecostal experience of the full gospel, it provides both a fundamental Pentecostal theology and a Pentecostal perspective on major categories of systematic theology. The book marks a new phase of efforts to develop a comprehensive or systematic Pentecostal theology by starting with Pentecostal concerns and developing a theology in terms of them. This review focuses on Vondey’s discussions of creation (ch. 7) and theological anthropology (ch. 8), in which he argues that a Pentecostal theology of creation and eschatology does not conclude with God razing the world, but with the Spirit’s renewing creation. Furthermore, although Spirit baptism transforms the individual, the purpose of that individual transformation is to lead beyond the self and to create a community of sanctified life. Spirit baptism leads those who receive it into the world to live for all people.

Wolfgang Vondey’s Pentecostal Theology: Living the Full Gospel

A Conversation on a Pentecostal Migrant Family Road Trip

Kimberly Ervin Alexander

Utilizing the metaphors of family and the migrant family road trip, this essay offers an appreciative challenge to Vondey’s contribution of constructive theological narrative of the fivefold gospel. By suggesting the importance of the inclusion of a relational and familial model, it raises the issue of what is missed by the lack of inclusion of the voices of testifying members of the Pentecostal family, particularly those of sisters and mothers. Further, the journey motif, it is suggested, better fits the epic spirituality of the Pentecostal movement.