Theological Hermeneutics in the Classical Pentecostal Tradition

A Typological Account

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In Theological Hermeneutics in the Classical Pentecostal Tradition: A Typological Account, L. William Oliverio Jr. accounts for the development of Classical Pentecostal theology, as theological hermeneutics, through four types: the original Classical Pentecostal hermeneutic, the Evangelical-Pentecostal hermeneutic, the contextual-Pentecostal hermeneutic, and the ecumenical-Pentecostal hermeneutic. Oliverio gives special attention to key figures in shaping Pentecostal theology and the underlying philosophical assumptions which informed their theological interpretations of reality. The text concludes with a philosophical basis for future Pentecostal theological hermeneutics within the contours of a hermeneutical realism that affirms both the hermeneutical nature of all theology and the implicit affirmation of realism within theological accounts.

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L. William Oliverio Jr., Ph.D. (2009), Marquette University, is Lecturer in Theology at Marquette University and Pastor of Immanuel Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has published in Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Pneuma and Religious Studies Review, and is Philosophy Interest Group Leader for the Society for Pentecostal Studies.
"The book deserves to be widely read, not just by those working in the field of Pentecostal and Charismatic studies but also by those working in the field of historically informed theological hermeneutics more generally. I expect that it will become a standard advanced text in many theological colleges and seminaries."
Mark Cartledge, University of Birmingham, UK in JEPTA

Abbreviations ... xi
Acknowledgments ... xiii

Introduction ... 1
1. Theological Hermeneutics, Paradigms and Interdependence ... 2
2. Classical Pentecostalism as a Tradition ... 5
3. Review of the Literature ...12
4. An Overview of My Thesis ...15

1 The Theological Roots of Early Pentecostal Theology ...19
1.1 Theological Roots of Classical Pentecostalism and the “Full Gospel” ... 20
1.1.1 Roots in the Wesleyan-Holiness Tradition ... 21
1.1.2. Roots in the American Revivalist Tradition and Radical Evangelicalism ... 24
1.1.3. Roots in the Keswick Movement ... 27
1.1.4. Roots in Premillennialism ... 28
1.2. Conclusion: The Roots of Early Pentecostal Theology ... 30

2 The Original Classical Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 31
2.1. Major Interpretations of Early Pentecostal Hermeneutics ... 34
2.1.1. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen ... 35
2.1.2. Grant Wacker ... 36
2.1.3. French Arrington ... 41
2.1.4. Kenneth J. Archer ... 44
2.1.5. Douglas Jacobsen ... 48
2.1.6. Conclusion: Interpretations of Early Pentecostal Hermeneutics ... 50
2.2. Early Pentecostal Hermeneuts: Four Exemplars ... 51
2.2.1. Charles Fox Parham: Proclaiming the Everlasting Gospel ... 51
2.2.2. William Joseph Seymour and the Azusa Street Apostolic Faith Mission: The Cradle of Early Pentecostalism ... 57
2.2.3. Charles Harrison Mason: Interpreting the Signs in God’s World ... 66
2.2.4. Garfijield Thomas Haywood: Apostolic Interpretation ... 73
2.3. Conclusion: The Original Classical Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 78

3 The Early Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 83
3.1. The American Evangelical Tradition and the Authority of Scripture ... 85
3.2. Daniel Warren Kerr and the Early (Re)Turn to Evangelical Theological Method ... 88
3.3. Pentecostalism and Fundamentalism ... 104
3.3.1. American Fundamentalism ... 104
3.3.2. Pentecostalism and Fundamentalism ... 106
3.3.3. Dispensationalism and Pentecostal Hermeneutics ... 113
3.4. The Emergence of “Pentecostal Scholasticism” ... 116
3.4.1. P.C. Nelson’s Translation of Eric Lund’s Hermeneutics: Common Sense Grammatical Biblical Hermeneutics ... 118
3.4.2. Myer Pearlman: Organizing and Delineating Pentecostal Doctrine ... 121
3.5. Conclusion: The Early (Re)Turn to Evangelical Hermeneutics ... 130

4 The Contemporary Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 133
4.1. Contemporary Evangelical Theological Hermeneutics: The Penultimate Authority of Scripture ... 136
4.2. The Contemporary Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 141
4.2.1. The Hermeneutics of Inerrancy in the Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 142
4.2.2. The Author-Centered Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 148
4.2.3. Pneumatic Interpretation in the Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 157
4.2.4. David Bernard’s Apostolic Interpretation ... 165
4.3. Gordon Fee and the Debate over the Hermeneutics of Pentecostal Doctrines ... 167
4.3.1. Gordon Fee’s Hermeneutics and Pentecostal Theology ... 168
4.3.2. Luke as Theologian: Roger Stronstad, Robert Menzies and the Biblical Justifijication for the Distinctive Pentecostal Doctrines ... 177
4.3.3. The Signifijicance of the Debate ... 182
4.4. Conclusion: The Signifijicance of the Contemporary Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 182

5 The Contextual-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 185
5.1. Hans-Georg Gadamer and Contemporary Philosophical Hermeneutics ... 187
5.2. The Postmodern Contextual-Pentecostal Critique of the Evangelical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 190
5.3. Ethnic and Cultural Contexts and Pentecostal Theology ... 202
5.4. James K.A. Smith’s Creational Hermeneutic: An Incarnational Pentecostal Hermeneutic after the Linguistic Turn ... 204
5.4.1. Creation, Finitude and the Ubiquity of Interpretation: Smith’s Turn to Temporality, Situationality and Traditionality ... 209
5.4.2. Smith’s Creational Hermeneutic and Its Incarnational Strategy ... 215
5.4.3. Smith’s Creational Hermeneutic and Ethical Responsibility toward Authors ... 218
5.4.4. The Pentecostal Speech of the Christian Community ... 220
5.4.5. Smith’s Hermeneutic as a Contextual-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 223
5.5. John Christopher Thomas and Kenneth J. Archer: Narrative and Communitarian Approaches to Pentecostal Hermeneutics ... 224
5.5.1. John Christopher Thomas and the Role of Community in Biblical Hermeneutics ... 224
5.5.2. Kenneth J. Archer and the Making of Meaning in Pentecostal Communities ... 227
5.6. Amos Yong’s Trinitarian-Pneumatological Approach to Pentecostal Hermeneutics ... 232
5.6.1. Trinity, Epistemology, Metaphysics and Pneumatology ... 233
5.6.2. Discernment of Spirit(s) ... 238
5.6.3. The Trialectic Movement of Spirit-Word-Community ... 240
5.7. Conclusion: Evaluating the Development of the Contextual-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 247

6 The Ecumenical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 253
6.1. Classical Pentecostalism and Ecumenism: A Brief Historical Overview ... 255
6.2. Pioneering Toward an Ecumenical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 264
6.2.1. Ernest Swing Williams: A Mid-Twentieth Century Pentecostal Dialectician ... 264
6.2.2. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.: Ecumenism’s Pentecostal Advocate ... 272
6.2.3. Pentecostal Theological Hermeneutics in Ecumenical Dialogues ... 279
6.3. The Contemporary Ecumenical-Pentecostal Hermeneutic ... 292
6.3.1. Frank D. Macchia and the Expansion of the Boundaries of Spirit Baptism ... 293
6.3.2. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and the Development of Consensual Doctrines ... 300
6.3.3. Simon Chan’s Call for Pentecostal “Traditioning” ... 306
6.3.4. Koo Dong Yun and a Dialectical Approach to Baptism in the Spirit ... 308
6.4. Conclusion: Tradition, Systematic Theology and Pentecostalism ... 310

7 Toward a Hermeneutical Realism for Pentecostal Theological Hermeneutics ... 315
7.1. Theological Hermeneutics in the Classical Pentecostal Tradition: Summarizing a Typological Account ... 315
7.2. Toward a Hermeneutical Realism for Pentecostal Theological Hermeneutics ... 319
7.2.1. The Linguistic Turn and the Rejection of a Foundationalism of Indubitable Beliefs ... 320
7.2.2. Paradigms and Best Accounts of Our World ... 327
7.2.3. The Hermeneutic Responsibility toward the Real ... 342
7.2.4. Fides Quarens Intellectum: Faith and Theology ... 343
7.2.5. Meaning, Reality and Hermeneutic Responsibility ... 345
7.3. Resources (and Our Guide) for Pentecostal Theological Hermeneutics ... 354
7.3.1. The Spirit, Our Guide ... 355
7.3.2. Word ... 357
7.3.3. Creation and Culture ... 358
7.3.4. Tradition ... 360
7.4. Conclusion: Growing in Faith, Hope and Love ... 361

Bibliography ... 363
Index ... 377
All interested in the development of Pentecostal theologies and hermeneutics, and the philosophical assumptions related to their development, and anyone interested in interpretations of Pentecostal history.