Pentecostal Theology (New Book)

There is a new systematic Pentecostal Theology out – it’s by systematic theologian Wolfgang Vondey Professor at Regent University and also UK Birmingham.

pentecostal theologyHere is what my friend Monte has to say about it:

It is explicitly identified as a systematic theology book. Yet not in a traditional structure, and to be sure, Vondey does not strive to touch all normally identified areas of a single volume systematic theology. Let me briefly describe what he covers, and why.

After the Introduction and Chapter 1 titled “Prolegomena to Pentecostal Doctrine,” the next five chapters (“Part 1: “Full Gospel Story”) Present a theological exposition of the Pentecostal Fivefold Gospel:
Ch. 2, “Saved: Meeting Jesus at the Altar”
Ch. 3, “Sanctified: Participating in the Life of God”
Ch. 4, “Baptized: Transformed by the Holy Spirit”
Ch. 5, “Healed: Manifesting Signs and Wonders”
Ch. 6, “Commissioned: Enacting the Coming Kingdom.”
Then in Part 2 (“Full Gospel Theology”) Vondey appropriates the five Christological motifs of the Full Gospel, to the theological construction of five selected theological foci.
Chapter 7: Creation: Spirit, Redemption, and Cosmology
Chapter 8: Humanity: Divine Image, Human Agency, and Theological Anthropology
Chapter 9: Society: Civilization, the Common Good, and Cultural Theory
Chapter 10: Church: Mission, Movement, and Ecclesiology
Chapter 11: God: Pentecost, Altar, and Doxology
Conclusion: Living the Full Gospel

Hence, each of these five chapters comprises five sections, each section examining one the respective foci through the prism of one of the Christological motifs. For example, following is how this approach works out in Chapter 7 (“Creation”):
1. “Creation as the economy of salvation”: Christ as Saviour
2. “Creation as the materialization of sanctification”: Christ as Sanctifier
3. “Creation baptized in the Spirit”: Christ as Spirit baptizer
4. “Divine Healing and the fullness of Redemption: Christ as Healer
5. “Creation and the renewal of the cosmos”: Christ as Coming King
Vondey’s greater purpose is to suggest a theological method for constructing systematic theology; namely, a method retrieved from the historical repository of Pentecostal spirituality and its theological tradition. Incidentally, when you glean through Vondey’s footnotes, you will discover that the majority of his sources are, Pentecostal theological sources. While the book clearly demonstrates ecumenical cognizance and aims, he has intentionally retrieved most of his sources from within Pentecostal scholarship, in order to demonstrate the theological maturation of contemporary Pentecostal scholarship. So, in this book, Vondey has not attempted a full-blown one-volume systematic theology. Rather, his main attempt, as I understand it, is to suggest a methodology to build on.

Let me close by suggesting how his suggested method be utilized, if we were to go further with its implications. Recall that Chapter 11 presents a theology of God (“God: Pentecostal, Altar, and Doxology”) Vondey does so through the same methodology; hence the chapter also comprises five sections:
1. God who saves
2. God who sanctifies
3. God who Spirit baptizes
4. God who heals
5. God who reigns
Therefore, we can just as well appropriate the Pentecostal Christological motifs to a more explicit exposition of God as Triune: God/Son/Holy Spirit who saves, sanctifies, Spirit baptize, heals, and reigns. We can explore how the Fivefold Gospel can shape any given doctrine or theological issue. For example, note how this method was, in fact, earlier suggested in the John Christopher Thomas’s edited volume, Towards a Pentecostal Ecclesiology:
1. Church as Saving Community
2. Church as Sanctifying Community
3. Church as Empowering Community
4. Church as Healing Community
5. Church as Missionary Community

To conclude, let’s revisit Chapter 11’s title: “God: Pentecost, Altar, and Doxology.” Translating the Pentecostal Christological motifs as verbal descriptions of the triune God— thus sermonically shapes the chapter. So functioning like an “afterglow,” the Conclusion proper is just beautiful. It is particularly beautiful through its final suggestion that the whole book’s thrust leads to one important implication: “Pentecostal theology is at heart a liturgical theology” (p. 281). By doing so, I suppose, the book closes with a challenge or rather invitation towards a newly emerging and promising foray within Pentecostal studies; namely, the constructing of Pentecostal liturgical theologies, or Pentecostal theologies of liturgy. This invitation, of course, should recall to mind Hollenweger’s insightful yet not so often well-known thesis (from his book, The Pentecostals) that: “The main contribution of Pentecostalism to world Christianity is not, as often and wrongly assumed, pneumatology. Rather, it is, liturgy.”

(shared with permission from here).

A Fresh new Pentecostal Systematic Theology is really needed so it is great to see this put out….

Blessings,

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