PREVIEW: Pentecostal Manifestos Series

This summer, Eerdmans will be releasing three books in a new series entitled, “Pentecostal Manifestos”: Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy by James K. A. Smith (06/29/2010), Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God by Frank D. Macchia (07/29/2010), and Beyond Pentecostalism: The Crisis of Global Christianity and the Renewal of the Theological Agenda by Wolfgang Vondey (08/29/2010). If there is one thing you will hear me say again and again, it is that as Christians we must begin (and it is our present task) to rethink the way(s) in which we think and speak of God: I am wholly convinced that these three books will be a fantastic contribution to Pentecostal Theology—yes, there is such a thing, and these contributions are the evidence that P/pentecostals are seriously thinking about their place in the contemporary theological discourse.

Smith’s Thinking in Tongues, the shortest in the series at 184pp, will consider philosophical questions apropos “ontology, epistemology, aesthetics, language, science, and philosophy of religion” in light of the Pentecostal worldview.  In Justified in the Spirit, Macchia seeks to fill the gap between the “classically Protestant” and “traditionally Catholic” positions on justification from a pentecostal perspective, while attending to “the Christological, ecclesiological, social, and ecological implications of justification.” In Beyond Pentecostalism, Vondey contends that “Pentecostal thought and praxis represent an indispensable catalyst for the realization of [the task of formulating a global theology].” Vondey also suggests, “Pentecostalism itself is in the process of going beyond its own historical, theological, sociocultural, and institutional boundaries.” (Quotes are from above links, respectively.)

These three books will be a marvelous contribution to the field of Pentecostal Theology. Keep an eye on the site, as we will be reviewing these texts as they are released.


6 thoughts on “PREVIEW: Pentecostal Manifestos Series

  1. Stephen 18 May 2010 at 10:28 am Reply

    For more on Vondey’s book, see his (perhaps slightly older) outline of the book:

    In particular the move classical Pentecostalism to a global Pentecostalism really excites me, and Vondey seems to have a more expansive account of what Pentecostalism is and can be than does someone like Amos Yong, who is more focused on a distinctive Pentecostal identity – an emphasis that might be a mistake given that the Holy Spirit was poured out, as Vondey says, on Catholics and Methodists and Baptists and Muslims and Hindus rather than on Pentecostals qua Pentecostals.

    • Stephen 18 May 2010 at 10:29 am Reply

      That should be “from classical Pentecostalism.”

  2. Dave Mowers 18 May 2010 at 5:18 pm Reply

    Hey Stephen,

    Glad you found us here. Thanks for that helpful link – you’re right, that outline does look really interesting. I’m provoked by your comment on Yong (and one could put Dayton, Faupel and others there too) and the “quest for a distinctive Pentecostal identity.” I’ve often wondered what a distinctive Pentecostal identity looks like in the face of the Charismatic Renewal – or, bluntly, why one ought to be a classical Pentecostal instead of a charismatic Methodist. If Charismatics – of whatever mainline or Catholic stripe, share charismata or eschatology or whatever “central defining characteristic” with classical Pentecostals, is there really a distinctly classical Pentecostal identity? Further, should there be?

  3. brianfulthorp 19 May 2010 at 11:01 am Reply

    well, as I see it, the quest for a distinct pentecostal identity exists primarly within the scope of the Assemblies of God (at least in the US) – with the emphasis on Spirit Baptism and speaking in tongues above general spirit filled living. By “above,” I mean, the focus is on these things instead of the life these should lead to, if that makes sense.

    • Dave Mowers 19 May 2010 at 10:34 pm Reply

      Hey Brian, I think you’re right to suggest that a focus on spirit baptism over against sanctification exists in your average Pentecostal setting. I’m wondering, though, about increasing numbers of Pentecostal (and especially, it seems, Assemblies of God) churches which have bracketed their Pentecostal identity all together, in favor of something like a Willow Creek/church growth model for doing church. In these places, it seems as though an emphasis on spirit baptism is rather lacking. To me, that’s a significant problem in the other direction. How can we assert the goodness and necessity for experiences with the Holy Spirit without falling into either legalism/dogmatism about those experiences? That seems to be a question that Pentecostals have tried to figure out for some time – I’m not sure that they are done reckoning with that question.

      • brianfulthorp 20 May 2010 at 1:26 am

        some don’t want to reckcon with that question, least not in the AG. those are big questions many even in the AG aren’t sure how to answer. there has to be a way to teach about Spirit Baptism, without making it sound like if you don’t have it your somehow lesser (part of this may be from evangelical influence).

        As I see it, within the AG as an example, you have a spectrum of practice with regards to how pentecostal a congregation is (depending on the leadership) ranging from really over the top pentecostal, (waving their pentecostal flag), to you wouldn’t know it was a pentecostal congregation if you walked into it, it much like the typical non denom setting (bracket the identity), then there is the in between – part of this is the influence of evangelicalism in Pentecostal churches, most books read at AGTS are evangelical in focus, not pentecostal so not everyone leaves knowing how to think both about the Bible and Christian Theology both evangelically and pentecostally, usually only evangelically, so when the Spirit shows up at a service, not all AG pastors know what to do (either how to keep it going or calm it down).


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