Last fall, colleague Tim Senapatiratne and I published a response to J. Kameron Carter’s recent book Race: A Theological Account entitled “‘The Pentecostalization of the World’: Race, Theology and the Classical Pentecostal Tradition.” In the article, we take up Carter’s central argument, namely, that much of theology under modernity has suffered from what he terms “the theological problem of whiteness.” We agree with most of the broad sweep of Carter’s argument, and in so doing highlight three Pentecostal communities which, in their own specific ways, in some way transcend the problem of race (specifically the Azusa Street Community, the Church of God in Christ, and the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission). The article has recently been posted online in .pdf format here.
Here’s a clip:
As Carter reminds us, doing theology within one’s own context is first and
foremost a development of how one views the person of Jesus. Do contemporary white Pentecostals view Jesus as the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth whose life and death brings about the salvation of all peoples, Jewish and Gentile? Or have they conditioned themselves to worship a white, non-Jewish Jesus of American society to the point that their theology has become pseudotheological? It is imperative that white Pentecostals recover a vision of Jesus which embodies the Jewish identity of Jesus and which rejects the social structures that have worked to oppress those they claim to serve.