Friday, May 04, 2018

Lively theology (is that an oxymoron?)

As noted previously, Pentecostals want to see the spirituality-theology divide be lively and interactive, which is definitely not the case in the modern Western theological tradition. Therefore, whatever use they make of the language of mysticism, it would have to fit within a framework that would allow for this kind of interaction. They would want to avoid both a scholasticizing tendency within theology (in which it is abstracted from the very realities of lived Christian experience) and a privatizing tendency within spirituality (in which it is fostered through techniques and patterns that improve focus and push consciousness toward interiority so as to find God already present in the soul). It is no wonder, then, that scholars have from time to time noted that Pentecostals fit better within a premodern worldview, for within contemporary issues and debates, they at times exude a particular kind of eccentricity; on many registers they are simply out of step with several currents in Western theology.—Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition, page 76

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