Types of Pentecostal Theology: Method, System, Spirit

Types of Pentecostal Theology: Method, System, Spirit

Types of Pentecostal Theology: Method, System, Spirit

Types of Pentecostal Theology: Method, System, Spirit


In the first critical study of the major theologians of pentecostalism, one of the fastest growing and most influential religious traditions in the world, Christopher A. Stephenson establishes four original categories to classify pentecostal theologians' methodologies in systematic/constructive theology. The four categories are based respectively on: the arrangement of biblical texts; the relationship between theology and Christian spirituality; doctrine concerning the kingdom of God; and pneumatology as a basis for philosophical and fundamental theology. Stephenson analyzes each methodological type and suggests a pentecostal theological method that builds on the strengths of each. He then offers his own, original contribution, arguing for a reciprocal relationship between pentecostal spirituality and doctrine that follows the pattern oflex orandi,lex credendi, and develops a doctrine of the Lord's supper as a demonstration of this reciprocal relationship.

Types of Pentecostal Theologyprovides critical insight into such fundamental issues as the relationship between theology and philosophy, the dynamic between scripture and tradition, and the similarities and differences between recent pentecostal theology and other currents in contemporary theology.


I have often heard and now understand that one never completes a book, but rather gives up on it. During this “giving up” process, I have incurred several debts. Lyle Dabney directed my PhD studies and first encouraged me to expand some of my previous work into a dissertation on pentecostal theology. Ralph Del Colle, Michel Barnes, and Philip J. Rossi, SJ, also gave insightful responses as members of my committee. Amos Yong served as the external reader and commuted to the defense. French Arrington, Simon Chan, Frank Macchia, and Amos Yong supplied detailed responses to my assessments of their theologies, all of which made this a better book. Simon Chan, Frank Macchia, and Amos Yong also graciously provided me with prepublication proofs of their monographs. (Writing about theologians who are still alive and well can be a risky affair!) E-mail exchanges with Grant Wacker, Douglas Jacobsen, and Russell P. Spittler over historical intricacies in chapter 1 were also helpful.

The librarians and staff of both the Raynor Memorial Libraries and the Pentecostal Resource Center assisted with many needs while I was researching and writing. They also proved themselves to be understanding co-workers. In addition, Lynn Anderson of Pearlman Memorial Library assisted with a special collections item that I desperately needed to view for chapter 1.

The Louisville Institute provided generous financial support during the last year of writing. Frederick L. Ware and other group participants in the Institute’s colloquium gave critical feedback to an overview of the book.

I am fortunate to work with a press and editors that realize the importance of maintaining the integrity of a PhD dissertation in the published form and devote an entire series to such works. (I am glad that I did not write those content footnotes for nothing!) Cynthia Read and Charlotte Steinhardt of Oxford University Press exhibited great professionalism and patience during the publication process, and Kimberly Rae Connor patiently answered more e-mails than I can count during the initial proposal to the Academy Series. John R. Fitzmier, executive director of the American . . .

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