Paul Tillich and Pentecostal Theology: Spiritual Presence and Spiritual Power

Paul Tillich and Pentecostal Theology: Spiritual Presence and Spiritual Power

Paul Tillich and Pentecostal Theology: Spiritual Presence and Spiritual Power

Paul Tillich and Pentecostal Theology: Spiritual Presence and Spiritual Power

Synopsis

Paul Tillich (1886-1965) is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. By bringing his thought together with the theology and practices of an important contemporary Christian movement, Pentecostalism, this volume provokes active, productive, critical, and creative dialogue with a broad range of theological topics. These essays stimulate robust conversation, engage on common ground regarding the work of the Holy Spirit, and offer significant insights into the universal concerns of Christian theology and Paul Tillich and his legacy.

Excerpt

All pre-faces to edited volumes appear to have two “faces,” two ways of prespeaking. One introduces readers to the story the editors want to tell about how the idea for the volume was conceived. This is a story they are eager to persuade readers to own as theirs, as if to bring the readers and authors to a shared moment of inspiration that appreciates the book’s thesis, argument, and goals. This story also serves to establish the need for their volume. the other “face” is an afterthought, a reinterpretation, a retrospective take, a retroactive examination by the editors of the various processes that worked to bring the book to completion. Usually, it is on this face of the discourse that the editors squeeze meanings out of random events, surprises, and unexpected turns that are inevitable when many scholars are brought together to work, individually and collectively, on a joint project. We want to tell both stories.

Paul Tillich (1886–1965) wrote a great deal about the Spiritual Presence, the immanent presence of the transcendental God amid history. Pentecostal theology accents the Holy Spirit as actively moving, working, and personally transforming human beings, institutions, and communities in the world. While resolutely Christ-centered in its piety, pentecostal theology has nevertheless been intuitively and consistently at work in the formulation of a pneumatological approach to the theological task as well as in the forging of a pneumatological theology focused on the work of the Holy Spirit. By doing so, pentecostal theologians have been major contributors to the articulation and elaboration of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit that has emerged in the last generation in the wider theological academy. So it appears pentecostal theology and Tillichian thought have common ground on which to engage one another and, in so doing, also expand the frontiers of pneumatological theology. Yet a critical conversation between pentecostal theology and the legacy of Tillich has not occurred in any significant way. Thus the need for this book.

On January 21, 2010, we exchanged emails on this shortcoming. Before the end of the day we had identified not only most of the potential contributors to a possible volume on Tillich and pentecostal theology, but also its possible signature character. We decided that the overall thrust of the volume would be around Tillich’s Systematic Theology, volume 3, and that his idea of the Spiritual . . .

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