Beyond Pentecostalism: The Crisis of Global Christianity and the Renewal of the Theological Agenda

Beyond Pentecostalism: The Crisis of Global Christianity and the Renewal of the Theological Agenda

Beyond Pentecostalism: The Crisis of Global Christianity and the Renewal of the Theological Agenda

Beyond Pentecostalism: The Crisis of Global Christianity and the Renewal of the Theological Agenda

Synopsis

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Christianity faces one of its greatest opportunities, as well as one of its greatest challenges -- the formulation of a global theology. In Beyond Pentecostalism Wolfgang Vondey argues that Pentecostal thought and praxis represent an indispensable catalyst for the realization of this task.

Accentuating Pentecostalism as a manifestation of what he calls the crisis of global Christianity, Vondey describes the elements of this crisis -- manifested chiefly in theology's turn toward a performance-oriented enterprise -- and suggests that the task of overcoming the crisis demands an integration of Pentecostalism in the global theological agenda. This task will inevitably push Christianity beyond the boundaries of the classical Pentecostal tradition. In fact, Vondey suggests, Pentecostalism itself is in the process of going beyond its own historical, theological, socio-cultural, and institutional boundaries. His ultimate goal is not a "pentecostalization" of Christianity but rather a renewal of the theological landscape in light of the significance of Pentecostal voices, thoughts, and practices worldwide.

Excerpt

Christianity at the beginning of the twenty-first century faces one of its greatest opportunities as well as one of its greatest challenges: the formulation of a global theology. of course, the articulation and explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ have always been globally oriented. in this sense, globalization is not a future goal but a perpetual context of theology. Broadly speaking, global theology is any theology that has an impact on the world beyond its own immediate context. It is not the opposite of “contextual theology” but rather its extension to the concerns and contexts of a global environment. Christianity exists in this perpetual transition from the local to the global, from the particular to the universal, and the task of theology changes as the theological enterprise is faced with the continuing emergence of new global voices. the chief question in the twentyfirst century, therefore, is not whether Christian theology can be global but what that global theology will look like. At the same time, the unique task of contemporary theology is to come to terms with the forms and content of global Christian thought and praxis as it arises from one particularity and engages a myriad of other voices arising from other and different contexts. the success of this task is challenged by widespread skepticism ranging from the fear of oppressive homogeneity to accusations of indiscriminate pluralism and universalism.

In this book I propose that Pentecostalism plays a crucial role in the articulation of the global theological task in the late modern world. Pentecostalism as a worldwide phenomenon unifies the theological enterprise and allows it to speak to the particularities of diverse contexts. How-

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