Renewing Christian Theology: Systematics for a Global Christianity

By Peterson, Cheryl | Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2016 | Go to article overview

Renewing Christian Theology: Systematics for a Global Christianity


Peterson, Cheryl, Anglican Theological Review


Renewing Christian Theology: Systematics for a Global Christianity By Amos Yong, with Jonathan A. Anderson. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2014. xxiv + 453 pp. $49.95 (paper).

The rise of Pentecostal and charismatic forms of Christianity is reshaping Christianity in the twenty-first century, especially in the global south. This truly landmark book is the first one-volume Pentecostal systematic theology to take into account not only this changing global context, but also the contributions of global and ecumenical theologians. At the same time, Amos Yong wagers that "the Christian theological tradition as a whole has something to gain from engaging especially with renewal voices and perspectives and may even be revitalized in such a discussion" (p. 12).

Yong uses the Statement of Faith from his tradition, the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, as the template for structuring his book, signaling his commitment to orthodoxy (p. 12). However, he treats the loci in reverse order, starting with eschatology and ending with the doctrine of scripture. Other theologians, such as Ted Peters, have proposed similar methodological moves, but have not structured their systematic theologies accordingly. To demonstrate the Pentecostal view that theology also must pay attention to orthopathy, artwork chosen by Jonathan Anderson is woven throughout the text "to engage readers visually in order to inspire imaginative thinking about and with the text" (p. xxiv).

Each chapter begins with a narrative reflection on a New Testament character, reflecting the oral tradition of global renewal spirituality. This is followed by a treatment of the locus in question, first in terms of the context of the Statement of Faith itself, and then in conversation with ecumenical theology as well as contemporary and global perspectives, raising both contextual considerations and contemporary challenges for global theology. Yong then provides a more in-depth scriptural foundation before offering a constructive restatement of the doctrine and suggested related praxis (orthopraxy). Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and a short bibliography. While acknowledging the importance of the historical-critical method, Yong shows a preference for the narrative method of reading, not only of scripture, but also of Christian doctrine.

Those familiar with Yongs corpus will recognize themes from his previous works woven throughout, such as the relationship between Christian theology and the natural sciences (in the chapter on creation and fall), a theology of disability (in the chapter on divine healing), and theology and world religions (in the chapter on the Trinity). …

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