Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions

By Chandler, William T. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, March 2005 | Go to article overview

Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions


Chandler, William T., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions. By Amos Yong. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003, 205 pp., $17.99 paper.

Amos Yong, associate professor of Christian theology at Bethel College, joins a growing number of "evangelical" scholars (e.g. Clark Pinnock, Harold Netland, Millard Erickson, Terrance Tiessen, Vinoth Ramachandra, S. Mark Heim) who are contributing to the formulation of a Christian theology of religions. This work is both a revision and extension of a proposal first made by the author in his doctoral dissertation at Boston University (1998) under the supervision of Robert Cummings Neville. It also contains material that Yong has presented in several published articles.

Yong is convinced that evangelicals are at an impasse on this subject because previous theological proposals have assumed an exclusivist, inclusivist, or pluralist perspective concerning the salvation of non-Christians. The author, while committed personally to soteriological inclusivism, believes that a genuine theology of religions must move beyond issues that are strictly soteriological in nature towards adoption of a pneumatological perspective that will assist the church in discovering where the Holy Spirit works within the framework of non-Christian religious practices. This pneumatological approach "may open up new lines of dialogue and engagement with the religious other so that returning to the soteriological question later may mean returning to a different set of questions with a different framework" (p. 22).

Yong, as a Pentecostal theologian, not only affirms the comprehensive presence of the Holy Spirit in the world but also emphasizes the need for Christians to exercise proper discernment concerning the activity of the Spirit (or Spirits) in other faith traditions. While some Christians may receive the spiritual gift of discernment, the author believes that such discernment in the broadest sense should be understood as a "hermeneutics of life" that is "both a divine gift and human activity aimed at reading correctly the inner processes of all things-persons, institutions, events, rites, experiences, and so on" (p. 129). The author maintains that proper discernment is developed through three particular stages-the metaphysical, the biblical, and the theological and practical.

The theological framework for Yong's pneumatological model is guided by three controlling axioms. The first affirms that God is universally present and active in the Spirit (p. 44). This means one must investigate the ways the triune God is present in the cosmos, in nature, in human history, and human experience. It is the trinitarian framework of the pneumatological model that makes this theology of religions, according to Yong, distinctively Christian. The second axiom states that God's Spirit is the life-breath of the imago Dei in every human being and the presupposition of all human relationships and communities (p. 45). This means "all human engagements with the 'other'-whether that other be human others, the world, or the divine-are pneumatologically mediated." Human beings, therefore, think, communicate, and relate as "spirit-beings" whose "quest for ultimate reality" proceeds from being individuals-in-communities. In other words, religious quests occur within a communal context. The third axiom affirms that the religions of the world, like everything else that exists, are providentially sustained by the Spirit of God for divine purposes (p. 46). Yong dismisses the a priori assumption that religions other than Christianity are devoid of divine presence and activity. Even if the practices of many religions reflect human endeavor to reach the ultimate, these practices serve "divine purposes centered around the full revelation of Jesus Christ and the impending kingdom of God."

The author calls for the establishment of a foundational pneumatology in formulating a theology of religions. He does so in light of postmodernism's rejection of traditional Cartesian foundationalism, a move that Yong views as mostly positive. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.