This question calls to mind the Chinese proverb, “When you drink the water, remember the source.” I find Chan’s insistence helpful as it prods us to foster a mutually empowering interface between the epistemic resources (e.g., the “pneumatological imagination”) that renewal theology generates towards the sciences, and how we might find these resources a priori generated via the ecclesial-shaped contexts of spiritual encounter and formation. In what follows, I shall briefly suggest three theological motifs I find beneficial towards fostering this interface.
The first motif is the classical idea of theology as referring to growth in godliness, or formation into Christ-likeness. I suggest we explore how we might frame the discipline of renewal theology within the classical domain of ascetical theology. Crucial here is the etymological nuance of ascetical spirituality, which conveys analogy to athletic training (askein, “to train”). In both Western and Eastern traditions, the concerns of ascetical spirituality and theology are thus spiritual exercises, disciplines, or practices engaged in order to foster one’s development on the way towards godliness. What is important to stress here is that from this ancient yet enduring perspective, the aim of theology is always salvific. The Eastern Orthodox tradition conveys this nuance via its characterizing of spiritual formation as one’s salvific journey towards theosis, union with God. Approaching renewal theology as an ascetic discipline or within the domain of ascetic theology may thus prompts us to ask, as least within the context of theological research, how might we also approach research methodologies and “disciplines” themselves as ascetical practices that foster our salvific journey?
The second motif I suggest is Reinhard Hütter’s construal of theological reflection (doctrina) as a pneumatologically generated, “core practice” of the Church. Hütter, who is formerly Lutheran but now Roman Catholic, builds this proposal on what Luther called “the seven principal parts of Christian sanctification.” He presents Luther’s thesis that through the practices of preaching, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church discipline, an ordained ministry, congregational worship, and “discipleship in suffering,” the Holy Spirit engages believers in a life-long sanctifying process. Hütter’s unique insight is to incorporate within Luther’s soteriological doctrine of church practices, the practice of theologizing.
Chan and Steven Studebaker have both respectively appropriated Hütter’s project to Pentecostal theology. Chan has focused primarily on Hütter’s conception of theology as a “core practice” of the Church, and how the Spirit actualizes sanctification through this and other “core practices” within the context of congregational life and worship. Following through with Chan’s stress on Pentecostal experience as a legitimate source for theologizing, Studebaker more pointedly argues that Hütter’s project helps provide a “pneumatological foundation” that substantiates “Pentecostal experience of the Spirit,” as a resource for funding “Pentecostal theology in general and Trinitarian theology in particular.” Yet beyond these nuances, what I am more closely appropriating towards funding the interface between the practice of renewal theologizing and the ecclesial-shaped reservoir from which this practice seminally receives its epistemic resources is Hütter’s stress on the soteriological telos of theologizing as a church practice. I find it important to note that Hütter built this theme on Eastern Orthodox understandings of the Holy Spirit’s salvific-economic mission towards creation through the church.
Therefore, a final motif I suggest helpful towards funding this crucial interface is the cosmological expansiveness of Eastern soteriology. More specifically, I am referring to the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of human salvation within the church as both proleptic and instrumental towards the saving of all creation. This trajectory thereby also frames the discipline of renewal theology within the more classical aim of theology as a salvific journey into the generative wisdom of God (sacra sapientia).
Let me briefly survey three implications emerging from this reflection. First, this broad trajectory suggests that renewal theology can bear ecumenical fruit in Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Christian traditions. In his comparative analysis between Eastern Orthodoxy and classical Pentecostalism, Edmund Rybarczyk suggests Pentecostalism as a “via media, between Orthodoxy and Protestantism” (at least with reference to similar anthropological construals), while noting that both traditions have historically disdained explorations into the natural sciences for “informing their respective epistemologies.” Renewal theology may well serve to foster this via media role. Renewal theology can moreover foster an awakening within both traditions towards their mutually relevant and timely coming of age as epistemological resources that can critically bridge 21st century challenges to human and planetary flourishing.
Second, we engage the disciplines of renewal theology as ascetical practices on behalf of all creation. What results is generative-emergent theological vision— seminally funded by human soteriological experience, conversely appreciated as a proleptic microcosm of God’s saving purpose and presence within and towards creation. Framing renewal theology within these three motifs, reminds us that what seminally generates the very best of renewal theologizing are via the Spirit’s sanctifying ministry within the church— epistemological resources emerging from our formation into godliness. Hence, we will always best practice renewal theology when knelt with thanksgiving before God (coram Deo).
I conclude with three questions that may elicit further inquiry into these soteriological motifs within the ongoing development of renewal theology. How might we appropriate this discussion towards a consistent renewing of not only ourselves but of the methodologies we use within renewal theology and studies, along with our identified disciplinary aims? This question is especially relevant given not only the increasing systemic nature of 21st century globalization, but its accompanying variable of exponentializing social-scientific contingencies. How might this proposed stress on the soteriological telos of renewal studies theology interface and fund ongoing conversations on eschatology, specifically towards the fostering of true prophetic hope in contrast to the aberrations of both apocalyptic nihilism and triumphalistic-fueled narcissism? And how might we retrieve eschatological themes of Pentecostal spirituality in their nascent forms (including nascent apocalyptic imagery), and the eschata-passioned psyche that has historically imbibed Pentecostals with a firm sense of historical destiny— as also epistemic resources for funding ongoing engagement with the expanding frontiers of human knowledge current pursued in the human and natural sciences?
 Simon Chan, “The Church and the Development of Doctrine,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 13, no.1 (2004): pp. 57-77 (p. 75).
 Reinhard Hütter, Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice, trans. by Doug Stott (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), pp. 129-130.
 Hütter, Suffering Divine Things, pp. 114-115, 133, 144, 189, 193.
 Chan, “The Church and the Development of Doctrine,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology, pp. 69, 72-73; Steven M. Studebaker, From Pentecostal to the Triune God: A Pentecostal Trinitarian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012), p. 38.
 Hütter, Suffering Divine Things, pp. 28, 95, 126, 133-137, 144, 193.
 Hütter, Suffering Divine Things, pp. 116-118, 124, 126, 144.
 Edmund J. Rybarczyk, Beyond Salvation: Eastern Orthodoxy and Classical Pentecostalism on Becoming Like Christ (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2004), pp. 329, 347.