Archive for the ‘Does Evangelicalism Have a Future’ Category

Praise, Pentecostalism, and the Political: Renewing the Public Square III

Monday, March 17th, 2014 by Amos Yong

publicMy two previous blogs on Pentecostalism and the political have approached this intersection through consideration of prayer and the prophetic. Even if a stretch, careful observers of the religious life know well that Christians are called to pray for their governments and political leaders even as there may be occasions for civil disobedience; what the scriptural tradition calls “prophetic resistance” in response to what happens in the polis. But if prayer and the prophetic might be tied in with the public square in this way, isn’t the activity of praise altogether only religious and without public or political consequences? What does the liturgical life of believing communities, especially Pentecostal ones with their extended singing, shouting, clapping, and dancing, have to do with the public area? Read the rest of this entry »

Revitalization-Reformation-Restoration: W(h)ither Global Renewal in a Post-Christendom World?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 by Amos Yong

Acts 2:1-4. When the day of Pentecost came. Pastel & pen. 26 May 2012.It has been said that, and many have wondered if, Pentecostalism and the charismatic renewal movements rely on an established Christianity – some would say “Christendom” – since historically both are believed to have fed off a languishing Protestantism (in the Euro-American West) and ritualized Catholicism (across Latin America). But in a post-Christendom context, w(h)ither renewal movements in so far as they may have little or nothing to renew in a globalizing, transnationalizing, and dynamic religious marketplace? With historic, established, and tradition forms of institutional Christianity on the wane (some critics aver), what is left for renewal movements to do? Read the rest of this entry »

The Renewal of the Political? The Holy Spirit and the Public Square

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 by Amos Yong

religion-politicsThe legacy of what historians now call “Christendom” certainly casts a long shadow in the ongoing discussion of Christianity and its relationship to the public square (by which I mean the all-inclusive spaces of the political, economic, social, civic, and international). Some commentators have certainly been, especially recently, very critical of the “Christendom” posture, and for good reason. When Christians have wielded political power, -going back to Christianity becoming the religion of the state in the post-Constantinian West, they became enmeshed in the politicking mechanisms of statecraft which focus mainly on worldly matters with little capacity to appreciate, much less account for, the spiritually important aspects of human life. The blurring of lines between church and state, with all of the difficult consequences that played out through the medieval, Reformation, and early modern periods, is testimony to how, even with the most sincere leaders in both domains, the commitments and priorities of church and state often pulled in contrary directions. This is not to say either that “Christendom” itself is irredeemable or that it cannot be managed more successfully under different circumstances. Certainly its achievements can be appreciated, as Oliver O’Donovan has so eloquently argued. It is to say that because the documents of the New Testament were written by those situated in very different political circumstances, it is difficult to clearly articulate a biblically-informed “political theology of Christendom.” Read the rest of this entry »

Evangelicals and Ethics: Renewing Evangelical Morality

Sunday, September 1st, 2013 by Amos Yong

person on arrow (3-way)Throughout my reflections so far, I have sought to think through the issues from a renewalist perspective informed by pentecostal and charismatic experience and spirituality. As I take up our topic today, however, such an approach does not seem to provide as many springboards into the discussion as it has heretofore. What difference does a renewalist set of commitments make for thinking about evangelical ethics and morality? Read the rest of this entry »

Living and Active: Renewing Evangelical Theologies of Scripture in the 21st-Century

Thursday, August 1st, 2013 by Amos Yong

biblical scholarsThere are at least two sides to this question about the relationship between evangelicalism and the modern study of scripture. On the one hand, how to navigate the fine line between historical-grammatical approaches and historical-critical perspectives? Most evangelicals are comfortable with the former while some are concerned about the latter because it leads to skepticism and presumes to undermine the authority of scripture. The posture of faith suggests that Christian readers and interpreters, no matter how learned, ought to approach the Bible in a submissive rather than critical stance. The historical-grammatical study of scripture is helpful for such servant-readings of the Bible since it helps the community of faith understand the world behind the text better, which in turn illuminates the world of the text by providing assistance in discerning an original intent of the scriptural authors. Thereby, readers are edified when they understand the biblical text in its original context. Read the rest of this entry »

Christian Witness in a Pluralistic World: Renewing Christian Faith

Monday, July 1st, 2013 by Amos Yong

faithThere is no doubt that Christian faith is exclusively in Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NRSV), and the apostles also declared, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jews might anticipate a messianic deliverer who will reunite the people of God with Yahweh, but they do not hold, as Christians do, that Jesus is that Messiah. Muslims respect Jesus as a prophet but both subordinate his message to that of Muhammad’s and do not understand his claim, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30), in a similar manner as Christians. In other words, Christians make unique and exclusive claims about Jesus as savior and revealer of the Father.

But Christians are not the only ones with unique and exclusive claims. In fact, all religious traditions, by virtue of the fact that they are what they are and not something else, have such claims. Some might even follow up on such claims with concomitant actions in ways that put Christians to shame. The apostle James agrees that, “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (2:17). Read the rest of this entry »