Posts Tagged ‘Renewal Studies’

Book Review by Andrew Williams: Scripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy

Monday, October 10th, 2016 by Enoch Charles

Mark J. Cartledge and A.J. Swoboda, eds., Scripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy. (London: Routledge, 2016). xi + 251 pp. Hardback, $149.95, ISBN: 9781472443274.

Contrary to common perception, a number of significant studies on Pentecostal and Charismatic liturgy and worship have already been completed. However, as the editors note, this study is unique in that the essays contained in this work focus on the nature of Pentecostal and Charismatic worship and liturgy from a theological viewpoint that provides both ‘breadth and depth’ (p. 3). Specifically, this volume focuses on liturgical rites and worshipping practices from historical, theological, and global perspectives.

The volume is organized into two main sections. The first section is comprised of four historical and three theological essays while the second section offers six global case studies. The thirteen chapters are written by a team of scholars that specialize in the field of Pentecostal and Charismatic studies. Therefore, Cartledge and Swoboda have gathered a group of qualified contributors on a wide range of issues including historical, constructive theological, and contemporary observed research that add to the current field of knowledge. The first four chapters cover various, relevant topics within Pentecostal and Charismatic worship and liturgy such as early Pentecostal preaching in North America (Leah Payne), parallelism between the Welsh and the Azusa Street revivals (Jennifer Miskov), classical Pentecostal liturgy (Aaron Friesen), and the emphasis on sung worship within Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity (Neil Hudson). Within the same section the attention shifts to constructive theological contributions of sung worship (Andy Lord), Pentecostal sacramentality and the altar (Wolfgang Vondey), and worshipping and living liturgically (Chris Green). The second section covers modern-day case studies spanning from North America (A.J. Swoboda), Europe (Anne Dyer), Kenya (Samuel Muindi), Myanmar (Denise Ross), Venezuela (Greg Burch), and Papua New Guinea (Sarita Gallagher). Each case study focuses on a particular topic within liturgy and worship that emerges from their own unique contexts.

Although scholars and students of Renewal studies might not look to purchase this volume for their personal library due to its high cost, they certainly should take time at some point to read its contents for two reasons in particular. First, the global case studies fulfill a great need in Renewal studies to move beyond European and North American contexts. This is a major strength of this volume, as it gives Western readers a window into how the majority of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians worship around the world and how their worship is shaping the global movement. Second, as Swoboda’s title suggests ‘God is doing something new’ in Pentecostal and Charismatic liturgy across the world, making this volume on the cutting edge of Renewal studies. Further, the frequent attention paid to the history of Pentecostalism as it relates to constructing Renewal theology makes this volume especially relevant to the field of scholarship. Nonetheless, in spite of these strengths and the overall robustness of the essays, I found myself wanting additional constructive theological contributions. Although I agree with the editors on the fact that the theological essays were informed by historical sources, the degree to which the contributors moved beyond them I believe warrants these three robust essays their own section within the volume, paired with at least one more contribution. The strength of the historical and contemporary research begs for additional theological constructions. However, this reproach notwithstanding, I believe this volume offers groundbreaking research postulating the necessity for Pentecostal and Charismatic contributions to worship and liturgical studies.

In my estimation, the editors were correct in saying that this work ‘complements and in some ways supplements what has gone before’ (p.10). Collectively, this volume pushes the borderline of knowledge and summons further investigation and evaluation. I highly recommend this edited collection for both scholars and students of Renewal studies, for it fills a gap in the existing scholarship by offering relevant and stimulating essays that open a new window into the world of global Pentecostal and Charismatic worship.

Andrew Ray Williams is a PhD Candidate at Bangor University, an ordained Foursquare pastor, and recent graduate of Regent University’s School of Divinity.

The Holy Spirit, Renewal, and Interdisciplinarity

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Wolfgang Vondey

ShowJacketThe idea of interdisciplinarity is widely debated among a number of disciplines. The recent study of renewal, understood in the broadest sense as the study of manifestations of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, has not yet defined itself in interdisciplinary terms. Publications with focus on the Holy Spirit and the Christian life, pentecostalism, charismatic movements and other realms of renewal that invite and engage interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, exist only in the early stages. Can we afford this neglect? If the question asked by Psalm 139, “Where can I go from your Spirit?” is: “nowhere,” does this not suggest that manifestations of the Spirit of God can be found potentially in all places of life? My answer, of course, is, yes! And yet, to say that the Spirit of God is present everywhere is far from saying that we encounter the Spirit everywhere. What then are potential directions for interdisciplinary study of renewal?

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Retrieving the Past, Forging the Future of Renewal Studies

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 by Dale M. Coulter

Here at Regent School of Divinity our aim is to cultivate a brand of scholarship that consciously interacts with or draws from issues related to the global pentecostal-charismatic movement. We call what we do Renewal studies because we are interested in exploring all dimensions of renewal as a historical, social scientific, and theological phenomenon.

To focus on renewal as a method does not limit us to the study of global pentecostalism because renewal encompasses a broad array of historical phenomena including populist movements, spirituality, periods of renaissance, etc. For more on renewal and what we do at the Regent School of Divinity, go here.

To that end, here are the latest explorations from our faculty. Read the rest of this entry »

Urban America, Getting Ready for A Great Awakening

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 by Antipas Harris

Today, many people reject religion because they do not see what they consider to be its advantage in the face of injustice, lack of peace, lack of love, etc. This past weekend, however, I was blessed to visit the Dream Center in California. This innovative ministry expresses multiple outreaches to redress urban ills of Los Angeles. During our tour of the facilities, a guide explained that prior to the Dream Center, over the span of a year that area experienced an average of one shooting per three minutes. Gangs, prostitution, violence and poverty dominated the area. In a little time after the founding of the Dream Center, however, crime in that area reduced more than 75%. The ministry gives more than a million pounds of food away each month. I had the privilege of traveling with the outreach team to the Huntington Hotel in the heart of the city for the purpose of giving food, praying with and talking to very low income residents. These are only a drop in the bucket of the many outreaches Matthew Barnett’s ministry has at the Dream Center.

Approximately, 16 years ago Pastor Barnett felt a call of God to “build up people and not a mega church.” In response to the call of God, he set his feet to the pavement. Now, sixteen years later, God has blessed Barnett’s church, Angelus Temple Four Square Church, with a monstrous facility and many outreach efforts to share the love of Christ to victims of urban evils– from prostitutes, to homelessness; from victims of the economic recession to Hollywood celebrities in search of filling the emptiness that money and fame can not fill (only Christ can!); from gang bangers to drug cartels; from young people to the elderly who are seeking to overcome addictions and pain. I have not seen ministry so massive and targeted on urban revitalization as Matthew Barnett’s unique Dream Center. Read the rest of this entry »

Education and Renewal

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris

Here at Regent University School of Divinity we study renewal and attempt to unpack its “dynamics.” As I continue to study the history of Christianity, I have noticed that the internal renewal of the human person and societal renewal have occurred during periods of educational renewal. What I mean by educational renewal is the development of new models and approaches to education that more effectively shape human beings and thus society as a whole.

At its best, it seems to me that the educational enterprise has a twofold purpose. First, it is a humanism because education attempts to make humans better human beings. In Christian terms, education is about discipleship through renewing the mind (Rom. 12:1-2) in which both educators and students seek to cooperate with the Spirit in the process of transformation. Second, education is a humanism because “transformed” students enter the world in order to bring change to societies in ways that promote the common good of humanity as a whole. Sometimes, we think of education primarily as a means to an end: a good paying job. And yet, for Christians, the job really was not the ultimate aim; instead, it was a means to the larger goal of pursuing one’s calling in life, a calling to change the world for Christ.

In this and the next blog entry, I want to survey the various points in the history of western Christianity in which renewal of educational models brought about positive renewal for humans and society. I think this is important to consider at this time in history because we are currently undergoing a change in educational models from on-campus delivery systems to online delivery systems. There is a question as to whether online education represents a genuine renewal that brings about positive change. The best way to ask this question is to consider how educational renewal happens.

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Renew Your Mind … And the Rest Will Follow!

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

Renewal is not easy to define. It is neither the “old” nor the “new” but the process of change that takes us from one to the other. Sometimes we understand what is “old” only when we are confronted with the “new.” Often we do not understand the full implications of the “new” until we find ourselves swallowed up in its grasp. Challenged by the differences between the old and the new, we are most surprised at our own position in the midst of the changes. These challenges are immense, because renewal knows no boundaries. Renewal has no exit!

It is not technological progress, scientific revolution, competitive market strategies, or human ingenuity that defines renewal. Any of these forces rarely transcend their own boundaries. Rather, it is the Spirit of God who drives the old to the new. To say this is not to reduce renewal to theology. On the contrary, to speak of renewal as a dynamic of the Holy Spirit is to acknowledge the presence and activity of God in all things. Renewal dynamics are found in all aspects of life and can be pursued from many different perspectives. In fact, different disciplines and forms of knowledge are necessary to approach an understanding of the dynamics involved in the renewal of humankind, the world, and the cosmos. Theologians, scientists, physicians, lawyers, politicians, economists, environmentalists, psychotherapists, philosophers, linguists, astronomers, historians, musicians, and others are needed to speak in any comprehensive fashion about renewal. What we do then, in a sense, is the intellectual pursuit of renewal. You may call it “renewal studies.” At the heart of this pursuit stands the realization that an understanding of renewal is limited only by the boundaries we place on it. The pursuit of renewal begins with an investigation of ourselves. It follows the dictum: renew your mind … and the rest will follow! The question is: Are we prepared to deal with the changes?