ACADEMIA

Reviews on Resources for Biblical and Theological Studies

Bauman. Pentecostals, Proselytization… OUP 2015

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Apr• 12•16

9780190202095Bauman, Chad. Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India. 1 edition. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-19-020210-1. Pages: ix+208

Bauman starts with the observation that the Pentecostals and Evangelical Pentecostals (or “Pentecostalized Evangelicals”) are disproportionately targeted by the Hindutva forces. Out of the 223 reported incidents of attacks on Indian Christians in 2007, the media mentioned the names of the denominations in 147 cases. Out of the 147 cases, Bauman found out that only 9% were attacks against Catholics, 4% against were other non-Catholic denominations. The Pentecostals and Pentecostal Evangelicals were the victims in the remaining cases (87%).
Bauman in his research tries to answer this question “Why?” Bauman presents his case in five chapters. In chapter 1 he takes up the question of who are India’s Pentecostals—their history and definitions. In chapter 2 he places Pentecostalism in India in the context of India’s politics and history. In chapter 3, he talks about the disproportionate attacks. In chapter 4 he turns to the debates about conversion in India. Chapter 5 is titled “Missions and Pentecostalization of Indian Christianity.”
He does agree with the most common observation that the particular beliefs, practices and the evangelistic zeal of the Pentecostals are the main reason for them being the targets of anti-Christian attacks. But he is not satisfied with this popular notion. His thorough study has led him to conclude that the anti-Pentecostal attitude of mainline Christians and also the caste dynamics are also part of the story. The marginalization of Pentecostals by mainstream Christian denominations make them more vulnerable to attacks than other Christian groups.
This is indeed a quite an authoritative study. Bauman has covered a considerable amount of literature written on the history of Indian Christianity, debates on conversion and the issue of caste. On the top of these, he has done remarkable in-depth field research that involved extensive travel in India.

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Martin. Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Preaching (2015)

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Jul• 20•15

Martin, Lee Roy (ed.). Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Preaching. Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2015. Pages: 297. ISBN: 9781935931416

The century-old Pentecostal movement has depended on preaching by men and women to carry its message. Its claim of being biblical in content and spirit-filled in delivery is not adequately explored by the academic world. This collection of essays explores various aspects of Pentecostal preaching by authors from various strands of Pentecostalism, gender and nationalities.
Out of the 14 essays, three deals with the role of women in preaching. Unlike many other Christian movements, women had claimed a considerable space with men in Pentecostal preaching. One of the three essays deals with Afro-American women in preaching.
A good number of essays are theological reflections on Pentecostal preaching. The role of the Holy Spirit is another theme that is explored.
Pentecostal preaching has a liberative dimenion especially in the Latin American context. One essay deals with this aspect of Pentecostal preaching. The role that technology plays in Pentecostal preaching is also been studied. Finally, a Pentecostal response to emerging homiletics adds further value to this volume.
A book of this sort is an essential part of any discussion on Christian preaching as the Pentecostal movement commands considerable following in this century.

Yong. Dialogical Spirit, 2014

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Jun• 17•15
Yong, Amos. The Dialogical Spirit: Christian Reason and Theological Method in the Third Millennium. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2014. ISBN: 9781625645647; pages: 336.

978157625645647

In response to the post-foundationalist turn, the author is suggesting ‘shifting foundations,’ that, while acknowledging the plurality of ‘starting points’ within the dialogical spectrum, he claims that, it will further justify the ‘particularity’ of faith articulations to ascertain ‘universal applicability.’ He turns to Donald L. Gelpi’s use Charles Sanders Pierce’s triadic pragmatism and Richard Rorty’s interpretations – sans his agnostic outlook–to overcome the binary limitation of foundationalism and relativism that makes it possible for him to articulate a Pentecostal-Charismatic faith and practice, within the shifting foundations. He goes on to engage McClendon and Veli-Matti Karkkainen and Radical Orthodoxy to show the fecund possibility of intra-Christian and interfaith dialogues from a robust ‘international’ Pentecostal theological framework, in the post-Christendom context. Within the post-secular milieu, the author engages the Tibetan Buddhist interlocutors and John Polkinghorne to suggest a viable, dialogically driven, Trinitarian theological methodology with a pneumatological thrust.

The final chapter grapples with the postmodern challenges and the burden on Christian theologians to approach pervading religious pluralism and obligatory interfaith encounters. He evaluates the dual-religious affiliation of Francis Clooney and further clarifies it through Andre Drooger’s ‘methodoloical ludism’ which enables human beings to assume an alternative identity while suspending another aspect of identity and also at times to engage both simultaneously. He claims that such ‘ludic stance’ would make possible for a a pneumatological theological method, facilitating dialogue partners across all religious, socio-cultural and political boundaries.

Overall the book is a highly stimulating reading as it attacks the factors that attempts to shrink ‘faith spaces’ and suggests relevant alternatives, all the while staying true to the ‘orthodoxy and orthopraxy’ of one’s faith articulations. The pertinent questions that the author has grappled with will stay on, and hence an engagement with these are a prerequisite for any serious theologian. This book will definitely help in that venture.

— David Muthukumar, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.

Robeck. The Cambridge Companion to Pentecostalism, CUP, 2014

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Mar• 27•15

Robeck, Cecil M., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Pentecostalism. Cambridge Companions to Religion. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

9780521188388This volume of the Cambridge Companion is on Pentecostalism, one of the most dominant movements in Christian history. This collection of essays is divided into three parts: historical, regional and disciplinary perspectives.
The first essay in the first section by Cecil M. Robeck is on historiographical approaches to the study of Pentecostalism. He surveys the different approaches to the pentecostal historiography labelled as, ‘providential approach’, ‘genetic approach’ ‘multi-cultural approach’, and ‘functional approach.’
In his historical survey ‘Charismatic Renewal and Neo-Pentecostalism’ McClymond argues that the ‘big-bang’ theory of global Pentecostalism must be avoided. He argues that twentieth century global Pentecostalism must be imagined as ‘a String of Firecrackers.’ He thus rejects a euro-centric approach. He also warns that like any other renewal movement Pentecostalism may also lose its vigour over the years.
David A. Reed’s article (‘Then and Now: The Many faces of Global Oneness Pentecostalism’) is on the Oneness Pentecostalism, which is often disregarded in mainline Pentecostal discussions. This provides a useful summary of the theological foundations of Oneness Pentecostalism, its global appeal and its history.
The second part consisting of five essays deals with regional issues. They are not all historical surveys but focussed on specific issues that Pentecostalism faces in different regions. A wide spectrum of regions are covered: North America, Europe and former Soviet Union, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. None of these are comprehensive treatment of all issues or concerns in the scope of essays.
The most important part of this book is the third part dealing with disciplinary perspectives. In fact the essays in this section deals with the state of scholarship on various aspects of Pentecostalism. These essays cover politics, culture, sociology, spirituality, theology, ecumenism, religions.
Calvin L. Smith (‘The Politics and the Economics of Pentecostalism: A Global Survey’) sketches Pentecostal engagement with politics. This ranges from Pentecostal individuals who rose to power to become heads of state to the indirect impact of Pentecostalism on politics and economy in various parts of the world.
Andre Droogers (‘The Cultural Dimension of Pentecostalism’) defines culture as the human effort to bring meaning to reality. With this wider definition he examines the cultural dimensions of Pentecostalism.
Michael Wilkinson’s article (‘Sociological Narratives and Sociology of Pentecostalism’) is a study of the sociological approaches to Pentecostalism. In this essay we meet significant authors and methodologies used in the sociology of Pentecostalism.
The essay on Pentecostal spirituality by Daniel E. Albrecht and Evan B. Howard as well the one on Pentecostal Theology by Mark J. Cartledge are significant contributions in the respective areas.
Wolfgang Vondey in ‘Pentecostalism and Ecumenism’ explores the various ways that Pentecostals approach interdenominational cooperation. In the process Vondey also highlights the ‘ecumenical impulses’ among the early Pentecostals and present state of its engagement with the ecumenical movement. He also presents a theological assessment of Pentecostal approaches to the nature, purpose and unity of Christians.
In ‘Pentecostal Mission and Encounter with Religions’ Veli-Matti Karkkainen, gives a survey of Pentecostal missiologies from the very beginning to the current developments. He also deals with how contemporary Pentecostals struggle with the issue of religious pluralism and the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. He specifically focusses on the pioneering works of Amos Yong and Samuel Solivan in this regard.
Pentecostalism is around just over a century but academic study of Pentecostalism hasn’t reached its half century mark yet. However, this is a vibrant discipline within the study of religion, theology, history, sociology, etc. No Christian movement may have received such academic attention from within and without (other disciplines). It is so vibrant that the editor of the book admits that, ‘… much of what appears in this book is practically dated even as it comes off the press’! The essays in this book summarizes studies on a movement, which is widespread over many disciplines, many languages and regions. So, here in this volume we have a snapshot of Pentecostalism as an academic discipline. This is indeed an essential beginner for the academic study of Pentecostalism.