Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Dabney, Lyle.

Second Advisor

Barnes, Michel R.

Third Advisor

Del Colle, Ralph

Abstract

This dissertation is a twofold argument that 1) existing pentecostal systematic theology can be interpreted according to four analytical categories and that 2) future pentecostal theological method should incorporate a form of lex orandi, lex credendi for the benefit of pentecostal theology and spirituality.

I analyze the theological methods of major past and present pentecostal systematic theologians and demonstrate that they have followed four basic patterns. First, Myer Pearlman, E. S. Williams, and French L. Arrington take the material for their theologies almost exclusively from the Bible. Second, Steven J. Land and Simon K. H. Chan center their theologies on the relationship between theology and spirituality. Third, Frank D. Macchia sets the whole of his theology against the background of the kingdom of God and pneumatology. Fourth, Amos Yong focuses his theology on philosophical and fundamental theology from a pneumatological perspective.

After analyzing and assessing the methodologies of these pentecostal theologians, I argue that future pentecostal theological method should incorporate a form of lex orandi, lex credendi that I call regula spiritualitatis, regula doctrinae , or, "the rule of spirituality and the rule of doctrine." This methodological principle utilizes the strengths from the above pentecostal theologians and asks pentecostals to give detailed consideration to the reciprocal relationship between Christian spirituality and doctrine in the process of theologizing. I recommend this methodological principle because it 1) exhibits the traditional pentecostal emphasis on both pneumatology and eschatology, 2) establishes a strong relationship between theology and spirituality, especially in the process of formulating doctrine, 3) is attentive to the hermeneutical matrix constituted by the worshipping communities in which pentecostal theologians are situated, and 4) gives a prominent place to biblical interpretation in systematic theology. I illustrate the contours of regula spiritualitatis, regula doctrinae with a case study of the Lord's supper that draws on three particular facets of pentecostal spirituality in order to construct a doctrine of the Lord's supper that critiques other facets of pentecostal spirituality.

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