Pentecostal Theology A Theology Of Encounter

Pentecostal Theology  A Theology Of Encounter

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Book Reviews / Pneuma 31 (2009) 291-329

Keith Warrington, Pentecostal Theology: A Theology of Encounter (London and New York: T & T Clark, 2008). 336 pp., $29.95, paper.

Warrington, now Director of Doctoral Studies at Regent Theological College, UK, where he has spent most of his career, has been teaching and writing on Pentecostal theology and biblical studies for more than twenty years. He has employed his years of research to amass an unprecedented survey of broadly Pentecostal scholarship and to survey global Pentecos- tal theology on the distinctive doctrines of Pentecostalism. To make the project manage- able, Warrington restricts himself to works written in English (the language of his intended readership) after 1990.

T ough Warrington denies that the work should be regarded as systematic theology, it largely follows the traditional systematic categories. Two opening chapters describe the two greatest challenges of surveying Pentecostal theology: its diverse nature and experiential emphasis. Chapter three covers the doctrine of God. Almost one-third of the book (over one hundred pages) is devoted to this chapter, with eighty pages devoted to pneumatology. Ecclesiology (Chapter four) includes discussion of church leadership and recent develop- ments in clergy education and ecumenism. Discussion of the Bible (Chapter fi ve) is appro- priately comprised of recent Pentecostal discussions of hermeneutics and especially narrative hermeneutics. Chapter six combines concerns over spirituality (prayer, sanctifi cation, and worship) with social ethics. The latter concern is largely constructive and dependent upon Pentecostal scholarship in the Majority world, refl ecting the author’s own scholarly com- mitments. Discussion of missiology (Chapter seven) addresses triumphalism and colonial- ism in a balanced way with a high regard for Pentecostal indigenous church principles. The author’s own concern for theodicy and suff ering are revealed in the survey and critique of various doctrines of healing (Chapter eight). Chapter nine surveys eschatology, highlight- ing especially the minority of Pentecostals who espouse something other than premillennial views.

For the Pentecostal scholar, the depth and breath of the research is invaluable. Concisely summarized reviews allow for quick reference and serve as a starting place for further research. At one point the footnotes overrun the text for some six pages, causing the book to function almost as an extended annotated bibliography. This brings me to my first cri- tique: the lack of a bibliography in the book. Trying to fi nd the initial notation and com- plete reference for an obscure article or unpublished dissertation becomes impossible within the sheer volume of references. The author’s personal website, included in the preface to the book, has a downloadable bibliography of Pentecostal scholarship of over one hundred pages. This bibliography is necessary to unlock the book’s research potential, its strongest aspect.

Readers will also need to be aware of the changing tone of each section of the book. Long expository sections are interspersed between introductory surveys of scholarship and the author’s constructive “Some Ways Forward” sections. Tese expository sections make it dificult to discern when Warrington is surveying Pentecostal scholarship or making his own constructive proposal. The exegetical work is presented as “Pentecostal belief,” often without scholarly references. This and Warrington’s extensive use of the passive voice make

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/027209609X12470371388164


Book Reviews / Pneuma 31 (2009) 291-329


the writing cumbersome in places. Notwithstanding these editorial concerns, I heartily recommend the book as a research tool for global Pentecostalism.

Reviewed by Jeremiah W.S. Gibbs


1 Comment

  • Reply January 17, 2024


    I trust the Lord to grant a revival when it is most needed! However, I think that we Pentecostals who see revival as the normative position for the Church are wrong. Revival comes when the Church needs it, and a revival like that of Azusa Street can kick those who are disposed to following Christ, to a new level of commitment. Once they have reached it, the need for revival is gone. Besides, the energy level that it takes to run a revival for even three years is exhausting! People get tired.

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