Recovering The Wesleyan Vision Of Pentecostalism

Recovering The Wesleyan Vision Of Pentecostalism

Click to join the conversation with over 500,000 Pentecostal believers and scholars

Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected



| PentecostalTheology.com

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

Recovering the Wesleyan Vision of Pentecostalism: 5 Theses

SPSPresidential Address 2018

Dale M. Coulter

Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia [email protected]

This is an ambitious article. I offer five theses that I hope will address three broad issues at once: 1) the debate within the historiography of global Pente- costalism over multiple centers; 2) the discussions over the nature of a pen- tecostal approach to theology; 3) the historical divide into diverse branches (Oneness, Wesleyan, Finished Work). Reflected in the title of my address, the overarching claim is simple, even though its particulars require five theses. Succinctly put: Global Pentecostalism expands the Wesleyan vision to renew church and society by espousing a dissenting piety that prioritizes divine grace within a via salutiswhereby persons are increasingly caught up into God’s lov- ing presence through Christ in the Spirit so that they might be sent out in mission for God. I intentionally say Wesleyan to describe a vision that origi- nated with John Wesley but developed into a spiritual tradition now forming a particular branch of Protestantism. To assert that Pentecostals are Wesleyan is to claim that they belong to a stream that retains the foundational elements of Wesley’s theological commitments while expanding their boundaries. This claim has nothing to do with later holiness debates over the eradication or sup- pression of inbred sin. Instead, it is to place Pentecostalism within a tradition whose borders continue to expand.

To exemplify what I mean, Wesley remained a constitutional monarchist who sought to preserve British political order even as he developed a view of salvation and a structure that maximized lay participation.1 This tension

1 See Theodore R. Weber, Politics in the Order of Salvation: New Directions in Wesleyan Political

Ethics (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2001), 31–32; Gregory R. Coates, Politics Strangely Warmed:

Political Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015), 1–22. Both argue

that Wesley remained a constitutional monarchist and thus committed to basic Tory values,

although he was not slavishly tied to them.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2018 | doi:10.1163/15700747-04004005

1

458

coulter

in Wesley’s life ultimately facilitated the disestablishment of Methodism in the British Empire, which was first embodied in the constitution of the newly formed United States and came to include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Consequently, part of the Wesleyan vision Pentecostalism inherited involved a formof disestablishment Protestantism,and thereforePentecostalismretained a strong inclination to dissent, wedding political and religious dissent from establishment Christianity to the prophetic proclamation of Pentecost. The resistance among Pentecostals to formal religion or formal religious expression is a species of resistance to establishment Christianity, as Dayton’s “embour- geoisement” thesis suggested of holiness within Methodism.2

Historically, Pentecostalism is an outworking of the Wesleyan vision for English-speaking Christianity as it assimilated and developed continental pie- tism in the context of nineteenth-century nonconformist or radical evangelical Protestantism.3 Its missionary thrust fuses the fires of nonconformity to the fires of Pentecost because the Protestant missionary movement in the early nineteenth century was largely driven by nonconformists who utilized the international networks of the British Empire to engage in mission. Indeed, Pen- tecost and nonconformity flowed together. The Spirit’s intoxicating and sancti- fying presence encouraged a suspicion of social and political realities dictated by the establishment, whether “establishment” was defined as state-sponsored or culturally hegemonist Christianity. This is one reason Pentecostals have thrived in and contributed to the folk cultures of societies while resisting establishment forms of Christianity as “worldly.” Examples in the movement abound, such as Blind Willie Johnson’s sanctified blues, Arizona Dranes’s bar- relhouse/boogie woogie/ragtime piano style, Elvis Presley’s and Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s cross-over music, and Hillsong’s fusion of pop and worship. Pente- costals expanded the Wesleyan vision as a nonconformist, folk-driven form of spiritual existence stemming from emerging democracies and enabling the demosto retain their own cultural forms of existence.

Regardless of geography, the so-called global centers of the movement are in reality places that assimilated and transmitted a broad Wesleyan vision. One can see this clearly in the revival at the Mukti Mission (1905–1906) in India, which was preceded by Pandita Ramabai’s transition to Methodism in

2 Donald Dayton, “The Embourgeoisement of a Vision: Lament of a Radical Evangelical,”Other

Side23, no. 8 (1987): 19.

3 One should differentiate nonconformity of the “old dissent,” which included Baptists, Presby-

terians, Quakers, Puritan Congregationalists, and Independents from the “new dissent” of the

nineteenth century, which largely came from Methodism. See John H.Y. Briggs, “The Chang-

ing Landscape of Nonconformity, 1662–2000,”inTheT&TClarkCompaniontoNonconformity,

ed. Robert Pope (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 3–26.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

2

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

459

the 1880s. Although she had been baptized as an Anglican in 1883, her time in the United States from 1886 to 1888 had exposed her to Frances Willard and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She joined the WCTU and sought to implement it in India, which exposed her even more to dissenting and independent forms of Protestantism.4 By the time of Ramabai’s second trip to the United States in January 1898, her daughter Manoramabai had for- mally joined the Methodist Church and Ramabai had invited Minnie Abrams, who had been a Methodist “deaconess-missionary,” to help administrate the Mukti Mission in her absence. Pandita enrolled Manoramabai in A.M. Chesbor- ough Academy, which had been established by Wesleyan Methodist founder B.T. Roberts. Thus, Ramabai wanted her daughter to drink deeply from the dis- senting wells of radical holiness.5This completed a theological break with the High Church Anglicanism into which she had first been baptized, although she continued to receive Anglican missionaries at Mukti in the early 1900s.6It is no mistake that when the revival broke out at the Mukti Mission over the course of 1905, Minnie Abrams and Pandita Ramabai interpreted it through a Wesleyan lens in which reports of joy preceding a baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire accompanied reports of conversions. The revival at Mukti was a fusion of the evangelical emphasis on conversion at the Welsh Revival and a deeper work of the Spirit found in radical holiness circles (Keswick and Wesleyan). Both Ram- abai and Abrams initially interpreted this deeper work almost exclusively in terms of perfect love filling all.7 The interpretation of Spirit baptism at Mukti fell along Wesleyan lines.

4 See Edith L. Blumhofer, “‘From India’s Coral Strand’: Pandita Ramabai and U.S. Support for

Foreign Missions,” inThe Foreign Missionary Enterprise at Home: Explorations in North Ameri-

can Cultural History, edited by Daniel H. Bays and Grant Wacker (Tuscaloosa: University of

Alabama Press, 2003), 152–170. Blumhofer notes that Ramabai’s spiritual pilgrimage went

from Anglo-Catholicism to radical holiness.

5 Anderson dates Ramabai’s turn to radical Evangelicalism after her 1894 spiritual experience of

a “blessing of the Holy Spirit”; however, he omits all of the previous Methodist connections

and the correspondence in the 1880s. See Allan Anderson, Spreading Fires: The Missionary

Nature of Early Pentecostalism(Maryknoll,NY: Orbis, 2007), 77–79.

6 This break is clearly illustrated in the exchange of letters between Ramabai and several mem-

bers of the Anglican order, the Community of St. Mary the Virgin. See A.B. Shah, ed., The

Letters and Correspondence of Pandita Ramabai (Bombay: Maharashtra State Board of Liter-

ature and Culture, 1977).

7 Abrams only mentioned tongues in a second edition of herBaptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire,

which was published after the serialized version in late 1906. See Gary B. McGee, Miracles,

Missions, & American Pentecostalism(Maryknoll: Orbis, 2010), 134–135. For her part, Ramabai

said that “love, perfect divine love, is the only and most necessary sign of the baptism of the

Holy Spirit.”Mukti Prayer Bell (Kedgaon, September 1907): 11 as quoted in Robert Eric Fryken-

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

3

460

coulter

In these five theses, then, I hope to unpack this Wesleyan vision as a spiritual tradition distinct from other forms of Protestantism and within which Pente- costals should place themselves. I formulate these theses about Christianity in general as a way of unpacking how this vision understands Christian existence.

1 Christianity as a Storied Way

Thesis: Christianity is a storied way that unfolds as a journey through time in which believers participate in the divine drama of salvation.

From Wesley’s sermon “The Way of Salvation” to the southern U.S. holiness periodical The Way of Faith, and the founding of Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Bishop Smallwood E. Williams, among others, Wesleyans and Pentecostals have understood Christian existence in terms of a partici- patory sojourn through time.8 Christian conversion and vocation unfold as a sanctifying and empowering task within the way of faith. From this perspec- tive, construing conversion in terms of a logical sequence—an ordo salutis— whereby the person receives the entire work of grace all at once in a trans- forming moment misunderstands the divine pedagogy at work in Scripture. Pentecostals share with their ancient and medieval predecessors the view that God adapts salvation to the human condition, healing and elevating humans as they wage warfare in their journey to Beulah land. The story of God unfolds over the course of an entire human life analogous to the outworking of God’s story over the course of history.

To construe Christianity as a “storied way” involves three overlapping ele- ments: the divine drama expressed in the economy of salvation; the church’s proclamation of this drama in and through its life; and finally, the work of God in the person, catching him or her up into the drama “from the first dawning of grace in the soul till it is consummated in glory.”9 Christianity is a storied way because, as Balthasar argued, it is a theo-drama, the oikonomia of God,

berg, Christianity in India: From Beginnings to the Present (Oxford: Oxford University Press,

2008), 408–409.

8 John Wesley, “The Scripture Way of Salvation (1765),” inThe Works of John Wesley, vol. 2: Ser-

mons 34–70, ed. Albert C. Outler (Nashville,TN: Abingdon, 1985). Published out of Columbia,

South Carolina until 1931,TheWayof Faithwas begun by L.L. Pickett in 1890 and then edited by

the Canadian J.M. Pike off and on from the mid-1890s through the early 1920s. On the forma-

tion of Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ Worldwide, see Estrelda Alexander, Black

Fire: One Hundred Years of African American Pentecostalism (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2011),

227–229.

9 Wesley, “The Scripture Way of Salvation,” 156.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

4

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

461

worked out in time and proclaimed through the church’s worship in which the Spirit forms individuals into Christ as they become part of this drama.10 This approach recovers the inculturation of the euangelion into English as the gód-spell, the “good story” that enchants and captivates its listeners.11 While Scripture is the inspired recapitulation of this theo-drama in literary form, the drama itself is the outworking in history of divine action. We see this drama in five overlapping stories: the story of creation, the story of Israel, the story of Jesus, the story of the Spirit, and the story of the new heavens and earth.12 Pentecostal testimonies flow out of the theo-drama proclaimed in the church’s witness and back into the theo-drama to become part of that witness.

Through participation in the biblical narrative reenacted in the church’s worship, believers progress as pilgrims and strangers on their way to an escha- tological home. The emphasis on holiness means that the eschatological home is less a place and more a condition so that the journey of ascent to God is a journey into the self. As Augustine notes, “one approaches God by likeness not through intervals in space.”13 Put differently, heaven is a state of existence approximating God’s own eternal life that believers put on as they become clothed in incorruption and immortal life. Utilizing images from the age of mobility, Pentecostals theologized about Christian existence in terms of this journey. Songs like “I Feel Like Traveling On” or Rosetta Tharpe’s “This Train,” which describes salvation as a clean train we get on in Jesus’s name, placed the Pentecostal on the path of the pilgrim who launches out in faith, while songs such as “Heaven’s Jubilee” took them to a liminal, eschatological space as they sang “seems that now I almost see all the sainted dead / rising for that jubilee that is just ahead.” Through its worship, the church recapitulated the narrative of Scripture so that the saint of God became part of the endless throng march- ing to Zion.

The emphasis on a storied way impacted the structure of worship. Within Pentecostalism, worship was a dynamic movement into the presence of God.

10

11

12

13

Hans Urs van Balthasar,Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory, 5 vols., trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1988–1998). Balthasar constructs the five vol- umes as a five-act play with the plot (vol. 1), the players in the drama (vols. 2–3), the rising action (vol. 4), and the final act (vol. 5). The world functions as the stage.

Ælfric of Eynsham, Homilies of Ælfric, ed. John Collins Pope (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967), 357.

Like Balthasar, Wright has a five-act model although it is quite different. For Wright, there are four complete acts (creation, fall, Israel, Jesus), with the fifth act being worked out by believers. The writing of the New Testament marks the first scene of the fifth act. See N.T.Wright,The NewTestament and the People of God, vol. 1:Christian Origins and the Ques- tion of God (Minneapolis,MN: Fortress Press, 1992), 139–143.

Augustine, De trinitate7.12.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

5

462

coulter

On the one hand, as Dan Albrecht argued, this procession of the people of God occurs through the three primary rites of praise in song, preaching, and approaching the altar. On the other hand, these three rites mimetically recapit- ulate the divine drama in time.14Sincemimesiscaptures modeling an image or icon through imitation and repetition, New Testament texts employ it in disci- pleship contexts to reinforce moral transformation (1Cor 4:16; 11:1; Eph 5:1; Phil 3:17; 1Thess 1:6; 2:14; 2Thess 3:7, 9; Heb 6:12; 13:7).15 Imitation (mimesis) is an artistic endeavor in which the apprentice forms her craft through a model or image. It speaks to how Paul understood what it meant to “put on Christ” after baptism, especially if Dunn is correct in claiming that there is an allusion to an actor taking on a character in a drama.16Baptism takes one up into a drama so that the believer begins to play the part of Christ by imitating the lives of others even as she imitates Christ. For this reason, Paul proclaims “be an imita- tor (mimētai) of me as I imitate Christ” (1Cor 11:1). Together believers play their roles through gifts modeled upon Christ and enacted in the Spirit, but these roles take on their full meaning within the context of the theo-drama that the church’s worship models, imitates, and repeats.

While the theo-drama covers the entire course of history from creation to consummation, in and through the figural or spiritual understanding of the text, the church summarizes and repeats this drama as she is “caught up in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev 1:10). Figural interpretation stems from the quest for a unity to Scripture that reflects the one God revealed in the theo- drama. There is ataxisto history that reflects the internal structure of God. The theo-drama is this structure embodied in the church’s worship. Moreover, it is the entire liturgical procession, not simply one rite within it, that illuminates the mimetic enactment of the way of salvation. Praise breaks,coritos, washing of the saints’ feet, watch-night services, Jericho marches, and other liturgical elements reinforce the idea of the people of God renewing the covenant in worship as they march into the victory of God’s presence and power. They are reenacting the story of God by placing themselves within that narrative. Thus, the church participates in the divine drama as she experiences Christ anew in the power of the Spirit through her worship in works of piety and works of mercy.

14

15

16

See Daniel E. Albrecht, Rites in the Spirit: A Ritual Approach to Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality(Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 152.

On mimesis, see Arne Melberg, Theories of Mimesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

James D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998), 194.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

6

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

463

Within this liturgical enactment, the act of remembering(anamnēsis) places the reordering of personal identity against the larger horizon of the theo- drama.The Pauline and Lukan inclusion of the dominical injunction to “do this in remembrance (anamnēsin) of me” points toward participation in the Lord’s Supper as a boundary-crossing event wherein the past becomes present reality to renew the believer’s identity.17Given that Paul embeds this event within the charismatic structure of the church, the entire experience of worship makes the past a present reality to enable the body to continue its sojourn as the people of God drink from the spiritual rock that is Christ through the Spirit’s gifts (1Cor 10:1–3). There is a fusion between the past suffering of the cruci- fied Christ who descends into death and the present reign of the risen Lord that both grounds the personal identity of the believer and the corporate iden- tity of the church, thereby opening up an eschatological horizon.18The Lord’s Supper is a charismatic event, a place of encounter. Closely connected was the pentecostal practice of preaching in which biblical stories became present realities in order to place the hearers within the biblical text so that its story informs and changes their stories.19This is one reason why Pentecostals implic- itly operate with a figural or allegorical approach to scriptural interpretation. The spiritual interpretation of the text involves an intertextual approach that opens up the possibility of presence as Christ, the bread of heaven becomes spiritual food and drink through whom the living waters of the Spirit flow forth.

A second implication of this fusion of the theo-drama with the church’s wor- ship relates to the nature of theology.Theological discourse is first and foremost narrative in orientation so that the theological task is to offer a testimony to the theo-drama and the God who stands behind history.20Theology is both perfor- mative and poetic. It is performative because, as Vanhoozer argues, the “proper end of the drama of doctrine is wisdom: lived knowledge, a performance of the truth.”21Wisdom (sapientia) stems from the fusion of knowledge and prac-

17

18 19

20

21

See Antony Thiselton,The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Greek Testa- ment Commentary (Grand Rapids,MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 878–882.

Thiselton, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 880.

Steven J. Land,Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom(Sheffield: Sheffield Aca- demic Press, 1993), 71–81, 98; Albrecht, Rites in the Spirit, 163–165.

As an example, see Archer’s use of pentecostal story as a hermeneutical filter. Kenneth Archer, A Pentecostal Hermeneutic for the Twenty-First Century: Spirit, Scripture and Com- munity(London: T & T Clark, 2004), 94–126.

Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005), 21. Vanhoozer builds his own approach in conversation with Balthasar and Lindbeck. He uses the model of drama

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

7

464

coulter

tice, orthodoxy and orthopraxy. It is poetic, however, because it operates in the ancient genre of the epic in which the poet, like a minstrel, harmonizes the structure of the theo-drama and song under the weight of divine glory.22 Ulti- mately grounded in the incarnate Son’s joining of time and eternity, the poetic occurs through a fusion of the historical and the mythical that parallels the figural meaning as a richer interpretive context for the literal meaning. Testi- mony holds together the performative and the poetic as the theologian seeks to embody the truth and lift it up in song. One finds this in the Wesleyan and pentecostal use of hymns to retell the story of God.

Theology as narrative also means that the theologian is always caught up in the story, weaving together transformative spiritual encounters with the tradi- tion of the church. Early Pentecostals followed their Wesleyan counterparts in doing theology through spiritual cartography of the soul and salvation, which moves between knowledge of self and knowledge of God. Autobiography and memoir became mechanisms by which to offer one’s own narrative as a guide to the path home. This approach picks up on the early Christian insistence that the four Gospels were the “memoirs” of the apostles, containing within them apostolic testimony and memory to Jesus.23The testimony of John the Elder to “thatwhichwehaveseen”(1John1:1)becomesapostolicmemoryintheGospels, and thus the earliest Christian way of doing theology was passing along mem- ory in narrative. It was narrative catechesis. Ultimately, apostolic memory was preserved in both the inspired witness of Scripture and in the regula fidei as the précis of the story of God found in a more expansive form within Scrip- ture. The testimony of the theologian flows from the theo-drama embodied in the church’s worship even as it seeks to clarify the acts of God within that drama in light of the theologian’s own encounters with and embodiment of the truth.

22

23

to argue for a canonical-linguistic approach over against Lindbeck’s cultural-linguistic turn so as to recover biblical authority.

See Clement of Alexandria’s depiction of the Word as the minstrel whose song created the harmony of creation and will re-create that harmony in salvation. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 1, trans. G.W. Butterworth, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: MA: Harvard University Press, 1919), 3–27.

Justin Martyr employs the longer phrase “memoirs of the apostles” (apomnēmoneumata tōn apostolōn) or the shorter “memoirs” to describe the four Gospels (Dial. 100.4; 101.3; 102.5; 103.6;1 Apol. 66.3; 67.3). He is most likely drawing on Papias of Hierapolis, who uses the verbs mnēmoneuō and apomnēmoneuō to describe Mark’s Gospel as a collection of all that Peter “remembered” of the sayings and deeds of Jesus. For Papias, see Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History3.39.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

8

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

465

In its broadest sense, salvation is aviathat theviator must traverse by being caught up in the theo-drama with the communion of the saints. By progressing through the Spirit’s various modalities of grace (prevenient, justifying, sanc- tifying, charismatic) that place the person within the biblical narrative, the believer moves “in the Spirit” from the outer court to the holy of holies or from Egypt to the Promised Land.24 One might refer to this as a transitus so that the crisis-process dialectic of conversion proceeds through moments of pas- sage (crossing the Red Sea or Jordan) requiring tarrying in prayer as the person struggles to journey on. Put differently, “the point of Pentecostal spirituality … was to experience life as part of a biblical drama of participation in God’s his- tory.”25Thus, the church’s liturgical enactment of the drama of salvation as an extendedanamnēsis(an act of remembering and making present) corresponds to the believer’s being taken up into the larger horizon of the biblical story. Pen- tecostal worship embodies the layering effect of recapitulating the theo-drama in the worship of the church so that the believer may share his or her testimony of transformation even while being caught up in the drama and beholding the Lord of glory. It is a storied way.

2 Christianity as a Gospel Way

Thesis: Christianity is a gospel way to full union with God through the mul- tiple modalities of God’s grace.

In The Spirit and the Bride, George Floyd Taylor argued that there were numerous operations of the Spirit at work in the Christian life. Symbols for the Spirit in Scripture, such as oil and dove, underscored these diverse operations, which Taylor described as striving, regenerating, sanctifying, witnessing, teach- ing, anointing, and baptizing.26 Taylor understood grace primarily to be the Spirit’s activity within the believer, or what he called “all the operative graces of the Spirit.” The full gospel for Taylor was the full union between Christ and the believer as the believer is taken up into and becomes part of the bride through the Spirit’s diverse operations.There is a similar concern to describe grace com- ing in different modes behind Urshan’s and Haywood’s insistence that believers

24

25 26

See J.H. King, From Passover to Pentecost, 5th ed. (Franklin Springs,GA: LifeSprings, 2004); Donald Dayton,TheTheological Roots of Pentecostalism(Peabody,MA: Hendrickson, 1987), 23–24.

Land, Pentecostal Spirituality, 74–75.

G.F. Taylor, The Spirit and the Bride: A Spiritual Presentation of the Operations, Manifesta- tions, Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit in Relation to the Bride(Dunn,NC: n. p., 1907), 15–38.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

9

466

coulter

must move from repentance and belief in Jesus to the new birth or from the kingdom of heaven to the kingdom of God.27 These distinctions of modes of grace connect to the so-called fivefold or fourfold gospel insofar as the procla- mation of Jesus as savior, sanctifier, Spirit baptizer, healer, and coming king gestures toward the different operations of the Spirit.

What is important here is not the structure of a fourfold or fivefold gospel, but that gospel fullness comes through the multiple ways in which grace flows into the soul, enabling the person to become part of the bride and participate in the life of God. Testimonies to such “definite works” of grace (“I’m saved, sanctified, and filled with the Spirit”) take their logic from the underlying sup- position that grace never comes at all once, but gradually adapts itself to the human condition as part of the pedagogical outworking of the theo-drama in the believer. Prevenient grace, regenerating grace, justifying grace, sancti- fying grace, healing grace, and charismatic grace describe different operations of the Spirit within the soul that bring about spiritual growth and maturity. To view grace in this way is to prioritize the Pauline connection between charis- mataandenergēmatain 1Corinthians 12:4, 6.The gifts of grace are the energetic operations (energēmata) of the Spirit, prompting Paul elsewhere to say that “I struggle with all the energy with which he so powerfully energizes me” (Col 1:29; my translation). Grace is the Spirit’s activity within the soul. Given this frame- work, distinctions between Finished Work and Wesleyan camps concern not the modes of grace but their effect in the life of the believer. The full gospel is a gospel way in which all of the modes of grace facilitate a deep and abiding union with the bridegroom.

Wesley and Fletcher had argued that the purpose of these different modes of grace was ultimately renewing the image of God through liberating the will and forming Christ within. This approach allowed both to maintain the prior- ity of grace while also claiming the necessity of human cooperation. Synergism required that grace come in various modes, giving rise to stages of faith over the course of a believer’s life and into the next. In agreement with Gregory of Nyssa, the holiness evangelist George Watson argued that even the saints in heaven continue to grow in wisdom, knowledge, and love.28 The gospel way

27

28

See Daniel L. Segraves, Andrew D. Urshan: A Spiritual Biography (Wilmore, KY: Emeth Press, 2017), 217–228.

George Watson, White Robes, or Garments of Salvation (Boston: The Christian Witness Company, 1883), 85. Contrasting the purification of entire sanctification with growth,Wat- son states that “growth is never finished in this life, and so far as we know, all holy creatures will progress forever in love, knowledge, and power.” On Gregory of Nyssa’s notion of per- petual progress (epektasis) to the infinite, see Lucas Francisco Mateo-Seco, “EPEKTASIS”

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

10

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

467

was a perpetual ascent into the presence of the infinite God through the ongo- ing embodiment of divine glory. The primary task for the believer was to learn to flow with the Spirit in order to form Christ within. Thus, Wesley’s perfecting perfection came to be viewed as part of a continuous progress in the gospel way in this life and the next.

While grace as the Spirit’s own energizing presence fueled the ascent, it also facilitated cooperation through a dialectic of presence and absence. The Chris- tian life unfolded in a tension between a conscious sense of divine presence and a loss of such awareness, giving rise to cries of absence and abandonment. Sometimes grace resulted in an irresistible moment whereby the person came under the power, stumbling drunk with new wine toward the altar, while at other times, grace withdrew into the recesses of the soul, forcing the saint to battle the darkness that enveloped her. For early Pentecostals, spiritual conflict was marked by this ongoing tension between grace as presence and absence. In Phoebe Palmer’s words, it was a struggle to lay one’s all on the altar in an act of consecration that the pentecostal fire might fall.

One can read numerous testimonies to the struggle with the absence of the Spirit’s sanctifying, Spirit-baptizing (charismatic), or healing grace even as Pen- tecostals rejoiced when this grace flooded their conscious mind.Wesleyans and Pentecostals saw synergism as operating within this dialectic of presence and absence.This was the purpose of the practice of tarrying, which entailed a state of stillness and movement, a bellicose repose in which the person struggled in prayer while waiting upon the Lord.The entire Christian life was one of cooper- ation, an ascetic struggle between presence and absence as grace crashed upon the conscious mind, opening up the passage to cross over, only to crest and then recede back into the soul’s depths, requiring a deeper engagement in the prac- tices of holy living.

By now it should be clear that the gospel way was supported by a chris- tological and a pneumatological foundation that underscored various modes of grace and how grace functioned in a synergistic framework. Much like the seven sacraments in the Middle Ages, each mode of grace reflects the work of Christ exemplified in the gospel structure and an operation of the Spirit. Entering the life of all humans at the moment of conception, prevenient grace embodied the Spirit’s application of the atonement as sin-offering for the guilt of original sin, opening up the possibilities of conscience becoming conformed to the moral life found in the seeds of the Logos woven into the rationality

in The Brill Dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa, ed. Lucas Francisco Mateo-Seco and Giulio Maspera, trans. Seth Cherney (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 263–268.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

11

468

coulter

of human existence. As Augustine noted when reading Cicero’s exhortation to philosophy, his heart burned for wisdom, which was in reality a burning for the eternal Wisdom that is the Logos.29 Regenerating grace spoke to the atoning work of Christ in delivering humans from the slave market by the reorientation of desire so that they may become sons and daughters of God. In the theology of Julian of Norwich, it is the suffering Christ who becomes the plague victim liberating humans who had been caught up in the ravishments of sin’s black death that they might drink the waters of new life.30 Building on this work, in sanctifying grace the Spirit applies the conquest of Christ over the law of sin and death to construct the virtues of ordered affectivity and facilitate the per- fection and power of his resurrection. For Irenaeus of Lyons, the martyrdom of the seemingly powerless slave girl Blandina symbolized the conquering Christ who would not allow the desires of his own flesh to become a weapon, but instead overcame “sin in the flesh,” thereby becoming the faithful witness.31 In healing grace, the Spirit offered the stricken body of Christ as cure for the human body because in the cross Christ became the medicine of eternal life. As the crowning work of grace, Spirit baptism was the promise of the Father that the exaltation and glorification of his Son would now flow through his human nature to the church so that charismatic grace turns each human body and the whole body of Christ into a holy habitation that radiates divine glory in word and deed. What we begin to see is that the Spirit’s operations embody the var- ious metaphors Scripture employs to describe the work of Christ (sin-offering, redemption, conquest, liberation, healing, and glorification). The Spirit reca- pitulates the work of Christ in the person through the modalities of grace, and yet this perfecting process continues as an infinite movement to the infinite that parallels the movement in worship.

To see salvation in terms of the full communication of grace in its various modes was also to view the gospel way as enabling humans ultimately to share God’s own life. This approach was formally expressed in bridal language and bridal mysticism by Seymour, Cashwell, and Taylor, as well as by the title of

29

30

31

Augustine,Confessions3.4.7. Augustine states, “This book changed my emotions (affectum meum), and reoriented my prayers to you, O Lord. It made my impulses of will and desires (vota ac desideria mea) different” (my translation).

Julian of Norwich,Showings, trans. and intro. Edmund Colledge,OSAand James Walsh,SJ, Classics of Western Spirituality (Mahwah,NJ: Paulist Press, 1978).

I concur with John Behr’s assessment that Blandina, as an icon of Christ, so closely resem- bles Irenaeus’s theology that he may have indeed been the author of the letter from the martyrs of Lyons that Eusebius of Caesarea preserves. See John Behr, Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity(New York: Oxford, 2013), 201–202.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

12

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

469

G.T. Hayword’s first hymnal, The Bridegroom Songs.32 After noting a lack of direct evidence in Scripture that God imputes the righteousness of Christ to any, Seymour claimed that the work of Christ unfolded in five ways: guilt is removed through his death, bodies are rendered immortal through his resur- rection, souls receive the capacity for and the seed of spiritual life, persons are reconciled to God, and humans participate in the divine nature.33 The point of this entire movement was full union with Christ in the Spirit and member- ship among the bride. It was to be taken up into God’s dispensations, the divine theo-drama worked out in time.

The shaping of personal identity through participation in the way of faith is ultimately the meaning behind deification. Paul’s insistence that “we are God’s workmanship” (poiēma) (Eph 2:10) draws implicitly on Isaiah’s image of God as potter shaping human existence (Isa 29:16). New creation is the refashioning of human existence. Its counter is theopoieō/theopoiēsis, a being fashioned into god-likeness through a movement from the glory of the image to its renewal in glorification.34 While early Pentecostals did not employ the language of deification, they insisted that divine life was pouring forth in concrete encoun- ters with God to form human persons. The continuous use of the language of anointing underscored the need to flow with the Spirit’s energetic presence and power and the way that power altered human existence. Indeed, when Sey- mour claimed that “divine love, which is charity” constitutes the real evidence of Spirit baptism, he was affirming the continuity in the modes of grace that transformed the soul into the bride of Christ at all levels.35 Tongues speech for its own sake led to free-lovism, a promiscuous emotive eroticism devoid of genuine affective transformation and thus genuine union. One finds some- thing similar in Minnie Abrams’s Wesleyan insistence on love as the mark of Spirit baptism. The power for service in Spirit baptism flowed from the contin-

32

33

34

35

On the use of bridal imagery, see Dale M. Coulter, “The Spirit and the Bride Revisited: Pen- tecostalism, Renewal, and the Sense of History,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 21, no. 2 (2012): 298–319.

William Seymour, Doctrines and Disciplines Minister’s Manual (1918), in Gastón Espinosa, William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism: A Biography & Documentary History(Durham,NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 239.

While there are several terms for deification, Clement of Alexandria introduces the verb theopoieō that Athanasius employs as the noun theopoiēsis. On the development of the doctrine of deification, see Norman Russell,The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patris- tic Tradition(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

William Seymour, “Questions Answered,” AF (October–January 1908): 2, in Espinosa, William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism, 195; see also Seymour, Doc- trines and Disciplines, part 2, in Espinosa, William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism, 297–298.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

13

470

coulter

uous outpouring of love by which the Spirit outfits the soul for mission. For this reason, as Frank Macchia’s Baptized in the Spirit argued, Spirit baptism must remain part of a larger tapestry, and any effort to use tongues to cut it out of that tapestry is a denial of the very nature of the gospel to facilitate new cre- ation.36Such a change of the whole person speaks to an ontology of salvation, a reforging of the human person into a holy habitation. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen is correct in his claim that materially “full gospel” means the same as catholicity, a wholeness and completeness unpacked in the christological and pneumato- logical foundation of salvation.37Christianity is a gospel way.

3 Christianity as a Revival Way

Thesis: Christianity is a revival way that heals and elevates believers through the reordering of the affections in a crisis-process dynamic.

Following Wesley, pentecostal and Wesleyan scholars have argued that the reordering of the affections are central to salvation. The ontological change in salvation stems from the Spirit’s orthopathic work because affections unite body and soul. Grounded in the modalities of grace, affective reorientation occurs through a crisis-process dynamic fueled by the church’s doxological participation in the missio dei. The change wrought forms spiritual senses in the soul, opening up the vision of God and reinforcing the body-soul unity of human existence. For Pentecostals, the revival service was the locus in which this dynamic unfolded. Historically, revivals were forms of covenant renewal, embodied encounters designed to address nominal Christianity outside the confines of the institutional church. Within the crisis-process dialectic facil- itated by covenant renewal, there was an attempt to hold together the evan- gelical and catholic impulses of Christianity. Christianity is a revival way in which evangelical encounters reorient the affections and give rise to a process of ascetic struggle, the purpose of which is to forge spiritual senses and restore the integrity of the human person.

The emphasis on affective reorientation through love reveals a fundamen- tal Augustinian impulse. In the patristic psychology Augustine inherited, there

36

37

Frank Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006); see also David Perry, Spirit Baptism: The Pentecostal Experience in The- ological Focus(Leiden: Brill, 2017).

Veli-MattiKärkkäinen,“ThePentecostalUnderstandingof Mission,”inPentecostalMission and Global Christianity, ed. Wonsuk Ma, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, and J. Kwabena Asamoah- Gyadu, Regnum Edinburgh Centenary Series 20 (Eugene,OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014), 35.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

14

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

471

was a fluidity between will and emotion and desire (affections).38 Desire marked the basic orientation that comprised the will and, along with other internal movements of body and soul, gave rise to human action. To act in the world as a whole person was to coordinate these internal movements with a proximate end in view. Taken together, these proximate ends pointed the per- son toward beatitude as a final end. Thus to embrace the good life was to tease out the final telos embedded within desire itself. By paying attention to love’s knowledge one could orient oneself to thisteloseven if, in Augustine’s view, the arrow of love would always fall short, absent the Spirit’s intoxicating touch.

Springing forth from the basic impulse of love, the affections connected movements of thought in the imagination and reason with bodily appetites, thereby forging a unity between body and soul. Behind all psychological and physiological movements was the fundamental orientation of the human per- son toward the good (its love), an implication taken from the doctrine of cre- ation and the soul being both patterned upon the divine Logos and breathed upon by the divine Spirit. All of the movements of human person took their cue from the movements of the Son and the Spirit from the Father within the trini- tarian being of God. Thus, God designed human existence to be biased toward the beauty of holiness exemplified in the internal harmony of triune life, even though human freedom left open the possibility that this bias could be turned away from God and toward creation itself.

With this analysis of existence, the doctrine of creation ex nihilo under- scored the radical contingency of the created order, thereby preserving the fundamental integrity of creation and the triune nature. To be created through a movement from nonbeing to being meant that creation is always subject to dissolution, a disintegration into its original state. Rational creatures experi- ence contingency as existential condition. In Kierkegaard’s terms, there is an anxiety to the structure of rational existence arising out of the tension between the freedom that opens up the possibility of transcendence and the reality that creatures cannot hold their lives together.39 Augustine argued that fallen exis- tence broke this tension, resulting in a continuous collision of fear and desire

38

39

See Dale M. Coulter, “Introduction: The Language of Affectivity and the Christian Life,” in The Spirit, the Affections, and Christian Tradition, ed. Dale M. Coulter and Amos Yong (South Bend,IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2016), 7–15.

Søren Kierkegaard,The Concept of Anxiety, ed. and trans. Reidar Thomte in collaboration with Allan B. Anderson (Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980). As Thomte notes in the introduction, Kierkegaard’s view corresponds closely to what Paul Tillich would later develop in that anxiety is an awareness of the self as finite and thus is an ontological condition of the self.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

15

472

coulter

from which the person could not escape.40 To sustain shalom, the integrity of body and soul required the continuous ordering of the whole self toward God. This was expressed biblically in the establishment of covenant and anthro- pologically in the basic impulse of love. The Garden of Eden begins human existence within covenant and relationship as the mechanisms to preserve the integrity of shalom. The structure of love internal to God’s triune movement from the Father through the Son in the Spirit formed and sustained the origi- nal internal harmony among psychological and physiological movements. Only by being caught up in and united to God could humans maintain their funda- mental integrity and transcend their original creation.

Within this basic Augustinian framework, the fall represented a turn away from God and toward created being. Such a turn involved the idolizing of cre- ation as capable of sustaining its own being rather than having its being sus- tained by the eternal God. It is to conflate the temporal with the eternal, which is the basis for all forms of idolatry. The moment humans turned away from the absolute integrity of the triune God toward the multiplicity of created goods, they lost psychological and physiological integrity. Human beings became cor- rupt where corruption means decay and dissolution. They succumbed to the fragmentation of time, resulting in their own fragmentation. Such corruption become embodied in a hunger for created goods coupled with a fear of losing them that perpetuated the cycle of slavery to sinful existence.

Drawing on the Pauline notion that creation must be delivered from corrup- tion (Rom 8:21), Athanasius claimed that the turn away from God was in fact a turn back toward nonbeing since no creature could hold together its own exis- tence.41As the sign of this descent, the decay and corruption of body and soul revealed itself in the fragmentation of the person. Psychological movements cease to function harmoniously even as the body itself broke down under the grip of physical death. Because of the unity of body and soul, the loss of bod- ily integrity corresponded to the loss of psychological integrity. The emergence of the passions, those uncontrollable explosions of emotion and desire due to fragmented existence, resulted. In other words, the disordered desires that Paul identifies with the flesh as the locus of sinful activity in Romans means that humans share in the decay and corruption of a broken creation and thus that “the law of sin and death” is at work in the whole human person. The Spirit prompts a cry from the depths, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24). If corruption and mortality are key aspects of sinful existence, the

40 41

Augustine, De libero arbitrio1.4.9–1.5.12; 1.11.22. Athanasius,On the Incarnation4.1–6.10.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

16

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

473

reorientationof theaffectionsmarkstheinitialstagesof immortalityandincor- ruption, a change in the very being of the person. The turn back toward God was a return to the ground of stability, yet such a turn could not be made with- out a turn in the affections. The centrality of emotion and desire to this shift meant that the restoration of the image of God required a reorientation of the affections back toward God through the Spirit’s intoxicating presence.

There are several implications of this Augustinian impulse for Wesleyans and Pentecostals. First, as the debate between Collins and Maddox illustrated, Wesley taught that the restoration of the image was the re-formation of the per- son facilitated by transforming encounters, which for Pentecostals occurred in the doxological atmosphere of revival.42 This was how Wesley held together the evangelical impulse of the Moravians with the catholic impulse from the Caroline Divines and through them the Greek patristic tradition. In German Pietism, the new birth is the birth of Christ in the soul so that the soul takes on a Christomorphism. The initial movement of faith is the birth of Christ and the birth of Christ is the initial movement of faith because such a movement marks the initial christological form of the affections. This movement occurred in a moment of crisis that Zinzendorff likened unto the woman with the issue of blood lurching out into the darkness to embrace the Christ who embodied the promise of deliverance.43 Fiducia, the ecstatic movement of trust, was a movement of emotion and desire, inaugurated by the Spirit and completed by the human will as the person came to rest in the promise of healing found in Christ alone. This is what Pentecostals and Wesleyans saw happening in the midst of the revival fires of worship. The Spirit ignited the affections and the person moved outside of herself to embrace Christ. The ascent outside the self and into Christ was simultaneously the descent of Christ into the self that paralleled the incarnation in the womb of Mary. Yet, it occurred as the Spirit hovered over the soul and the power of the Most High came upon the person, giving the affections a Christiform shape so that new birth became possible. The descent/ascent motif corresponded to a chaos/order or a formless/form motif.

42

43

Maddox has emphasized salvation as a viaand thus the process, while Collins has under- scored the notion of encounter withinWesley. See Randy Maddox,Responsible Grace: John Wesley’s Practical Theology (Nashville, TN: Kingswood Books, 1994); Kenneth Collins, The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace(Nashville,TN: Abingdon, 2007). Nikolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, “Lecture on Saving Faith,” in Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, trans. and ed. George W. Forell (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1998), 35. For Zinzendorf, distress of soul was the precondition for realizing the poverty of the self, which launched the first affective motion of desire toward Christ.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

17

474

coulter

Second, the movement of faith created by the Spirit involves tasting and beholding the Lord. Wesley’s understanding of the spiritual senses held together cognitive and affective transformation in the context of encounter. Faith entailed the opening up of the eye of the mind by making a spiritual sense whereby the person inwardly sees the glory of God, hears God’s voice, tastes the fruits of the new age, and feels the power of the Most High.44 As Jason Vickers has noted, Wesley developed a doctrine of spiritual respiration to underscore the continuous outflow of the breath of God, awakening the spiritual senses to the things of God.45 Later holiness writers would develop this insight into a doctrine of intuitive knowledge. Asa Mahan, the Methodist theologian Daniel Steele, and the holiness evangelist George Watson all described the knowledge accompanying Spirit baptism as intuitive, a direct and immediate beholding of the truth.46

Such a knowledge was nondiscursive, a contemplative vision rather than a meditative exercise. It resulted from the immediate association of ideas into a whole vision that burst upon the conscious mind all at once. Through an act of the imagination evoked amidst wonder, the whole appears as single visionary insight, opening up a new horizon. This grasping of the whole can be cap- tured in the movement between a vision of Christ and a vision of life: “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow / because he lives all fear is gone.” In Wesley’s words,this isthe eyeof thesoul, theintentionwithsingular purposeandinsight through affective union. One can see this in pentecostal testimonies in which images are fused together and take on symbolic power, such as Charles Mason’s reckoning of tongues as the sign of the wedlock with Christ. The symbol of bridal union became the means of holding together the wonder, taste, love, and vision the Spirit unleashed in his soul.This flash of intuition is part of the move- ment toward triune harmony that comes into view through the promises that speak to God’s own dramatic movement in time. It is Anselm of Canterbury’s

44

45

46

John Wesley, An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, The Works of John Wesley, vol. 11, ed. Gerald R. Cragg (Nashville,TN: Abingdon, 1989), 46.

Jason E. Vickers, “Wesley’s Theological Emphases,” in The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley, ed. Jason E. Vickers and Randy Maddox (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 200.

Asa Mahan, The Baptism of the Holy Ghost (New York: George Hughes & Co., 1870), 200– 206. Daniel Steele, Love Enthroned: Essays on Evangelical Perfection (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1880), 214–226. See also Asa Mahan,Outof DarknessintoLight(Boston:WillardTract Repository, 1876), 7–8, in which he differentiates between belief, which is related to prob- abilities, and absolute knowledge, which is certain. The latter is intuitive. George Watson, Steps to the Throne (Louisville, KY: Pickett Publishing, 1898), 24–31, connects the spiritual senses to the inner spirit, “which is the region of intuition.”

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

18

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

475

excitatio mentisto that than which a greater cannot be conceived, a movement into transcendence that glimpses the God who stands behind and within the whole.47The imagination takes flight on the wings of the Spirit in the presence of Christ, giving rise to the testimony, “I know, that I know, that I know,” even if after the experience of God’s ecstatic presence it is difficult for the saint some- times to describe the particulars of her intuitive grasp of the truth.

Finally, the cultivation of spiritual senses as an embodied condition brings into stark relief the sanctifying purpose of healing grace. If the affections hold together bodily appetites and imaginative thoughts, then the turn toward God involves a reorientation of the whole person. Thus, the healing of the body entails a turn in bodily appetites so that the affections are moved in response to the internal sense of delight. When Pentecostals talk about being healed of addictions, they are implicitly referring to the way in which a change in human physiology gives rise to a change in human psychology. This means that prayers for the healing of the body are sanctifying moments that facili- tate deeper union. Just as James links prayers for forgiveness with prayers for healing and Jesus’s own miraculous touch made the untouchables touchable, so prayers for bodily healing concern God’s own sanctifying and transforming power to change the whole person (Jas 5:14–16). Salvation involves ontological changeforPentecostals,whichunfoldsthroughtherevivalwayasweencounter the various modalities of divine grace and taste the goodness of God.

4 Christianity as a Holy Way

Thesis: Christianity is a holy way that forges a new people who embody and enact holy love.

While the crisis of encounter brought about internal transformation, Wes- ley saw works of piety and mercy as entailing how the process unfolded. The Methodist intention to spread scriptural holiness took its rationale from the nature of Christian perfection and its outworking in works of piety and mercy. The recipient of perfect love must of necessity come to embody that love in society by working to change it. Moreover, as Wesley had argued, works of mercy and works of piety were “real means of grace” by which the person exer-

47

Anselm, Proslogion 1. Anselm titles the opening chapter Excitatio mentis ad contemplan- dum Deum, which then takes the form of an entreaty of desire to see God. The treatise is the fruit of this meditative wrestling, which, according to his biographer, Eadmer, resulted in a sudden burst of insight one night during evening prayers.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

19

476

coulter

cises and shapes the affections.48The whole of religion consisted in a holy zeal for the Lord through works of piety, works of mercy, and the cultivation of holy tempers and affections. Internal transformation and external works went together within Wesleyanism. The logic of social engagement stemmed from what it meant to be holy and to cultivate holiness. Hal Knight has correctly labeled this approach as a theology of “heaven below,” which entails “a present realization of the life of heaven, which is centered in love.”49 Christianity is a holy wayof living in the worldwherebythe believer constantly seeks toembody the love of God in love for neighbor. Having been caught up in God’s intoxicat- ing embrace, believers move out in the power of the Spirit to bring shalom to a fragmented world.

In his sermon on zeal, Wesley described true religion in terms of a series of concentric circles.50 Love for God and neighbor comprised the central cir- cle with holy tempers closely connected. These internal states then gave rise to works of mercy and works of piety as the next two concentric circles. After these works were the ordinances of Christ and then the church at the local and universal levels. What one finds in this picture of zeal, which is nothing more than ordered love in action, is an effort to hold together crisis and pro- cess, internal and external, individual and corporate, and personal and social dimensions. Genuine Christianity will always have a social dimension as the expression of faith working itself out in love. This outworking of love reinforces moments of grace by helping to shape affections through holy actions.Wesley’s workwiththepoorinEnglandflowedoutof theemphasisonholyloveinaction and the sacramental character of all actions, whether they are directed toward God or neighbor. Orthopraxy, orthopathy, and orthodoxy have an intrinsic con- nection.51

48

49

50 51

John Wesley, “On Zeal,” The Works of John Wesley, vol. 3:Sermons 71–114, ed. Albert C. Out- ler (Nashville,TN: Abingdon, 1987), 313.

Henry H. Knight, Anticipating Heaven Below: Optimism of Grace from Wesley to the Pente- costals(Eugene,OR: Cascade Books, 2014), xiii.

Wesley, “On Zeal,” 308–321.

This crucial trajectory has been explored by a number of Wesleyan and pentecostal schol- ars. See Theodore Runyon, “A New Look at Experience,”Drew Gateway (Fall 1987): 44–55; Theodore Runyon,The New Creation: John Wesley’s Theology Today (Nashville, TN: Abing- don, 1998); Richard Steele, ed., “Heart Religion” in the Methodist Tradition and Related Movements (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001); Land, Pentecostal Spirituality; Henry H. KnightIII,ThePresenceof GodintheChristianLife(Lanham,MD: Scarecrow Press, 1992); Cheryl Bridges Johns, Pentecostal Formation: A Pedagogy Among the Oppressed (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993); and Gregory S. Clapper, John Wesley on Religious Affec- tions: His Views on Experience and Emotion and Their Role in Christian Life and Theology (Metuchen,NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1987). Clapper prefers the termorthokardia.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

20

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

477

By the middle of the nineteenth century, Phoebe Palmer was using Pente- cost to express the way of holiness. Following Fletcher and Timothy Merritt, she saw Pentecost as exemplifying consecration and mission. The placing of one’s all on the altar through a continuous act of consecration prepared the soul for the baptism of fire that liquified and reformed the heart. From this internal reformation, mission could now flow. Palmer’s use of Pentecost had at least two immediate implications. First, she argued that the promise of the Father was for all and thus extended Wesley’s effort to maximize lay participa- tion to include the female preacher and evangelist.The true pentecostal church was an army of men and women who had been consecrated and set ablaze. Second, she joined others like Harriet Beecher Stowe in the view that trans- formed affections caused believers to see neighbor in a different light. At the conclusion ofUncleTom’s Cabin, Stowe asks, “There is one thing that every indi- vidual can do,—they can see to it thatthey feel right. An atmosphere of sympa- thetic influence encircles every human being; and the man or woman who feels strongly, healthily and justly, on the interests of humanity, is a constant bene- factor to the human race. See, then, to your sympathies in this matter! Are they in harmony with the sympathies of Christ?” (author’s emphasis).52One can see in Stowe’s comments a cognitive view of the affections in which sympatheia holds humans together, enabling them to recognize personhood and dignity within one another. In his Homilies on the Hexaemeron, Basil of Caesarea had linked sympatheia, affection, and cosmic harmony by noting that God “bound together the whole world, which consists of diverse parts, by an unbroken bond of affection (philias) into one fellowship and harmony (eis mian koinōnian kai harmonian), so that objects which seem farthest apart from each other in posi- tion seem to have been made one through affinity (sympatheia).”53 For Basil, affection unfolds on a cosmic scale that binds the universe in mutual sympa- thy, whereas Stowe has applied this sympathetic bond of affection to human relations. Stowe understood the key as making these affections “strong, healthy, and just.” If the affections could form a bond among all humans, how much more should the awakening of spiritual senses in sanctification cause the per- son to embrace neighbor? The social program Pentecostals inherited stemmed from the implications of the way of holiness teased out through the prism of Pentecost.

52

53

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Three Novels: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Minister’s Wooing, Oldtown Folks, Library of America (New York: Library Classics of the United States, 1982), 515. Basilof Caesarea,HomilyonHexaemeron2.2.TranslationslightlymodifiedfromSaintBasil Exegetic Homilies, trans. Agnes Clare Way, CDP (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1963), 24.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

21

478

coulter

This social program took flight in three distinct ways. Mission occurred under the sacred canopy of God’s presence. The pneumatological turn in Wes- leyanism that Pentecostals embraced and extended meant that the world is charged with God’s grandeur. Spirit baptism flooded the soul, awakening it to the presence of God all around in which even the upheavals of nature speak to God’s immanence. This sacramental understanding of creation informed prac- tices such as foot washing and anointing in which material symbols mediated the Spirit. The ritualization of these practices formed an orthopraxy that stabi- lized rightly directed affections into habitual rhythms. Practices such as giving alms and clothing the needy are part of the God-ordained means by which the crisis moments become more than emotional catharsis. Indeed, undergirding these practices is the vocation to extend divine philanthropia, the hospitality of God to others, without which the body of Christ cannot be a holy commu- nity. To become a temple of God’s glory means being caught up in the mission of divine philanthropia expressed in the theo-drama. As Titus 3:4 indicates, the coming of the savior was an expression of divine generosity and loving kindness (philanthropia). Behind Luke’s portrait of the hospitality immediately on display in the church after Pentecost is God as the lover of humanity who uses his church to extend divine hospitality in and through holy practices that embody holiness. The charismatic grace at work in Peter’s vision launched him out to the prevenient grace at work in Cornelius, resulting in yet another Pente- cost. Amos Yong’s work on other religions has sought to trace the implications of this position.54Pentecost places mission under a sacred canopy that extends grace by cooperating with grace.

Second, the democratizing effect of revival reinforced populism and dissent as the whole people of God became conduits of grace. In short, the Spirit’s work liberated all persons to spread scriptural holiness because charismatic grace and power perfected God-given abilities even as it burned out corrup- tion. Ignited by pentecostal fires, many women claimed the mantle of leader- ship. Francis Willard deployed the image of Pentecost to describe the global work of the WCTU. She quoted with approval the early Nazarene theologian A.M. Hill’s description of the first crusade that launched theWCTUand the pro- gram against temperance. In Hill’s words, “the Crusade came—came with the suddenness and the power of Pentecost; bringing also, like it, a baptism of the

54

I see Yong’s pneumatological theology of religion as a teasing out of the implications of prevenient grace. See Amos Yong, Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theol- ogy of Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2003); and his missiological observations in the more recentThe Missiological Spirit: Christian Mission Theology in the Third Millenium Global Contex(Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 2014), 195–221.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

22

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

479

Holy Ghost.”55Willard is emblematic of a global women’s movement centered within Methodism and the holiness and pentecostal movements flowing out of it. This movement not only formed part of the first wave of feminism, it was the heart of it.

After attending the 1887 meeting of the WCTU, Pandita Ramabai described it as “the best and greatest of all the associations prevalent among all civi- lized countries.”56She implored her Indian sisters to become part of an Indian chapter of the organization so as to bring change there. As Levison has argued recently, the two streams feeding the Mukti Mission were the global women’s movement and the Methodist and holiness movements. Mukti was forged in the fires of both.57The strong emphasis on female leadership within early Aus- tralian Pentecostalism must also be viewed in light of these two streams. As the informal leader of Australian Pentecostalism, Sarah Jane Lancaster had been a Methodist lay healing evangelist and had been joined at Good News Hall by many from the Salvation Army.58 She was succeeded by Mina Ross BrawnerwhohadexperiencedSpiritbaptismunderAimeeSempleMcPherson. Brawner expressed the pentecostal boldness many women in the movement found with the question: “Can it be possible that I, as a woman [sic] have less liberty under grace than under law? Can it be that my Lord is less just than the State Government? Or, is this only a silly, man-made regulation?”59 Transmit- ted through global networks of women and holiness, the power of Pentecost transformed Protestant nonconformity in the early nineteenth century into resistance against cultural practices that were viewed as unbiblical and a capit- ulation to worldliness.

Finally, the Wesleyan effort to hold together the internal and external or orthopathy and orthopraxy reinforced the view of God’s people as an alterna-

55

56

57

58

59

A.M. Hill, “Mrs. Mary A. Woodbridge,” in Frances E. Willard,Woman and Temperance: The Work andWorkers of theWoman’s ChristianTemperance Union(Hartford,CT: Park Publish- ing Co., 1883), 103.

S. Ramabai and M. Kosambi, Pandita Ramabai’s American Encounter: The Peoples of the United States (1889)(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003), 206.

Priscilla Pope-Levison, “Holiness and Pentecostal Movements Within Methodism,” The Ashgate Research Companion to World Methodism(New York: Ashgate, 2013), 141–155. On the important role of persons from the Salvation Army in early Australian Pente- costalism, see Mark P. Hutchinson, “Salvationists: A Case Study in Australian Pentecostal Origins,” A Paper for the Australasian Pentecostal Heritage Centre, Alphacrucis College, accessedFebruary22,2018,https://pentecostalheritagecentre.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/ salvationists/.

Mina Ross Brawner, “Women of the Word,” Good News 20, no. 2 (February 1929): 10, as quoted in Shane Clifton, Pentecostal Churches in Transition: Analysing the Developing Ecclesiology of the Assemblies of God in Australia(Leiden: Brill, 2009), 64.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

23

480

coulter

tive polis.The separation of holiness led to a new culture, meaning that mission was about culture formation at the level of the folk. Mission unfolds as noth- ing less than the remaking of human patterns of life and existence around a new story with cosmic implications. Pentecost, populism, and nonconformity required a renewal of folk culture in such a way as to redeem it. Folk culture stems from the people of a particular region and the familial and religious bonds that form the central threads of that region. Thus the songs, stories, festi- vals, and artistic expressions of the people in their particularity are at the roots of any folk culture. Pentecostals instinctively unearthed the Sinaitic implica- tions of Pentecost by creating alternative patterns of life that began to assert themselves at national levels in many countries in the latter half of the twenti- eth century.

Holiness and pentecostal churches created new forms of music from the Mississippi Delta to the Appalachian Mountains and borderlands of the south- west in the United States.60Hillsong has created alternative sounds in Australia that have become global. This transformation of folk cultures reflects a social imaginary grounded in Pentecostalidad, the Pentecostalization of life.61 Pente- costals extended the Wesleyan vision of formation through hymnody by using folk musical mediums to create new forms of music that exemplified the new holy race God had brought into existence. In this sense, Pentecostals have cre- ated a new Christendom at the level of folk culture, which now overlaps consid- erably with pop culture. To say that Christianity is a holy way means ultimately that it involves the creation of a new modus vivendi, and, on this view, Pente- costals must rethink how we understand Christendom as a social vision.

5 Christianity as an Apostolic Way

Thesis: Christianity is an apostolic way that participates in theoikonomiaof God for the renewal of all things.

Beginning in the 1880s, many in the holiness movement embraced a pre- millennial eschatology because it allowed them to consider the historical out- working of the plan of God and placed their understanding of a crisis-process

60

61

For the Latino/a music from the borderlands, see Daniel Ramirez, Migrating Faith: Pente- costalism in the United States and Mexico in the Twentieth Century (Chapel Hill, NC: Uni- versity of North Carolina Press, 2015).

The term comes from Bernardo Campos. See Bernardo Campos, El Principio Pentecostal- idad: La Unidad en el Espiritu Fundamento de la Paz (Salem, OR: Kerigma Publicaciones, 2016).

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

24

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

481

dialectic in a cosmic frame. The human person was a microcosm of the cosmos and thus the way of salvation worked out within the soul paralleled the theo- drama in time. What connected Fletcher’s trinitarian approach to history with the emerging premillennialism was the insistence that there was a divinetaxis to history reflected of God’s own inner life and that the Spirit was the perfect- ing cause who brought history to its finaltelos.62Asa Mahan (postmillennialist) and A.J. Gordon (premillennialist) both echoed Fletcher in proclaiming a dis- pensation of the Spirit as fueling the missio dei to usher in the consummation of all things.63 Christianity is an apostolic way that recognized that the age of the Spirit was the final movement in the divinetaxisinaugurated by the Father, sealed in the Son, and completed by the Spirit. The rejection of thecharismata by men like B.B. Warfield was in fact a rejection of the age of the Spirit as a con- tinuing work from Pentecost itself and thus a questioning of the divinetaxisfor history.64 To deny the charismata entailed an anemic understanding of apos- tolicity. The importance of premillennialism was its preservation of the divine taxis and its securing of an evangelical moment to the theo-drama through which the kingdom would be consummated.

Part of the logic of premillennialism in the social imaginary of the pente- costal and Holiness movements was its reinforcing of the divine side of con- summation in the process of perfection. Premillennialism provided theological resistance to the cultural temptation of a secularized version of the kingdom of God. Among the “benefits” of holding to premillennialism, Martin Wells Knapp claimed that it secured the idea that any golden age for humanity is a result of divine intervention rather than human achievement and the pessimism that follows when individuals reduce the millennium to human processes, which are slow and subject to failure.65 One of the reasons George Watson gave for

62

63

64

65

See D. William Faupel, “John Fletcher’s Influence on the Nineteenth-Century Ameri- can Holiness Movement’s Worldview,” inThe Continuing Relevance of Wesleyan Theology: EssaysinHonorof LaurenceWood,ed. NathanCrawford(Eugene,OR:Wipf and Stock,2011), 53–67. Faupel notes that the axis of pneumatology/eschatology offered holiness thinkers the space to develop a new synthesis.

Asa Mahan, The Baptism of the Holy Ghost (New York: George Hughes & Co., 1870), 70. Mahan understood Pentecost as introducing the new dispensation of the Spirit. A.J. Gor- don, The Ministry of the Spirit (Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society, 1894), 13–16. Gordon understood the dispensation of the Spirit to be a temporal mission from pentecostal to the Parousia.

B.B.Warfield,CounterfeitMiracles(NewYork: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918).Warfield’s sep- aration of an apostolic age from the post-apostolic church truncates the dispensation of the Spirit after Pentecost.

Martin Wells Knapp, Lightning Bolts from Pentecostal Skies(Cincinnati,OH: God’s Revival School, 1898), 154–159.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

25

482

coulter

embracing premillennialism in the 1890s was that it preserved the connection between Christ and the kingdom.66The kingdom of God was the personal pres- ence of Christ, not a set of principles to be implemented or any of system of thought.Watson’s critique drew upon the holiness concern over nominal Chris- tianity and the removal of crisis from the dynamic of salvation. Methodists who only spoke of stages of faith absent transforming moments had natu- ralized Wesley’s understanding of growth. There was a relationship between conversion in the microcosm of human existence and the theo-drama on the macrocosmic level. Watson drew a parallel between the decisive moment of crisis in entire sanctification and the final inbreaking to establish fully the reign of Christ.67 Premillennialism became an interlocking eschatology that main- tained a doctrine of divine inbreaking as the consummation of the kingdom. It countered “heaven below” with the New Jerusalem from above. While not all embraced premillennialism, those who did utilized it to maintain a tension between divine transcendence and immanence.

Premillennialism also fueled a kind of Christian realism among Pentecostals that checked a particular interpretation of the Wesleyan optimistic view of grace. Admittedly, this realism could take extreme forms, such as the ini- tial pentecostal rejection of ecumenism based on its being an organization and institution.68 Yet, Christian realism also recognized the need for ongoing renewal because history itself was tragic—the body will decay, strength will fail, life will disappoint, nations will fall. The history of Christianity is replete with renewal movements, the point of which was to enable the church to be the church. Renewal facilitates a continuous revolution for the church in the face of the tragic, which is not the overthrow of what has come before, but its recovery and reconfiguration. Sometimes it is forgotten that the prophetic imagination and critique of Pentecost was first turned toward the church. Pentecostals saw the prophetic voice as calling into account all forms of nominal Christianity. There is no need within this framework to postulate a Constantinian fall or shift to early Christianity because the people of God are always falling back

66

67

68

Watson,Steps to the Throne, 22–23, 61–65. Faupel sees Watson’s move to premillennialism as occurring between 1890 and 1898. See William Faupel, “John Fletcher’s Influence on the Nineteenth-Century American Holiness Movement’s Worldview,” in The Continuing Relevance of Wesleyan Theology: Essays in Honor of Laurence Wood, ed. Nathan Crawford (Eugene,OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011), 53–67.

GeorgeWatson,TheBridehoodSaints(Cincinnati,OH: Office of God’s Revivalist, 1913), 147– 148.

See Dale M. Coulter, “Pentecostal Visions of the End: Eschatology, Ecclesiology and the Fascination with the ‘Left Behind’ Series,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 14, no. 1 (2005): 81–98.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

26

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

483

and then surging forward through ongoing renewal. Thus any progress of the soul toward its final end, as with any progress of society, must invariably take its cue from that which exists outside of the cycles of time and the extension of space. All progress requires divine intervention and encounter, the crisis side of the crisis-process dialectic. This grounds any Christian realism about human progress at the level of the political and the social by asserting that the “final consummation of history lies beyond the condition of temporal process.”69Pre- millennialism forced Pentecostals to grapple with the natural limits of human freedom and historical processes. It also, however, grounded Christian hope that fuels the optimism of grace and the pursuit of justice in the temporal orders of society. Since the resurrection reveals thetelosof human existence as an impossible possibility, it supplies the rationale for movements toward jus- tice such as the African American slaves who worked and prayed “How long, O Lord?” until that day when justice rolls down like mighty rivers, or the evan- gélicos who crossed the Sonoran Desert with shirts that read resucitó. History as a temporal process will not be abandoned but retains its full meaning in its consummation.70

In claiming that Christianity is an apostolic way, we return to the beginning of this article. As N.T. Wright has argued, Paul saw that the story of creation and the story of Israel had been reshaped by the story of Jesus.71 To this point we should add Max Turner’s insight that Luke’s portrait of Jesus as the glori- fied Lord who sends the Spirit, which is the promise of the Father, signals a reframing of the structure of salvation in a trinitarian way.72 Apostolicity is about living in light of this structure—the theo-drama, which recognizes that the age of the Spirit has dawned and the Spirit is moving history to a decisive final moment where the kingdom will be fully established. Viewed from this perspective, premillennialism pushes Pentecostals toward a recovery of the patristic understanding of the eighth day, the day of the resurrection as the dawn of a final glorious age with a new heaven and a new earth. It is the final surge of time and matter up into an “age” that approximates God’s own eternal

69

70

71

72

Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man, vol. 2: Human Destiny (New York: Charles Scribner, 1943), 291.

Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man, vol. 2: Human Destiny (New York: Charles Scribner, 1943), 294–301.

See the more tightly argued N.T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2008). For Wright’s full argument, see N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithful- ness of God (Minneapolis,MN: Fortress Press, 2013).

Max Turner, “The Spirit of Christ and ‘Divine’ Christology,” in Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ: Essays on the Historical Jesus and New Testament Christology, ed. Joel Green and Max Turner (Eugene,OR: Wipf & Stock, 1999), 413–436.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

27

484

coulter

life. Believers cannot bring about the final age any more than the conversion of the soul—but God can.

On this basis, Pentecostals resist secularized visions of progress where the stable movement through which desire comes to rest in the beauty and har- mony of the cosmic dance turns into a limitless expansion of creaturely com- forts. There is an expectation in the modern view, according to Christopher Lasch, of open-ended improvement of indefinite duration rather than any movement toward a utopian end. Indeed, there need be no end, only progress in terms of the expansion of desires through the rise of comfort and the exten- sion of abundance to all.73Progress ultimately concerns the inflation of private choice in terms of increased technologies and economic opportunities. This is the democratization of consumption in which the quest to gratify desire, cou- pled with the fear of losing the objects of desire, turns human beings into sexual predators, economic exploiters, and vandalizers of creation. It has been reified in prosperity theology. Such a quest to fulfill desire turns into the domestication of desire. The fragmentation of fallenness begets further fragmentation. Wes- leyans and Pentecostals should not settle for such mud pies when the weight of glory calls us to imagine a deeper hue and a richer texture just over the horizon. No, we stand in that eschatological space singing “Seems that now I almost see all the sainted dead / Rising for that jubilee that is just ahead.” We stand in that space not to escape from life, but to bring a vision for life to bear on present realities.

In this eschatological half-light in which the mind sees and does not see, the semiotic importance of tongues comes into view.74 There is a moment in the context of worship when images begin to dance before the mind of the saint— images of God and Christ arising out of the theo-drama found within the Scriptures and reflected through their liturgical enactment. Under the Spirit’s operative grace, Christ appears now as savior, now Spirit baptizer, now healer, now lamb, now bridegroom, now friend as image upon image crashes upon the mind, calling forth yet another set of images from the fields of memory— images of brokenness, guilt, shame, disease, and need. Amidst this whirling

73

74

Christopher Lasch,TheTrueandOnlyHeaven:ProgressandItsCritics(NewYork:W.W. Nor- ton and Co., 1991), 40–81.

The following works place tongues within the Christian mystical stream.This is to develop insights from the following: Frank Macchia, “SighsToo Deep ForWords:Toward aTheology of Glossalalia,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 1 (1992): 47–73; Frank Macchia, “Tongues as a Sign: Towards a Sacramental Understanding of Pentecostal Experience,”Pneuma 15, no. 1 (Spring 1993): 61–76; Simon Chan, Pentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition(Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 40–72, 85–96; Daniel Castelo,Pente- costalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition(Grand Rapids,MI: Eerdmans, 2017), 172–177.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

28

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

485

vortex of icons, the imagination takes flight and the mind darts from one side to the other, from knowledge of God to knowledge of the self and knowledge of self to knowledge of God until, at last, behind the totality of this vision, a silhouette appears upon the horizon of a deeper harmony, the triune ground of all being. And yet, almost as soon as the mind glimpses this God at the cen- ter of all things, the silhouette dissolves and the images shatter because the expansion of the mind has reached its limit.75 Not being able to contain the totality any longer, the mind ruptures, breaks from reality, and enters a kind of holy madness, the folly that Erasmus praised as the true mark of the heavenly life.76 In the darkness of Sinai, currents of love radiate through bodily limbs, shrouding an intimate embrace within an aura of mystery. Having entered the sepulcher of Christ, believers are struck dumb, unable to speak as though dead and yet fully alive in affective union with the God behind all. As the poets and prophets have declared, when the mind breaks, the heart begins to sing.Within this luminous darkness, a torrent of broken syllables surges forth in order to speak the unspeakable. Lost in the depths of divinity, the brokenness of speech cascades as believers declare what cannot be declared.The speech that is and is not language testifies to the God who is present and yet absent, intimate and yet remote, immanent and yet transcendent. In the midst of that luminous dark- ness of embrace, tongues becomes the symbol of an eschatological presence that we see and do not see.

The importance of glossolaliaresides in its symbolic relationship to the infi- nite movement to the infinite. It drives believers toward the eighth day. Such a movement involves an ongoing state in which the mind continuously expands, only to reach its limit, break, and enter the darkness. Having been fully made whole, grace takes on its original work of elevating the whole person further up and further in to divine life.Vision gives way to madness and folly, which in turn calls forth a more profound vision that both expands and explodes the mind in this everlasting journey of rapturous joy. The termevidenceseems wholly inad- equate to explain this glossolalic purpose. The conjuring of courtroom scenes and forensic analogies suggests a kind of transaction that denies the relational and eschatological fabric of Spirit baptism.77 Indeed, the quest by early Pen-

75

76 77

For Richard of St. Victor, ecstasy moves in three modes from dilatatio mentis (mental expansion) to sublevatio mentis (mental ascent), concluding in alienatio mentis (mental rupture). See Richard of St. Victor,On the Mystical Ark/On the Ark of Moses5.1–2. See Erasmus,The Praise of Folly(Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), 122–124. I concur with Macchia thatglossolaliainvokes the eschatological theophany of Pentecost and thus liberates the person coram deo. See Frank Macchia, “Sighs Too Deep for Words: Toward a Theology of Glossalalia,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology1 (1992): 47–73.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

29

486

coulter

tecostals to find the right language to describe what the experience of Spirit baptism embodies implicitly points toward this claim. Levison’s work reminds Pentecostals that the Lukan images of fiery tongues, violent winds, and inebri- ation cradles Pentecost in ecstasy.78 The promise of the Father is nothing less than the turning of humanity and the entire created order into a vast temple of divine presence, a holy habitation that radiates the glory of God through a continuous movement into an ever-expanding holy of holies. The Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem find their proper locus underneath this larger aim. Tongues is the holy madness of the end, the brokenness of language that can only gesture beyond itself to a larger whole it cannot contain.79 In this sense, the semiotic value of tongues outweighs other “signs” of ecstatic rapture. Hav- ing come down from that momentary glimpse of divine glory amid ecstatic joy and love, the sole response that seems adequate is the Isaianic declara- tion: “Here I am. Send me” (Isa 6:8). The burning, fiery love of ecstatic embrace gives rise to a passion to fulfill themissio dei. Spirit baptism is but another fea- ture of the apostolic way, holding in its bosom the tension between the age of the Spirit and the final age of the eighth day, which simultaneously endues believers with the energizing passion to work as long as they stand between the “ages.”

6 Conclusion

At the beginning of this article, I set out to address three broad issues by set- ting forth five theses. These theses related to my fundamental claim about global Pentecostalism expanding the Wesleyan vision. It may be more appro- priate, however, to refer to them as five vignettes of the way of faith. Using this more expansive Wesleyan vision of Pentecostalism as Ockham’s razor, I have attempted to set forth in broad strokes a common spiritual tradition underneath Pentecostalism’s various global centers and a common theological framework that may unite the diverse branches of the movement. Hence, the five theses establish the contours of what this theological framework entails,

78 79

John R. Levison, Filled with the Spirit (Grand Rapids,MI: Eerdmans, 2009), 328–338. While I am comfortable with the semiotic role of tongues-speech, I am not quite prepared to say with Macchia that it is “sacramental.” If there is an analogue to sacraments, however, it would be to marriage as a sacrament because a) the material sign is the complex union of the public vow and the private consummation of that vow, b) the two spouses consum- mate the sign, not the priest, and c) the sign embodies the mystical union between Christ and the church.

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

30

recovering the wesleyan vision of pentecostalism: 5 theses

487

how it informed the global movement historically, and how it might unite the three dominant wings.

While the debate over historical centers relates to how one defines the move- ment, I sought to get behind this debate by suggesting a broad Wesleyan frame- work within which Pentecostals theologized. This was certainly the case for Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival, which retains a measure of primacy through its impact, as well as the revival at Mukti Mission under Pandita Ram- abai and Minnie Abrams. One could also make a case for the Hebden Mission in Toronto, given that Keswick teaching included multiple stages of grace com- mensurate with the basic Wesleyan paradigm. This emphasis on the diverse modes of grace even in Keswick circles stemmed from William Boardman’s application of Phoebe Palmer’s understanding of sanctification as well as Ober- lin Perfectionism, which itself had been Wesleyanized. Moreover, the global women’s movement was largely unleashed through theWCTUand grounded in arguments made by Wesleyans such as Phoebe Palmer, Catherine Booth, and Frances Willard. The emphasis on Christianity as a gospel way and holy way points toward multiple modalities of grace that unfold within the believer so that he or she may become a holy warrior who brings holiness to bear on per- sonal and social realities. The social program of Pentecostalism was a fusion of Pentecost and dissent at the level of folk culture, which in turn resisted all forms of nominal Christianity.

Given this Wesleyan vision, there is no need to structure theology around a fourfold or fivefold gospel. Instead, the full gospel is about a way to full union and the structure remains the theo-drama, which serves as the stage upon which this journey unfolds. Within this structure, the work of Christ reinforces the various operations of the Spirit so that there need not be a choice between one metaphor for the atonement over another. Instead, the work of Christ flows into the diverse modes as the medicine for the soul that both heals and elevates. The theological task is performative insofar as the theologian cannot give tes- timony to this journey apart from being caught up in it with the church. Yet, as the Spirit recapitulates the drama through the theologian’s participation in the church’s witness, the theological task takes shape as a kind of poetic depiction of this drama in time. In this way, the theologian offers her own witness as a form of spiritual cartography for the life of others.

Consequently, tapping into this pentecostal interpretation of the Wesleyan vision leads to a recovery of the understanding of Christianity as a way. It reminds the diverse branches of the movement that there is a shared theolog- ical DNA upon which they can build. Through the various modes of grace that unfold over a person’s life, believers become part of the theo-drama enacted in the church’s worship. By virtue of their performance in this drama, pentecostal

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

31

488

coulter

theologians offer their own testimonies to clarify and expand the understand- ing of God and God’s action in the world. These testimonies, however, stem from the transformation of the affections in a crisis-process dynamic that forms spiritual senses in the soul. On this basis, believers become an extension of divine philanthropia as they spread a holy love in a manner that reminds indi- viduals of the need to “feel right.” Such a program transforms the folk cultures of societies by liberating men and women to become agents of the kingdom. Yet, this participation in the apostolic way does not lead to a utopian vision of new society, but tempers utopianism with a Christian realism giving rise to the theological virtue of hope. In short, as we are caught up in God’s story, we pro- claim a gospel way through revival that calls us to embody holiness as a form of dissenting piety and recover the apostolic insistence that the age of the Spirit has come, and it calls us to work toward the eighth day when God will wipe away every tear. Even so, the Spirit and the bride say, “Come Lord Jesus.”

PNEUMA 40 (2018) 457–488

32

Be first to comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.