A Spirit Christology

by Skip Jenkins (Author)
©2018 Monographs XVIII, 342 Pages
Series: Ecumenical Studies, Volume 3


This book extrapolates a uniquely Pentecostal and incarnational Spirit Christology, inspired by piqued interest in the Holy Spirit and for the purpose of ecumenical dialogue. The method employed is Pentecostal in its emphasis on the Spirit, incarnational in its consideration of the life of Jesus, and Spirit Christological in its uniting of the two. The aim is to supersede the five-fold gospel model by systematizing Pentecostal praxis into a cohesive and identity-giving Spirit Christology. The book distinguishes the components of Pentecostal identity through an investigation of past and current Pentecostal voices, juxtaposes them against secular and other denominational categories, and ultimately arrives at a distinctly Pentecostal conceptualization of Spirit Christology that translates ecumenically and generationally. In fact, this project is the first constructive Spirit Christological endeavor developed by a Pentecostal and dedicated to the specific, Pentecostal issue of fusing holiness for living and power for witness. It is solidly ecumenical, utilizing the theology of Edward Irving, James D. G. Dunn, Karl Barth, Colin Gunton, and David Coffey, and it is the only text that brings these voices together in one volume.
A Spirit Christology will be beneficial to a diverse audience of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as academic professionals. The development and explanation of a Pentecostal and incarnational Spirit Christology will be a unique and valuable addition to a variety of classes, including courses on the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, contemporary theology, and recent Pentecostal theology. Furthermore, the content draws from Pentecostal, Reformed, and Catholic traditions, a conglomerate that will appeal to an ecumenical audience.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • Advance Praise for A Spirit Christology
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Justification for the Project
  • Methodology of the Project
  • Notes
  • Chapter 1: Raw Materials of Pentecostal Identity: Pentecostal Ideas Concerning the Relationship Between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit
  • Introduction
  • Historically Locating the Classical Pentecostal Movement
  • Early Pentecostalism’s Incipient Themes Concerning Christ and the Spirit Conducive to Spirit Christology
  • The Apostolic Faith
  • The Bridegroom’s Messenger
  • The Church of God Evangel
  • Current Pentecostal Theologians Moving Toward a Spirit Christology
  • Amos Yong
  • Irenaeus’ Two Hands Motif
  • Rejection of Pneumatological Subordination to Christology
  • Conclusion: Salvation Outside the Church
  • Frank Macchia
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Chapter 2: Pentecostal Ecclesial Demarcation: Edward Irving the Proto-Pentecostal
  • Introduction
  • Irving’s Experience and Expectation of the Holy Spirit
  • The Baptism With the Holy Spirit
  • Being “In Christ” Without Being Baptized With the Holy Spirit
  • Baptism With the Holy Spirit: A Subsequent Event Within the Complex of Salvation
  • The Eschatological Dimension of the Baptism With the Holy Spirit
  • Possibility of Rapprochement Between Pentecostals and Charismatics Through Irving’s Theology
  • Speaking in Tongues and Prophetic Utterances
  • Speaking in Tongues as the Initial, Physical Evidence of Baptism With the Holy Spirit
  • Speaking in Tongues as the Standing or Sealing Sign of Baptism With the Holy Spirit
  • Charismatic Manifestation Within the Worship Service
  • Irving’s Expectation of Christ’s Return
  • The Expectation of Christ’s Imminent Return in Pentecostalism
  • The Expectation of Christ’s Imminent Return in Irving’s Theology
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Chapter 3: A Resource for Pentecostal Theology: The Incarnational Christology of Edward Irving
  • Introduction
  • Method of Explicating the Incarnational Theology of Edward Irving
  • Sermons on the Incarnation
  • Sermon One: The Origin or Fountain-Head of the Whole in the Will of God
  • Sermon Two: The End of the Mystery of the Incarnation Is the Glory of God
  • Sermon Three: The Method of the Incarnation by the Union With the Fallen Creature
  • Why and How the Eternal Son Needed to Assume Fallen Human Nature
  • How Redemption Is Won for Humankind Through the Son’s Assumption of Fallen Flesh
  • The Benefits of the Atonement of the Creature With the Creator Through the Son, Particularly the Abrogation of Law in Favor of Grace
  • Sermon Four: The Preparation for and the Very Act of the Incarnation of Christ
  • Sermon Five: The Fruits of the Incarnation in Grace and Peace to Mankind
  • Sermon Six: Conclusions Concerning the Subsistence of God and the Subsistence of the Creature, Derived From Reflecting Upon the Incarnation
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Chapter 4: Protestant Ecumenical Information: Jesus Christ and Fallen Human Nature According to James D. G. Dunn and Karl Barth
  • Introduction
  • The Biblical Theology of James D. G. Dunn
  • Representative Feature of Adam Christology
  • Complete Identification With Fallen Humankind
  • The Obedience of Jesus in the Matrix of the Fallen Human Condition
  • Exaltation to the Lordship Over Creation
  • The Dogmatic Theology of Karl Barth
  • The Word Became Flesh
  • The Word Became Flesh
  • The Word Became Flesh
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Chapter 5: Roman Catholic Ecumenical Information: The Spirit-Christology of David Coffey
  • Introduction
  • The Roman Catholic Neo-Scholastic Movement Toward Spirit-Christology
  • The Spirit Christology of David Coffey
  • Basic Introduction and Orientation to Coffey’s Presuppositions
  • The Incarnation of the Son and the Anointing of Jesus Christ
  • The Incarnation of the Son
  • The Anointing of Jesus Christ
  • The Theandric Nature of Christ
  • The Bestowal of The Spirit
  • The Basic Knowledge of Jesus
  • The Basic Love of Jesus
  • The Concupiscential Constitution of Jesus
  • Reception of the Spirit as the Forgiveness of Sins
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Chapter 6: The Synthetic Conclusion: Toward a Pentecostal Incarnational Spirit Christology
  • Introduction
  • Colin Gunton: The Holy Spirit as Perfecting Cause
  • David Coffey: The Spirit of Christ as Entelechy
  • A Preliminary Pentecostal Incarnational Spirit Christology: A Pentecostal Deployment of Coffey’s Bestowal Model
  • Excursus on the Doctrine of the Trinity in Light of This Pentecostal, Incarnational Spirit Christology
  • Jesus’ Obedience to the Father as His Responsiveness to the Holy Spirit
  • The Two Wills of Jesus Christ
  • How Does This Incarnational, Spirit Christology Compare With Other Recent Paradigms?
  • Myk Habets: The Anointed Son
  • Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.: Jesus as Receiver, Bearer, and Giver of God’s Spirit
  • Steven Studebaker: Baptism With the Holy Spirit and the Trinity
  • Epilogue: Why Is This Paradigm of Spirit Christology Pentecostal?
  • Notes
  • Series index

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Before this was a book to be published, it was a dissertation to be defended. I owe a debt of gratitude to the faculty at Marquette University, not only because of the rigorous, theological training that I received there, but also because of their willingness to allow a dissertation to be submitted whose main premise is in conflict with important dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. Even though I could not convince them, that they were willing to entertain my ideas and receive them with genuine hospitality is a testament to their ecumenism. This spirit of ecumenism was particularly evident in my dissertation director, the late Ralph Del Colle, who both put me onto Edward Irving, in whom I found a treasure trove of ideas, and who pushed me to ever-increasing precision in my thinking. Father David Coffey introduced me to the beauty of well-argued theological schemes, and my participation in his seminar on the Trinity was one of the most important courses that I took at Marquette. I am especially grateful to Michel Renee Barnes, who spent hours with me discussing my thesis, the structure of my argument, and my outcome goals. Along with this, over the six years I was at Marquette, he shared his life with me in such a way to model academic mentoring and to demonstrate to me how scholars need a community of interlocutors to make their ideas the best they can be. I strive to replicate this in my own teaching at Lee University. ← xiii | xiv →

I have found my community of dialogue partners and supporters at Lee University, where I have taught theology and church history courses since August 2004. Such theological conversations began with Dale Coulter, who now teaches at Regent University, and continue with Aaron Johnson and Christopher Stephenson, the latter of whom encouraged me more than anyone else that the ideas present in this book were worthy for a larger audience than just my doctrine of the Holy Spirit class. It was in the various offerings of this course, however, that my ideas were honed and expanded. In particular, the questions of Josiah Ewing, Daniel Pennington, Nick Cupp, Jesse Stone and Rachel Ready pushed me into directions that my original scheme could not address. For their inquisitiveness and bravery, I am deeply grateful. These five are simply a small sample of the spectacular students I have come to know and love, and whose engagement with me and my ideas have made me a better thinker, teacher and Christian. To each of my former students, especially those who participated in the weekly gatherings for soup, discussion and intercessory prayer that my late wife, Larisa Ard, envisioned and began, I say thank you.

Meagan Simpson at Peter Lang was remarkably helpful during the last year, not only in granting me an extension for the manuscript while Larisa succumbed to cancer, but in the kind words she extended to me—even as a relative stranger—during that time. My colleagues at Lee University have been exceptionally supportive, in particular the faculty of the Department of Theology who refused to accept my resignation as their chairperson the last year of my wife’s life, instead committing to help me meet all of the obligations of the position, the Dean and Associate Dean of the School of Religion, Terry Cross and Rickie Moore, and the University President, Paul Conn, the latter of whom made it possible for me to take a sabbatical this year that enabled me to complete the manuscript. This group of people have caused me to cherish Lee University and my place therein. A special thanks goes to Liz Krueger, without whose work on the proposal to Peter Lang I would not have been afforded the opportunity to see my ideas in print. If it had not been for the conversations and comments, some of which were quite harsh, from my friend and director of the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK, Wolfgang Vondey, I do not believe I would have come up with many ideas worth sharing.

Lastly, I am a sixth generation Pentecostal. I want to acknowledge those women and men who taught me about Jesus Christ and encouraged me to seek from Him the Holy Spirit, whose power and presence I saw demonstrated in ← xiv | xv → their lives, and whose openness to the Spirit invited that Spirit to get involved in the church, the world, and our personal situations. From my childhood, the Church of God in Canton, Ohio: Brother Massey, Brother Mancini, Bill and Edna Perdue, Miss Toni Hendricks, Barb Howard, Randy and Dana Holdman, Paul and Dolores Kalem, Nellie Ruth Jenkins and Pam Jenkins; my current congregation, the South Cleveland Church of God in Cleveland, TN, especially Chris Moody, Edwin Lipsey, and Freddy and Michelle Morgan. And in conclusion, I acknowledge those students who strove with me while we prayed for Larisa, Kurt Miller, Bethany Sprague, Steven Gilliam, Taylor Trotter, Rachel Cropper, John Bush, Michael Brasher, Alyssa Aldano, Larry Douglas, and those who lamented with me as it became clearer that divine healing was going to be withheld from Larisa on this side of the Parousia, Josh Liming, Chris Schelich, Jared Johnson, Spencer Aycock, Stephen Wright and Lacy Anderson. From each of you (and many more), I learned how Pentecostals can be at prayer even in the midst of hell; and because of each of you my four children (Merritt, Eleanor, Eli and Ava), can confidently remain seventh generation Pentecostals, knowing that there is truth and comfort and hope in our common confession: Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, is our savior, sanctifier and baptizer with the Holy Spirit.

Skip Jenkins

Kniebis, Germany

07 November 2017

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Whether it be because of the East’s indictment that the West has subordinated the Spirit to the Son,1 or the diagnosis of Western “forgetfulness” of the Spirit,2 or the call for a proper mission of the Holy Spirit within Roman Catholic theological reflection,3 or current efforts to begin theology from the third article within Protestantism,4 theological attention to the Holy Spirit has been piqued. This project is a preliminary attempt to fill this vacuum by constructing a distinctively Pentecostal approach to theological inquiry, understood from the perspective of an incarnational Spirit Christology.5 The term Spirit Christology refers to that model of theological reflection that seeks a pivotal role for the Holy Spirit within the complex of human salvation. This is not to suggest that the Spirit is assigned no role in other theological models. Even in the most Logos-oriented theologies of Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Calvin and Barth, for example, the Spirit is essential to Soteriology. Rather, it is a model that seeks both to locate the importance of the Spirit of God definitively in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, and then, from this point of reference, to systematically address the range of theological loci, especially anthropology and soteriology.

A Spirit Christology may be used as a means to revise traditional christological formulations, namely, Logos theologies that posit the incarnation ← 1 | 2 → in the descending modality of the Word of God enfleshed in the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth. This type of Spirit Christology usually identifies the Spirit of God with the soteriological import of Jesus. Such employments of this paradigm tend toward either a strict monotheism in which Jesus is understood as the supremely anointed man of God, or a binitarianism in which the Spirit of God is the functional principle of the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. In these formulations, the doctrine of the Trinity is either repudiated or so radically re-visioned that it is barely recognizable as the foundation stone of the Christian faith.6 Spirit Christology may, however, be constructed within a thoroughly trinitarian structure, as I imply with the adjectival use of “incarnational” to describe my intended Spirit-Christological paradigm. Spirit Christology and Logos-Christology can be models, not used over against one another (as if one is superior), nor in succession (as if one is better employed to articulate accurately the person of Christ and the other the work of Christ), but rather complementary. For example, as the Spirit-bearer Jesus does what he does and is what he is, but also Jesus of Nazareth as the Logos incarnate is the basis of his identity as the definitive Spirit-bearer.

Spirit Christology, although present early in the church’s history, fell into disrepute because of its seeming incompatibility with the incarnational theology gleaned from the Johannine writings and Paul.7 The twentieth century saw a renewal of dogmatic attention to the Trinity and a subsequent re-ordering or reformulation of axiomatic presuppositions within the doctrine.8 One fruit of this renewed attention has been the explicit Spirit Christology paradigms located primarily within Roman Catholic theological tradition.9 On the other hand, even though the fundamental tenets of the (trinitarian) paradigm were implied within the theologies of most Protestant thinkers,10 some Protestants tended to utilize Spirit Christology in a unitarian or revisionist manner.11 Pentecostal theologian Harold Hunter issued a warning to those who would employ the paradigm of Spirit Christology in this way.12 He prefers a “pneumatic Logos Christology” which, like Joseph Wong’s category of a “Spirit-oriented Christology,” opposes the appellation “Spirit Christology” in order to preserve the viability and appropriateness of Logos Christology.13 The trinitarian paradigm of Spirit Christology has, nonetheless, recently received positive appraisal within the Pentecostal movement. With the insights of those who have already been working under a trinitarian Spirit Christology, and with Hunter’s caution in mind, I will attempt to develop a preliminary Pentecostal, incarnational, Spirit Christology.14 ← 2 | 3 →

Justification for the Project

At the outset, it is necessary to substantiate the credibility of any endeavor that describes itself as Pentecostal. There is a rift within Pentecostal scholarship as to whether it is appropriate to talk about Pentecostalism or Pentecostalisms,the Pentecostal movement or Pentecostal movements.15 On the one hand, this highlights that Pentecostalism, though begun in the United States as a distinct movement, has spread throughout the world, and therefore no longer engenders specific regional, cultural or even socio-economic concerns and/or patterns. Indeed, there are Christian communities in Africa that are identified as Pentecostal, and may even call themselves Pentecostal, but arose independently of the Pentecostal movement in the United States.16 Because of this, the possibility of a distinctively Pentecostal theology, like a distinctively Pentecostal hermeneutic, is questioned.

On the other hand, and following from the above, there is supposedly implied by the variegation of Pentecostalism a prohibition against systematization. Cheryl Bridges Johns, a past president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, commends the post-modern critique of meta-narratives because it allows marginalized voices to speak.17 She suggests that Pentecostalism has more common ground with deconstructionists who seek to de-center the self and question forms of power than with constructs that offer umbrellas under which to fit Pentecostalism and the Pentecostal experience of God. Steven J. Land, former President of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary and past president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, though without explicit acceptance of and dialogue with postmodernity, rejects the plausibility of a Pentecostal systematic theology. For him, there is to be no unifying concept(s). Rather, the “story” of the first 10–20 years of Pentecostalism should serve as the unifying “narrative” for Pentecostals.18

The idea of story-telling in the place of formulation has occupied methodological pride-of-place within Pentecostalism, relative to both pastors and academics.19 Story-telling seems content with the mere surfacing of Pentecostal theological intuitions without any rigorous theological conceptualizing. This type of methodology fears that systematization may be another type of creedalism, and thereby will dilute the Pentecostal experience of the Holy Spirit’s spontaneity and unexpectedness.20 What is proffered is the promise of an immediate experience of God, which remains unarticulated and raw, without any reasoned system of belief or legitimacy. ← 3 | 4 →

Amos Yong, a noted Pentecostal theologian and professor of theology and mission at Fuller Theological Seminary, has dealt with this issue. He argues that systems do not need to be totalizing, but that they are necessary in order to give expression to experience. If such a structure is lacking, Pentecostalism inevitably descends into mere subjectivism. He says that the task of theology, or at least part of it, is to “supply the reflection necessary for a coherent understanding of our experience of God, ourselves and the world which in turn allows us to test our understanding of this experience against reality, and to guide our conduct.”21 The problem with narrative forms of theology, according to Yong, is their difficulty conveying any “public” notion of truth. In other words, they cannot substantiate any claim to truthfulness that transcends contextual testimonies of meaning. Pentecostals do, however, think that their experience of the Spirit is of “public” concern and for public “consumption.” Terry Cross, Pentecostal theologian and Dean of the School of Religion at Lee University, has argued that human experience of God is not merely affective, but is also intellectual. As such, an intellectual system of formulation provides intellectual categories of description and demarcation necessary for a properly integrative theology. This suggests that systematization is necessary to correlate the intellectual and affective encounter with God.22

Following the impulse of Yong and Cross, the justification for my project of systematization is threefold. First, the earliest generation of Christians in the United States who began to call themselves Pentecostal understood themselves to be a revival or reform movement. They were not yet denominationally determined, and they did not define themselves along ethnic and economic lines. Furthermore, the two earliest journals, which were free of charge and distributed to a general readership, were deliberately commissioned and explicitly advertised as a mechanism for cataloging and contributing to the worldwide spread of Pentecostal experience. Indeed, this Pentecostal experience revived and reformed the numerous Christian denominations and traditions. That generation of Pentecostals, at the inception of the movement in the United States, identified themselves with one another, and recognized a common mission, the mission to testify to their common Pentecostal experience.

Secondly, the heterogeneity within Pentecostalism is not a reason to shun theological systematization; it is precisely the substantiation for it. If Pentecostalism is to be a term that signifies something concrete, it must have boundaries of demarcation. Is a Pentecostal simply one who speaks in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives direction, or believes in and exercises the charismata, or is a member of a certain denomination in which these things occur, or has a ← 4 | 5 → particular perspective on Christ and the Spirit? Is Pentecostalism a group whose worship looks a certain way, or whose doctrine has a distinct hue, or whose theological worldview is ostensibly differentiated from others? If Pentecostalism signifies anything, it must at least refer to a common or shared experience of God, an experience that brings with it certain expectations, disciplines and modes of thought. Therefore, the question, “What are you?” mandates a theological answer inasmuch as it deals with a certain interpretation and articulation of that experience.23 Because this experience of God is a shared or common experience, it requires categories in which it may be understood and discussed so that disingenuousness and falsehood can be discerned, confronted and judged. Because it is an experience that Pentecostals offer as available (and therefore potentially common to all humankind) to those outside their group (whether social, ethnic or ecclesial), categories of description and interpretation should attend that offering. These three things—description, demarcation and intelligibility—seem to be, at the most basic level, the task of theology.24

Thirdly, Pentecostalism, whether in its historical roots or its current instantiation, is not a mysticism of the Spirit. Although propelled by individual encounters (speaking in other tongues, visions, and/or dreams) and corporate experiences (manifestation of charismata like healings, prophecy, tongues and its interpretation) of the Holy Spirit, the focus of Pentecostal devotion, piety and discipline is Jesus Christ. What is distinctive about the Pentecostal approach to theology, therefore, is not only the primacy given to experience of the Spirit, but also the thematic predominance of the christological image of the Fivefold Gospel, namely, Jesus as savior, sanctifier, baptizer with the Holy Spirit, healer and coming king. Indeed, the normative short-hand for the Pentecostal experience of the Spirit—baptism with the Holy Spirit—is intimately connected to the christological image of Jesus as the baptizer with the Holy Spirit. If Steven J. Land is correct, and Pentecostalism is defined by its christological center and the pneumatological circumference of experience,25 then it falls to theological formulation to provide the systematic cohesion between them.26 This need for such systematization is in fact called for by Pentecostal scholar Simon Chan. Although he envisages a systematic presentation of the Pentecostal experience of the Spirit, his request indicates the blossoming of a positive, Pentecostal disposition toward systematization.27 It is my contention that an incarnational Spirit Christology is an adequate and appropriate paradigm within which such cohesion between the experience of the Spirit and the christological image of the Fivefold Gospel may be articulated.28 ← 5 | 6 →

Methodology of the Project

Roman Catholic theologian Ralph Del Colle states that Pentecostalism is a movement within the life of the universal church that “has yet to enter fully into efforts at church unity.”29 In fact, until recently, the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, specifically stated that their ministers were to have no ecumenical dealings whatsoever at the cost of disciplinary action.30 Regardless of the reason for ecumenical reluctance, there is a prior problem that must be resolved before serious and productive ecumenical dialogue with Pentecostals can really begin. The problem can be posed in the form of a question: How can a Christian movement, whose praxis and worship are spurred by religious experience, enter into meaningful and understandable dialogue with Christian traditions whose praxis and worship are borne along by hundreds of years of theological heritage?

Del Colle suggests that dialogue will, along with stimulating the ecumenical enterprise, aid Pentecostals in discovering their theological selves. Simon Chan laments the fact that Pentecostals, in an effort to maintain their distinctiveness, have often cut themselves off from the broader Christian tradition. He argues that Pentecostals will only be able to communicate their distinctive experience to subsequent generations if they can produce a theological approach that adequately engenders that experience. In order to do this Chan says that Pentecostals must “harness the conceptual tools the Christian tradition provides.”31 Both scholars underscore the dual problem of the need for Pentecostal self-understanding on the one hand, and advancing self-understanding through dialogue with the wider Christian community, on the other hand.

My judgment is that the development of a Pentecostal, incarnational, Spirit Christology will facilitate both theological self-understanding and ecumenical dialogue. I will mirror the theological task in three parts, namely, raw material description, ecclesial demarcation, and ecumenical intelligibility. I will briefly define the aspects of the theological task that are universal to religion in general, and then describe the particularization of the Pentecostal movement.32

The first aspect of the theological task, description of the raw materials for the procurement of identity, catalogues those elements that give to any distinct denomination, tradition or movement its identity. Sacred texts find their place in this category, though they may have a relatively higher or lower place on the hierarchical scale of descriptive importance. Cultural norms and mores, ← 6 | 7 → along with corporate and individual experience of the environs, also may be located under this category. With regard to Pentecostalism, the raw materials for the procurement of identity are the phenomenology or manifestations of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures and contextual experience or milieu.

The second aspect, ecclesial demarcation, seeks to articulate both the differences between the particular ecclesial manifestation in question and other distinct groups. By “distinct groups,” I am referring to the differentiation between the ecclesia and non-ecclesial (or secular) groups on the one hand, and that between ecclesial manifestations on the other hand. Two sub-categories exist, therefore, under this second aspect of the theological task. The first is demarcation from the saeculum. This signifies the disjunction between the secular world and the sacred Body of Christ, the church. Although such a disjuncture has met with various levels of criticism,33 there is a difference between the word of the church and the words of the world, the worldviews of each, and the perceived purpose and ultimate destiny of humankind. This implies a certain level of exclusivism and “over against-ness” between the world and the church. The second is demarcation from other ecclesiae. This signifies the divinely ordained distinctions that each ecclesial manifestation contributes to the larger and universal life of the Ecclesia. The highlighting of the distinctions between ecclesial manifestations does not exacerbate the current disunity among the various ecclesial manifestations, but rather serves to produce the necessary self-understanding in order to make ecumenical dialogue relevant and honest.

The complex that provides the ecclesial demarcation of Pentecostalism consists of four elements and an integrating center. Under the sub-category of demarcation from the ecclesia is the theological notion of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Correspondingly, the initial evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is speaking in other tongues. Under the sub-category of demarcation from the saeculum is the insistence on the imminent return of Christ, with a consequent call for personal holiness that reflects the holiness of God, a necessary requisite for one’s participation in Christ. The integrating center of this complex of elements is the individual use and corporate manifestation of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit. For Pentecostals, prophecy and healing are the primary gifts of this integration.34

The third aspect of the theological task, ecumenical intelligibility, is the locus at which the product of the first two aspects is distilled and expressed in such a way that the distinctiveness and message of the particular ecclesial manifestation in question may be understood. This aspect is developed in two ← 7 | 8 → parts, relating to Christian dialogue and secular dialogue, or in other words, to the ecclesia and the saeculum. In the dialogue between the ecclesiae, ecumenical signifies the endeavor of dialogue and mutual understanding between various denominations or Christian traditions. Preeminent here is the proffering of a theological language that is informed by identity and ecclesial demarcation, and that corresponds to traditional, theological loci of the Christian faith. Under the second category, saeculum, ecumenical assumes the broader meaning of the Greek word οίκουμένη, and its connotation of the world in general. This suggests that the message of the ecclesial manifestation is not simply inward-looking (Christian fraternity), but also outward-reaching (mission minded). This second category is concerned to articulate, in light of ecclesial distinctiveness, the message of the Gospel to the world.


XVIII, 342
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (May)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XVIII, 342 pp.

Biographical notes

Skip Jenkins (Author)

Skip Jenkins received his MTS and ThM degrees from Duke Divinity School and his PhD in systematic theology from Marquette University. He is the chairperson for the Department of Theology at Lee University, where he received the Excellence in Teaching Award, the Excellence in Advising Award, and the Janet Rahamut Award for Student Mentoring.


Title: A Spirit Christology
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