Pentecostals, Peacemaking, and Social Justice

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Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians comprise approximately 25 percent of global Christianity (around 600 million of 2.4 billion). This remarkable development has occurred within just the last century and has been called the “pentecostalization” of Christianity. Pentecostals and Charismatics experience Christianity and the world in distinctive ways, and Wipf and Stock’s Pentecostals, Peacemaking, and Social Justice series invites discovery and development of Pentecostal-Charismatic approaches to peacemaking and social justice.

The following books make up the growing series, with more to come.

Book 1Pentecostals and Nonviolence: Reclaiming a Heritage, by Paul Nathan Alexander, Foreword by Stanley Hauerwas

Pentecostals and Nonviolence explores how a distinctly Pentecostal-charismatic peace witness might be reinvigorated and sustained in the 21st century. To do so, the book examines the nature of the early Pentecostal commitment to nonviolence, and investigates the possibilities that might emerge from Pentecostals and Anabaptists entering into conversation and worship with each other. Contributors engage the arguments surrounding the heritage of Pentecostal pacifism in the United States and then move toward exploring nonviolence and peacemaking as crucial for contemporary Christianity as a whole. Ranging from theology, testimony, and pastoral ministry to interchurch relations, activism, and protest, this diverse collection of essays challenge and invite the whole church to the task of peacemaking while exploring the distinctive, and often neglected, contributions from the Pentecostal-charismatic tradition.

Pentecostal Pacifism: The Origin, Development, and Rejection of Pacific Belief among the Pentecostals, by Jay Beaman, Foreword by John Howard Yoder

JayAt a time when the Evangelical wing of the church is beginning to show some signs of soul searching over the issues of war and peace, the Pentecostals would do well to study their own heritage. Whether they accept or reject their earlier world view, they need to interpret the motivation for their original beliefs and those which they now hold. As people of the word of God, have Pentecostals altered their pacifistic views as a result of new biblical insights or cultural accommodation?

 

 

martyForgiveness, Reconciliation, and RestorationForgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Multidisciplinary Studies from a Pentecostal Perspective, edited by Martin W. Mittelstadt, Geoffrey W. Sutton

Although history is replete with tales of revenge, Christian forgiveness provides an alternate response. In this volume, Pentecostal scholars from various disciplines offer their vision for forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. The essayists offer long-overdue Pentecostal perspectives through analysis of contemporary theological issues, personal testimony, and prophetic possibilities for restoration of individual relationships and communities. Though Pentecostals remain committed to Spirit-empowered witness as recorded in Luke-Acts, these scholars embrace a larger Lukan vision of Spirit-initiated inclusivity marked by reconciliation. The consistent refrain calls for forgiveness as an expression of God’s love that does not demand justice but rather seeks to promote peace by bringing healing and reconciliation in relationships between people united by one Spirit.

9781608992836A Liberating Spirit: Pentecostals and Social Action in North America, edited by Michael Wilkinson, Steven M. Studebaker

The historical ambivalence among Pentecostals about their relationship to culture and society needs evaluation. How do we understand Pentecostal engagement with society, and how are Pentecostals in North America engaging issues of race, class, gender, and ecology? What theologically motivates North American Pentecostals to respond to social issues? What categories best explain Pentecostal responses to social issues in North America? How do they compare to Pentecostal responses elsewhere?

Recently, scholars of global Pentecostalism have proposed that the experience of the Spirit among Pentecostals has elicited the development of a Pentecostal “theology of liberation,” which has implications for understanding Pentecostal responses to social issues. These projects primarily explore the Pentecostal response to cultural issues in areas outside of North America and especially focus on Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

This volume assesses whether the categories of social liberation applied to non-Western Pentecostalism characterize Pentecostalism in North America. Is there evidence of a Pentecostal “theology of liberation” that explains Pentecostal engagement in North America? Do social-liberation categories fit the North American Pentecostal responses to social issues or are others more suitable? These and other important questions about the relation between liberation theology and North American Pentecostalism are thoroughly explored in this important collection of essays.

x9781610972307.jpg.pagespeed.ic.PsXOZfnikNChrist at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Justice and Peace, edited by Paul Nathan Alexander

What does the evangelical church in Palestine think about the land, the end times, the Holocaust, peace in the Middle East, loving enemies, Christian Zionism, the State of Israel, and the possibilities of a Palestinian state? For the first time ever, Palestinian evangelicals along with evangelicals from the United States and Europe have converged to explore these and other crucial topics. Although Jews, Muslims, and Christians from a variety of traditions have participated in discussions and work regarding Israel and Palestine, this book presents theological, biblical, and political perspectives and arguments from Palestinian evangelicals who are praying, hoping, and working for a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.

x9781610975162.jpg.pagespeed.ic.OG3S0BHQqPThe Liberating Mission of JesusThe Liberating Mission of Jesus: The Message of the Gospel of Luke, by Dario Lopez Rodriguez

The Liberating Mission of Jesus deals with the central message of the Gospel of Luke, provocatively arguing that the liberating mission of Jesus has two central themes: the universality of the love of God and the special love God has for the defenseless of society. Both of these pillars form the bedrock of Luke’s theological vision, animate his Gospel throughout, and summarize the good news of the reign of God in subversive and radical form. This book shows how the liberating message announced by Jesus, as well as his liberating practice, is manifested throughout the Gospel and its implications for Christian life today. Through this thorough treatment, the full depth of Luke’s vision of the liberating mission of Jesus is shown to be a paradigm for the personal and collective witness of believers, regardless of the social, political, cultural, or religious boundaries that try to inhibit them from giving witness to the God of life.

x9781610979085.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Tp0UFZV5gFPentecostal and Holiness Statements on War and Peace, edited by Jay Beaman and Brian K. Pipkin, Foreword by Titus Peachey

Many Pentecostal groups have forgotten their legacy of war resistance and doctrinal history opposing killing. To rectify this loss, we have catalogued Holiness and Pentecostal denominational statements on war and peace.

Numerous Holiness groups and virtually all early Pentecostal groups had some form of pacifist statement against war. This antiwar collection gives us an almost uniform picture of the early Pentecostal movement as largely pacifist in orientation. The commonality of these statements across both Holiness and Pentecostal movements is evidence they are a continuous group and not two separate movements. While their early doctrines opposed killing, many named in this book are now widely considered to be stalwarts of the Religious Right, or at least staunch supporters of Christian participation in war. Our hope is that this book will frame the official position of early Pentecostals on war and peace, and encourage Pentecostals today to reflect on their antiwar heritage.

9781625644626Blood Cries Out: Pentecostals, Ecology, and the Groans of Creation, edited by A. J. Swoboda, Foreword by Steven Bouma-Prediger

John McConnell Jr. was the famed founder and visionary of Earth Day. McConnell’s vision was one of creating a day of remembrance, solitude, and action to restore the broken human relationship to the land. Little acknowledged are McConnell’s religious convictions or background. McConnell grew up in a Pentecostal home. In fact, McConnell’s parents were both founding charter members of the Assemblies of God in 1914. His own grandfather had an even greater connection to the origins of Pentecostalism by being a personal participant at the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906. Earth Day, thus, began with strong religious convictions. McConnell, seeing the ecological demise through his religious background, envisioned a day where Christians could “show the power of prayer, the validity of their charity, and their practical concern for Earth’s life and people.”

In the spirit of McConnell, today’s Pentecostal and Charismatic theology has something to say about the earth. Blood Cries Out is a unique contribution by Pentecostal and Charismatic theologians and practitioners to the global conversation concerning ecological degradation, climate change, and ecological justice.

9781625645135Life in the Spirit: A Post-Constantinian and Trinitarian Account of the Christian Life, by Andrea D. Snavely, Introduction by Joel P. Okamoto

What would the church look like if Christians saw their lives as constituted by the Spirit’s presence to live as Jesus lived? In a time when being “led by the Spirit” is defined more by achieving the “American Dream” than by Jesus’s life, answering this question rightly seems all the more critical for the church to survive in a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity. Building upon the work of post-Constantinians John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas and upon the Trinitarian Spirit-Christology of Leopoldo Sanchez, this account of the Christian life provides a framework for seeing one’s Christian life as one transformed by the Spirit to live in the resurrection reality of Jesus’s sonship with the Father in the Spirit. In the process, one will discover that, for Jesus, being led by the Spirit meant trusting his Father to the point of death on a cross, trusting God to resurrect him even if he did not save him. Should it mean the same for Christians today? If so, this would require the church to reimagine its ministries for the Spirit to work repentance and faith rather than simple agreement. For Christians living in the Spirit, their lives might look very different.

Royalties from sales of these volumes are often donated to Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice, a nonprofit network advocating for Jesus-shaped and Spirit-empowered peace with justice. Click here to browse the titles and place an order.


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