Original Research

Pentecostal talk about God: Attempting to speak from experience

Marius Nel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4479 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4479 | © 2017 Marius Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 December 2016 | Published: 21 April 2017

About the author(s)

Marius Nel, Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism, Unit for Reformed Theology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Pentecostals have their own ethos to bring to the theological table. Although they represent a diverse spectrum of beliefs, they share a basic preference for experience co-determining their theology, along with their interpretation of Scripture. Their hermeneutical viewpoint since the 1970s that links them with that of early Pentecostals allows them to regard the Bible as the inspired Word of God with authority for their lives although they qualify that statement by adding that encounters with God within the faith community in ways similar to those recorded in the Bible is conditional for understanding and interpreting biblical accounts of God and God’s faith community. It is proposed that Pentecostals need to develop a perspective on the all-inclusive difference made by their experience of God in all areas of their lives. Their experience of God through his Spirit shifts their  loci communes and theological method. It is argued that Pentecostal theology should rethink every aspect of theological enterprise through the lens of the reality of God’s encounter with human beings as experienced in the faith community. In the last section, this is demonstrated in terms of one subject, of God as the object of theology.

Keywords

Pentecostal theology; experience; hermeneutic; continuing revelation; testimony

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