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Cindy Jacobs: The Reformation Manifesto

If the Holy Spirit is active in our lives, why do so many societies seem to be deteriorating around us?

However, Jacobs does seem to assume that Christians in general and American Christians in particular (Evangelicals and Charismatics especially) can accomplish this grand reformation alone or on their own. That is, we can do it without any substantive help—any cooperation or partnership—from anyone else (well, at least apart from direct divine intervention). For an instance, I see here no idea of effort for Christians to dialogue or partner with other religions. The few references to religious others are generally negative. For example, Jacobs seems to imply that Islam is an idolatrous religion that brings God’s curse on the land resulting in droughts and famines. Obviously that would be an alienating assessment. Further, she appears paranoid, though apparently envious as well, of Islamic banking systems, especially in the United Kingdom, and worries about “the Islamification of the United Kingdom”. How she intends to have global transformation without at least some level of interreligious cooperation is not explained. Yet she certainly issues a stirring challenge to Christians to live out the social implications of their faith.

In my opinion, it would be extreme to accuse Jacobs of latent American imperialism under the guise of Christian mission. Widely traveled, she still speaks quite naturally out of her American context with a pressing burden for other nations as well. She simply has a specific and strident Christian vision of how we might make the world a better place. With the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, Jacobs finds it unacceptable and intolerable that so many societies seem to be deteriorating all around us. She’s convinced that the major problems of sin, poverty, and disease should not continue to plague the planet if its two billion Christians are doing their duty. For this, she is to be commended. Nevertheless, some attention to how those two billion Christians might work with the planet’s other four billion members—including many adherents of other religions—to make it happen together could conceivably make her powerful prophetic dream more realistically attainable. And that would be worth praying about!

Reviewed by Tony Richie

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Category: Ministry, Pneuma Review, Winter 2011

About the Author: Tony Richie, D.Min, Ph.D., is missionary teacher at SEMISUD (Quito, Ecuador) and adjunct professor at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN). Dr. Richie is an Ordained Bishop in the Church of God, and Senior Pastor at New Harvest in Knoxville, TN. He has served the Society for Pentecostal Studies as Ecumenical Studies Interest Group Leader and is currently Liaison to the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches (USA), and represents Pentecostals with Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation of the World Council of Churches and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. He is the author of Speaking by the Spirit: A Pentecostal Model for Interreligious Dialogue (Emeth Press, 2011) and Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Religions: Encountering Cornelius Today (CPT Press, 2013) as well as several journal articles and books chapters on Pentecostal theology and experience.

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