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Good News of the Kingdom of God: An Interview with Paul Pomerville

A major contribution for the Pentecostal movement for the church at large would be to develop a “Pentecostal” biblical theology that would replace dispensational theology and unmask its influence in the church at large. It is a gross understatement to say that this theology is a major hindrance to the Christian mission. Dispensational theology not only denies the Pentecostal-charismatic experience today, but in its excessive Israel-focused theology (rather than Christ-focused) it has hindered the church’s mission in the Islamic world which today numbers nearly 2.5 billion adherents. The influence of that Israel-focused theology “married” to a pseudo-Christian Zionism with an excessive pro-Israeli America presents a gospel that is not “good news” to Muslims and is not a real option for belief in the world of Islam. The same “perfect storm” of excessive Israel-influence has caused evangelicals to be “on the wrong side” of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. I have written a book to counter this perfect storm of Israel-influence among evangelicals: The New Testament Case against Christian Zionism: A Christian View of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict [Editor’s note: Read Eric Newberg’s review].

The Pentecostal-charismatic movement in the global South has demonstrated the effectiveness of a full-rounded mission theology in their pursuit of justice for the poor.

An almost seven decade long military occupation and oppression of native Palestinians—one quarter of which are Christians—has taken place under a false historical narrative provided by the Israeli government. Another “unmasking,” therefore, needs to be undertaken with the short 69-year historical narrative of the State of Israel’s military occupation of native Palestinians. Such a historical investigation is not a normal Pentecostal task (like the statistical task Pentecostals must do in uncovering the overwhelming numbers of worldwide Pentecostalism), but it is a rather straight-forward historical proposition. Since the opening of the archives of the State of Israel in the mid-1980s, a plethora of historical literature from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), politicians and Hagana intelligence services reveal a historical narrative vastly different from the Israeli government narrative and is now available for an unmasking of Israeli propaganda. Israeli, Arab and Christian Palestinian historians have produced dozens of books on the true history of the State of Israel since its founding in 1948 based on these documents; they include historical documentation of mass expulsions of native Palestinians from their homes and birthplace over seven decades. Ilan Pappe’s book titled The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine documents the historical oppression and expulsion of native Palestinians from the state of Israel.

This should be a Christian concern and this kind of social injustice and oppression is within the purview a biblical theology of mission. The Pentecostal-charismatic movement in the global South has demonstrated the effectiveness of such a full-rounded mission theology in their pursuit of justice for the poor in the governments of countries of the global South—Latin American countries, as well as in Northern Asia such as Korea, for instance. The Pentecostal-charismatic movement there is making a contribution to the “church at large.” Contemporary evangelical-Pentecostal missiologists speak of this effort in addressing matters of social injustice as the “cultural mandate” along with the “evangelistic mandate” in referring to a complete or holistic theology of mission. Just as Jesus and the apostles carried on the tradition of the Scriptures in focusing on the poor and injustice toward the poor, the Holy Spirit has led Christians in the global South to focus on the poor, the social class most represented by the countries of the global South, and incidentally, the population most receptive to the gospel of the kingdom of God.

 

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Note from the Editor: Special thanks to John P. Lathrop for his assistance with this interview and all he does to support the ministry of PneumaReview.com.

 

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2018

About the Author: Paul A. Pomerville, PhD (Fuller Theological Seminary), is a seventeen-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department who served as a missionary to Asia and Europe for thirteen years and as a Graduate Professor and Department Chairman of Christian Missions and Cross-cultural Communications at the Assemblies of God Seminary for two years. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission. For seven years he trained police in cultural diversity all across the United States, and continued for another seven years training police in Indonesia, East Timor and Bosnia Herzegovina. He is the author of The Cross-Cultural American: Ending America’s Obsession with Race (CreateSpace, 2009), Culture Blind Evangelicals and the Good News of the Kingdom of God (CreateSpace, 2009), Recovering Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom in American Culture: A Study in Luke’s Gospel-Acts of the Apostles (CreateSpace, 2010 and second updated edition 2016), The New Testament Case against Christian Zionism: A Christian View of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (CreateSpace, 2014), and The Third Force in Missions: A Pentecostal Contribution to Contemporary Mission Theology (Hendrickson Publishers, 1985 and second updated edition 2016).

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