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What Kind of Spirit Are We Really Of? A Pentecostal Approach to Interfaith Forgiveness and Interreligious Reconciliation



1 “Report from Inter-Religious Consultation on ‘Conversion—Assessing the Reality’”, Lariano, Italy, May 12-16, 2006. This important dialogue event was organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican City, and the Interreligious Relations & Dialogue of the World Council of Churches, Geneva.

2 Craig A. Evans, New International Biblical Commentary: Luke (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1990), p. 162.

3 Harvey Cox, Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1995).

4 Cecil M. Robeck, The Azusa Street Mission & Revival: The Birth of the Global Pentecostal Movement (Nashville: Nelson, 2006). Cf. pp. 313-25. I have argued elsewhere that Pentecostalism has an inherent ecumenical and inclusivist impulse that has been artificially stifled. See my “‘The Unity of the Spirit’: Are Pentecostals Inherently Ecumenicists and Inclusivists?” Journal of the European Pentecostal Theology Association (2006), pp. 21-37.

5 As Pentecostal theologian and Fuller seminary professor Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen appropriately points out in “‘How to Speak of the Spirit among Religions’: Trinitarian Prolegomena for a Pneumatological Theology of Religions”, ed. Michael Welker, The Work of the Spirit: Pneumatology and Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), pp. 47-70, the chief challenge is maintaining a staunchly trinitarian pneumatology properly relating the Spirit to the Father and the Son and to the Church and Kingdom beyond the Church.

6 Juan Sepuœlveda, “Reflections on the Pentecostal Contribution to the Mission of the Church in Latin America”, Journal of Pentecostal Theology 1 (October 1992), pp. 93-108 (p. 102).

7 See Tony Richie, “Azusa-era Optimism: Bishop J. H. King’s Pentecostal Theology of Religions as a Possible Paradigm for Today”, Journal of Pentecostal Theology 14:2 (April 2006), pp. 247-60.

8 Cheryl Bridges Johns, Pentecostal Formation: A Pedagogy among the Oppressed JPTSup 2 (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993, 1998), p. 13. Cf. pp. 62-110.

9 Ibid: p. 81.

10 Amos Yong, The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academci, 2005), pp. 91-98.

11 R. Hollis Gause, Living in the Spirit: The Way of Salvation (Cleveland, TN: Pathway, 1980), “Introduction” and pp. 125-36.

12 This paragraph (and indeed this entire paper) focuses on forgiveness and reconciliation between people of different religious affiliations, not between God and people of whatever faith.

13 Charles W. Conn, Like a Mighty Army: A History of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN: Pathway, 1996), p. 337.

14 Ibid: p. 139.

15 Cf. French L. Arrington, Christian Doctrine: A Pentecostal Perspective vol. two (Cleveland, TN: Pathway, 1993), p. 202.

16 Resolution of the 71st International General Assembly of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN USA), July 24-28, 2006.


An earlier version of this paper was presented at the World Congress on Religions after 9/11 (Montreal, Canada, September 14, 2006).

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2009

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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