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Amos Yong: The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh

 

Yong is a master synthesizer. He is particularly adept at taking apparently disparate views and demonstrating, without denying real differences, ways they might appreciate, inform, and enhance one another. Results are never merely condescending or compromising, but always truly creative. He employs this process surprisingly successfully with Christians and non-Christians, Pentecostal Christians and non-Pentecostal Christians, various “liberal/post-liberal” and “conservative” ideologies, Roman Catholics and Pentecostals, and political-sociological agendas and spiritual-individual experiences, and others. Along this line his discussion of Trinitarian and Oneness Pentecostal theology is especially intriguing. Potentially cross-fertilizing concepts of unity and plurality are creatively explored. One suggestion I question, however, is Yong’s admittedly “ambivalent” discussion of possibilities in Oneness theology as points of contact with non-Christian radical monotheists (see pp. 227-31, 264). The most effective inter-religious dialogue includes candor about what we really are in our most authentic identity. For most Christians, including most Pentecostals, that identity is Trinitarian. Involving fringe views only adds another hurdle to overcome. Also, Oneness Pentecostals avidly affirm the deity of Jesus Christ, a typical stumbling block with radical monotheists. There is one way Yong may not be far off the mark. Pentecostalism’s internal struggle regarding the Godhead may indeed help prepare it for external dialogue involving the same subject. After nearly a century of struggle over the Godhead, have Pentecostals learned anything positive that can be passed along or pressed into service? If so, how does it inform inter-religious dialogue?

Reading The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh is an exciting adventure well worth undertaking. Enjoyment is enhanced in that this is a most readable work. Without sacrificing substance, Yong avoids a pedantic tone and keeps the pace of the text moving along briskly. More advanced scholarly subtleties are adequately addressed in fairly copious footnotes. The last chapter, on religion and science, is the most abstract. Yet a crisp, groundbreaking pneumatological theology of nature confronting traditional dualisms and dichotomies is gripping even here. The philosophical framework of the entire book’s “dynamic, holistic, and multidimensional soteriology” and “ecumenical, sacramental, and charismatic ecclesiology” (p. 294) is finally here declared most forthrightly. Readability is further fostered by especially well done organization. Well marked and cross-referenced section and sub-section headings, beginning and ending with clear, concise overviews and summaries, are helpful indeed. One wishes for a fuller subject index. Overall, Amos Yong has accomplished a most difficult task: writing a deep book with a wide appeal. Most importantly, it has worldwide applicability. Anyone interested in anything about today’s developing Pentecostalism will want to read it. It will make an exceptional textbook for scholars and students.

Reviewed by Tony Richie

 

Publisher’s page: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-spirit-poured-out-on-all-flesh/232981

Preview The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Spirit_Poured_Out_on_All_Flesh.html?id=65DsASd_ORMC

 

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2007

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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