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Practical Theology: Charismatic and Empirical Perspectives

On the surface, empirical and practical theology can seem, contradictory as it sounds, non-practical. When it comes to the life and faith of the believer and the community of believers, research and study should never be an end to itself. Cartledge anticipates this objection wonderfully, in one of the most grace-affirming passages in the book (p. 30):

The point is that at the end of each encounter there is either an articulation of further questions or hypotheses …, or there is a proposed transformation of theological praxis. This is achieved by means of specific recommendations for change …. Of course, true change always comes from God, and it is a work of grace. Charismatic theology invites change at the levels of affection, attitude and behaviour. However, it is always the Holy Spirit who is the agent of such transformation.

… The transformation has a divine purpose. It enables the person so transformed to serve the work of God through the church for the sake of the world, so the world may be transformed according to the purposes of God.

Amen and amen.

Reviewed by Mike J. Knowles

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2005

About the Author: Michael J. Knowles earned his Bachelor of Theology degree at Summit Pacific College in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, and has published numerous articles and book reviews. He and his family currently live in Washington state, where he teaches health education at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, and also works as a pharmacy technician in Bellingham.

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