For Pentecostal thinking, the paradox contained in biblical descriptions of God does not pose any problems because they experience God in dynamic, personal terms as the unknowable God who in his greatness, might and majesty as Master of the universe falls outside the frame of reference of human beings, who are the works of his hands. What is important in Pentecostal theology is not to say much about God but to love him Yong He is experienced as the God who engages in dialogue with his children, a living person who responds to his children's adoration and worship by encountering them with his grace and provision Pinnock It falls outside Pentecostals' experience that God can be contained in absolutist and unchangeable, philosophical Greek, Aristotelian categories such as 'unmoved mover', 'cause of all being', 'pure being' or 'world soul' although they have to admit that philosophical terminology may be useful in describing their experience McRoberts Theology can not only reiterate what the Bible states; it needs language to describe its object of investigation and reflection.
However, it must be realised that language can never adequately express the One that theology endeavours to picture Tollefsen Theology should be based on biblical language but it needs to remain relevant and faithful by utilising philosophical mechanisms in its work Tollefsen Barth argues that theology became nominalistic when the attributes of God were described as 'names' given to describe God, or were human perceptions of God that do not correspond to any reality in him.
Word of 'Asherah' was nearly edited out of the Bible, researcher concludes
The essentia [essence] of God was viewed as the reality of God. The attributes or perfections of God seen in Scripture is then viewed as not proper to God. Something else behind this witness is essential to God, so that his attributes lose their reality in favour of the essence. However, the Father of Jesus Christ has empathy with human beings requiring that Jesus suffered and died in humans' stead in order to allow God to reconcile humans with him Solivan Instead of an immutable, perfect and apathetic God, as Barth maintains traditional theism created when it pictured God in terms borrowed from ancient Stoicism and Neo-Platonism, what is needed is that God's attributes be redefined through the lens of Jesus Christ and the work of the Spirit in the believer's life Migliore The power of his almightiness, for instance, should be reflected through the lens of Christ's suffering on the cross where the power of God becomes weakness that challenges and restructures our ideas of power in a secularist sense Moltmann Such redefinition is an essential task that Pentecostal theology should undertake as the basis of its God talk.
We cannot do anything else but to talk of God in faithfulness to Scripture's witness about him and the reality of our contemporary experience, but it should be remembered that language can never encompass him, as argued already. Although he interacts with us, his creatures, as Creator he is totally different from anything human beings can propose. He enters space and time to encounter us in his incarnation, yet he is beyond time and space in eternity, a concept that does not make sense from our point of observation Noel The transcendent God meets human beings in his immanence but he remains a mystery that our mind can never contain.
A further characteristic of Pentecostal theology, it is suggested, is that it should use the philosophical language of dialectic, as has been intimated above in terms of the utility of paradoxical terms to describe God. From the start, Pentecostal experience can only be called Christian if it draws its interpretation from the Bible as the Word of God. Dialectic allows one to speak of two or more, usually contradictory, truths while not negating either one. Barth and Brunner use this method to emphasise the qualitative difference between what can be said about God and who he really is Brunner God is the hidden one who reveals something of himself.
Dialectic in describing what we can know about God allows some glimpses of him, but at the same time it suggests that we can never exhaust his being by what we say about him Karkkainen Speech about God can be nothing else but provisional and conditional, because it is inadequate to encompass God with human words Cross Words are often related to experience, but they are not the same thing.
Words explain and describe experience, and in doing so, they provide models that can help people assess their own experience. Words situate experiences within a broader understanding of who God is, how the world is put together and what it means to be human. These uses of words taken together constitute the field of theology. Pentecostals also use theological words to make sense of their faith, but they are suspicious of words. The movement is to some degree a protest against too much reliance on words, or rather the use of religious words without religious experience to back it up.
Too much words, they suspect, might drain the power from their own experiences of the Spirit Jacobsen The living, interacting God is personal, as experienced in his incarnation where he stoops down and mingles with human beings. But his works do not exhaust his person and therefore Pentecostals worship the One living in a realm beyond human capacity to understand as the mighty God whose mere words create worlds Alvarsso Dialectic helps to view God more holistically as the indescribable Reality that also exists outside creation.
Pentecostals worship the God of the Bible, the One who is at hand, and far away so that no one can hide from him in secret because he fills both heaven and earth Jr God had chosen some human beings from the beginning for salvation 2 Th b ; before the foundation of the world he predestined them to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ Eph At the same time, human beings may choose or reject salvation - if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him for the dead, you will be saved Rm On one hand, the Bible clearly teaches monotheism, that there is one and only one God and that he is one Dt Yet, the Bible also teaches that the one God consists of three persons Mt ; 2 Cor Another paradox is the nature of Jesus Christ with some passages clearly teaching that he is fully human e.
Rm , while other passages teach that Jesus is fully divine Mt ; Col These paradoxes need the logic of dialectic to make enough sense that it encourages the student of the Bible to bow in worship before God. While Pentecostal theologians strive for rationality in theological formulation, they must choose revelation over the finite restrictions of human logic McRoberts What is important in Pentecostal theology is that abstract philosophical considerations of God be exchanged for the incarnation because through Christ God grants eternal life Shaull The incarnation demonstrates that God desires relationship with his creatures, placing theology within the dynamic realm of relationality.
However, God's transcendence may not be ignored and should also be considered, but then not in terms of abstractions but as God beyond our language, the God before whom we stutter and stammer, requiring paradox to say something sensible about him Holm The witness of Scripture and the testimony of the Spirit in our experience require that both aspects be addressed allowing Dela Cruz to speak of 'testimonial hermeneutics'.
In bringing their own ethos to the theological table, Pentecostals regard the Bible as the inspired Word of God with authority for their lives. But they qualify that statement, that encounters with God within the faith community in ways similar to those recorded in the Bible is conditional for understanding and interpreting biblical accounts. Pentecostals need to develop a perspective on the all-inclusive difference made by their experience of God in all areas of their lives.
The two elements conditional for good theology are the interpretation and appropriation of the biblical narrative, and God's Spirit driving home the truth contained in that narrative. In talking about God, Pentecostals view him in trinitarian terms, as they experience him in his interacting with human beings.
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Trinitarian theology is per se a theology of relationships, concerned with communion and love, forgiveness and courtesy. God is viewed as a being whose fundamental feature is loving relationality. God cannot be contained in absolutist and unchangeable categories and language can never adequately express him. It is suggested that the philosophical language of dialectic be used to describe God. The living, interacting God is personal, as experienced in his incarnation where he stoops down and mingles with human beings until present times. His works do not exhaust his person and therefore Pentecostals worship the transcendent One living in a realm beyond human capacity to understand as the mighty God whose mere words create worlds.
The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article. Althaus, P. Schultz, Fortress, Philadelphia.
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