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10. Pentecostalism and the Authority of Scripture

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that doctrinal statements on the inspiration and, derivatively, the authority of Scripture are secondary in importance among Pentecostals to the experiences of an authoritative God in and through the Scriptures. Along with many more conservative branches of the Christian church Pentecostals approach the Bible with very practical questions, expecting to encounter in the Scripture the very words of God speaking directly to their needs and guiding them in the transformation which the Holy Spirit is actively carrying on in their lives. The thesis of this study is that biblical authority in the Pentecostal community arises from personal and communal experiences of the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals, in the community of faith and in the world. Pentecostal theology and hermeneutics are different because they arise not primarily out of rational reflection, but rather out of lived experience.

Keywords: biblical authority; community of faith; hermeneutics; Holy Spirit; lived Christian experience; Pentecostal theology; Pentecostalism; Scripture



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