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Pragmatism, Power, and Politics: A Pentecostal Conversation with President Obama's Favorite Theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr

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In conversation with Reinhold Niebuhr, this essay explores ecumenical, economical, and political theology and practice against a contextual backdrop of recent developments in Cuba relative to the United States with specific implications for North American Pentecostal Christians. First, it argues that Niebuhr's Christian realism and Pentecostalism's pragmatic orientation may be allies in addressing economic and political issues; and second, his perspective on the spiritual nature and proper use of power may inform Pentecostalism's traditional approach to power so as to expand its parameters for more precise political and social implementation. Further, the contemporary relevance of this discussion is framed and informed by President Barack Obama's vaunted appropriation of Niebuhr in a creative integrative practice of faith and politics.

Affiliations: 1: New Harvest Church of God (Knoxville, TN); Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology, Regent Divinity School, Virginia Beach, VA, USA


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