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It Seems Good to the Holy Spirit and to Us: The Ecclesial Vocation of the Pentecostal Scholar

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Abstract The members of the Society for Pentecostal Studies have made significant contributions to ecumenical reconciliation, to the promotion of the intellectual life in the Pentecostal and Charismatic communities, and to service to the classical Pentecostal churches in their development from a movement into mature churches in the community of Christians. For this leadership we are grateful. The Pentecostal scholar in whatever church has a calling to be of service to the whole people of God and to the churches in their task of preaching, handing on the faith and nurturing the faithful. This Society has been a place where this ecclesial vocation has been and can be nurtured. There are many intellectual challenges before the Pentecostal community as it moves into its second century as a renewal movement among Christians worldwide. This presidential address suggests three of these challenges: (1) a renewed understanding of the two thousand years of Christian history and the role of renewal movements within it, including the last century of Pentecostal service; (2) an understanding of the sacramental character of Pentecostal worship, using the example of healing as a ritual where Pentecostals have unique gifts to offer other Christians and a long heritage of sacramental thinking from which to learn; and (3) the doctrine of the church and its call to visible unity, as the institutions that serve the Pentecostal churches mature into their second century and begin to become more theologically grounded, self-reflective, and ecumenical.

Affiliations: 1: Catholic Studies Scholar in Residence, Lewis University Romeoville, Illinois jgros@memphisseminary.edu

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