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Relational Empowerment

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A Process-Relational Theology of the Spirit-Filled Life

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This article comprises a reformulation of the pentecostal-charismatic notion of spiritual power from a process-relational theological perspective. The problem of power is investigated in terms of coercive and persuasive power, followed by a proposal concerning the role of love in persuasion over coercion. The notion of “relational empowerment” suggests that co-suffering and other-orientedness represent healthier perspectives on persuasive love than typical notions of raw empowerment for domination or control. The primacy of God’s responsive love while co-suffering with creation is central to this affirmation. A Spirit-filled life is proposed as one that fully and enthusiastically embraces the “other-oriented nature” of God’s persuasive love. Moreover, the use of power metaphors is critiqued and alternatives presented. Ultimately, it is argued that the unsurpassable power of such unconditional love must remind the world that “Christ is not Caesar.”

Affiliations: 1: Oxford Graduate School, Youngstown, Ohio


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