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The Spirit and the Bride Revisited: Pentecostalism, Renewal, and the Sense of History

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image of Journal of Pentecostal Theology

Early Pentecostalism embraced a historical narrative of restorationism that provided an apologetic for Pentecostal revivals by trumpeting the discontinuity with much of Christian tradition. As a counter to this restorationist historical narrative, I argue that early Pentecostalism transmitted a catholic spirituality, which explains not only how it fostered ecclesial renewal in other Christian traditions, but also offers a narrative of continuity with the history of Christianity. This catholic spirituality can be found in the way early Pentecostals fused together eschatological notions of the church as the bride with bridal mysticism to forge a theology of encounter that also offered an implicit renewal understanding of history. This fusion drew upon an eschatology of divine presence in which to encounter God was to live proleptically in the end. Restorationism, consequently, need not be tied to the narrative of discontinuity given in the latter rain, full gospel, and apostolic faith identity markers.

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