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Full Access Worship in the Spirit: Pentecostal Perspectives on Liturgical Theology and Praxis

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Worship in the Spirit: Pentecostal Perspectives on Liturgical Theology and Praxis

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A Pentecostal theology of worship is still in the making. Its distinctiveness and common practices are yet to be fully determined or developed. Because of the Pentecostal movement’s roots in the Wesleyan tradition, much of the theological emphasis has been upon holiness and not orthodox, liturgical praxis. However, because of its pneumatological emphases, the Pentecostal movement has much to offer to the church at large as it pertains to liturgy and ritual. This essay suggests some insights for crafting intentionally blended worship that honors orthodoxy and yet remains faithful to the Pentecostal practice and tradition. This essay also reflects upon several scholars’ work from various traditions in convergence with Pentecostal scholarship in order to postulate some innovative ways of envisioning Pentecostal worship and liturgics.

1. fn34* Johnathan E. Alvarado (DMin, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA) is an Associate Professor and Dean of the Chapel at Beulah Heights University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
2. fn11 Marva J. Dawn, Reaching Out without Dumbing Down (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995), p. 4. Dawn affirms this assertion when she states, ‘Indeed, how we worship both reveals and forms our identity as persons and communities’.
3. fn22 George G. Hunter, III, Church for the Unchurched (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996), p. 20.
4. fn33 Harvey Cox, Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2001). Also see works from Robert Webber, Warren Wiersbe, Keith Drury, and Donald Dayton.
5. fn44 D.T. Niles, The Message and its Messengers (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1966), p. 50.
6. fn55 Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God (New York: Friendship Press, 1954), pp. 18, 94-100.
7. fn66 Robert Saucy, The Church in God’s Program (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1972), p. 19.
8. fn77 Steven J. Land, ‘The Triune Center: Wesleyans and Pentecostals Together in Mission’, Pneuma 21.2 (Fall 1999), pp. 208-209.
9. fn88 Wolfgang Vondey, Beyond Pentecostalism: The Crisis of Global Christianity and the Renewal of the Theological Agenda (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010), pp. 150-151.
10. fn99 Newbigin, The Household of God, pp. 102-117.
11. fn1010 Donald Dayton, The Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987), p. 87.
12. fn1111 Simon Chan, Pentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), pp. 117-18.
13. fn1212 Dan Tomberlin, Encountering God at the Altar: The Sacraments in Pentecostal Worship (Cleveland, TN: Center for Pentecostal Leadership and Care, 2006), p. 13.
14. fn1313 Colin Kruse, 2 Corinthians (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1987), p. 100.
15. fn1414 Cheryl Bridges Johns, Pentecostal Formation: A Pedagogy Among the Oppressed (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993), p. 13.
16. fn1515 Bridges Johns, Pentecostal Formation, p. 121.
17. fn1616 Bridges Johns, Pentecostal Formation, p. 123.
18. fn1717 Bridges Johns, Pentecostal Formation, p. 121.
19. fn1818 Clayton J. Schimt, Too Deep for Words: A Theology of Liturgical Expression (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press 2002), pp. 27-32.
20. fn1919 Mark J. Cartledge, Encountering the Spirit: The Charismatic Tradition (New York: Orbis Books, 2007), p. 67.
21. fn2020 Cartledge, Encountering the Spirit, p. 142.
22. fn2121 Ronald P. Byars, Christian Worship: Glorifying and Enjoying God (Louisville, KY: Geneva Press, 2000), p. 94.
23. fn2222 Steven J. Land, Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), pp. 59-60.
24. fn2323 Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), pp. 670-71.
25. fn2424 Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985), pp. 190-91.
26. fn2525 Grant Wacker, Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: 2001), p. 99.
27. fn2626 Cox, Fire From Heaven, p. 145.
28. fn2727 Simon Chan, ‘Mother Church’, Pneuma 22.2 (Fall 2000), p. 180.
29. fn2828 Jackie and Cheryl Johns, ‘Yielding to the Spirit: A Pentecostal Approach to Group Bible Study’, Journal of Pentecostal Theology 1 (1992), p. 116.
30. fn2929 James P. Bowers, ‘A Wesleyan-Pentecostal Approach To Christian Formation’, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Issue 6 (1995), p. 74.
31. fn3030 William M. Greathouse, Wholeness In Christ: Toward a Biblical Theology of Holiness (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 1998), p. 80 (emphasis added).
32. fn3131 Stanley M. Horton and Mark D. McLean, Systematic Theology: A Pentecostal Perspective (Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 1994), p. 377.
33. fn3232 Samuel D. Proctor, The Certain Sound of the Trumpet: Crafting a Sermon of Authority (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1994), p. 3.
34. fn3333 Goeffrey Wainwright, Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine, and Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 186.

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Affiliations: 1: Beulah Heights University, 892 Berne St, SE, Atlanta, GA, 30316


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