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Pentecostal Soteriology and Pneumatology

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A profound irony characterizes some examples of Pentecostal theology: the Spirit is made subordinate to Christology in an effort to emphasize the Spirit. Protestant scholasticism is the source of this problem. Historically, Pentecostal theologians adopted the soteriological paradigms of Protestant scholasticism to express their pneumatological concerns. The form of the subordination of the Spirit is the tendency to distinguish salvation into Christocentric and pneumatological categories. (Christ achieves redemp tion, and his work is the objective basis of justification. The Spirit applies the work of Christ, and this work of the Spirit is the subjective sanctifica tion of the believer.) The distinctive doctrine of Pentecostalism, the Baptism in the Spirit, accentuates the bifurcation of the work of Christ and the Spirit by implicitly making the primary work of the Spirit subsequent to and unnecessary for salvation. This essay first illustrates and criticizes the foundational role Protestant scholastic soteriological paradigms play in Pentecostal theology and, second, proposes a redemptive soteriology that synthesizes the work of Christ and the Spirit as a way to transcend the problematic irony of Pentecostal theology.


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