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Awe-Full Encounters: A Pentecostal Conversation with C.S. Lewis Concerning Spiritual Experience

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Perhaps best known by us as an exceptionally astute and incisive apologist, C.S. Lewis also has much to say to serious Pentecostals about religious experience—a foundational value in Pentecostalism. Aware of and interacting with Freudian and Jungian religious psychology, Lewis agreed with Rudolf Otto that religious experience is essentially mysterious encounter with the Numinous, arguing that numinous encounter constitutes the seed of all real religious experience. At its core authentic religious experience is divine encounter characterized by ineffable awe in God’s presence. Lewis’ articulation of experience informs and enhances Pentecostal theology and spirituality appreciably in key areas of ontology, epistemology, and anthropology. Personal testimony affirms the reality and centrality for Pentecostals of encountering God’s presence in Spirit baptism, speaking in tongues, and other spiritual gifts or experiences, as well as in private prayer and public worship.

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