cover image Pentecostal Orthodoxy: Toward an Ecumenism of the Spirit

Pentecostal Orthodoxy: Toward an Ecumenism of the Spirit

Emilio Alvarez. IVP Academic, $24 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-5140-0090-8

“Can anything orthodox come from Pentecostalism?” asks bishop Alvarez in his rigorous debut. He argues that “through an ecumenism of the Spirit, segments of Pentecostalism have been given the opportunity to recover the Great Tradition”—which emphasizes the teachings, creeds, and liturgy from the first thousand years of Christianity—and suggests the Great Tradition is not as incompatible with Pentecostalism as commonly thought. The author recounts how reading theologians Robert Webber and Thomas Howard transformed his faith from a “fiery” Pentecostalism into a more sacramental and reflective outlook. He chronicles the history of the “paleo-orthodox movement” that took off in the second half of the 20th century, and privileges Christian beliefs forged before the Great Schism, and he proposes that paleo-orthodoxy’s “recovery of classical consensual teaching” and passion for liturgy qualify it as a renewal movement. The author posits that Pentecostalism isn’t antithetical to orthodoxy and points out continuity between the faith movement and ancient Christian traditions, noting that Pentecostalism shares a distrust of “state-led Christianity” with ascetic monasticism. In this balanced, thorough, and scholarly volume, the author’s command of church history and the theological heft of his ideas coalesce to challenge and complicate religious categories. This is a must-read for anyone interested in ecumenism. (Sept.)