Pentecostal spirituality in the postmodern world
Pentecostal spirituality in the postmodern world
In this session we explore Pentecostal spirituality in the postmodern world.

The Pentecostal movement has undergone much  transformation as a result of changes  within its group and within the wider Christian church as well as the interaction effects  of  worldviews and theological  standpoints.

Pentecostal theologians, preachers and  educators seek to  inform, inspire and instruct adherents for growth in Pentecostal spirituality amidst the challenges of postmodernism.

In Douglas Nelson’s views, ‘The essence, or keynote, of postmodernism is a denial of the very concept of truth as Christians have known it. In the mindset attributed to postmodernism, there is no absolute truth possible; all truth is relative. According to this approach, there is no truth as we have known it in the past, no truth worthy of the name, no truth that is always true, in all places, for everyone, at all times, forever. What is true for you, may not be true for me, or for anyone…..From the postmodernist perspective, it therefore follows that our historic Christian faith, and the Pentecostal spirituality based upon it, is passé, a relic from the outdated past, at best irrelevant in our time, something like dinosaurs.’

From this perspective, Pentecostal spirituality  comes under attack as are all other concepts of spirituality. Postmodernists believe that faith and spirituality are a fluid machination that evolves from the social, historical and cultural contexts of the individual. Objectivity, certainty and the stability of truth claims are readily dismissed  as ‘naive realism’. 

Therefore, postmodernism   presents us with  ‘multi- frames of reference’ and idolises individualism.

As it was  in the ancient past for the Greek philosophers and Pontius Pilate as quoted  in John 18:38, questions about the definition of truth continue to be a significant concern in the mind of the sceptics as well as those who are genuinely searching for an authentic meaning and purpose for  life.

Pentecostal spirituality does not  make us immune from  this conundrum. Reflection on issues such as race, misogyny  and  gender identity to list a few, formulated  in the current rhetoric  questions ,Do all lives matter? is a case in hand. And if all lives matter, what about black lives?

Might postmodernism have something to contribute to the theological stance of Pentecostals on the notion of spirituality in giving recognition to the contexts of  ‘other’ in our midst? And might such a perspective enable a better answer to what we are experiencing to the question : does acceptance of the ‘Way’ of Jesus mean acceptance of sufferings such as racial abuse?  Would we be in a better position to answer John J Parson’s questions ,Does God orchestrate suffering for our ultimate good, as part of his plan for our lives, or does God respond to our suffering and seek to heal us from its influences?

What if in our quest for clarity and engagement in  Pentecostal spirituality  we were to respond to the invitations  in Scripture to (a)  ‘become a disciple of Jesus ‘  Matt 11:28  : (b) ‘ grow in the transforming grace of Jesus’  Matthew 22:36-40  (c) ‘go’ ‘…make disciples of and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’ Matthew 28:16–20  ?

 Resources needed

Some Questions for Discussion

Read: John 8:31-32    Psalm 119:160   Hebrews 11    Colossians 2:1-4  Romans 1:14-17

Read Titus 2:1  John 16:5-15  1 Cor 8:6 1 Cor 13:12 Col 2:1-5

Read  1Timothy 6:11-16

Read Acts 17  John 1:1-17   1 Cor 13:5  1 Cor 10:32 1Cor 11:1 Col 3:16-17

Read Gen 1:26  Matthew 22:37–39  Mark 12:31    Galatians 3:28    Luke 10:25-37    John 13:34-35  Amos 5:24 

Praise and Worship

Use the below songs to guide you in praise and worship

Something to think about and do in the days to come…..

Find a poem or quote to represent any of the key messages you have learnt today.  You may wish to share this with the group sometime in the future.   E.g. “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before” by Maya Angelou. 

View: The Challenges and the Future of the Christian Tradition, Brian McLaren

Give some intentional consideration to  what you have learnt from this clip.

How might expressions of postmodern culture   ‘The Truman Show’ or ‘The Matrix’ for example, be used as resources  for learning  and effective engagement in  our Christian witness?

How could our local churches and  training/ academic institutions be more effective in meeting the challenges of a postmodern world – as embedded in  the mindset of powerful white theologians, for example?

Writing a journal as you progress through this course will be a useful tool  to aid your reflection, clarify your thoughts, feelings and chart your learning. Try to write regularly after each session. Here are few prompts to get you started:


 Loving God,

Thank you for all you continue to do to help us appreciate the wonders of  your creation.

Thank you for the affirmation that we are your valued creation.

All life matters to you.

May we  demonstrate your values in every aspect of our lives.

May we be living examples of your  justice, peace, and love and may we flourish in the process, as we seek to engage in your mission to establish your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.