In his recent book, Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century (Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1995), Harvey Cox suggests that the reason that 'God did not die' (that is, why did a postreligious age not emerge, radically secularising all before it)-as he himself had predicted in The Secular City (1965)-is due largely to the rise of Pentecostal spirituality. In November 1997, a group of around 150 scholars, ministers and students gathered together to discuss the shape that Pentecostal spirituality might take in Australia. The papers presented at this gathering, the inaugural Barrett Lectures for the Promotion of Pentecostal Scholarship and Spirituality, had a common goal: to be interdisciplinary, integrative and highly contextualised-all characteristics of genuine spirituality. No doubt, as introductory studies each paper fell short of this goal in varying degrees, but the gathering as a whole achieved it. And one wonders if that integration itself is not the true locus of spirituality.
As a portent of things to come, this inaugural issue of Australasian Pentecostal Studies likewise sets before itself this three-fold goal: to be interdisciplinary, integrative and highly contextualised. This goal, however, foregrounds tensions implicit in scholarly inquiry these postmodern days: maintaining a regional focus in a globalising world; valuing (g)local, cultural and denominational distinctives on the one hand, and the importance of ecumenical, interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue on the other. Rather than 'resolve' these tensions by polarising, this journal hopes to live creatively within these tensions. This hope is reflected in the title of the journal. Australasian Pentecostal Studies is edited in a cosmopolitan city at the brink of the Pacific Rim. Sydney is a thoroughfare of globalising and glocalising influences* through media, technology, universities, international conferences, and even the prospective Olympic Games. The journal is also distinctively Pentecostal- which Edith Blumhofer describes as 'world evangelicalism'-in flavour.
The name Australasian Pentecostal Studies thus locates the journal regionally and denominationally, but also signifies a forum for international, intercultural and ecumenical dialogue.
Given this high ideal, we cannot help but revel in the breadth and diversity represented in this inaugural issue. Each article, whether 'homegrown' or imported, exhibits international cross-currents: from Hutchinson's examination of the impact of the ecumenical and international charismatic renewal on Australian Pentecostalism, to Clines's attempt to locate the characteristically 'ghetto-ised' field of biblical studies within the wider postmodern discourse; from Jagelman's augury on the impact and future of the international church growth phenomena in Australia, to Heilmann's North American evangelical flavour, seasoned by his experience at that intercultural, interdisciplinary and ecumenical hub, Regent College.
Versions of the articles by Hutchinson, Jagelman, Stephens and Heilmann were delivered at the 1997 Barrett Lectures, in honour of Brynley Barrett, lecturer in theology at Southern Cross College from 1992 until 1996. Converted at the age of 13 from a card carrying communist home, Bryn began to read widely in dogmatics, church history and Christian biography. By 16, this habit had developed into a regular study schedule of two hours of reading each night. It seemed inevitable, then, that he should attend bible college. At the age of 21, he enrolled in the college where Pentecostal statesman, Donald Gee-affectionately known as the 'Apostle of Balance'-was principal. It was this 'balance' of informed spirituality which saw Bryn pastor for 35 years both in the United Kingdom and Australia, and be the first and only Pentecostal regularly to attend Banner of Truth conferences through the 1960s and 70s. Though an enigma to those of reformed persuasion, Bryn-like Calvin whom he revered-embodied the union of informed faith and passionate spirituality. His untimely death in 1996 represented a great loss to his family, students and colleagues, who present these papers in memoriam.
* For a good introduction to postmodernism, globalisation and glocalisation, see M. Hutchinson, 'Telescopes and Mirrors: Why a Project on Evangelicalism and Globalization' (pp. 5-25), D.M. Lewis, 'Globalization: The Problem of Definition and Future Areas of Historical Inquiry' (pp. 26-46) and D. Lyon, 'Wheels within Wheels: Glocalization and contemporary Religion' (pp. 47-68), in M Hutchinson and O. Kalu (eds.), A Global Faith: Essays on Evangelicalism and Globalization (Sydney: CSAC, 1998).