Materiality or Materialism?: Revising Pentecostal Eschatology, Renewing the Earth, and Saving the Planet from the Prosperity Gospel
The negative presumptions of premillennial eschatology have resulted in troubling attitudes toward climate change and other issues of environmental concern among pentecostals. Eschatologies that view the earth as destined for cosmic annihilation serve not just as a distraction from taking ecological action, but indeed further fuel the abuses that are leading to environmental crisis. Rather than continuing to embrace eschatologies that are an impediment to eco-theology, as well as being incongruent with many aspects of pentecostal spirituality, I argue for three inter-related features of a reformulated pentecostal eschatology. First, the work of the Spirit intersects with the materiality of our lives. If the coming kingdom of God is an embodied and holistic one, then the Spirit is interested in the full materiality of our existence, the implications of which suggest the inclusion of the ecosystem of which we are a part. Second, pentecostal renewal is both personal and cosmic. There are inseparable connections between the work of the Spirit in the transformed and renewing lives of believers, and the work of the Spirit in renewing creation. Third, the embracing of a pentecostally informed prophetic millenarianism should compel pentecostals to resist unbridled consumerism and its deleterious impact on creation. This is especially the case in relation to the prosperity gospel, with pentecostals instead called to live in anticipation of a coming kingdom that includes the holistic flourishing of all of creation.
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