Pentecostalism, Patristic Exegesis, and the Postmodern Era
Interpreting Scripture in Communion with the Church Fathers
Over the last several decades, Pentecostal hermeneutics have undergone an identity crisis of sorts. Recognizing that their movement’s core commitments are incompatible with the approach to Scripture it has often borrowed from fundamentalism, Pentecostals have proposed engaging postmodern hermeneutics, historical critical methods, and other interpretive approaches in the development of a distinctly Pentecostal hermeneutic.
The interpretive strategies of the Church Fathers, however, have yet to receive much explicit attention from Pentecostals. This is unfortunate since the commitments of patristic exegetes have much in common with the core tenets of Pentecostal spirituality. This paper therefore suggests that if Pentecostals are to move beyond the fundamentalist assumptions that have often exerted too much influence over their hermeneutics, the Fathers could serve as prime dialogue partners, avoiding certain pitfalls of postmodern and historical-critical readings of Scripture while providing Pentecostal interpretation with a link to the Great Tradition of Christian exegesis.
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