Towards a Pentecostal ethic: appropriating Pentecostal hermeneutics for ethical reflection in a Bahamian context

Thompson, Woodley Carson (2019). Towards a Pentecostal ethic: appropriating Pentecostal hermeneutics for ethical reflection in a Bahamian context. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis tackles a very real practical challenge that Pentecostals face almost daily the issue of biblically-informed ethical decision making. When controversial issues arise that have very little or no direct mention in the Bible, how do Pentecostals arrive at an ethically defensible position? The free-form embrace of the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal tradition has perhaps contributed to a lack of a tangible approach which might be descriptive and prescriptive of the way ethical issues ought to be processed, the most common Pentecostal idea simply being that the Holy Spirit will provide the necessary guidance in whatever situation life presents, whenever life presents it. While there are undoubtedly many factors that will influence the final decision of Pentecostals with regard to a particular position on a given issue, the parameters of this study will be limited to the role of the Bible in that decision process. The reason for this can be attributed to the apparent Pentecostal distinctive of the Bible being the inspired Word of God. It is noted that pneumatology has been thrust into the forefront of Pentecostalism, as its predominant defining distinctive. However, I agree with Simon Chan that foundational to Pentecostal Theology must be the tempered return to the Biblical Launchpad. He writes, “Pentecostals are too carried away with their apocalyptic vision. If this vision is not balanced by a nuanced biblical eschatology which maintains the tension between the ‘has come’ and ‘not yet’, a crisis mentality could set in.” The perception by many, about Pentecostals is that they are perhaps too otherworldly; to borrow a cliché ‘so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good’. It becomes important for Pentecostalism that Pentecostals be careful to avoid overemphasizing their reliance on the Holy Spirit at the risk of minimizing Biblical priority, if indeed the Bible is the foundation of their ethical expression. Chan’s statement is important to the area of my research in that it helps to keep the reigns of focus on the priority of the Bible. My research focus in this thesis becomes a natural ‘next step’ to determine how Pentecostals engage the Bible.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations


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