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Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology

Posted on 28 September 2010 Gavin Glenn

Reviewed by Roland Bryant

From the lens of Spirit Baptism as the chief Pentecostal distinctive, Macchia seeks to explore how this might function as an organizing principle of a Pentecostal theology.  He suggests that a theology of Spirit Baptism is both soteriologically defined, from a theological perspective, as a divine act of redemption and initiation into the life of the kingdom, and is also charismatically defined, from an experiential perspective, as empowerment for Christian life and service.

During his discussion, he canvasses the shifts in, and diversity of, Pentecostal theology over recent decades.  He suggests that it is Spirit Baptism, among all of Pentecostalism’s theological distinctives, that has the greatest potential for connecting to other traditions towards the formation of an ecumenical pneumatology. 

From his Pentecostal perspective, Baptism in the Spirit is seen not only to assume a divine power of new life through faith in Christ with sacramental signs following but is also a promise of power for witness with charismatic signs following.  Pentecostals are therefore emphasizing the need for Christians to seek a definite work of the Spirit in their lives that will give them experiences akin to those described in Acts.
In this way, Spirit Baptism has decisive roots in Christian initiation, but it is also able to be reaffirmed in the daily walk in the Spirit as well as in definite moments of Spirit filling which provide on-going experiences of charismatic enrichment.

As emphasized by Dr Amos Yong (Regent School of Divinity) in the introductory reviews, this book is “not mere Pentecostal theology; rather it is a creative rearticulation of Christian systematic theology illuminated from the perspective of the central experience of the  distinctive doctrine of Pentecostalism.”

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