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Proclaiming the mystery of faith together: toward greater common witness between Pentecostals and Roman Catholics on the Lord's Supper.

An Obstacle to Greater Common Witness

In his recent historical theology of Pentecostalism, Henry Lederle identified the ecumenical movement and Pentecostalism as two "Spirit movements" of the twentieth century. By this designation, Lederle meant that each has been deeply concerned with the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. He praised their respective initiatives and growth, suggesting that both would benefit in the future if they were more thoroughly integrated with each other, for, while the two arose more or less simultaneously, they did so in isolation from each other. (1)

Concerning Pentecostalism in particular, Lederle observed that "third-wave" Pentecostals currently have the most momentum and, therefore, stand to make the most significant contributions in the twenty-first century. "Third-wave" first described American evangelicals who experienced and encouraged the practice of various charismatic girls of the Holy Spirit but were members neither of Pentecostal denominations Cfirst-wave" Pentecostals) nor of older Protestant churches influenced by the Charismatic Renewal ("second-wave" Pentecostals). (2) Although speaking in tongues had been one of the most emphasized girls among first-wave Pentecostals, many third-wave Pentecostals placed no more emphasis on speaking in tongues than on any other spiritual girl. Some members of the third wave even rejected the description "pentecostal" in order to distinguish themselves from denominational Pentecostals. While the number of third-wave Christians continues to increase in church associations such as Vineyard Christian Fellowship, the term "third wave" has more recently come to describe not only this particular group of American evangelicals but also the many worldwide independent churches that affirm the continuation of charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. These independent churches do not trace their origins to Pentecostal or to other Protestant denominations, and some of them are indigenous churches that are not the direct results of North American missionary endeavors.

Few would question Lederle's claim about the potential future influence of the third wave, since it is the largest demographic of Pentecostals, when understood in the broader sense of independent charismatic churches worldwide. More controversial, however, is Lederle's claim that one of the hallmarks of large portions of third wave Pentecostalism--"word-of-faith" or "positive confession" theology--should be actively embraced because it indicates the trajectory of where Pentecostalism is headed as a theological movement. (3) In the United States, word-of-faith theology is largely associated with popular figures such as Kenneth E. Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and Frederick K. C. Price, who teach that believers should "claim their inheritance" as children of God by using carefully articulated prayers as "positive" or "faith" confessions. (4)

These confessions, offered "in the name of Jesus," often contradict explicitly what seems to be obvious in light of sensory experience, and one might claim anything from physical healing to the salvation of a loved one. The confessions are "positive" because they retort some kind of negative, undesirable situation, and they are "faith" because they might not have been actualized yet, although stated in the present tense. For example, one might confess, "I am healed," when ill with a terminal disease whose symptoms in fact have not subsided. (5) In addition to health, many adherents believe that one can claim financial prosperity in abundance. While this particular facet may not capture the views of all word-of-faith practitioners, it is a global phenomenon. A 2006 study from the Pew Research Center indicates that seventy-eight percent of self-described Pentecostals and Charismatics in the U.S., Latin America, Africa, and Asia affirm that "God will grant material prosperity to all believers who have enough faith." (6) What originated in the U.S. is now flourishing throughout the world. (7)

Lederle's logic is simply that since the third wave is the largest demographic of Pentecostals, any attempt to integrate Pentecostalism with the ecumenical movement must integrate word-of-faith theology into the Pentecostal whole. While I agree that ecumenical endeavors cannot ignore word-of-faith theology, in light of its large number of adherents, (8) the active promotion of word-of-faith theology within Pentecostalism raises at least one major ecumenical concern, namely, the relationship between Pentecostals and Catholics. While the following is neither a direct response to Lederle nor a thorough evaluation of word-of-faith theology, I take these themes as the background for suggesting that Pentecostal theologians should not actively promote positive-confession theology (in part) because its spread is more likely to be ecumenically detrimental than beneficial. (9) Its basic tenets are nonstarters with most Catholic theology, in both official Church teaching and academic theology.

Most Catholics are inclined to see poverty either positively, as a praiseworthy religious vow, such as in the official teaching on religious orders, or negatively, as the results of structural sin, such as in certain strands of liberation theology. Whichever the case, they are not likely to address poverty by "breaking generational curses," "rebuking territorial spirits," or making positive-faith confessions. The Roman Catholic Church is the only demographic of Christians that surpasses Pentecostalism in numbers of adherents, and it takes little foresight or imagination to understand that the future of ecumenism hinges significantly on the relationship between these two church traditions. Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has even spoken recently of the "Pentecostalization of ecumenism." (10) My concern is that the flourishing of positive-confession theology is more likely to mitigate against greater common witness between Pentecostals and Catholics than to promote it. (11)

Is there another way forward for the benefit of constructive Pentecostal theology per se and ecumenical possibilities between Pentecostals and Catholics? I suggest that Pentecostal theologians and ecumenists would be wiser to promote a liturgy and spirituality that are oriented to celebrations of the Lord's Supper than to en courage the spread of word-of-faith theology. (12) I will sketch aspects of an account of the Lord's Supper that could be palatable to Pentecostals and Catholics and that encourages both of them to develop their theologies of the Lord's Supper by taking steps toward each other. While Pentecostals may have to take more of these "steps" than Catholics, because they have not historically had robust theologies of the Lord's Supper, this approach is far more promising than the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of spreading word-of-faith theology among Catholics to achieve greater ecumenical consensus with Pentecostals, to say nothing of its being more desirable from the perspective of constructive theology.

Since my goal is greater common witness on the Lord's Supper between these two traditions, I will first examine what has already been stated by Pentecostals and Catholics in formal ecumenical dialogue, in order to determine what precisely would qualify as shared witness that has not yet been affirmed explicitly. I will also observe some differences stated in the dialogues. Second, I will offer seven theses toward further common witness between the two traditions, some of which could be affirmed now and some of which might serve as goals toward which future ecumenical dialogues might aspire. My bearings for determining whether my suggestions are in fact palatable on the Catholic side are informed primarily by the discussions of liturgy, sacraments, and the Lord's Supper found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Making the determination of palatability in light of the Pentecostal side is much more complex, since there is no single body of official teaching that unites Pentecostals, to which one might appeal. Here, I can only make suggestions, informed by standard and more recent scholarship, about what might be acceptable to many Pentecostals and, in particular, what would be coherent with other aspects of their own theology and spirituality. This will necessarily be an exercise in lex orandi, lex credendi. In the absence of unifying theological positions on the Lord's Supper among Pentecostals, I turn to some of the basic impulses of Pentecostal spirituality (lex orandl) as a guide for determining whether or not Pentecostals might be able to affirm certain explicit theological statements about the Lord's Supper (lex credendi). At the very least, such theological statements should be compatible with Pentecostal spirituality. (13)

The Lord's Supper in the Final Reports

Pentecostals and Catholics have been engaged in formal ecumenical dialogue since 1972 and have produced five final reports, all of which make at least some mention of the similarities and differences on the Lord's Supper between the two traditions. (14) I do not intend to assess these statements, only to explicate them in order to delineate what constitutes further common witness between the two dialogue partners. First, with respect to similarities, the final report from phase one (1972-76) contains only one passing reference, namely, that both affirm that Christ is "present by the power of his Spirit in the Eucharist." (15) The final report from phase two (1977-82) contains more extensive remarks, inasmuch as it addresses questions of worship and communion. While most of the statements acknowledge differences between the two traditions, both Pentecostals and Catholics agree that it is appropriate for participants to expect to receive healing through the Lord's Supper. (16) With the final report from phase three (1985-89), one can sense an increased awareness of the significance of the Lord's Supper in relation to other theological loci. Here, the discussion takes place within the context of koinonia, the topic to which the entire report is devoted. In connection with concerns about the spiritual unity of Christians, both affirm that fellowship with the triune God and with Christ's death and resurrection establishes fellowship between Christians. Both express their aspirations to enjoy fellowship with each other in Christ's body and blood through the Lord's Supper, as well. (17) The final report from phase four (1990-97) reaffirms these aspirations with an added resolution to attempt to solve the division that prohibits them from fellowship through the Lord's Supper. (18) The final report from phase five (1998-2006) suggests that, based on the New Testament church's practice of "breaking bread" (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7), both traditions would infer that anyone not participating in the Lord's Supper is not fully integrated into the life of the church. (19)

In short, Pentecostals and Catholics have already mutually affirmed that (1) Christ is present in the Lord's Supper; (2) healing may come through the Lord's Supper; (3) their inability to celebrate the Lord's Supper together is a manifestation of their division; and (4) participation in the Lord's Supper is necessary for full incorporation into the church. Of course, there are significant differences between the two traditions as well. For example, Catholics affirm that the Lord's Supper is a sacrament and a means of grace, while Pentecostals tend to see it as an ordinance that might be observed solely as a response of obedience to Jesus' words of institution at the Last Supper. Also, Pentecostals practice open communion, and Catholics reserve the Lord's Supper for those in full communion with the Church. (20) Further, for Catholics, the Lord's Supper is of primary importance as a sacrament of Christian initiation, but for Pentecostals it is usually seen as secondary to the operation of charismatic gifts and other components of public worship. (21) Finally, in spite oft he first final report's mutual affirmation that Christ is present by the Spirit in the Lord's Supper, subsequent final reports suggest, to the contrary, that while Catholics certainly maintain this belief, Pentecostals are more likely to observe the Lord's Supper primarily as an act of remembering Jesus' death. (22) Serving almost as an unintentional summary of these differences, the fifth final report acknowledges, without explicitly affirming, the view that "glossolalia and sacramentally oriented devotions such as the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament may seem worlds apart to some." (23)

Theses toward Greater Common Witness

The above differences must be acknowledged honestly, and I cannot hope to resolve them here. However, the points of common witness are significant enough to invite an inquiry into the possibility that Pentecostals and Catholics might be able to achieve greater common witness on the Lord's Supper. I now offer seven theses toward that end. I see no reason that the two traditions could not immediately affirm the first five theses. In fact, I have intentionally oriented some of them to pneumatology in order to appeal to the significant continuity between the two traditions on the Holy Spirit's prominent place in worship. I offer the last two theses as realistic goals toward which they might aspire, if they cannot mutually affirm them now. One represents a challenge from Pentecostals to Catholics; the other, a challenge from Catholics to Pentecostals.

Thesis One: The Holy Spirit makes the proclamation of the Word of God intelligible in conjunction with the celebration of the Lord's Supper in corporate worship. In the Catholic perspective, the Holy Spirit recalls the meaning of salvation during worship by giving life to the proclamation of the Word of God. The Spirit assists those who hear by giving spiritual understanding according to one's disposition of openness and receptivity. The Spirit's work in this respect includes but also goes beyond the bounds of the scripture readings and the homily, inasmuch as the psalms, prayers, collects, and hymns are all ultimately derived from scripture as well. (24) Pentecostals should find much with which to agree here. In addition to their strong insistence on the Spirit's transforming work during worship, Pentecostals have historically emphasized the Spirit's inspiration and illumination of scripture. The Spirit inspires scripture, thus making it uniquely divine in origin and content. The Spirit also aids the understanding of scripture by illuminating the interpreter, who is utterly dependent on divine help for proper insight. (25) While Pentecostals might not be quick to use language of "right dispositions" as Catholics do, many would be open to the possibility that a lack of holiness or spiritual maturity might hinder the Spirit's work of illuminating scripture. Pentecostals also believe that the Spirit empowers ("anoints") the proclamation of the Word of God. In short, Catholics explicitly unite scripture and sacrament by observing both the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Lord's Supper at every mass. Although Pentecostals tend not to observe the Lord's Supper as frequently, (26) they would see all of the above dynamics at work in conjunction with the Lord's Supper at those times in which they observe it along with the proclamation of the Word of God.

Thesis Two: The Holy Spirit enables Christians to receive and live the proclamation of the Word of God. Closely related to thesis one, this statement moves from the reign of understanding to that of daily living. For Catholics, the Holy Spirit not only makes the Word of God intelligible but also allows it to be accepted and acted on. Worshipers not only hear, contemplate, and celebrate the Word of God but are also enabled to live out its meaning. The Word of God nourishes the faith that allows believers to grow. It also calls for a response of faith, which the Spirit makes possible through grace. (27) These themes resonate strongly with typical Pentecostal emphases on the Spirit's work to sanctify and empower Christians to live victoriously over sin and evil. One hallmark of Pentecostal spirituality is that such work by the Spirit frequently accompanies proclamation of the Word of God. Pentecostals often observe that faith comes precisely by hearing the Word of God (see Rom. 10:17). They sometimes respond to preaching by gathering around the altar for prayer to invite the Spirit to help them make the transition from hearing what is proclaimed to enacting it in their own lives. There is strong continuity between Pentecostals and Catholics on the notion that what is heard must subsequently be lived, if proclamation is to bear its fullest fruit. And again, while Catholics already regularly connect the dynamics of living out the Word of God to the Lord's Supper in every mass, Pentecostals make the same connection as often as they observe the Lord's Supper. (28)

Thesis Three: In the Lord's Supper, the Holy Spirit brings to memory Christ's work of redemption. In the mass, the anamnesis is the moment that worshipers specifically call to mind the events of God's saving history and especially all that Christ has done on their behalf. For Catholics, this involves more than remembering only Christ's life and death. The anamnesis also directs attention to his resurrection, ascension, intercession before God the Father, and second coming. These events are reinforced all the more when the Lord's Supper is celebrated on Sunday, the day of Christ's resurrection. The same Spirit who prompts them to remember also leads them to doxology. (29) Many Pentecostals make remembrance the most prominent theme of the Lord's Supper. Like Catholics, Pentecostals remember Christ's work in part as an act of obedience to his own command in the words of institution. This aspect of the Lord's Supper is so important for Pentecostals that it is common for them to have the words "Do this in remembrance of me" (see 1 Cor. 11:23-25) prominently displayed in their places of worship, often engraved into the front of a communion table at the altar. These times of remembering may also be times of recommitment of oneself to serve God, as well as times of repentance and exuberant praise. (30)

Thesis Four: The Holy Spirit's transforming power in the Lord's Supper is intimately related to the fullness of the reign of God. In Catholic theology, the Spirit's activity through the liturgy hastens the coming of the reign of God and the completion of the mystery of salvation. The Spirit, who is the assurance of what is to come (Eph. 1:14), prompts worshipers to anticipate full union with the Triune God. The Lord's Supper is celebrated "until he comes" (1 Cor. 11:26), and the Spirit makes the church cry, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). It is most fitting that worship directs toward eschatological ends, since the Lord's Supper joins the church with the heavenly liturgy while it awaits the day that God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28). Because the Lord's Supper fills believers with every blessing and grace, it is a foretaste of future glory. Although Christ comes to the church in the Lord's Supper, his presence is veiled. The church, then, celebrates the Lord's Supper while looking forward to seeing God as God is and sharing in God's glory. (31) Similarly, Pentecostal spiritually has historically possessed an eschatological posture. The Spirit's outpouring at the beginning of the twentieth century ushered in "the last days" in which the gospel would be preached to all nations before the fullness of the reign of God (see Acts 2:17-2 !). Pentecostals frequently preach and testify about Jesus as "soon coming king." (32) Like Catholics, they also celebrate the Lord's Supper until Jesus returns. And since many Pentecostals read Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 11 in connection with its observation, there is near-word-for-word agreement between their words of preparation and the respective portion of the Roman rite, although without a shared theology of consecration. Pentecostals combine this eschatological dimension with their emphasis on fellowship and imagine the Lord's Supper as a shadow of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-9), when the members of Christ's body will unite to form his bride and forever be joined with him.

Thesis Five: Proper participation in the Lord's Supper requires spiritual preparation. Catholics are admonished to receive the sacrament of reconciliation before communing in the Lord's Supper if they are aware of having committed any grave sin. Fasting and even appropriate dress and bodily gestures can also serve as means of preparation. During the liturgy of the Word, worshipers make a public confession of sin, and in the liturgy of the Lord's Supper--specifically the invitation to communion--the people prepare by humbling themselves and praying, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed." (33) Both Catholics and Pentecostals draw, again, on Paul's instructions in I Corinthians 1 l to examine oneself lest one bring judgment on oneself by eating and drinking unworthily. While Pentecostals do not administer a sacrament of reconciliation, their own invitations to communion frequently involve admonitions to reflection, introspection, and prayer. If one discerns that she or he is guilty of a previously unknown sin, she or he should confess it before receiving the Lord's Supper. This confession is usually made directly to God and silently, but some Pentecostals encourage public confessions of sin in these settings, in light of the coupling of acknowledging one's faults and praying for each other to be healed in Jas. 5:16. Reverent music and singing also usually play a role in preparing worshipers to open their hearts and receive from the Lord. (34)

Thesis Six: Jesus is, in a significant sense, absent from the Lord's Supper. This affirmation should come easily for most Pentecostals, since they have not traditionally understood the Lord's Supper as a medium of Christ's presence in any special sense. (35) At most, they might be open to encountering Christ in the Lord's Supper, just as they might encounter Christ through many other acts of worship. They make no direct connection between Christ's presence and the elements of bread and wine themselves. Catholics, of course, see Christ's sacramental presence as fundamental to the Lord's Supper. Contrary to how it may first appear, I am not inviting an explicit contradiction with their current theology or suggesting that it change. Affirming Christ's presence does not necessarily preclude acknowledging some sense of absence, and the thesis may require Catholics to state more explicitly how and to what extent Christ is absent from the Lord's Supper, all the while maintaining that "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained" in the elements. (36) The need is not for a choice of absence to the exclusion of presence or vice versa but, rather, a further explication of the differentiated senses of Christ's presence that would allow for a more explicit statement of absence. Such differentiated senses are already evident in the many ways Christ is present to the church: in the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, and "most especially in the Eucharistic species." (37) While Christ's divine nature is omnipresent, he is still especially present among "the least of these" (see Mt. 25:31-46). Yet, his presence among the poor is not precisely the same as his sacramental presence in the species of bread and wine, where he is "most especially" present. If Christ can be present in different senses, perhaps Catholics could explicitly affirm that he is absent from the Lord's Supper in a sense that does not preclude his sacramental presence in it. Indeed, celebrating the Lord's Supper "until he comes" already suggests that Christ is absent in some sense. Anticipation of the parousia is an implicit acknowledgment of some sense of absence; otherwise, there would be no particular sense of presence to anticipate. Catholics have a centuries-long tradition of incorporating rigorous philosophical reflection into their theological discourse, and they are well-suited to engage in the discursive reasoning that could lead to more conceptual clarity and precision about differentiated senses of presence and absence. Further metaphysical and ontological accounts of what it does and does not mean for someone to be present to and absent from someone else may yield the fruit of greater consensus with Pentecostals, without forsaking any facets of their fundamental commitment to Christ's presence in the Lord's Supper.

Thesis Seven: The Lord's Supper constitutes the church. This is already the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The Lord's Supper unites believers to Christ, thus fulfilling the call they receive in baptism to become one body. (38) The notion that the Lord's Supper constitutes the church is admittedly foreign to most Pentecostals as it stands, but they could be convinced that the Lord's Supper helps make the church what it is if they could successfully connect its celebration to their emphasis on eschatological mission. If Jesus is, in some significant sense, absent from the Lord's Supper as discussed above, then every celebration of it is an implicit acknowledgement that believers still await his second coming. Therefore, they still live in the last days, charged with the urgency of fulfilling their mission to the world before the parousia. The Lord's Supper could become a catalyst for the eschatological passions that drive their mission to the world. (39) The explicit relationship between the Lord's Supper and mission is the precise logic that encompasses the Roman rite--hence, the name "mass" (from missio). A Pentecostal theology of the Lord's Supper that underscores the event as an impetus for mission to the world would also find continuity with the Catholic notion that the Lord's Supper encourages acts of charity and commitment to the poor. (40) Such a theological perspective is within the reach of Pentecostals, even if laying hold of it would require some discursive theologizing that connects some of the implications of their spirituality. Affirming this perspective would also likely require Pentecostals to celebrate the Lord's Supper more frequently than they otherwise might, in order to encourage endeavors into mission and in order to align their actual practice with the affirmation that the Lord's Supper does, in fact, constitute the church. In addition to invigorating mission to the world, acknowledging that the Lord's Supper constitutes the church may also bring the benefit of greater common witness with Catholics.


Lederle has rightly described the ecumenical movement and Pentecostalism as "Spirit movements," and I wholeheartedly concur with his desire for them to be more thoroughly integrated with each other in the twenty-first century. The majority part of such integration, however, depends on relations between Pentecostals and Catholics. I have offered a small contribution' toward Lederle's goal of further integration by suggesting that there is much that Pentecostals and Catholics can mutually affirm about the Lord's Supper in addition to the areas of common witness already attested in the final reports from their formal dialogues. In order to be faithful to the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi, I have intentionally focused on aspects of the Lord's Supper that impinge directly on the spirituality of the two traditions. This principle is especially important for Pentecostals, who lack a single body of official teaching comparable to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In an earlier work, I made an initial attempt to articulate aspects of a theology of the Lord's Supper that Pentecostals could take to the table in formal ecumenical dialogue. (41) There, I gave little attention to the ecumenical palatability of my proposals, not because I considered it unimportant but because it seems that developing a theology of the Lord's Supper that is coherent with their own spirituality needs to be a logical priority for Pentecostals so that they have something about which to dialogue in the first place. (42) The above theses are my first attempt to guide a conversation between Pentecostals and another Christian tradition on the Lord's Supper. My hope is that Pentecostals and Catholics are both encouraged and challenged by these suggestions for greater common witness. Come, Holy Spirit.

* This essay is dedicated to the memory of Ralph Del Colic (1954-2012), Catholic systematic theologian, ecumenist extraordinaire, and my former teacher. May his commitment to this dialogue in particular inspire all who treasure the unity of the Holy Spirit.

(1) See Henry I. Lederle, Theology with Spirit: The Future of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in the 21st Century (Tulsa, OK: Word & Spirit Press, 2010), pp. 5-15.

(2) "Second-wave" might also refer to Catholic or Anglican Charismatics, but the important distinction for my purpose is among Pentecostal denominations, other Protestant churches, and American evangelicals.

(3) See Lederle, Theology with Spirit, pp. 204-227.

(4) See Kenneth Hagin, How to Turn Your Faith Loose (Tulsa, OK: Faith Library Publications, 1976); Kenneth Copeland, The Force of Faith (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Publications, n.d.); and Frederick K. C. Price, How Faith Works (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1976).

(5) For a brief discussion of the roots of word-of-faith theology in the healing revival of the 1950's-1960's, see William K. Kay, Pentecostalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, U.K., and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 64-68.

(6) Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, "Pew Forum: 10 Nation Survey of Renewalists (2006)"; available at This percentage is my calculation of the average of each of the ten nations surveyed according to Pentecostals and Charismatics who "completely agree" or "mostly agree" with the statement.

(7) For a general introduction to this specific notion within word-of-faith theology, see Katherine Attanasi and Amos Yong, eds., Pentecostalism and Prosperity: The Socioeconomics of the Global Charismatic Movement (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). For a discussion of the phenomenon in Africa, see Ogbu Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction (Oxford, U.K., and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 255-266. For a consideration in connection with African Americans, see the various articles in PNEUMA: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, vol. 33, no. 2 (2011). For an assessment in conversation with globalization theory, see Simon Coleman, The Globalisation of Charismatic Christianity: Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity, Cambridge Studies in Ideology and Religion 12 (Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

(8) In addition to the ecumenical front, Amos Yong has argued that, while certain extremes of word-of-faith theology may be indefensible, its tenets--when seen in historical, social, and racial context--may serve as a heuristic device for detecting an implicit political theology. See Amos Yong, In the Days of Caesar: Pentecostalism and Political Theology, The Cadbury Lectures 2009 (Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2010), pp. 263-268.

(9) I say "in part" because there might be a number of additional reasons from the perspectives of constructive theology that word-of-faith theology should not be promoted. I simply focus here on the reason that seems to have the most immediate implications for ecumenism.

(10) Michael J. Miller, "God's Ecumenical Co-Pilot," The Catholic World Report, January 16, 2012; available at

(11) Lederle's Theology with Spirit is primarily a historical theology of Pentecostal Traditions written to be accessible to a popular audience. His more significant and substantive contribution to theological and ecumenical discourse is Henry I. Lederle, Treasures Old and New: Interpretations of "Spirit Baptism" in the Charismatic Renewal Movement (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988).

(12) I adopt the name "Lord's Supper" because Pentecostals and Catholics can agree on the terminology, not because I necessarily assume that "eucharist," "communion," or perhaps some other term would necessarily be objectionable to Pentecostals.

(13) For a basic orientation to Pentecostal spirituality, see Mark J. Cartledge, Encountering the Spirit: The Charismatic Tradition, Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series (London: Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd., 2006; Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007); Keith Warrington, Pentecostal Theology: ,4 Theology of Encounter (London and New York: T & T Clark, 2008), pp. 206-245. See also the somewhat dated, but still informative book: W[alter] J. Hollenweger, The Pentecostals: The Charismatic Movement in the Churches, tr. R. A. Wilson (London: SCM Press; and Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Press, 1972 [orig.: Enthusiastischer Christentum: die Pflingstbewegung in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Wuppertal: Theologische Verlag Rolf Brockhaus; Zurich: Zwingli Verlag, 1969)]).

(14) "Final Report of the International Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue (1972-1976)," PNEUMA: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, vol. 12, no. 2 (1990), pp. 85-95; "Final Report of the International Roman Catholic Pentecostal Dialogue (1977-1982)," PNEUMA: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, vol. 12, no. 2 (1990), pp. 97-115; "Perspectives on Koinonia: Final Report of the International Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue (1985-1989)," PNEUMA: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, vol. 12, no. 2 (1990), pp. 117-142; "Evangelism, Proselytism, and Common Witness: The Report from the Fourth Phase of the Intemational Dialogue (1990-1997) between the Roman Catholic Church and Some Classical Pentecostal Churches and Leaders," PNEUMA: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, vol. 21, no. 1 (1999), pp. 11-51; and "On Becoming a Christian: Insights from Scripture and the Patristic Writings with Some Contemporary Reflections: Report of the Fifth Phase of the International Dialogue between Some Classical Pentecostal Churches and Leaders and the Catholic Church (1998-2006)," available at christian_en.html. Subsequent citations of each report are to section numbers.

(15) "Final Report of the International Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue (1972-1976)," no. 34.

(16) "Final Report of the International Roman Catholic Pentecostal Dialogue (1977-1982)," no. 40.

(17) "Perspectives on Komonia," no. 70.

(18) "Evangelism, Proselytism, and Common Witness," nos. 10 and 127.

(19) See "On Becoming a Christian," no. 93.

(20) See "Final Report, 1977-1982," nos. 45-46; and "Perspectives on Koinonia," nos. 81 and 98.

(21) See "Perspectives on Komonia," no. 96.

(22) See "Final Report, 1972-1976," no. 34; "Final Report, 1977-1982," no. 45; and "On Becoming a Christian," no. 70. Part of the reason for this divergence is likely the fact that among the members of the Pentecostal team of the first phase of dialogue were Charismatics who were in fact representatives of Anglican and Protestant churches, not Pentecostal denominations. The fact that they came from church traditions that readily affirm Christ's presence in the Lord's Supper and that they have not participated in subsequent phases of dialogue may explain this divergence. See "Final Report, 1977-1982," nos. 5-6.

(23) "On Becoming a Christian," no. 191.

(24) See Catechism of the Catholic Church, tr. U.S. Catholic Conference (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1944), nos. 1100-1101. This and all subsequent references are to section numbers.

(25) For typical statements on the inspiration and illumination of scripture, see Myer Pearlmart, Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1937), pp. 19-29; E. S. Williams, Systematic Theology, 3 vols. (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1953), vol. I, pp. 73-84; and French L. Arrington, Christian Doctrine: A Pentecostal Perspective, 3 vols. (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 1992-94), vol. 1, pp. 51-83.

(26) Although, for an example of one Pentecostal church that observes the Lord's Supper at every worship gathering, see Mark J. Cartledge, Testimony in the Spirit: Rescripting Ordinary Pentecostal Theology, Explorations in Practical, Pastoral, and Empirical Theology (Burlington, VT; and Farnum, Surrey, U.K.: Ashgate, 2010).

(27) See Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1101-1102.

(28) See Cartledge, Encountering the Spirit, pp. 69-85.

(29) See Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1103, 1341, and 1343.

(30) See Warrington, Pentecostal Theology, pp. 164-165.

(31) See Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1107, 1130, 1326, and 1402-1405.

(32) See Donald W. Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Francis Asbury Press; and Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987), pp. 19-23 and 143-171; and D. William Fanpel, The Everlasting Gospel. The Significance of Eschatology in the Development of Pentecostal Thought, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 10 (Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), pp. 13-43.

(33) Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1385-1387; Roman Missal, 3rd ed., invitation to communion.

(34) See Warrington, Pentecostal Theology, p. 167; and Hollenweger, The Pentecostals, pp. 385-387.

(35) For an exception, see the recent suggestion that Christ is "really, personally, and bodily present" in the elements, in Chris E. W. Green, Toward a Pentecostal Theology of the Lord's Supper: Foretasting the Kingdom (Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2012), p. 282.

(36) Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1374; emphasis in original.

(37) Ibid., no. 1373 (citing Sacrosanctum concilium, no. 7); emphasis in original.

(38) See ibid., no. 1396.

(39) For the argument that Pentecostals would benefit from incorporating network theory into their theology of mission, see Andy Lord, Network Church: A Pentecostal Ecclesiology Shaped by Mission, Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies 11 (Leiden, and Boston, MA: E. J. Brill, 2012).

(40) See Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1109 and 1397.

(41) See Christopher A. Stephenson, Types of Pentecostal Theology: Method System. Spirit, AAR Academy Series (Oxford, U.K., and New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), chap. 5, ""Regula Spiritualitatis, Regula Doctrinae': A Contribution to Pentecostal Theological Method," pp. 111-130.

(42) In George Hunsinger, The Eucharist and Ecumenism: Let Us Keep the Feast, Current Issues in Theology (Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), Hunsinger wisely acknowledged that any ecumenical proposals on the Lord's Supper that lead to "insuperable barriers" with pentecostal and charismatic churches are "self-defeating" (p. 11). He also understandably stated that he was "at a loss" concerning how to coordinate his own proposals with those churches (pp. 313-314). In addition to his concerns about the confession of Nicene Christianity and episcopal polity, one could add that the lack of a thorough theology of the Lord's Supper among Pentecostals might also put one "at a loss" on this front.

Christopher A. Stephenson (Church of God [Cleveland, TN]) has been an assistant professor of systematic theology at Lee University, Cleveland, TN, since 2012, having been on its faculty part-time since 2008. He was also ordained a bishop in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) in 2012. He has served churches in Raleigh, NC (1994-97), and in Cleveland, TN (1997-2003 and since 2008), as a Sunday school teacher. He holds a B.A. in pastoral ministry and an M.A. in theological studies from Lee University, as well as a Ph.D. in religious studies (2009) from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI. His books include Types of Pentecostal Theology. Method, System, Spirit (Oxford, 2013) and The Work of Jesus Christ (forthcoming in the Eerdmans series, Guides to Theology). His James was the first smallgroup Bible study to be published by Pathway Press (2003). His articles appear in Religion Compass, the Bulletin of the North American Paul Tillich Society, the Journal of Pentecostal Theology, and Istina. Author of a chapter on Amos Yong's theology in The Theology of Amos Yong and the New Face of Pentecostal Scholarship (Wolfgang Vondey and Martin Mittelstadt, eds., Brill, 2013) and of a dozen reviews that have been published in academic journals, he has given presentations, lectures, and responses at more than a dozen academic societies and conferences.
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Author:Stephenson, Christopher A.
Publication:Journal of Ecumenical Studies
Article Type:Essay
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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