Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pentecostal Hermeneutics

Pentecostals, in spite of some of their excesses, are frequently praised for recapturing for the church her joyful radiance, missionary enthusiasm, and life in the Spirit. But they are at the same time noted for bad hermeneutics…First, their attitude toward Scripture regularly has included a general disregard for scientific exegesis and carefully thought-out hermeneutics. In fact, hermeneutics has simply not been a Pentecostal thing. Scripture is the Word of God and is to be obeyed. In place of scientific hermeneutics there developed a kind of pragmatic hermeneutics—obey what should be taken literally; spiritualize, allegorize, or devotionalize the rest…Secondly, it is probably fair—and important—to note that in general the Pentecostals’ experience has preceded their hermeneutics. In a sense, the Pentecostal tends to exegete his experience.

Gordon Fee, “Hermeneutics and Historical Precedent—A Major Problem in Pentecostal Hermeneutics” in Russell P. Spittler, ed., Perspectives on the New Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976), 119-122.

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