Volume 41, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2012
Joshua D. Reichard
Process-Relational Theology, Pentecostalism, and Postmodernism
Opportunities for Socio-Religious Transformation
This article is a critical exploration of compatibilities between Pentecostal-Charismatic theology and Process-Relational theology. The purpose of the investigation is to identify similarities that provide sufficient ground for mutual dialogue and transformation between the two traditions. Postmodernism is identified as a context in which such dialogue can occur, insofar as both the Pentecostal-Charismatic movements and Process-Relational theology are understood as reactions to modernism. The theological theme of “concursus,” the way in which God and humanity interact, is briefly explored as a point of contact. Several social and ecclesial implications of mutual transformation are identified. Ecclesial implications of mutual transformation include a renewal of Process-Relational spirituality, an intellectualization of Pentecostal-Charismatic experience, ecumenical dialogue between evangelical and mainline denominations, and tempered operation of the charismata for Pentecostals. Social implications of mutual transformation include the possibility for positive social change, concern for healing and justice, and an increased cosmic concern. Ultimately, inasmuch as Pentecostalism is identified as an “experience in search of a theology,” Process-Relational theism is identified as a “theology in search of an experience.” Through dialogue and engagement, both the Pentecostal-Charismatic and Process-Relational traditions may gain a stronger and more holistic sense of humanity, God, and reality.