Howard M. Ervin (1981:22), a Baptist theologian who has been involved with Pentecostal issues and served as a representative of the Pentecostal team, suggested for the first time that Pentecostal hermeneutics differs such a great deal from other traditions that it is possible to call Pentecostal interpretation distinctive from the hermeneutics of other traditions. Ervin called it “pneumatic
exegesis”. Page. 87.
Western culture, Ervin argues, accepts as axiomatic two ways of knowing, through reason and sensory experience. This implies that theology is also limited to these two ways, resulting in the unresolved dichotomy between faith and reason Page 87
Hearing and understanding the Word is a theological (theos logos) communication in its deepest ontological context (Ervin 1987:108), the incarnation making truth personal … For this reason, one has not heard the Word when one understands it only in cognitive terms. Bible study per se cannot reveal the Word of God, apart from the revelation by the Spirit to the contemporary reader. Page 88.
The kerygma is not simply in letters and words printed or read, but in an encounter between a human being and God. This is the ground of pneumatic hermeneutics (Ervin 1987:109) that makes it distinctive from all other theological hermeneutics. page. 88
Pentecostals use 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 to demonstrate their intention in preaching, where the author emphasises that his message and preaching were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of Spirit and power in order that listeners’ faith might not rest on the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (καὶ ὁ λόγος μου καὶ τὸ κήρυγμά μου οὐκ ἐν πειθοῖ σοφίας ἀλλʼ ἐν ἀποδείξει πνεύματος καὶ δυνάμεως, ἵνα ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν μὴ ᾖ ἐν σοφίᾳ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλʼ ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ) page. 88
A pneumatic epistemology, according to Kärkkäinen (1998a:97), posits the awareness that Scripture is the product of an experience with the Holy Spirit, which biblical writers describe in phenomenological language. The interpretation of this phenomenological language is more than an exercise in semantics or descriptive linguistics. The condition for understanding the events described in the Bible is an encounter with the Holy Spirit in the same tradition as the apostolic experience, with the same charismatic phenomena accompanying it. Only then can one truly understand the apostolic witness in an existential manner. The contemporary fellowship of believers stands in direct continuity with the faith community that birthed the New Testament (Thomas 2016:96). Page 89.
God wants to reveal himself, at first through the Incarnation of Christ and, since Pentecost, through the gift of the Spirit. The Spirit reveals Christ by way of the Bible. The inspiration of Scripture is a mystery consisting of an encounter between the divine and the human, and creates a kinship between the biblical writer and the contemporary reader (Arrington 1988:383).
The Bible is perceived as inspired and preserved by the Spirit and illuminated, taught and transformed in the lives of contemporary believers. The Bible becomes the Word because of the Spirit’s ministry (Land 1993:100).
In Pentecostal theology, rationalism and/or empiricism can never be adequate as sources of knowledge; rather, a yada or direct revelation knowledge should be provided, for that does not negate reason or sensory experience, in the service of the Spirit. The Pentecostal view of truth is not propositional truth, but orthodoxy-orthopraxy-orthopathy serves as the function, purpose, structure and essence of truth (Johns 1995:92).
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