AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

The Tension between the Pentecostal churches and academia: The need for deliberate spiritual formation amongst theological educators

by Moses Hobe

Institution: University of Pretoria
Department: Practical Theology
Degree: Master's Degree
Year: 2019
Keywords: Tension, Church, Spiritual formation, Theological education
Posted: 03/21/2021
Record ID: 2222245
Full text PDF: http://www.up.ac.za


The focus of this study was on the Tension between Pentecostal churches and academia: the need for deliberate spiritual formation amongst theological educators. “Traditionally, Pentecostals have been looked on as theologically uneducated” (Alvarez 2000: 281). The earliest Pentecostals were perceived as having little formal education who were therefore unfamiliar with sophisticated argumentation. Their critics, dismissed the whole movement as being a group of fanatics focused solely on glossolalia, a characterization that sometimes continues to the present day (Walls & Tienou 2007:173). This often repeated charge that the movement has a closed mind against academic reflection and education is unfounded, and has led to many erroneous ideas regarding Pentecostal theology, whereby in some church circles Pentecostals are undermined as far as in - depth scholarship is concerned. It is therefore a misrepresentation to suggest that Pentecostalism and its adherents are solely concerned with the Holy Spirit. “It is therefore also unfair to accuse today’s Pentecostals of lack of cognitive discipline in doing theology. It shows a certain lack of sensitivity to the historical method to expect formal theological education among those early Pentecostal communities given their sociological origins” (Alvarez 2000: 286). The treatment of Pentecostals on the subject of education and scholarship is ironically often approached in a strikingly unscholarly manner. In that regard this study holds that Pentecostal theological seminaries can strike a better balance between spiritual formation, professional development and academic excellence. The critical assumption therefore is that, theological institutions/ faculties must deliberately engage theological educators to be spiritually engaged. Then the Pentecostal Theological institutions will make a deep and lasting impact upon the lives of their graduates and faculty through both academic excellence as well as the practical emphasis in its theological educational endeavours.