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Theology Through Community-Pruitt

Theology Through Community-Pruitt

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Since the 1980s, renewal scholars have given considerable attention to the role of the believing community in the interpretive process. A broad consensus has emerged that a triad involving Scripture, the Spirit, and the believing community forms a cooperative relationship resulting in theological development, followed by commensurate action--identified in this research as theological creativity. In the context of this research, to be creative with theology is to take an existing theological assumption and broaden or adapt it to current circumstances, given the Spirit's evidential work and a consensual understanding of Scripture. But how does the community negotiate between Spirit and Scripture without subsuming either into its own predilections? For Luke, the first-century community of believers in Acts functions as an indispensable character in the formation of theological creativity. This work will demonstrate how Luke positions the community as a character in story form, between Spirit and Scripture, functioning as a bridge through which its testimony of the Spirit's evidential work and its application of Scripture interact. In order to illustrate this balancing act, we will use a modified configuration of the triadic notion: Spirit-Community-Scripture.

"Carefully researched and clearly articulated, Pruitt's monograph validates that the community in Acts functions as an active character with which the audience is to identify, thus showing how the community in Acts models the art of theological interpretation. The community is the necessary bridge for communication between the Spirit and Scripture, as well as the nexus that generates theological understanding in dialogue with the Spirit and Scripture. Pruitt's monograph is a must read for those interested in theological hermeneutics in general and Pentecostal and Renewal hermeneutics in particular because he moves the conversation forward on how community functions in the interpretive process in significant ways."
--Kenneth J. Archer, Professor of Theology and Pentecostal Studies, School of Divinity, Barnett College of Ministry & Theology, Southeastern University, Lakeland, FL

"The dissertation makes an original contribution in that it extends our understanding of how memory theory can be utilized to understand and reconstruct how the early church employed collective memory of sacred events to construct identity/ies. Not only does the work of Pruitt make an original contribution to the field, but it successfully evaluates and critiques the current research on this topic."
--Corne J. Bekker, Dean & Professor, Regent University School of Divinity

"Building cordially upon prior work in this field, Pruitt's book represents another important addition to the chorus of voices calling for, even demanding, a more mature approach to biblical and theological hermeneutics within Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions. His combination of clarity, nuance, and irenic tone allow for an accessible-yet-evocative appraisal of the role of the community in the theological process, an appraisal that bears significant implications for the application of Scripture in the contemporary world."
--Renea C. Brathwaite, Dean of Graduate and Professional Education, North Central University

Richard A. Pruitt is an assistant professor in theology and an academic support specialist at North Central University in Minneapolis
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