Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh by Amos Yong

I wanted to post this because I think that my readers can see in my questions some of the problems that I have with Amos Yong’s writing and theology. This is a class response posting to my reading of his book. Obviously, I had to be a bit generous due to the fact that he was the professor 😉

Amos Yong presents a great book which revolves around the question “what does it mean that God did so then (talking about Spirit Baptism) and continues to pour out the Spirit on men and women, young and old, slave and free (31)? In Yong’s work he tries to develop a way forward for a Pentecostal Theology through Lukan lenses. He expands upon his thoughts by starting with a phenomenological overview of world Pentecostalism and then moving on to subjects such as pneumatological Soteriology, pneumatological Ecclesiology, the ecumenical potential of Pentecostalism, the issues of Oneness and Trinity theology, a pneumatological theology of religions, and a pneumatological theology of creation. Throughout his work, Yong leans heavily on the hermeneutic of Pentecostal experience to help him define the parameters of a pneumatological world theology.

Yong’s work provides many elements that are supportive to the Renewal movement. One of the most encouraging points that he makes is in regard to egalitarianism. Yong shows how the worldwide Pentecostal movement has provided opportunities for socially low members, such as women and low caste Hindus, to have upward mobility. He also gives an adequate argument for at least including Pentecostal experience within the theological paradigm. In addition, Yong brings the often forgotten element of community to the fore in his theological treatise on Soteriology. Although his view of the importance of ecology seems rather extreme, Yong also helps shed some light on the fact that people of the renewal need to be good stewards of the world that God has made for us.

Judging by the content of Yong’s book, I would guess that this work would be widely accepted in the world of academia. First, I believe that social scientists will greatly appreciate his in depth understanding and use of their methods. Furthermore, people of other religions will like his work for his focus on including them and their tradition in the “process” of salvation. Finally, religious and many theological scholars will love some of the suggestions he makes regarding a more universal salvation, an emphasis on social action, and a salvation which includes ecology.

Questions Emergent From The Text:

1. Should Pentecostals be politically active, and if so to what extent (34)?

2. If Pentecostalism causes egalitarianism, then why do we have all black, hispanic, or white churches(39)? or do we?

3. Does the maturity of some Pentecostal Churches, organizations, or groups compared to the lack there of in others show a deficiency in discipleship? And could this be the problem with many 3rd world Pentecostal movements which were started by missionaries and evangelists (47-49)?

4. Does Yong advocate a new look at syncretism which might re-frame it in a mission-based multi-cultural context (49)? (see statement just before last paragraph on p. 49 and look at p. 62)

5. Is it biblical to excommunicate members of the body for environmental reasons (63)? (I guess I should start recycling 🙂

6. Can we call everything “led by the Spirit” which includes elements of Pneumatology (63)? And is this akin to calling Mormonism Christian?

7. Are the premises behind the first and final points on page 78 true?

8. If physical liberation here on earth “is always the consequence of the presence of the Spirit,” then was the Apostle Paul not Spirit empowered in that he told a slave to return to his master (79) & (93)? Did Jesus conquer the Romans and “liberate” all of the oppressed peoples under their rule? Did the disciples believe or teach this?

9. Does experience make for valid biblical theology (86)?   

10. Is there a difference between the fulfillment that Luke talks about in Acts and salvation (93)? If not, what do we do with passages which show “we have received John’s baptism” but not of the Spirit? How would a biblical demarcation affect Yong’s hermenutic?

11. Is social salvation found in the N.T. (93)?

12. Is “process” salvation scriptural? Is it not universalistic to include other religions who are in the “process” of salvation, or are saved in that they are in the “process” just like Christians?

13. Is Christianity truly not superior to paganism (237)? Do Christians in the N.T. learn from pagans or do they, through cultural understanding, reach out to them with the truth in love? (see Paul’s Mars Hill experience) Also, do the Samaritans equate to a different religion (241)?

14. Is not accepting religious other’s religion as beneficial or truthful the same as a lack of love for them (243-244)?

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