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Science and the Spirit: A Pentecostal Engagement with the Sciences Paperback – August 26, 2010
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This is a very interesting collection of articles that explore questions of spirituality in the light of contemporary science and technology. . . . Each of these papers is helpful in addressing crucial questions at the interface of science and Pentecostal spirituality. (Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith)
These books represent a body of important work and an ecumenical challenge for theologians and religious leaders . . . We can be grateful to the scholars and editors for making these resources available in a readable but richly researched set of volumes. Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter, 2011) (JOURNAL of ECUMENICAL STUDIES)
Argues for a healthy relationship between science and Pentecostalism. (Denis Lamoureux University of Alberta)
This book is a sign that the Spirit still initiates wonder. In fact, science may need to embrace the Spirit described in this book as much as Pentecostals need to embrace the natural wold also described herein. This volume puts the Ghost back in the machine―and in all creation, for that matter. (Thomas Jay Oord Northwest Nazarene University)
Science and the Spirit should be required reading not only for undergraduates committed to various Pentecostal traditions, but to all who have an interest in the engagement of faith traditions with the sciences in a manner that respects and deepens the appreciation of both while denying neither. (Ralph W. Hood, Jr. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)
This book illustrates something of the current, very preliminary, engagement that is beginning to take place between Pentecostal Christians and 'science' very broadly defined. It is a significant project. (Douglas Jacobsen Messiah College)
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This book is a great introduction to undergraduate students struggling with how to integrate your faith with science. It does not provide much greater detail than what you might get in any other intro to science vs. religion textbook. And that really what it is: a textbook. It is good because the book comes from a variety of pentecostal perspectives.
The first section deals with "the big questions" of science and pentecostalism. The first chapter, by Telford Work deals with how the Galapagos (science) should interact with Jerusalem (religion). While there are some good insights from Telford's work, I found his chapter too insistent on categorizing and separating science and faith into higher and lower knowledge. The talk of faith being a "higher" or "secret" knowledge seemed more gnostic than Christian. Smith's chapter on "surprise" in the natural world is a much more informative chapter on how science is not necessarily incompatible with theology, but that naturalism (where nature is all there is) tends to be too firm and resistant to religion for there to be any kind of real dialogue. The third chapter is also quite informative in its discussion of how the different sciences can help us interpret the meaning of glossolia and other distinctly pentecostal traditions.
The second section of the book looks into questions of natural science. In chapter four, Vondey talks about how--following in the footsteps of Einstein and Newton--there is a possibility for discussion of a "spirit" when dealing with science and the universe. Vondey, in sometimes verbose and scientific language, tries to describe why both Einstein and Newton fall short of truly engaging in a truly theological engagement with science. He ends by saying that there needs to be discussion between pentecostals and physicists--but admits that theology will probably not provide the answers that physicists are looking for. Badger and Tenneson talk about the diverse beliefs pentecostals hold in trying to bring science and the spirit together, and they also talk about the various ways this plays out in pentecostal churches. Ware, on the other hand, discusses neuroimaging and consciousness in relation to pentecostal experience, and comes to the conclusion that while science provides some explanation for religious experience, it should not be pentecostal's primary reason for their belief. Calbreath deals with the relationship between psychology and pentecostalism and tries to talk about the many ways the too have fought over the years and how the two might come together.
The third section deals with social sciences and technology. Scandrett-Leatherman talks about the relationship between anthropology and afro-centric churches as both being involved in participation as the central way to learn new things. Poloma talks about the postmodern task of trying to integrate spirit and sociology with the conclusion that both can be integrated because, just as sociology is constantly changing, truth in terms of the spirit is constantly evolving because faith is a journey. Finally, the book ends with some thoughts from Cheek on the dominance of technology in pentecostal churches. He ends talking about six principles that may help us further use technology in a responsible fashion.
The book covers such a variety of topics, that I would only really be able to suggest it to a foundations level classroom at a Christian University that tends toward the pentecostal perspective. The professor would probably have to pick an choose which topics to cover because some of the authors are verbose and use very content-heavy language which might be confusing to first-time freshmen. Because of the limited audience, I am not sure how good this book would be for most introductory level foundations of ministry courses.