“Can anything orthodox come from Pentecostalism?”
This recasting of Nathaniel's familiar question from the Gospel is a fair summary of many modern Christians' assessment of the Pentecostal tradition. Yet in recent years, a growing number of Pentecostals have been turning afresh to the ancient, creedal Christian faith.
Bishop Emilio Alvarez has himself been at the forefront of this movement. In Pentecostal Orthodoxy he introduces the phenomenon, and extends the project of paleo-orthodox ressourcement (associated with scholars such as Thomas Oden and Robert Webber) to include orthodox expressions within Pentecostalism, particularly his own Afro-Latino Pentecostal movement. This book is a manifesto of sorts, promising not only to open up the possibility of a genuinely orthodox Pentecostalism, but to reframe modern ecumenical dialogue as well.
"The emergence of modern Pentecostalism at Azuza Street promised an ecumenism of the church that cut across the color line but which fulfillment has been derailed in North America at least by the history of racism in this country. The emergence of a 'Pentecostal orthodoxy' over the last fifty years—catalyzed vigorously by the Chicago Call (to evangelicals in 1977), the paleo-orthodox movement (Thomas Oden), ancient-future Christianity (Robert Webber), and other initiatives—promises an even more authentically charismatic and ever more radically renewed ecumenism of the Spirit that binds together not just those from every nation under heaven but also churches across the last two millennia of African, Orthodox, Catholic, and Reformation/Anglican traditions! Come Holy Spirit—be poured out again on all peoples, languages, and cultures/ethnicities for the twenty-first-century church's witness!"
"Pentecostal Orthodoxy opens a new chapter in ecumenism, Pentecostalism, and world Christianity. The breadth and depth of its scholarship is extraordinary. With integrity and passion, Emilio Alvarez has demonstrated that an authentic recovery of the Great Tradition opens up the renewing power of the Spirit for all streams of Christian faith today."
"Let's be honest, when most people think of Pentecostals, orthodoxy is not the first thing that comes to mind. For many of us, these words represent a paradox. However, as Bishop Emilio Alvarez successfully demonstrates, orthodoxy and Pentecostalism do belong together. He documents a movement where the Spirit is leading thousands of Pentecostals to defy this false dichotomy and rediscover the Great Tradition for today. Alvarez is on the forefront of this movement and has written an essential manifesto for the church, calling for Pentecostals to embrace Christian orthodoxy. More than that, he paints a hopeful picture of the future of the church as one that is historically rooted and modern; orthodox and gracious; unified and diverse; sacramental and open to the Spirit. This book is a major resource for anyone wanting to know about one of the most exciting things that the Spirit is doing in the church today."
"During these times when 'truth is on a scaffold and wrong is on the throne,' Bishop Alvarez becomes the voice in this wilderness. He crowbars the mind with terminology such as Pentecostal orthodoxy, ecumenism of the Spirit, and surely, the recovery of the Great Tradition. This work is nothing short of a revival road map. Dr. Alvarez, who once preached revivals in local churches, now pens revivals with the same passion necessary for the salvation of 'the saved.' Here, like Jacob, the bishop re-digs old wells. Hallelujah!"
"'Sankofa' teaches that we must go back to our roots in order to move ahead. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so we can achieve our full potential as we go forward. In Pentecostal Orthodoxy Dr. Alvarez is calling Afro American Latino Pentecostals to proudly stand on the shoulders of our foreparents. I sincerely recommend this edition to be both read and studied by those who wish to understand the Great Tradition within the Holiness Pentecostal evolution of the church. Let us consider going back to our roots of the Great Tradition so as to better move forward to achieve a spiritually empowered future of the Lord's church."
"In Pentecostal Orthodoxy, Emilio Alvarez surprises the reader with how the Great Tradition has been engaged by the African Orthodox Church and the Church of God in Christ. Then he creatively instructs us on the value of being taught by the Great Tradition itself. This stellar book models a generative form of ecumenical engagement."
"The vital and often Pentecostal faith of immigrant churches holds much promise for the future renewal of the US church. Such hope, however, may become sabotaged by the ticking time bomb of incomplete theology. Alvarez's framework of Pentecostal orthodoxy offers a healthy path forward."
"Pentecostal Orthodoxy is the first scholarly book of its kind and a much-needed addition to the growing canon of Pentecostal studies. With conviction and accessibility, Pentecostal Orthodoxy wrestles with what it means to love Christ and the church. Throughout, Bishop Alvarez proves that he is not only a premier intellectual thought leader of Pentecostal orthodoxy but also a spiritual guide. The text, therefore, is his formal invitation for all of us to sit, think, and pray with him about what it would mean if the church were truly one, holy, and catholic."
"The Pentecostal movement needs more works like this. Alvarez adroitly navigates the thorny terrain in which contemporary Black Pentecostalism finds itself as it moves away from fundamentalist evangelical thinking 'toward more liturgical, sacramental, and creedal forms of Christianity.' Alvarez presents contemporary faith leaders with important questions for the future: Are Christianity and orthodoxy commensurate, in view of the persistence of categorical racism? Is orthodoxy a form of theological reasoning that can liberate Black Pentecostals from deep-seated racism that persists in Western Christian culture? And what are the ramifications of Alvarez's claims for organizations that adhere to an episcopal polity like the Joint College of African American Pentecostal Bishops? You will have to purchase your own copy to find out. I recommend this book for pastors and scholars, church leaders and lay people."
"Pentecostal Orthodoxy is a pioneering and provocative work of scholarship and renewing spirituality! As a pioneering work it breaks new ground by mapping and introducing the emerging Spirit-led growth of the 'ecumenism of the Spirit' among the Pentecostal church and beyond—one that is richly sourced by Eastern Orthodoxy. As a provocative work it challenges Pentecostals to embrace orthodoxy as a Spirit-led grassroots movement that coheres well with Pentecostal spirituality. This Pentecostal orthodoxy is one that seeks to be informed, formed, and transformed by the Great Tradition, with its newly found profundity in the liturgical and sacramental. This book should be required reading for all persons (Pentecostal or not) interested in the life and mission of the one church."
1. Reconstructing Foundations
2. Can Anything Orthodox Come from Pentecostalism?
3. Pentecostals on a Pentecostal Trail
4. Toward an Afro-Latino Pentecostal Orthodoxy
5. An Ecumenism of the Spirit