Mainstream Evangelicalism is basically a modernistic movement -- there's no doubt about it. In many places, Evangelicals have become synonymous with Evangelical Fundamentalism. Along with liberalism, its eternal foe, fundamentalism is deeply entrenched in the modern way of reasoning coming directly out of the European Enlightenment. But where does Evangelicalism go when its underlying modernistic epistemology is disappearing? Most interestingly, large parts of the wider Evangelical movement seem to cling to modernism with all their might -- steering themselves ever wider into a neo-fundamentalist trap of irrelevance to the new, postmodern culture.
While I firmly believe that Pentecostalism is and always has been part of the Evangelical movement, this is a good moment to note a decisive distinction: Pentecostalism never really was modern. Label it however you want, I for one prefer the term "para-modern" that Ken Archer argued for in his 2001 book A Pentecostal Hermeneutics for the Twenty First Century. Now, this would seem like good news and an open road ahead for Pentecostalism, where it not for many Pentecostals' strive to become "more Evangelical", which often brings us dangerously close to the neo-fundamentalist Evangelical. Do we really want to go there? Or might the "way out" for Evangelicalism's current cul-de-sac be in the very Pentecostal part of its fold? Certainly, the early twenty-first century does seem like a bad time to finally jump on the modernist bandwaggon and adopt what we've been spared so far.more »
- It provides good reason to abandon old dualistic models of the human being ┬? seeing that the efforts to split a person into elements like body and soul usually just mark the attempt to find the one element that could be the ┬?constant core.┬?
- It makes all the more sense once the right narrative is chosen: I am who I am not because of any constant element in my personality. I am who I am because I am part of God┬?s great narrative, in which he has chosen to love this ever-changing self as my person.
- It contains a further important parallel to Christian soteriology. While the self is always constantly shaped by its experience and by the unfolding narrative plot, Ricoeur allows for a special case: a major change or shift in the plot of the underlying narrative may lead to a complete ┬?reconstitution┬? of the self. Now, wouldn┬?t the moment where you are transformed from a sinner to a saint in the eyes of God have to be considered a major plot change? What is ┬?reconstituted┬? would then be the ┬?new creation┬?/the ┬?new man┬? the New Testament is always talking about.
- First of all, the text conveys information and impressions about the author to the reader. This, however, seems to be a rather subordinate function in Thiselton's model.
- As the text talks to its reader, it has an effect on the person of the reader himself. Of course, this point (as well as all of the following), seems especially important when we're talking about a Biblical text, where the word of God is certainly supposed to have an effect on the reader.
- As soon as the text begins to touch on the realm of the self's understanding, the reader begins to learn new things about himself by means of the text. In the words of Ernst Fuchs, the text first becomes the translator of the self before the self can even begin to translate the text.
- Next, the interpreting self reveals a lot about himself through the interpretation. People can be seen as belonging to a certain community, for example, just by looking at the way they will handle a particular text.
- Finally, the text transforms the individual. In hermeneutical terms, the text -- or rather, whatever the reader gathers from it -- becomes part of the reader's set of presuppositions, pre-judgements, and prejudices, which will influence his reading of any other text from now on.