During my research for establishing the criteria for a truly Pentecostal approach to theology
, I ran into one important element that I had so far neglected in my own developing model: early Pentecostalism organized its theological thinking around the fourfold (fivefold in some cases) perspective on Jesus Christ as savior, healer, baptizer, and coming king (Holiness-Pentecostals would add "sanctifier" as fifth element). This central framework constitutes the fundamental Pentecostal approach to the question of valid loci
in systematic theology -- which should be retained, I think, in a new approach that takes into account our Pentecostal tradition. So Christocentrism becomes the organizing principle of Pentecostal dogmatics.
Yet, as Frank D. Macchia has remarked in his excellent article on Pentecostal theology (New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
, s.v. "Theology, Pentecostal"), this framework is not without its problems. With the focus on Christ comes the danger of "Christomonism", an over-emphasis on one slice of the whole while neglecting other important Biblical teachings (Macchia cites e.g. "the fatherhood of God, election, creation, Trinity, Scripture and church). Myself, I would claim that this potential problem is but a question of organization and association. While it is true that a Christocentric framework could become a problem if our perspective on Christ is reduced to only four different perspectives, it is equally true that even the other doctrines (like the ones Macchia suggests) can and should be seen in their relation to Jesus Christ, who is, after all, according to Hebrews, the final and supreme self-revelation of God. Thus, bibliology belongs to Christ, "the Word", and even the area of theology proper, with its questions about God, the Father, has to be seen in the light of Jesus' saying that "whoever sees me sees the Father." more »