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The Gospel of Evolution - Pentecostal Evo-Theology
While I find tremendous value in a wide diversity of religious orientations and spiritual practices, I remain unabashedly a Pentecostal Christian - an evolutionary Pentecostal to be sure, but a Pentecostal nonetheless. Whatever differences exist around the world, most Pentecostals and Charismatic Christians are united in emphasizing the following. I see these as 'the four pillars of Pentecostalism':
1. The authority of the Word of God
2. The need for conversion and discipleship
3. Spirit-filled worship and Christ-centered service
4. Evangelizing the gospel
As an evolutionary evangelist, I emphatically say "Amen!" to each of these, and I suspect you will too, no matter what your religious or philosophical worldview (even if you're non-Christian or anti-religious!), once you think about such traditional religious language from the perspective of Evolutionary Theology.
When we truly get 'public revelation' and 'facts as God's native tongue', we realize that of course if we want vibrant health - individually, relationally, and planetarily - nothing is more important than coming home to Reality and submitting to what God has been revealing for hundreds of years through the entire range of sciences. 'God's Word' doesn't get any more real than this! Ancient texts, no matter how inspiring, cannot hold a candle to the authority of measurable, undeniable facts. (And lest I be misunderstood, this is in no way a denigration of the written scriptures! See Part II: "Reality is Speaking" and Chapter 18: "Our Evolving Understanding of God's Word" in my book, Thank God for Evolution! (TGFE!), which is available as a free pdf download here).
When we truly get that 'Original Sin' and 'The Fall' are traditional ways of pointing to our animal instincts (our unchosen nature or inherited proclivities), we realize that of course, if we want freedom from bondage, if we want heavenly joy, if we want peace that passes all understanding, of course we must choose (and keep choosing!), with the support of others, to grow in divine integrity ("in Christ"). It won't happen naturally. We will instinctually serve older, baser drives – generally those relating to food, safety, sex, and feel-good states of consciousness. The path of Christ-like evolutionary integrity (humility, authenticity, responsibility, and service) really is our only way forward, individually and collectively. Repentance, salvation, and 'the second coming of Christ' don't get any more real than this!
When we truly get that there is power in both message and music that moves body and soul, and that our gifts really are needed for the health of larger communities of which we are part, we realize that, of course we can fulfill our purpose and be a blessing to the future only by following where our joy and the world's needs intersect. Praise God, never again will we be able to see worship apart from justice-making and pursuing the health of the body of life as a whole!
And, yes, when we truly get that freeing, transforming Good News craves to be shared, and that this 'Gospel According to Evolution' is universal and based on what we know rather than what we merely believe, we realize that of course we can and must share this saving Good News as far and wide, and as effectively, as possible. Thank God for Evolution! is Connie's and my best attempt to do just this. Only time will tell whether or not this effort is blessed by God.
NOTE: In Chapter 11 of TGFE!: "Evolutionary Integrity Practices", I discuss my own understanding and ongoing experience of "speaking in tongues", which many consider to be the defining characteristic of Pentecostalism.