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Imagining the Future
The Origin, Development, and Future of Assemblies of God Eschatology

Since the beginning of the Assemblies of God, the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ has featured prominently in their proclamation of the Pentecostal gospel. Many early believers passionately proclaimed by the Spirit, “Jesus is coming soon!” Yet in many churches today, teaching on the Second Coming of Christ has fallen into a period of neglect. Is the Assemblies of God losing its faith in “the Blessed Hope?”

Imagining the Future answers this question by exploring the development of Assemblies of God eschatological doctrines and their role as a central pillar of the fellowship’s Pentecostal ethos. Through critical historical assessment, Daniel Isgrigg sheds new light upon existing assumptions about its dispensational orientation and the inherent incompatibility of that orientation with Pentecostal theology. Drawing from the deep wells of the past, Isgrigg uncovers a hopeful and Spirit-inspired eschatology that imagines the future for a new generation of Pentecostal believers.

Since the Assemblies of God began in 1914, a great importance was placed on the belief in the second coming of Christ. However, in recent decades, a segment of AG ministers and educators have begun to re-examine the theological underpinnings of the denomination’s eschatology. Many of the historic expressions of eschatology are losing popularity within Pentecostal circles, particularly the long relationship with dispensational premillennialism. Through doctrinal criticism, this book provides comprehensive analysis of AG eschatological positions over the past century from three distinct voices within the AG community. First, it surveys the field of attitudes about AG eschatological positions within the field of Pentecostal academics by leading AG scholars. Second, it offers a historical analysis of the development of official AG statements on eschatology found in the statements of faith and approved position papers. Third, it provides a reception history of how eschatological doctrines were received and expressed by AG adherents in the Pentecostal Evangel, the official organ of the AG, from 1914–2005. In each of these voices, particular attention is given to how these expressions were shaped by the pneumatological beliefs, historical events, and the influence of dispensationalism. The work concludes by imagining the future of AG eschatology by integrating the various historical expressions of AG eschatology into a contemporary, yet contextual, set of eschatological doctrinal expressions to solidify the importance of the second coming of Christ for a new generation of Pentecostal believers.

Contents

  • Part One: The Origins of Assemblies of God Eschatology
    • Chapter 1: The Soon Coming King
      • The Emergence of Premillennialism
      • The Priority of Eschatology
      • The “Uneasy” Relationship with Dispensationalism
      • The Development of a Doctrine
    • Chapter 2: The Landscape of Assemblies of God Eschatology
      • Recognizing the Uneasy Tensions
      • Critiquing Dispensational Eschatology
      • Eschatology and Social Concern
      • Revisioning Pentecostal Eschatology
      • Alternative Readings of Revelation
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 3: The Statement of Fundamental Truths
      • Early Doctrinal Statements
      • The Origin of the Statement of Fundamental Truths
      • 1916 Eschatological Truths
      • 1927 Revision to the Eschatological Truths
      • 1961 Revision to the Eschatological Truths
      • Condensed Statement of Fundamental Truths
      • Statement of Faith in the Pentecostal Evangel
      • World Assemblies of God Fellowship Statement of Faith
    • Chapter 4: Eschatological Controversies
      • The Rapture and the Baptism
      • The Scofield Reference Bible
      • Disapproved Eschatological Errors
      • Committee on Eschatological Loopholes
      • The New Order of the Latter Rain
      • The Ecumenical Movement.
      • The Secretary James G. Watt Controversy
      • Commission on Doctrinal Purity and Position Papers
    • Chapter 5: Analysis of Assemblies of God Eschatology
      • Official Inconsistencies
      • Shifting Emphasis from Images to Events
      • Tribulational Diversity
      • Hope as Resurrection
      • The Millennium and Israel
      • Dispensationalism
  • Part Two: The Development of Assemblies of God Eschatology
    • Chapter 6: Establishment Period (1914–1927)
      • Introduction to Popular Eschatology
      • Imminence of the Lord’s Return
      • The Blessed Hope
      • One Coming-Two Stages
      • The Tribulation
      • The Millennium: The Kingdom Come
      • The Final Judgment
      • The Future of Creation
      • Eschatological Perspectives on Social Issues
    • Chapter 7: Scholastic Period (1927–1948)
      • Blessed Hope
      • The Spirit and the Script
      • The Rapture and the Tribulation
      • The Sign of the Jews
      • The Millennium
      • Eschatological Perspectives on Social Issues
    • Chapter 8: Institutional Period (1948–1961)
      • Pentecost and Christ’s Return
      • The Jews and Israel
      • Signs of the Tribulation
      • The Millennial Answer
    • Chapter 9: Evangelical Period (1961–1985)
      • Defending the Rapture
      • Resurgence of the Spirit
      • Signs of the Times
      • The Problem of Israel
      • The Millennium
      • The New Creation
    • Chapter 10: Modern Period (1985–Present)
      • The Rapture
      • Avoiding the Tribulation
      • Escapism and Social Engagement
      • The Kingdom Now and Not Yet
    • Chapter 11: Toward an Assemblies of God Eschatology.
      • A Pentecostal Eschatology
      • Sign vs. Sigh Eschatology.
      • A Theology of Hope
      • Premillennialism
      • Modified Dispensationalism
      • Transformationalist Eschatology
  • Part Three: The Future of Assemblies of God Eschatology
    • Chapter 12: Imagining the Future of Assemblies of God Eschatology
      • The Crisis of Imagination.
      • The Pneumatological Imagination
      • The Eschatological Imagination
      • Images of the Spirit
    • Chapter 13: Images of Hope: A Pneumatological Eschatology
      • The Spirit of Hope: Imagining Resurrection
      • The Spirit of Peace: Imagining the Millennium
      • The Spirit of Justice: Imagining the Final Judgment
      • The Spirit of Life: Imagining the New Creation
    • Chapter 14: A Future for the Eschatological Fundamental Truths
      • The Possibility of Eschatological Development
      • Re-Imagining the Eschatological Truths
      • The Future of the Blessed Hope
      • The Future of the Millennial Reign
      • The Future of the Final Judgment.
      • The Future of the New Heavens and New Earth
    • Chapter 15: Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Major Name and Subject Index 

“A thorough, comprehensive and complex analysis of the origin and development of the eschatological thinking in one of the largest and most important Pentecostal denominations in the world, Assemblies of God (AG). Isgrigg offers a fascinating, constructive proposal for a contemporary pneumatological eschatology building on the huge potential of the pneumatological imagination which leads into a consequent eschatological imagination, as the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the ‘last days’ and so the eschatological end is conceived as the future work of the Spirit.”
Corneliu Constantineanu, Ph.D.
— Professor of Pentecostal Theology, Aurel Vlaicu University of Arad, Romania

“This books stimulates much needed thought on eschatology within the AG and Pentecostal communities and be a blessing to both. Isgrigg combines thorough historical analysis with informed and insightful theological reflection. He writes clearly and with an irenic spirit. The result is a wonderful encouragement to the AG community to engage in much needed reflection on the contours, purpose, and impact of our eschatology.”
— Robert P. Menzies, Ph.D.,Director, Asia Center for Pentecostal Theology

“This fine and multi-layered study of American Assemblies of God shows how it has adjusted fundamental interpretations of its eschatology in the face of a changing world. This is a vigorous and expertly documented account that deserves to be widely read, not least because the church has a pressing need to revisit its expectations of humanity’s future.”
— William K Kay, D.D.,Emeritus Professor, Wrexham Glyndwr University

“Isgrigg’s meticulously researched and engagingly written monograph on eschatology in the Assemblies of God provides not only the first comprehensive historical and theological treatment of the development of AG eschatology throughout the movement’s entire history, particularly as it relates to dispensationalism, but also makes the important theological contribution of an emphasis on pneumatological imagination, calling for both a renewed focus on and hopeful expectation for the Holy Spirit’s work in eschatological signs. I highly recommend this book for ministers, scholars, and all who eagerly await the Blessed Hope.”
— Alicia R. Jackson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Vanguard University

DR. DANIEL ISGRIGG (Bangor University, Wales) is Assistant Professor and Director of the Holy Spirit Research Center and Archives at Oral Roberts University. He is an Assemblies of God ordained minister with over 20 years pastoral experience. His research and publishing interests are in the areas of Pentecostal history and Oral Roberts studies.

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Price:
$25.99
ISBN:
 
Published:
2021
2021
Pages:
298pp. + ix
Size:
6 x 9 in.
Illus:
figures

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