Last night I was approached by a couple in the church asking if we could start giving testimonies ever week. Unknown to them, this concept of testimonies or storytelling has been a crucial concept in the marketplace of ideas within Christianity over the last few years.
Proponents are claiming that the church needs to move from a systematic faith based upon doctrines and logic to a faith rooted in community and brought together by stories. This concept was promoted throughout the Society of Vineyard Scholars (SVS) conference last week – both in individual conversations and in the papers presented (most notably, James K.A. Smith’s keynote address).
Having just returned from the SVS conference, the conversation last night sparked an interesting realization:
It seems that the proponents of this narrative epistemology shift seem to be those who are engaging the post-modern culture around us. Opponents, on the other hand, tend to be more modern in their worldview.
Meanwhile, the couple in my church probably have a more premodern worldview as they come from a Pentecostal background (Pentecostalism as a whole never did ‘buy’ into the modernism worldview – click here for additional thoughts along this line)
It just goes to show that ‘new’ is a relative term depending on where one starts. What is ‘new’ for someone in mainline Protestantism or Evangelicalism may not be ‘new’ for someone in Pentecostalism. And vice versa – mainline Protestantism and/or Evangelicalism has things that are ‘new’ to Pentecostals.
This is why we need to full body of Christ – i.e. no one group has the corner on God.