by Gary Tyra
InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426, 2011, 191 pages.
—Reviewed by Blayne C. Waltrip, adjunct faculty in world missions and church development, Pentecostal Theological Seminary; missionary instructor, Church of God World Missions, Cleveland, TN.
One cannot deny the amazing growth of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement worldwide during the twentieth century. Yet, as the West experiences a cultural and historical shift toward a postmodern society that is increasingly liquid, secular, and post-Christian, the Church has been increasingly marginalized.
The missional Church movement seeks to engage Western culture missionally and incarnationally by deconstructing the Church of modernity and Christendom. In Europe and North America, I have seen a need in the missional Church movement for a “missional pneumatology.” In this book, Gary Tyra provides a practical theology of the Spirit “to guide pastors and church leaders in forming biblically informed, Spirit-empowered, missionally faithful churches.” This is great news for all churches seeking to live out the Kingdom of God missionally in the West.
In his missional pneumatology, Tyra calls for a prophetic activity (i.e., prophetic speech and action) of the Spirit that enhances the missional faithfulness of churches. As a biblical and practical theologian, he convincingly argues that like the Christians of the early Church, Christians today should engage in a Spirit-empowered approach to evangelism (i.e., prophetic evangelism), edification (i.e., prophetic disciple-making), and equipping (i.e., prophetic ministry formation).
He provides biblical and historical evidence for the connection between the Holy Spirit’s work in people’s lives, prophetic activity, and missional faithfulness. There are a lot of good descriptive works available on the growth of Pentecostalism in the Majority World, but he makes the point that we can have this same missional faithfulness in the West. In my opinion, this is what sets the book apart for missional significance. He is convinced that Christians living in the West can live more missionally faithful lives in the power of the Spirit. We do this by discerning what the Holy Spirit is doing in a particular context and responding with prophetic words and deeds when prompted by the Spirit of mission. These promptings of the Spirit occur as we live out the Kingdom of God incarnationally and missionally.
This fresh missional pneumatology has several implications for missional Christians in the West. He is not advocating “weird” religious activities that alarm already suspicious individuals. Rather, by obeying such promptings, the experiences allow a transcendent experience as the Spirit reveals his presence and love. Postmoderns in contemporary Western culture are hungry for authentic transcendent experiences with God.
These experiences occur as Christians live out authentic, compassionate, and Spirit-empowered lifestyles among others. In light of the conversation on Christian hospitality, I would love to see more work on prophetic activity in the practice of missional hospitality in the West. Such prophetic activity in hospitality would provide a transcendent awe as the postmodern other realizes the authentic presence of the Spirit, leading to an acceptance of God’s redemptive welcome.
Check these titles:
Hirsh, Alan and Tim Catchim. 2012. The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass
Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. 2002. Toward a Pneumatological Theology: Pentecostal and Ecumenical Perspectives on Ecclesiology, Soteriology, and Theology of Mission. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.
Lord, Andrew. 2005. Spirit-Shaped Mission: A Holistic Charismatic Missiology. Waynesboro, Ga.: Paternoster Press.
EMQ, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 505-506. Copyright © 2012 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.