We might describe two traditions of critique: the prophetic and the secular. Under the aegis of modernity, however, critique was simply collapsed into the secular. Against the backdrop of Enlightenment rationality, prophetic critique could be seen only as parochial and hence uncritical—tainted by the particularity of religious tradition and thus disqualified from the alleged universality of secular reason. On this account, critical thought could be informed only by secular reason. Criticism, in this picture, is bound up with the disenchantment of the world. This confidence in secular reason, however, has eroded on several fronts. Concurrent with these developments has been an explosion of global Christianity, particularly Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity, animated by a deep sense of the enchantment of the world, as evidenced by “signs and wonders” that contest the disenchantments of modernity. Central to Pentecostal spirituality is the prophetic—a sense that God speaks to (and into) our social orders. The confluence of these presents an opportunity to reconsider prophetic critique. But does the prophetic voice in global Pentecostalism yield prophetic critique? On the one hand, there are rich resources of critical thought embedded in Pentecostal practice; on the other hand, globalized Pentecostalism often seems quite comfortable with globalized capitalism. This essay disinters the implicit, critical elements that are embedded in Pentecostal spirituality while also trying to account for why global Pentecostalism so often mimics globalized capitalism. I suggest that Pentecostalism will be truly critical—and hence, prophetic—only to the extent that it is catholic.
“The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”: Global Pentecostalism and the Re-enchantment of Critique
James K. A. Smith; “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”: Global Pentecostalism and the Re-enchantment of Critique. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2010; 109 (4): 677–693. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2010-012
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