This dissertation presents arguments in the main by John Macquarrie, James H. Cone and Bolaji Idowu on revelation with other scholars from a Pentecostal perspective. Chapter one offers a general outline of the study, highlighting the structure of the dissertation, its methodology and the literature review.
Chapter two presents an interpretation of Macquarrie’s views on revelation based on existentialism. Revelation could be explained philosophically, Macquarrie being an example that I have chosen. He uses existentialism as a philosophical category to explain revelation. Macquarrie (1966:92) uses “existential thinking” as his approach to revelation and perceives existential thinking as a way of thinking which is common to humankind every day. Therefore, revelation is ordinary in this sense. At another level, “‘Classic’ or ‘primordial’ form of revelation,” according to Macquarrie (1966:8) depends on a community of faith that traces back in history an event that establishes a ‘classic’ or ‘primordial’ form of revelation.
In Chapter three Cone engages existentialism. Cone sees revelation in history particularly God’s covenant with Israel and God’s deliberate choice to side with the oppressed and the marginalized. Revelation is God’s liberative acts in history. Cone (1975:62) argues that “God’s revelation is inseparable from the social and political affairs of Israel.” He believes that to know Yahweh is to experience Yahweh’s revealed acts in the concrete affairs of the struggle against oppression. Cone argues (1984:65) that first, the Exodus is the point of departure of Israel’s existence and covenant is an invitation to Israel to enter into a responsible relationship with God. This invitation places Israel in a situation of decision, because the covenant requires obedience to the will of Yahweh. Second, Cone perceives the rise of prophecy as an important dimension to the covenant. Prophets proclaimed Yahweh’s future activity of judgment and renewal that was about to burst into the present. Cone (1975:66-67) portrays Israel’s tragedy that it is due to Israel’s failure to remember the Exodus-Sinai tradition. Third, Cone (1975:72) believes that Jesus is the continuation of the Law and the prophets who addressed justice and that His words and deeds are signs of His forthcoming. Cone (1989:35) states that Christians’ knowledge of God is revealed in and through Jesus Christ only.
In Chapter Four Idowu and Mbiti argue for an interpretation of God and God’s revelation within the framework of African indigenous knowledge systems. This chapter essentially argues that Western forms of knowledge cannot be the monopoly to know God. It argues through the work of Idowu that African knowledge could be used to explain revelation too. For Idowu, it should be understood that Africans are capable in their own native tools to engage and explain their understanding of revelation. Second, to Africans, time is composition of events which are realized and those which are occurring simultaneously. Mbiti (1970:159) argues that “what has not been realized belongs in reality to no – Time.” But Jesus is the centre of all times. Jesus is also a revelation of times in His primary revelation of nature. Christian times can make a radical contribution to God’s natural revelation in Africans.
Chapter five is a brief background on Pentecostal roots and its views on revelation. This Pentecostal view of revelation is in dialogue with the chapters above. While the Pentecostal view of revelation also uses Western Philosophy, there are traits of African culture that have come to be used as well to deal with this concept.
Mini-dissertation (MA (Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2015.