Despite the centrality of Jesus in Pentecostal worship, belief, and practice, from an academic perspective Christology has been an underdeveloped theological theme in Pentecostalism. And yet just because Pentecostals have concentrated almost exclusively on pneumatology does not mean that Pentecostalism lacks a distinctive Christology. From its origins, Pentecostal hymnody, sermons, and testimonies reveal a unique way of thinking about the person and work of Jesus Christ, one which stresses the continued active presence of the second person of the Trinity in the life of the church and the believer. Pentecostal Christology affirms that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8); this same miracle-working preacher, prophet continues to manifest his presence through the Spirit today.
This study inquires about the foundations needed to construct a Hispanic Pentecostal Christology. Although traditionally Pentecostal christologies have been anchored in a two-nature Chalcedonian model, I propose that Spirit-Christology is a more suitable paradigm for constructing a Hispanic Pentecostal Christology provided it is grounded in the experience, faith, and worship of its community and oriented toward liberative praxis.
My method is as follows: The first two chapters focus on Spirit-Christology as a model for Pentecostal Christology. Chapter one outlines early Pentecostal Christology establishing that the move toward Spirit-Christology is legitimate because it corresponds with our Pentecostal heritage. Chapter two looks at recent non-Pentecostal, Charismatic and Pentecostal approaches to Spirit-Christology, but concludes that though it is a useful model for constructing a Pentecostal Christology in general, for it to be a viable model for Hispanic Pentecostal Christology it needs to be contextually grounded and oriented toward liberative praxis.
Chapter three examines the contributions of Latin American and Latina/o christologies—particularly its more significant christological models—as resources for contextually grounding Spirit-Christology and orienting it toward liberative praxis. Due to the social location of Hispanics (Catholic and Protestant alike) and particularly the demographics of Hispanic Pentecostals, the christological contributions of Latina/o theologians will prove essential for developing a Hispanic Pentecostal christological method that aims to integrate faith and lived experience of Jesus in a context of economic hardship, transnational ambivalence and continual marginalization.
Chapter four develops a historically grounded Spirit-Christology of liberative praxis out of these findings. The central metaphor of this Christology is El Divino Compañero, for in our pilgrimage through this world it is Jesus our Divine Companion who through the Spirit guides and nurtures us on the way back home. Essentially I look back at the christological reflection of early Pentecostals and at the contemporary turn to Spirit-Christology, and then construct a christological model that is born out of the Hispanic Pentecostal reality but is also rooted in the broader Pentecostal christological imagination and informed by the Pentecostal way of doing theology. I believe that a Hispanic Pentecostal Christology has the potential to model a new way of doing Christology: an approach which is globally conscious and praxis-oriented that attempts to conceptualize the meaning of the person and work of Christ with ecumenical openness and biblical centeredness.