by Luis Aranguiz Kahn. Part 3 of 4. Read the whole article as a PDF here.
My third and last step is the thought of Aaron Jason Swoboda, North-American Pentecostal theologian. He begins to notice the fact that Pentecostal academy, churches and publications have been “Eco-theologically quiet”. However, he finds that there are four major strands that have contributed to a social Pentecostal theology: charismatic social theology, liberation theologies, eschatological social justice and African creation spiritualties. As we have chosen liberation theologies as a source, we will continue with the concept from which Swoboda has articulated his Pentecostal Eco theology: Spirit-baptized creation.
Swoboda’s account is relevant for us in two senses. First, he maintains the idea of creation—earth—as the residence of the Spirit, as the Spirit “fills all things” (Eph. 4:10). Second, he maintains the idea that a person baptized in the Holy Spirit is empowered to “care for, protect and defend the earth” (p. 285). In his perspective, as in the beginning, the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a way for bringing peace among all races, according to the view of black leader of Azusa Street revival William Seymour: the core of the action of the Spirit is love. Being so, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and an understanding of creation as a sacred work of God, would bring out a love for creation, and consequently, an ecological ethic.
The idea that the Spirit is present in all creation is the basis to understand a spirit-baptized creation the same way spirit-baptized believer, in which God is present in the same way in both. Creation then is seen as a sacred domain. Although a believer baptized in the Holy Spirit could think that through this empowerment he goes outside of the world, the goal here is to note that, precisely because of the baptism, he acquires a new perspective on his role regarding creation.
How to receive this notion in Latin-American Pentecostalism? As Swoboda looked back to Seymour, we have done the same with Hoover. But also, we should be committed to looking forward toward foreign theological developments. The spirit-baptized Pentecostal Latin-American believer can no longer continue living without paying attention to big conflicts we are facing as region regarding to ecological matters. We also need to understand our place not only as a political agent, but as an Eco political agent.
And as Latin-Americans that have come from poverty and marginalization, we must go deeper in our roots, understanding the consequences of being citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and of a colonized region. As church, as Christians seeking political ecological holiness in the power of the Spirit, we must rise our voices against those who day by day destroy the creation of God through unethical exploitation of natural resources. We also have the opportunity to make efforts looking for the construction of better communities, protect the exploited people and indigenous communities.
LUIS ARÁNGUIZ KAHN holds a degree in Spanish Literature and a minor in theology from the Catholic University of Chile, and is currently completing a master’s degree in International Studies at the University of Santiago, Chile. He has worked academically in texts and lectures on literature and religion, evangelical analysis of political discourse in Chile and my master’s thesis will be in the general field of evangelicals and international politics. Luis comes from a family of traditional Chilean Pentecostalism and was a university leader at a Pentecostal youth group and a preacher at his local congregation. He is the editor of Pensamiento Pentecostal.
1. Swoboda, A. J. (2011) Tongues and Trees: Towards a Green Pentecostal Pneumatology. Thesis for Ph.D. on Philosophy, University of Birmingham.
2. Ibid., 101. He also notes the deep differences among liberation theology and Pentecostalism.