The Third Force in Missions: A Pentecostal Contribution to Contemporary Mission Theology

by Paul A. Pomerville

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Retail: $19.95
Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 196
Pub Date: July 2016
ISBN: 9781619707689
ISBN-13: 9781619707689
Item Number: 707689
Categories: Missions and Evangelism; Pastoral Helps

Product Description

The Third Force in Missions challenges readers to recognize the indispensable role of the Holy Spirit as power-for-mission. It confronts the Western mentality that ignores the miraculous in its missions strategy and the global Pentecostal movement. Paul Pomerville suggests that such activity—prompted and controlled by the Spirit—is key to fruitful biblical missions.

When The Third Force in Missions was first published in 1985, Paul Pomerville sought to draw attention to the Pentecostal contribution to missions. At that time, he argued there was an “information gap” regarding the size of this movement, in spite of “two waves” of worldwide Pentecostal renewal. He argued that this gap existed because of evangelical bias against Pentecostalism, bias against “charismatics” in mainline churches, ethnocentrism toward Pentecostals in the developing world, and faulty reporting.

Thirty years later, Pomerville once again argues the importance of the global Pentecostal movement, seeking to correct the ongoing tunnel vision of world missions programs, which since the Protestant Reformation have tended to ignore the Holy Spirit’s work in today’s missions. In this book, Pomerville exposes the serious methodological and theological flaws of such a one-sided position.


“In 1985 Paul A. Pomerville’s The Third Force in Missions developed a pentecostal missiology that creatively injected a pentecostal view of the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit into an evangelical interpretation of the kingdom of God.”— The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal Charismatic Movements (2002)

“A significant pentecostal missiology appeared in The Third Force in Missions (1985) by Paul A. Pomerville, formerly a GCAG missionary. Pomerville notes that the lack of emphasis in evangelical missions on the work of the Holy Spirit can be traced to the rationalistic impact of Protestant scholasticism through its overidentification of the Spirit with the written Word and an abhorrence of personal 'experience' as a factor in spiritual authority. Accordingly, he states that 'as a renewal movement, emphasizing a neglected dimension of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, Pentecostalism sets the subtle influence of post-Reformation scholasticism in bold relief. It is at this point that Pentecostalism functions as a ‘corrective’ in contemporary missions' (Pomerville, 1985, 79).
Pomerville also maintains that the NT theology of the kingdom of God lays the groundwork for property understanding the outpouring of the Spirit both then and now. The proclamation of the gospel, coupled with the dynamic work of the Spirit, should characterize the extension of God’s kingdom before the return of Christ. This should form the heart of pentecostal missiology. Although he praises George Eldon Ladd (The Presence of the Future, 1974) for his insights on the kingdom of God, he faults him for not adequately addressing the work of the Holy Spirit that must accompany it. This emphasis on nondispensational premillennialism also reflect a trend in pentecostal theology away from the specially adapted dispensationalism that has been popular in Pentecostalism from its beginning.” —The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal Charismatic Movements (2002)

Author Bio

Paul A. Pomerville (PhD, Intercultural Studies, School of World Mission, Fuller Seminary) served as a missionary to Asia and Europe, and as graduate professor and department chair of Christian Missions and Cross-Cultural Communications at the Assemblies of God Seminary. He has also trained police officers in cultural diversity around the world.