The Gift of Silence: A Renewed Call to Contemporary Pentecostals to the Spiritual Discipline of Silence
AuthorPruitt, Philip Adair
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Pentecostals are known for being vociferous and boisterous in worship, and generally eschew silence. The thesis of this project, The Gift of Silence: a renewed call to contemporary Pentecostals to the spiritual discipline of silence, however, is that the discipline of silence is not antithetical to Pentecostal spirituality. On the contrary, silence has been, and can continue to be an important and indispensable aspect of Pentecostal spirituality. Chapter 1 provides an overview of Pentecostal spirituality, based on Russell P. Spittler’s “five implicit values governing Pentecostal spirituality.” These values are individual experience, oral tradition, otherworldliness, spontaneity, and biblical authority. Discussion focuses on ways in which these five values affect personal and communal life, worship, and prayer in the Pentecostal community. Documents from Pentecostal denominations are cited for authenticity. Chapter 2 addresses the subjects of silence in prayer and worship, citing biblical examples (from both Testaments), Early Church Fathers, and Pentecostal writers from the first half of the 20th century. Chapter 3 issues a call to contemporary Pentecostals to reconsider the spiritual discipline of silence in prayer and worship. It explores the influences of popular contemporary Christian youth culture on contemporary Pentecostal prayer and worship. Then, contemporary Pentecostals are asked to reconsider the spiritual discipline of silence in prayer and worship as a viable and vital aspect of Pentecostal spirituality. Biblical foundations and precedence, practice among early Pentecostals, and deep roots in Early Church spirituality are given as reasons to reconsider the discipline of silence in prayer and worship. Then, encouragement is offered to direct interested Pentecostals toward a better understanding of the discipline of silence. The conclusion gives a brief summary of the project, and restates the thesis. Then suggestions are given for Pentecostals who would like to explore further the spiritual discipline of silence: a suggested bibliography, and suggestions for the personal and corporate practice of silence. A bibliography of sources cited is provided at the end of the project.