Can Hard Questions Soften Relations?

Some Observations on Dialogue Method in the International Roman Catholic-Classical Pentecostal Dialogue
  • Jelle Creemers
Part of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue book series (PEID)


Although the Pentecostal movement and the Roman Catholic Church have largely developed alongside each other in the first half of the twentieth century, after Vatican II and the entrance of Charismatic spirituality in the Roman Catholic Church, some great minds in both ecclesial families have made the effort to search for fruitful ways of ecumenical interaction. This led to the establishment of the International Roman Catholic–Classical Pentecostal Dialogue (IRC-CPD) in 1972, a continuing dialogue that entered its sixth phase in 2011.1 Theological analyses of all the past phases have been undertaken, which show the results of serious efforts to bring the dialogue partners into closer proximity.2 These efforts also required “thinking outside the box” on the level of ecumenical method, which is in line with Gillian Evans’s observation that “different communions have different priorities and therefore different methods are needed in their pairings with others bilaterally.”3 Up until now, no research has been undertaken to describe, analyze, and/or assess the ecumenical method in the IRCCPD.4 This chapter focuses on one specific element and aims to describe the development of the dialogue method in the IRCCPD: How did the dialogue partners organize their dialogue and work toward the creation of the Final Reports?5


Final Report Overarch Theme Hard Question Dialogue Partner Dialogue Session 
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  1. 1.
    See, for a general introduction to the IRCCPD, Jelle Creemers, “Time Will Teach Us: Reflections on Thirty-Five Years of Pentecostal-Roman Catholic Dialogue,” Ecclesiology 5, no. 3 (2009): 322–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    For theological analyses of the dialogue, see, for phases I–IV, Arnold Bittlinger, Papst und Pfingstler: Der Römisch katholisch-Pfingstliche Dialog und Seine Ökumenische Relevanz (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1978);Google Scholar
  3. Jerry L. Sandidge, Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue (1977–1982): A Study in Developing Ecumenism, vols. 1, 2 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1987);Google Scholar
  4. P. Lee, Pneumatological Ecclesiology in the Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue: A Catholic Reading of the Third Quinquennium (1982–1989) (Rome: Pountificial University of St. Thomas, 1994);Google Scholar
  5. D. Cole, Pentecostal Koinonia: An Emerging Ecumenical Ecclesiology Among Pentecostals (Pasadena: Fuller Seminary Dissertation, 1998);Google Scholar
  6. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Spiritus Ubi Vult Spirat: Pneumatology in Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue (1972–1989) (Helsinki: Luther Agricola Society, 1998);Google Scholar
  7. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Ad Ultimum Terrae: Evangelization, Proselytism and Common Witness in the Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue (1990–1997) (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999);Google Scholar
  8. Juan F. Usma Gómez, Evangelización, proselitismo y testimonio común: un estudio crítico de la cuarta fase del diálogo internacional católico-pentecostal (1990–1997) (Pontificia Studiorum Universitas a S. Thoma Aq. in Urbe, 2001). A historical-theological analysis of phase V has recently been written by Karen J. Murphy at the Fuller Theological Seminary.Google Scholar
  9. 3.
    Gillian Rosemary Evans, Method in Ecumenical Theology: The Lessons So Far (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 4.
    A thorough analysis of the developed ecumenical method in the IRC-CPD has, after Assisi 2012, led to an encompassing monograph on the topic: Jelle Creemers, Classical Pentecostals in Theological Dialogue: Challenges and Opportunities (London: Bloomsbury, 2015).Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    The impossibility of the Classical Pentecostal dialogue partner to get official representatives at the table who can speak for the whole movement has repercussions on the reception of the dialogue. See Jelle Creemers, “Intertwined Problems of Representation and Reception in Pentecostal Ecumenical Involvement: A Case Study,” One in Christ 45, no. 1 (2011): 142–61.Google Scholar

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© Jelle Creemers 2016

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  • Jelle Creemers

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