I'm attending the annual SPS academic conference at Regent University, Virginia Beach, end of this month. The ecumenical studies group is convening a panel to discuss and critique my latest edited book on Latin American Pentecostalism, to which I will be responding. However, I have another reason for attending. This year's conference theme is Pentecostalisms, Peacemaking, and Social Justice/Righteousness, reflecting the Pentecostal academy's continued interest in social issues. One of the keynote speakers is Sami Awad (Holy Land Trust), while one of this year's SPS conference organisers is Paul Alexander, a speaker at the forthcoming Christ at the Checkpoint event in Bethlehem.
At a time when some in the Pentecostal academy are increasingly ditching classical Pentecostalism's historic dispensationalism, and with it traditional support for Israel and Pentecostal Zionism, I wanted to explore the issue from a different angle, separating Zionism from nonsupersessionism and demonstrating how the latter represents an inherent Pentecostal position aside from its dispensationalism. I'll be highlighting and evaluating strong global Pentecostal philosemitism among, crucially, autochthonous Pentecostals with little or no connection with North American Pentecostals and their dispensationalism, before exploring ways in which Pentecostals might approach the current conflict by focusing on social justice without ditching their nonsupersessionism and philosemitism (too often, I believe, the polarised and pejorative nature of the debate forces Christians to choose one side or another, leaving little room to explore middle ground).
My paper, which will be delivered on 1 March, is entitled Pentecostalism, Zionism and the Middle East Conflict: Reconciling Inherent Philosemitism and Calls for Social Justice. I'll be posting a copy here after the conference (full details of which, including a full conference schedule, can be found on the SPS website). I notice there will also be a paper on Pentecostalism and Messianic Judaism on the same day.