For the Sake of The Call: The Eschatological Vision of a Pentecostal Prairie Pastor

Bruce Halhad Shelvey


Using examples from the personal memoirs of a small-town Prairie pastor, Ernest Shelvey, the paper argues for otherwise possibility as an interpretive framework for his life and ministry.  Based upon Shelvey's belief in a possible God, History became, not the consequence of cause and effect, but rather the unfolding of God’s will on earth.  For the sake of the call referenced an eschatological “may be” that legitimized an uncertain way of being in the world.  As an assertion or wager of an open history, one that was “not yet” determined by a human will, Shelvey's call allowed for a radical openness to “life in the spirit”. This orientation, as theorized by philosopher Richard Kearney, made a unique difference in Shelvey's life, training and ministry by opening up a spiritual space of generousity, by possibilizing God into the everyday experience, and by potentializing opportunities to redeem human action and instill hope for an alternate future than that which could have been predicted.  Incorporating narratives like Shelvey's into the standard denominational and sociological interpretations may open up new opportunities to understand the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada as a movement and a fellowship. 


Prairie Pentecostalism; Eschatological Vision; Life in the Spirit; Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada; Richard Kearney

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