Loving God and loving others: Learning about love from psychological science and Pentecostal perspectives, GW Sutton, MW Mittelstadt

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Content: Journal of Psychology and Christianity 2012, Vol. 31, No. 2, 157-166
Copyright 2012 Christian Association for Psychological Studies ISSN 0733-4273
Loving God and Loving Others: Learning
About Love From Psychological Science and
Pentecostal Perspectives
Geoffrey W. Sutton
Martin W. Mittelstadt
Evangel University
In this article, we explored an empirical basis for several dimensions of interpersonal love. From a psychological perspective, we considered multidimensional components of love using a holistic rubric that includes spiritual, cognitive, behavioral, affective, biological, and social space dimensions. From a theological perspective, we considered the traditional basis for understanding love of God and love of others in Christian communities with a special focus on early and contemporary Pentecostal beliefs and practices. Finally, we suggest ideas for further research and clinical practice.
"God is Spirit" (John 4:24, New International Version) "God is love" (I John 4:8, 16) Love is such a fuzzy concept within Western cultures that to construct a psychology of love will require some delimiting. Because people speak of love in so many ways, a linguistic analysis, though intriguing, could easily lead us far afield. Evangelical preachers often speak about nuances in different Greek words for love (e.g., phileo, agape). In common language, people use love to express positive feelings as in loving ice cream, weather, cats, art, and countries. Regardless of what similarities might exist between the forgoing expressions of love, we will not consider those potential commonalities. People also speak of interpersonal love in various ways such as being in love and having a loving feeling; however, from psychological and theological perspectives, love is more than a feeling and not transient like an emotional state. In this article, we explored empirical and experiential bases for several dimensions of interpersonal love. We included a spiritual dimension to address ways that Christians express love. Finally, we considered specific ways Pentecostals have contextualized the expression of love. Love and Psychological Science Not long ago, Tjeltveit (2006a) noted the limited research on love, especially by Christian Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Geoffrey W. Sutton, Department of Behavioral Science, Evangel University, Springfield, MO 65802. E-mail: [email protected]
psychological scientists. In this article, we follow the lead of Shiota and Kalat (2011), viewing love as akin to an attitude with cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions. Using a broad cognitive-behavioral schema, we will use the acronym SCOPES to characterize six multidimensional aspects of love as an aspect of human functioning, which expands the tripartite attitudinal rubric. The six dimensions represented in the acronym are Spiritual, Cognitive, Observable behavior, Physical (biological), Emotional (affective), and Social space. Because we are intentionally reviewing a Pentecostal perspective on the spiritual dimension of love in the next section, we will discuss attachment theory, a promising contribution to the spiritual dimension from research in the psychology of religion. We are intentionally sidestepping the problem of defining religion and spirituality by accepting the operational definitions of researchers who refer to religion or spirituality or use a broad rubric that includes beliefs and practices prescribed by or associated with a religion as spiritual in the view of the adherents. The study of spirituality as an active dimension of love is perhaps easier when studying those, such as Pentecostals, Charismatics, and others associated with contemporary Evangelical Christianity, who speak of loving God, walking with Jesus, and trusting God as a parent who loves his children than when studying those from traditions where God has a less relational character. Attachment researchers (e.g., Kirkpatrick & Shaver, 1990) in the tradition of Bowlby and Ainsworth (e.g., Bowlby, 1969; Bretherton, 1992) found similarities in adult relationships to the anxious and avoidant styles evident in parent-child relationships. A
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related concept, the Japanese notion of amae introduced by Doi (Yamaguchi, 2004), appears to be a feeling of pleasurable attachment evident in an infant's secure relationship to mother. Not surprisingly, several scientists have also observed similarities between parent-child attachment and how people relate to God (e.g., Beck & McDonald, 2004; Hall, Fujikawa, Halcrow, Hill, & Delaney, 2009). Christian Scriptures portray God as a loving father (1 John 3:1). Attachment research holds promise for understanding facets of the loving relationship between humans and God. Further, the scripture inspired metaphor of believers comprising the family of God and living in loving relationships with each other may parallel the attachment bond among members of human families (Eph. 5:18­6:9). Given the forgoing biblical discussion of God as parent and believer as child relationship metaphor, we have selected attachment theory as the most useful theory to illustrate how a psychological understanding of love might parallel a spiritual understanding of love. Recent psychological studies of love-linked constructs such as altruism (e.g., Yong, in press), forgiveness, reconciliation (e.g., Worthington, 2006, 2010), compassion (e.g., Hwang, Plante, & Lackey, 2008), and restoration (e.g., Sutton & Thomas, 2005b) also hold promise for understanding how well members of Christian communities demonstrate these expressions of love for each other. The cognitive dimension of love entails thoughts and images of the loved one, which persist and may even grow more frequent or intense when the loved one is absent. The evidence of thoughts about loving relationships is abundant when one considers the immeasurable fountain of literature and art in addition to the daily torrent of loving thoughts expressed on Facebook and other Social Media networks. Loving thoughts are in the mp3 files of the digital cloud. literary works provide ample evidence of loving cognitions. It is a commonplace to offer prayers and thoughts to those who have suffered a tragedy. In Western cultures, greeting cards offer socially expected ways to express loving thoughts on culturally defined special occasions. People refer to the number of received cards, calls, and messages as if such expressions were measurable indicators of love. A consideration of observable behavior allows for an operational definition of some aspects of expressed love. People display loving responses (e.g., hugging, feeding) to those in distress as acts of compassion. Compassion may be a subset of
helping behavior in response to needs of people not necessarily in obvious distress. Recently, many American religious and secular organizations donated significant quantities of goods and hours of labor to the people of Joplin, Missouri, following the devastating 2011 tornado. Many organizations offer food and health services to the homeless in Kenya and Somalia. The role of physiology in love can take us in many directions that would seem peripheral to our task yet a brief consideration can serve to remind us that any holistic model of human love must consider the biological correlates of other dimensions of the love construct. Bombar and Littig (1996) noted the similarities between a mother's love for her baby and the common Western references to romantic partners as babe or baby. One biological commonality associated with attachment, caring, and sexual behavior is oxytocin. Men with higher levels of vasopressin receptors have closer relationships with their wives and have fewer thoughts of divorce than those with lower levels (Walum et al., 2008). When participants recalled experiences of strong romantic love, those with more facial displays of love had greater increases in oxytocin levels than others (Gonzaga, Turner, Keltner, Campos, & Altemus, 2006). Endorphins are also involved in loving relationships. The separation distress evident in the cries of young animals is associated with sudden declines in endorphins (e.g., Newman, 2007; Panksepp, Nelson, & Bekkedal, 1997). The cultural notion of felt pain following the loss of love as in divorce and death may be supported by fMRI studies showing increased activity in one aspect of the brain's pain center (anterior cingulate gyrus) associated with social rejection (e.g., Eisenberger, Lieberman, & Williams, 2003). A discussion of physiological factors would be incomplete without a reference to sexual attraction and the range of behavior patterns (in addition to bodily features) that people find lovable. For example, people are sexually attracted to others who are happy and kind, appear more intelligent, and have a sense of humor. The emotional experience of love yields a positive state. Words and acts of caring feel good. A feeling of love may be contrasted with those uncomfortable feelings of anxiety and distress as discussed in the attachment studies. Studies by Fraley and Shaver (2000) illustrated the value of attachment paradigms to characterize the felt experience of separation as anxiety.
The social space dimension of love clearly intersects with the forgoing discussion of the previous five dimensions; however, we would like to point out two additional considerations when assessing the social dimension of love: space and time. People experience and display love differently depending on the social context and the timeframe. From infancy to adulthood, the loving relationship between parent and child changes as child and parent age. The relationship looks different when the child is age 16 months, 16 years, and 66 years. Similarly, cultural pressures are strong in Western cultures such that most 15 year olds will insist on different displays of love in different life-spaces such as home, school, and work settings. Two friends will demonstrate friendship in different ways in the office, the racquetball court, and the church. The look of love will vary with the social dimensions of space and time as well as with the people and cultural props that contextualize the social dimension. To summarize, we have focused the psychology of love on interpersonal relationships and viewed the construct as an attitude within a broad cognitive-behavioral rubric consisting of six dimensions of human functioning: Spiritual, Cognitive, Observable behavior, Physiological, Emotional, and Social (space, time). When assessing interpersonal love, researchers and clinicians can meaningfully examine people's cognitions, behavior patterns, biological responses, emotional or affective states, and variations across time and settings. Finally, researchers can examine the spiritual dimension of loving relationships between persons and God as well as a spiritual experience shared between persons. In the next section we consider the language of love offered by various Pentecostal voices. Love and Pentecostal Perspectives Power for witness and for Christian life as reflected in Acts 1:8 and beyond stands as a primary desire of Pentecostals. This emphasis upon power comes as no surprise. Classical Pentecostals date their origins to a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the turn of the twentieth century. First generation Pentecostals strived for primitivism, that is, a restoration of the first century church particularly as described in the book of Acts (Wacker, 2001). As the Apostle Peter announced that the events on the Day of Pentecost fulfilled Joel's prophecy (Acts 2: 16­18), contemporary Pentecostals anticipate ongoing
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fulfillment. Various nineteenth century Holiness and Keswick revival movements in Europe, Canada, and the United States provide the backdrop for the emergence of classical Pentecostalism (Synan, 2001). Doctrines and practices such as Spirit baptism evidenced by tongues speech, belief in miracles, and healing become signals of a new move of God with belief that these experiences have universal potential. The convergence of power and love emerged as part and parcel of Pentecostalism. If Pentecost and subsequent fillings of the Spirit throughout Acts enabled bold mission, love surely functioned as the motivation. Taken in a contemporary vein, Pentecostals engage in a rescue mission. The powerful spiritual experiences attributed to Holy Spirit Baptism provide evidence of God's love for the faithful because believers gain power for witness in order to extend abundant life in Jesus' name through evangelism, service to the needy, health (often as agents of divine healing), and general welfare. Sharing the full gospel meant recipients would be saved and in turn filled with God's Spirit and postured for mission. The global success of contemporary Pentecostalism also takes its cue as a religion of power. Spirit-filled witnesses continue to serve as agents of God's power through successful proclamation of the gospel message. Although Pentecostal pastors, teachers, and evangelists regularly employ the language of power, witness, and evangelism, the question at hand becomes "what does love have to do with power?" Though love may not be near the top of a list of key words within Pentecostalism, we suggest an undercurrent of love runs deep. Consider two interrelated themes. First, love stands as the primary motivation not only for conversion, but also Spirit baptism. Recipients of God's vast love reciprocate their love to God with vibrant enthusiasm. Pentecostal spirituality is marked by singing, praise, clapping, raising of hands, dancing, kneeling, laughter, tears, and a host of exuberant celebrations all of which point to an emotional, behavioral, and cognitive response to the love of God in a lively worship social context. Note the following examples from participants at the Azusa Street revival, commonly viewed as the launching point for North American Pentecostalism (1906­1908). Reflecting upon reception of the Spirit at the Azusa Street revival, an unnamed participant made the following remarks recorded in the first volume of the Apostolic Faith (1906):
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It was a baptism of love. Such abounding love! Such compassion seemed to almost kill me with its sweetness! People do not know what they are doing when they stand out against it. The devil never gave me a swet (sic) thing, he was always trying to get me censuring people. This baptism fills us with divine love. (Apostolic Faith, 1906) Second, Pentecostals believe their experience of divine love must be expressed toward other human beings. The singular Great Commandment of Jesus is two-fold: love God and love your neighbor (Luke 10: 27). Some two years into the Azusa Street revival, African-American leader William Seymour wrote: What is the real evidence that a man or woman has received the baptism with the Holy Ghost? Divine love, which is charity. Charity is the Spirit of Jesus. They will have the fruits of the Spirit. Gal. 5: 22. ''The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, temperance; against such there is no law...." This IS the real Bible evidence in their daily walk and conversation; and the outward manifestations; speaking in tongues and the signs following; casting out devils, laying hands on the sick and the sick being healed, and the love of God for souls increasing in their hearts. (Seymour, 1908) It is important to recognize the subtle polemical dynamic of this statement. Not only is the transformation of individuals and relationships vital to Pentecostal experience, but Seymour called into question encounters with God that fail to produce love toward neighbor. Similarly, one of the most quoted statements of early Pentecostalism comes from the pen of journalist turned preacher, Frank Bartleman, who wrote in 1925: "the `color line' was washed away in the blood" (1980, p. 54). More recently Church of God in Christ (COGIC) scholar Lovett (1975) extended the early exhortations of Seymour and Bartleman: "No man can genuinely experience the fullness of the Spirit and remain a bona fide racist" (p. 140). The historical social problems of racial and ethnic tension continue into contemporary Pentecostalism. American (Brathwaite, 2010; Olena, 2010) and South African
(Mostert & van de Spuy, 2010) Pentecostal scholars examined decades of struggles between ethnic groups in the USA and South Africa and revealed evidence of unloving responses as well as more recent demonstrations of love, often manifest in acts of apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The existence of Paul's admonition to the Corinthians suggests they wore spiritual experience as a chevron marking a higher level of spirituality than those who did not share in similar experience. The tenuous ability of believers to express love for God and neighbor finds its origins in the New Testament and remains an important point for reflection by early and contemporary Pentecostals, individually and collectively. Turning from early testimonies of first generation Pentecostals, we now offer a sample of recent events that reveal strong impulses toward love of God and love of neighbor. Given the multiracial and multiethnic origins of early Pentecostalism movement, the formation of the first ecumenical Pentecostal Fellowship of North America (PFNA) in 1948 with no predominantly African-American denominations seems striking. Indeed, it would require nearly a half century for this matter to be addressed in the socalled Memphis Miracle (Blumhofer & Armstrong, 2002). The Memphis Miracle was actually the culmination of a series of meetings from 1992­1994 that sought to reverse the trend of isolation between the races and an attempt to atone for prior misdeeds. Under the leadership of the late Bishop Ithiel Clemmons (COGIC) and Bishop Bernard E. Underwood (International Pentecostal Holiness Church, IPHC), these respective leaders of predominantly African-American and EuropeanAmerican denominations inspired the historic miracle that took place in the Dixon Meyers Hall of the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee, during the scholars' meeting held on the afternoon of October 18, 1994. A young AfricanAmerican attendee gave a message in tongues, which Dr. Jack Hayford, then head of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, interpreted as the call of the Holy Spirit to bring two streams (African-American and European-American sections of the movement) into one. Rev. Donald Evans (Assemblies of God, responded by coming to the stage with a towel and basin and asked permission to wash the feet of Bishop Clemmons. As he washed Bishop Clemmons's feet, Evans wept and asked forgiveness on behalf of European-Americans for their racist attitudes toward African-Americans. Thereafter, Bishop
Blake (COGIC) asked to wash the feet of Thomas Trask, then general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (AG), and repented on behalf of African-Americans for their animosity toward European-Americans. This all occurred in a highly emotionally charged atmosphere filled with deep contrition and weeping. The following day, members of the PFNA agreed to dissolve the organization, and along with previously excluded groups, they formed the integrated Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA). Though much work remains, Seymour, a man ahead of his time, would surely be pleased with the reconciliatory response of Pentecostals to the leading of the Spirit. Second, the influential Toronto Blessing (1994­2000), a revival movement to emerge from the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church under leader John Arnott, is often celebrated as the presence of the Father's love. Sociologist and sympathetic participant Poloma (2003) summed up the movement: The participant "experiences divine love that in turn affects human love" (p. 19). Like the stories of Azusa Street revival, participants of the Toronto Blessing regularly testify to their experience of God's love as motivation for expressions of benevolent service. Third, the well-known charitable organization, Convoy of Hope, declares its mission as a driving passion to feed the world (www.convoyofhope.org). We include this example because the organization is relatively new (formed in 1994) and many of its board members are Pentecostal leaders. The ministries of Convoy of Hope illustrate the recent trend of Pentecostals toward worldwide compassionate activities and a clear willingness to partner with other Christians and other organizations to accomplish shared goals. As Convey of Hope continues to grow and receives increasing recognition by philanthropic and relief organizations worldwide, the sizable participation by AG leadership and participants provides evidence of the high value placed upon compassion ministry. If Convoy of Hope is emblematic of the relationship between power for witness and love, the future looks promising. This trajectory also runs consistent with recent theological and policy shifts in the AG. In 2009, the AG altered its statement of mission: "The Assemblies of God is committed to fulfilling a four-fold mission. Its primary reason for being is: 1. Evangelize the Lost; 2. Worship God; 3.
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Disciple Believers. 4. Show Compassion" (Assemblies of God USA, 2010). Not without some controversy, delegates at the 2009 General Council entertained a motion to add the fourth reason for the existence of the church: "...to be a people who demonstrate God's love and compassion for all the world (Psalm 112:9; Galatians 2:10; 6:10; James 1:27)" (Assemblies of God USA, 2009, p. 51). After the motion failed, George Wood, general superintendent and chair of the AG Council, prevailed on the voting constituency to reconsider the motion. Following adoption on the second try, the General Council also adjusted Item 10 on their Statement of Fundamental Truths concerning the purpose of Spirit baptism to include the goal that believers function with the ...full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ and care for the poor and needy of the world (Galatians 5:22­26; Matthew 25:37­40; Galatians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:11,12; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Colossians 1:29). (Assemblies of God USA, 2009, p. 52) Finally we turn to the global stage. Recent research demonstrates countless stories of the world's major Pentecostal groups who demonstrate and often emphasize official care ministries to augment their evangelistic and discipleship efforts. The work of integrating the Pentecostal experience with traditional Christian beliefs and a broad interpretation of ministry has been evident among emerging leaders who may be called global Pentecostals (see for example Mittelstadt, 2010; Mittelstadt & Sutton, 2010). According to sociologist Donald Miller and philanthropist Tetsunao Yamamori (2007), accusations that Pentecostals lacked a social gospel impulse have little merit. Instead, the overwhelming evidence points to the contrary; Pentecostals place an ever increasing emphasis upon conversion marked by the transformation of lives and communities in such places as Uganda, Kenya, Cairo, Thailand, Philippines, Poland, Armenia, and Brazil. Hence, Miller and Yamamori dispelled the myth that Pentecostals are "so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good" (2007, p. 21). Instead, "Pentecostals no longer see the world as a place from which to escape--the sectarian view--but instead
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as a place they want to make better" (p. 30). Impetus for such ministry comes from a Pentecostal worldview that deems Jesus as the paradigmatic model for proclamation of the kingdom and ministry to social needs. In sum, if Spirit baptism is indeed a baptism of love, the wave of current Pentecostal scholarship only demonstrates that the hope to inspire revitalization of the early Pentecostal emphasis for Spiritinspired witness cannot find fruition without love of neighbor as response to the love of God (e.g., Althouse, in press; Wilkinson, 2010; Wilkinson, in press; Yong, in press).
Understanding Love from Scientific and Pentecostal Perspectives Although the many dimensions of love and many aspects of the Pentecostal tradition relevant to love make any comprehensive review impossible, we do want to highlight a few key areas of research and theories that assess and illustrate Pentecostal perspectives, recognizing that there is a need for much more work in this area. Poloma and Green (2010) recently published a sociological study of the AG, the largest American Pentecostal denomination (2.8 million). Because of the study's relevance to our topic--the subtitle is, Godly Love and the Revitalization of American Pentecostalism--we will review some of their findings in detail. Referring to the Great Commandment, they sought to examine love of God and love of neighbor: "Godly Love essentially looks at how people deal with one another based on perceived love from God, which spurs them to act well in the world" (pp. 11­12). A large portion of their work includes an analysis of survey data from 447 AG pastors and 1,827 congregants. The appendix to their work contains statistical data. The congregants were asked to report their ritual experiences in the past year, which included such items as tongues and interpretation, prayers for Spirit Baptism, healing, and deliverance, as well as prophecy and dancing in the spirit. The researchers included items such as attitudes toward the poor, compassion, and congregational benevolence that indicated the love-related perceptions of participants toward others. The scope of the study is commendable and provides some evidence of love for others based on self-report data. Though the usual concerns with self-report data apply, their research is a valuable contribution to the study of love among a large sample of American Pentecostals.
Perspectives on same-sex relationships have also been studied in a Pentecostal sample. McLeland and Sutton (2008) varied case scenarios in a factorial design to assess the effects of same-sex orientation and mental health status on the compassionate attitudes of 113 congregants who attended small groups in five Pentecostal churches. Given the general position of various evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal groups toward same-sex relationships, it was not surprising that participants responded less favorably to same sexoriented persons than to heterosexual persons. The presence of depression in a scenario contributed to eliciting a compassionate response, which can be viewed as a loving response. Of additional relevance to this discussion is the openness of the church leaders and congregants to participate in a psychological study in contrast to times when psychology was not viewed with respect, same-sex relationships would not be an appropriate topic for consideration in a church group, and depression and other mental health concerns were more matters of one's spiritual condition than a psychological condition. Finally, a plethora of studies have documented the positive effects of forgiveness (e.g., Worthington & Sherer, 2004; Worthington, Witvliet, Pietrini, & Miller, 2007). As noted by Sutton (2010), the Luke 7 narrative links God's forgiveness of sins and love. Several studies have documented the willingness of Pentecostals to forgive others and restore errant clergy to leadership under certain conditions. Those studies also included a positive correlation between measures of spirituality and forgiveness (e.g., Althouse & Wilkinson, in press; Sutton, McLeland, Weaks, Cogswell, & Miphouvieng, 2007; Sutton & Thomas, 2005a, 2005b; Thomas, White, & Sutton, 2008). Recommendations for Research and Practice Implications for research Following the work of Poloma and Green (2010), there remains ample room to describe the beliefs and behavioral norms among other Pentecostal denominations within North America and around the world. Such data should enhance our appreciation of Pentecostal perspectives within the larger context of other perspectives. The particular focus of Poloma and Green on godly love and love for others is highly relevant to the current discussion. Related to Poloma and Green's work is a research effort titled the Flame of Love Project. Project scientists from the University of
Akron funded by the John Templeton Foundation seek scholars from interdisciplinary perspectives to measure the interplay between divine and human love that enlivens and expands benevolence among Pentecostals. As part of a four-year collaborative effort, the researchers hope to provide a new interdisciplinary field of study, namely, the science of godly love. Results of this research are pending and should provide a partial response to the question: "To what extent can emotionally powerful experiences of a `divine flame of love' move us beyond our ordinary selfinterests and help us express unconditional, unlimited love for all others, especially when our human capacities seem to reach their limits?" (Flame of Love Project, n.d.). As is common in the psychology of religion (e.g., Hood, Hill, & Spilka, 2009), many studies continue to rely on self-report. Hence we join with others in calling for experimental and quasi-experimental studies with adequate manipulation checks and multidimensional measures of the components of love. Recent studies on such values as forgiveness and hope offer exemplars for how studies of love might be designed. Implications for clinical practice We offer several suggestions for clinicians based on our experience in pastoral and counseling service as well as ideas derived from the forgoing review and analysis. We offer the usual caution that generalizations may not apply to a specific person or situation and clinicians ought to always ask their clients about their beliefs and preferences. Problematic relationships are common among clients who seek counseling. Exploring a client's perspective on love for God and others always makes sense. For Pentecostal clients, an exploration of their Pentecostal heritage and experience can lead to an appreciation of how expansive or restrictive they are in beliefs about loving acts toward others. Are they primarily focused upon love for God? Are they concerned about the spiritual welfare of others (i.e., evangelism)? Are they committed to a broader interpretation of a multidimensional love? An expanded sense of love would seem important to promotion of healthy relationships. Many Pentecostals retain links to early holiness beliefs and behavioral norms, for good or for ill, usually defined by the dominant culture in which they were raised. An identification of these beliefs and behavioral norms may be
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important for clients to appreciate how such can be barriers to interacting successfully with others in a variety of social contexts. The markers of separatism serve as relational boundaries, which when conflated with Christian spirituality may lead to actual or perceived problematic attitudes of self-righteousness, condemnation, and beliefs that other friends or family members need to get right with God. In such situations, Pentecostals may seem unloving toward those who do not share similar beliefs and behavioral norms. Clinicians need to assess the causes to which Pentecostal clients attribute their illnesses and other life events. Many Pentecostals view negative life events as unpredictable yet pregnant with spiritual meaning. Some attribute problems of behavior, affect, thinking, and relationships to God's punishment for hated sin and God's loving desire to forgive and reconcile with an errant child or God's loving guidance toward righteous conduct. Mental illness may also be viewed as a spiritual battle that requires deliverance by a powerful and loving God rather than by psychopharmacology or psychotherapy. Finally, Pentecostals believe in the healing power of prayer, which can become quite emotional when clients perceive that the social setting is safe for such expressions. In the traditional Pentecostal worldview, God loves people so much that He wants them to be healed rather than sick. Some continue to wonder what they have done wrong when they experience illness or other trials. In prayer, Pentecostals have an opportunity to experience the love of God often described as a touch, especially when believers visibly shake during the experience. One therapy technique that may fit well with Pentecostal clients is the seven-steps of inner-healing prayer described by Tan (2011). In short, when people receive divine healing or return to health through medicinal or clinical support, Pentecostals celebrate God's love. On the other hand, when long term physical or emotional ailments persist, some feel not only a lack of God's love but undermined by fellow believers. Spiritual competence in counseling requires that clinicians and pastors tune in to the varied beliefs, experiences, and practices of Pentecostals.
Conclusion We examined love as a multidimensional attitudinal construct. Using the acronym SCOPES, we referred to six dimensions of love (spiritual,
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cognitive, observable behavior, physiological, emotional, social), which overlap and reveal the richness of the love construct. We primarily focused on attachment theory as a useful psychological model for understanding loving relationships among people as well as between people and God. For Pentecostals, the spiritual dimension heavily contextualizes the other five dimensions. Although we found some contemporary empirical studies, we were dependent on case histories to understand the Pentecostal experience. Cognitively, Pentecostals consider acts of love to be represented by thoughts of compassion and forgiveness toward others, which are positively linked to spirituality, as in the recent 2009 inclusion of compassion in the AG mission statement. Examples of observable behavior document concrete expressions of love toward those in need, such as responses to victims of famine and natural disasters. Through prayer for healing of physiological conditions, contemporary Pentecostals integrate their beliefs about divine healing with the efforts of medical and allied health personnel. Pentecostal worship continues to validate the important role of the emotional response to God, which anecdotally links to loving responses toward others as in the Memphis Miracle account. Finally, we note the social dimension of love as particularly helpful in our analysis because we perceive a trend in Pentecostalism from the highly charged individual experience of a century ago toward a more holistic expression toward others. Extending the conclusions of Tjeltveit (2006b), we believe that not only can there be valuable contributions from psychological science and theology to a richer understanding of love but there is also value in the nuanced perspectives of various religious traditions. Evidence indicates a broadening of theological narratives and acts focused on a holistic concern for all people. In concert with the words of John, may the Spirit of God continue to express His love abroad, individually and collectively through Pentecostals and all Christians around the globe (John 4:24; 1 John 4:8, 16).
References Althouse, P. (in press). Godly love kenosis and the Imago Dei: Contributions of Christology to the study of godly love. In A. Yong & M. Lee (Eds.), The study of godly love: Interdisciplinary approaches. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press.
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Hall, T. W., Fujikawa, A., Halcrow, S. R., Hill, P.C., & Delaney, H. (2009). Attachment to God and implicit spirituality: Clarifying correspondence and compensation models. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 37, 227­242. Hood, R. W., Jr., Hill, P. C., & Spilka, B. (2009). The psychology of religion: An empirical approach (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford. Hwang, J., Plante, T., & Lackey, K. (2008). The development of the Santa Clara brief compassion scale: An abbreviated of Sprecher and Fehr's compassionate love scale. Pastoral Psychology, 56, 421­428. doi: 10.1007/s11089-008-0117-2 Kirkpatrick, L. A., & Shaver, P.R. (1990). Attachment theory and religion: Childhood attachments, religious beliefs, and conversion. Journal for the Scientific study of religion, 29, 315­334. Lovett, L. (1975). Black origins of the Pentecostal movement. In V. Synan (Ed.), Aspects of Pentecostal­Charismatic origins (pp. 123­141). Plainfield, NJ: Logos International. McLeland, K. C., & Sutton, G. W. (2008). Spirituality, mental health, sexual orientation, and gender: An experimental study of attitudes and social influence. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 36, 104­113. Miller, D., & Yamamori, T. (2007). Global Pentecostalism: The new face of Christian social engagement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Mittelstadt, M. W. (Eds.). (2010). Pentecostals and the gospel of peace: Spirit and reconciliation in Luke-Acts. In M. W. Mittelstadt & G. W. Sutton (Eds.), Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective (pp. 3­24). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Mittelstadt, M. S. & Sutton, G.W. (2010). Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Mostert, J., & van de Spuy, M. (2010). Truth and reconciliation in South Africa: A Pentecostal perspective. In M. Mittelstadt & G. W. Sutton (Eds.), Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective (pp. 145­176). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Newman, J.D. (2007). Neural circuits underlying crying and cry responding in mammals. Behavioural Brain Research, 182, 155­165. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2007.02.011 Olena, L. E. (2010). I'm sorry, my brother: A reconciliation journey. In M. Mittelstadt & G. W. Sutton (Eds.), Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective (pp. 89­106). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Panksepp, J., Nelson, E., & Bekkedal, M. (1997) Brain systems for the mediation of social separation-distress and social-reward: Evolutionary antecedents and neuropeptide intermediaries. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 807, 78­100.
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Poloma, M. (2003). Main street mystics: The Toronto blessing and reviving Pentecostalism. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Poloma, M., & Green, J. (2010). The Assemblies of God: Godly love and the revitalization of American Pentecostalism. New York, NY: New York University Press. Seymour, W. (1908). Questions answered. Apostolic Faith, 1 (11), 2. Shiota, M. N., & Kalat, J.W. (2011). Emotion (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Sutton, G. W. (2010). The psychology of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Integrating traditional and Pentecostal theological perspectives with psychology. In M. W. Mittelstadt & G. W. Sutton (Eds.), Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective (pp. 125­144). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Sutton, G. W., McLeland, K. C., Weaks, K. L., Cogswell, P. E., & Miphouvieng, R. N. (2007). Does gender matter? Relationship of gender, spousal support, spirituality, and dispositional forgiveness to pastoral restoration. Pastoral Psychology, 55, 643­663. Sutton, G. W., & Thomas, E. K. (2005a). Can derailed pastors be restored? Effects of offense and age on restoration. Pastoral Psychology, 53, ­599. Sutton, G. W., & Thomas, E. K. (2005b). Restoring Christian leaders: How conceptualizations of forgiveness and restoration can influence practice and research. American Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 8, 29­44. Synan, V. (2001). Aspects of Pentecostal­Charismatic origins. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International. Tan, S. Y. (2011). Counseling and psychotherapy: A Christian perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. Thomas, E. K., White, K., & Sutton, G. W. (2008). Clergy apologies following abuse: What makes a difference? Exploring forgiveness, apology, responsibility-taking, gender, and restoration. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 27, 16­29. Tjeltveit, A. C. (2006a). Psychology returns to love...of God and neighbor-as-self: Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 34, 3­7. Tjeltveit, A. C. (2006b). Psychology's love-hate relationship with love: Critiques, affirmations, and Christian responses. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 34, 8­22. Wacker, G. (2001). Heaven below: Early Pentecostals and American culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Walum, H., Westberg, L., Henningsson, S., Neiderhiser, J. M., Reiss, D., Igl, W., & Lichtenstein, P. (2008). Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 11, 14153­14156. Retrieved from www.pnas.org/cgl/ doi: 10.1073/pnas. 0803081105
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Wilkinson, M. (in press). The institutionalization of religion: Impediment or impetus for godly love? In M. Lee & A. Yong (Eds.). Godly love: Impediments & possibilities. Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield. Wilkinson, M. (2010). Public acts of forgiveness: What happens when Canadian churches and governments seek forgiveness for social sins of the past? In M. W. Mittelstadt & G. W. Sutton (Eds.), Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective (pp. 177­198). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2006). Forgiveness and reconciliation: Theory and application. New York, NY: Routledge. Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2010). Epilogue. In M. W. Mittelstadt & G. W. Sutton (Eds.), Forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration: Multidisciplinary studies from a Pentecostal perspective (pp. 215­229). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. Worthington, E. L., Jr., & Scherer, M. (2004). Forgiveness is an emotion-focused coping strategy that can reduce health risks and promote health resilience: Theory, review, and hypotheses. Psychology and Health, 19, 385­405. Worthington, E. L., Jr., Witvliet, C. V. O., Pietrini, P., & Miller, A. J. (2007). Forgiveness, health, and well-being:
A review of evidence for emotional versus decisional forgiveness, dispositional forgivingness, and reduced unforgiveness. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 291­302. Yamaguchi, S. (2004). Further clarifications of the concept of amae in relation to dependence and attachment. Human Development, 47, 28­33. doi: 10.1159/000075367 Yong, A. (in press). The Spirit of love: A trinitarian theology of grace. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. Authors Geoffrey W. Sutton (Ph.D. in Psychology, University of Missouri, 1981) is Professor of Psychology at Evangel University, Springfield, MO. His recent publications reflect his primary interest in positive psychology and Christian spirituality. He is also interested in cognitive psychology. Martin W. Mittelstadt (Ph.D. in Biblical Studies, Marquette University, 2001) is Associate Professor of New Testament at Evangel University (MO). Dr. Mittelstadt has published extensively on history of interpretation and theology of Luke-Acts in Pentecostalism. Current research projects include work on the theology of Amos Yong and history of pacifism among North American Pentecostal traditions.

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