Preaching Pentecost in a Pluralistic Age

O’Day, Gail R. “Preaching Pentecost in a Pluralistic Age.” Journal for Preachers 18(4):3-6, Pentecost 1995.

Gail O’Day’s article “Preaching Pentecost in a Pluralistic Age” examines Acts 2:1-13 from the standpoint of the crowd’s hearing the gospel message rather than from that of the apostles’ speaking it in order to explore questions of pluralism and diversity in the Christian faith. Instead of interpreting the text as addressing the universality of the gospel, O’Day understands it to teach the particularity of the message. This perspective allows her to draw three specific conclusions: (1) the task of proclaiming the gospel is not one of requiring it be spoken in “our” language but rather one of allowing the message to find a home in the diverse languages of all peoples; (2) the Spirit who breaks down all barriers to spread the message is the one who controls it, not the apostles nor the church; and (3) the particularity and diversity of languages contrasts with orthodox “monotones” of the message, allowing feminist articulations of the faith.