So, I recently returned from an Anglican Missions conference called New Wineskins, hosted by the New Wineskins Missionary Network. This was part of my seminary requirements for my M.Div, so I was a little more than roped into it. Overall, a great experience and a number of things to reflect on pastorally and missionally. But….I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. It had been rumored that a number of the influences in the New Wineskins “world” was the charismatic renewal in the Anglican/Episcopal churches. So, I was interested in seeing how people had integrated a conviction for the active ministry of the Holy Spirit with Anglican worship. I didn’t really get a good picture of that.
Remember, overall, my experience was positive overall…but there were some things that bothered me (and is not a reflection on the leaders, but on participants):
- A careless attitude towards the liturgy. Almost every part of the liturgy was dismissible, unimportant, and replaceable with something newer that someone else could come up with at any time.
- A marked irreverence for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament This is when the things someone was concerned with meant skipping out on, walking away from, or interrupting the heart of Christian worship. There was even a guy who just randomly ran around the auditorium, briskly past the table with no regard for those worshipping together.
- Several dismissive remarks about prayer book worship, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the authority of ordained leadership.
And this is what’s begun to bother me about some (not all!) of the charismatic Anglicans I’ve met. They don’t struck me as particularly Anglican. Charismatic, sure. But I’m not sure what they want besides a Vineyard church that baptizes babies and has communion more frequently. I’m not theoretically opposed to such a Vineyard church, but I would have a problem if they claimed to be Anglican.
I love the active, present ministry of the Holy Spirit. I believe there are many opportunities in the liturgy for prophetic, intercessory, and healing gifts to be at work.
There are places for the Gospel to be demonstrated in the power of the God.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t ask us to dismiss the liturgy. He was part of forming it through the ages.
Pentecostal worship at its best builds up the entire congregation as one body, not a bunch of happy Jesus people doing their own thing. Spirit-empowered gifts always submit to Spirit-appointed leadership.
In other words: I want to be Pentecostal. I want to be Anglican. Not one at the cost of the other. They are not mutually exclusive, and if we act like they are, we’re going to have a problem, folks.
If you do any serious reading into Pentecostal history and scholarship (Chris Green, Cheryl Bridges Johns, Amos Yong, etc.), you’ll discover that we consider ourselves to be people of both stories and song. We worship when we testify to the work of the Gospel in our midst through testimony: how Jesus has set us free through His once-for-all work on the Cross and has empowered our free worship through the outpouring of His Spirit. But we also sing it out. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s one of the easy temptations of Pentecostal experience and theology. It’s easy when you know you’ve been empowered by the Holy Spirit for the ministry of Jesus. It’s easy when the Scriptural promises say ”You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” It’s easy when you can feel the power in the presence of God. And it’s so compelling…it draws us in. It draws in those who aren’t so sure about the experience. We crave more of the power and we’ll pray, preach or do anything else we’re told by powerful anointed leaders to get it. But that, brothers and sisters, is a false gospel and it is completely opposed to what the Lord was doing in Pentecost. Read the rest of this entry »
This post could also be called “What happens when a reformed Baptist and a Pentecostal Anglican talk church unity.” Tim Sweetman and I have been on and around this topic for awhile, so it’s been a growing experience to be able to write this together and make some first steps (for us) on fleshing out what this one Body prayer that Jesus prays in John 17 can look like in real life.
So what’s one thing Michael Vick and some Christians have in common?
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Robert spent a lifetime in ministry. He was a preacher of the Gospel who started preaching at the age of 16. His dad was a preacher, too, who had grown up around the Welsh Revival and its powerful witness to the resurrection power of Jesus in the midst of His people. Robert began his ministry with Welsh miners and after World War II moved his family to the United States and began pastoring a series of Assemblies of God churches. He preached the good news about Jesus for 72 years, raised up leaders, and sent many into the world empowered by the Spirit bearing witness to the Lord Jesus’ victory over sin,the flesh and the devil. Read the rest of this entry »
Note: This is part of a group of posts on the place of doubt in Christian faith. Check out the hub here.
So admittedly, Pentecostalism sounds like a “know-too-much” tradition. Not only do we claim the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, but also in the Scriptures — not only as historical witness, but as personal and congregational direction. And if that were not enough, we’ve the audacity to claim that the Holy Spirit speaks in other ways– dreams/visions, prophecies, impressions, and languages we’ve never learned. It can seem like a know-it-all atmosphere…and for some people,it probably is. It was for me. And it wasn’t healthy. In fact, it was only when Jesus forced me to my knees with the weight of my own questions that I began to know Jesus Himself. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been doing a lot of this writing on some assumptions that I haven’t really stated anywhere else. Some of that is because the goal is to redirect Pentecostalism in such a way that as a movement, we’re a benefit to the whole Church. But there’s also a lurking danger here, because a number of these groups in the rest of the Church have “charismatic” tribes or streams present. People in the Anglican Church are used to speaking of “catholic, evangelical, and charismatic” streams within the tradition. So, for the sake of clarity, I’m writing to say this is not that. Read the rest of this entry »