People of the Spirit, worshiping Jesus in all places, at all times

Archive for September, 2012

Lex orandi, lex credendi

Nope, not writing in tongues there, but I will give an interpretation of that title: “the law of praying, the law of believing.” It’s a Latin shorthand to back up the conviction among many streams of Christianity that how we worship instructs and reinforces what we believe. If you want to change the way a congregation believes, don’t go after the statement of faith, change the content and order of worship. It’s pretty practical, and on some level, just plain common sense. But on another level… (more…)

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Can Pentecostalism be catholic?

The funny thing about the idea of forming a catholic Pentecostalism is that the opposition doesn’t just come from the established Christian traditions (Western/Eastern Catholic Orthodoxy, Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, and Baptist), but also from the newcomers to the Christian streams (Pentecostals). I’ve been regarded with deep suspicion for this project by Pentecostals…and understandably, because we’ve had to be suspicious of people who want to bring “lively” people into their churches, but want to avoid the Pentecostal anointing.

This is a short answer, because it’s all that’s necessary: Pentecostalism was catholic from its origins. Originating as it did from numerous streams of the Church (in America: from Wesleyan, Holiness, and Baptist traditions; in Britain: from Calvinist Presbyterian, Methodist and Anglican traditions). Spreading, as it did in the Charismatic Renewal to many other parts of the Church (Roman Catholic, Lutheran and many others). The trajectory of Pentecostalism is catholic, and any other direction in Pentecostal churches is a house divided.

What happens in worship?

Christians talk all the time about the content of worship: prayers, music, sermon, Scripture reading, Eucharist, etc. and how they should be done. In the West, most often when a decision about church commitment is being made, it comes down to a question of whether we enjoy worshipping the way that church worships. The aesthetics of worship dominate our thinking (which is sad, given we have no theological foundation for our aesthetics most of the time). And we let it to the exclusion of actually realizing what is happening when Jesus’ people are gathered together. (more…)