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

Posts tagged ‘baptism’

Review: Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition

There’s something in the air in the Pentecostal movement these days–theologians, pastor-scholars, and others, within the classical Pentecostal organizations (Church of God, Church of God in Christ, Assemblies of God, and others) and others like myself in other traditions (Anglican, non-denominational, Baptist, and others) are working out the conviction that in birthing the Pentecostal movement, God intended something for the Church catholic. Daniel Castelo’s Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition is yet another fruit of that conviction.

The book is (appropriately) scholarly and technical in its delivery and orientation. Castelo engages current scholarship in Pentecostalism, as well as the historic mystical tradition of Christianity. He also deals with the challenge of Pentecostalism’s relationship to the evangelical movement in both historical and philosophical senses, and the challenges and gifts of that connection (so you’ll read about Charles Hodge and Carl F. H. Henry, in addition to Charles Parham).

But Castelo’s book is not committed to the “problems” of Pentecostalism as much as it is a prophetic call to recognize the gift of our movement. There are resources in the mystical tradition of the Church the we would greatly benefit from (Gregory of Nyssa, St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila).* And our doctrine and experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit leads us even intuitively towards this direction. But we also have a role in the Church catholic, commending encounter with God in a way that His love is able to transform our community for the sake of the world. Castelo owns that this is a “working proposal” for the Pentecostal movement, but I would take it a step further: this is a path to global encounter with Christ for the whole Church.

In recent weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to engage the monastic tradition, and the ascetically tradition of the Church, and as I’ve talked with Protestant and evangelical friends about their experiences of it together with me, there is an intense desire to translate those experiences and disciplines into the 21st century context. As I look at the timing (kairos and chronos) of the Pentecostal movement, and of the move in our teaching, preaching, and theologizing as a movement, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit is answering that desire for the Protestant movement: Pentecostalism provides a path toward present day, contextualized ascetic life in the Spirit. So, for all you would-be monastics, ascetics, and those who hunger for encounter with God, press in to receive the Baptism of the Spirit, to be a community that experiences and hungers for Christ–taste and see that the Lord is good. For Pentecostals, press in to the resources of the Church catholic.

And for those who want to study and consider this issue more intellectually, read this book. I highly recommend it.

Jesus is There: Pentecostals and the Sacraments: Part 4

Part 3 may have made some waves. I’m okay with that. We were once a whole movement of wave-makers and earth-shakers, and what happened since is the subject of books and articles by church historians and theologians who have a far better grasp around the issues than I do. But if we’re to be a Pentecostalism for the Church, we have to take our practice of Baptism that seriously– we have to remember it’s about Jesus, not us. (more…)

Jesus is There: Pentecostals and the Sacraments: Part 3

So there may be some confusion as to why I started with the Lord’s Supper. In the “order” of sacraments, baptism should be first in our experience of the Kingdom of God. It’s why I “held back” from Communion until I could be baptized. But when we’re dealing with a Pentecostal approach to the sacraments, we also have to recognize that to shake the assumptions that have often invaded from our evangelical friends (that it’s “just symbolic”), it helps if we first recognize Jesus’ presence in the Lord’s Supper before we tackle Baptism. In the interest of full disclosure here, I’m going to argue something that few Pentecostals will–at first–accept as valid, but if we are consistent in our baptismal theology, it’s where we end up. (more…)

All Together Now: Pentecostal Anglican+Reformed Baptist=Church Unity

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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Pentecostal, not Charismatic

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. (more…)

The Church is not a Theology

In the past week, I’ve had my heart broken several times. Not through anything said or done to me, but no one who experiences the love of God expressed in Jesus’ work on the cross can help but love the Church. And when the Church fails (she does), it hurts. This week I’ve seen people who will only baptize with a profession of faith suggest they can’t have a full partnership with those who baptize the children of believers. I’ve seen Calvinists say they can’t have full partnership with Arminians, Amyraldians, “modified Calvinists”, or Wesleyans. I’ve seen complementarians and egalitarians both say they can’t have full partnership with one another. And the worst thing is…none of those issues actually has to do with the Good News about Jesus. (more…)

I’m a priest, you’re a priest…we all priests?

One of the defining features of catholic churches (Anglicans, Lutherans, Eastern and Western ancient churches) is a very well-defined idea of church leadership. The so-called “three-fold order” of bishops, priests and deacons is established from early church interpretation of the New Testament offices. Most Protestants go for two-fold. Pentecostals usually embrace five-fold leadership from Ephesians 4. It’s one of the more obvious barriers to the Church reclaiming a visible unity. But what every single one of us has fallen prey to is the notion that ministry is the territory of these leaders. It isn’t true. It isn’t biblical. It’s a medieval innovation that has no place in any Christian’s thinking. (more…)