Monday, May 16, 2005

Pentecost Sunday Reflections

Being a minister in a Pentecostal denomination can be an interesting ride from time to time. I believe in Pentecostal doctrine, and what is sometimes called the "Pentecostal Distinctive," but I wonder from time to time if we charismatic types really get what being charismatic actually means. Because there are spectacular things that sometimes surface in our gatherings, I think many (inside and outside the Pentecostal circle) have put the cart in front of the horse, and equated being Pentecostal with the manifestations of the gifts instead of the empowering presence of the Spirit of God.

My last two weekend services were dedicated to asking ourselves what it meant to be a Pentecostal church, and to avoid answering in terms of spectacular manifestations. I fully believe in those, but I think the point of being Pentecostal is that they follow, not lead, in our theology and ecclesiology. (You can read the notes of the services here and here.)

I am interested in the development of a full-blooded Pentecostal theology and what it means for the life of the church. If you know of any good theological works along those lines, please pass them on!!


J. A. Gillmartin said...

Linked to your post here.

Bruce said...

Fascinating issue Phil. Being the pastor of a pentecostal church myself, and a church plant, at that, I too am conscious of maintaining our 'pentecostal' distinctives.

Unfortunately, can't recommend any material - would be interested in what you find though.

Weekend Fisher said...

I saw a piece once that focused very tightly on 2 points about the Holy Spirit and how it really manifests itself in the church:

1) As far as "proclaiming the message", on that first Pentecost when Peter was filled with the Spirit, what he preached was Christ crucified and risen. That is the content of the Spirit's message. If we speak by the Spirit, the main thing we confess is that Christ is Lord.

2) As far as gifts of the Spirit, the greatest are not the showy ones, but faith, hope, and love ... and the greatest of these is love.

Nothing new, but maybe to the point.

Take care & God bless
WeekendFisher from the CADRE

Phil Steiger said...

Weekend Fisher-Thanks for your thoughts. I think those two points are crucial to a full-bodied Pentecostal theology and to church life. The pinnacle of 1 Cor 12-14, after all, is chapter 13-Love. Just like the Corinthians, we sometimes get caught up in the spectacular bits and fail to value the fundamentals.