Archive for August, 2012

Are You Hungry? Holiness and the Desire for God

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 by Michelle Vondey

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. When I encounter the same message from different people at different times in different contexts, I pay attention. I expect that God is trying to tell me something. In recent weeks I’ve read a couple of articles about holiness and a related Scripture passage that had me thinking, “What is God saying to me?” The first encounter I had with the topic of holiness is an article by Cheryl Bridges Johns in the Church of God Evangel. Johns laments that many Christians today see no need for holiness, and that unfortunately, these “profane Christians . . . hinder the message that Jesus came to save, heal, and deliver all creation from the bondage of sin” (p. 13). While there is hope, it begins with the “death of self” and requires that we purge ourselves of self-seeking behaviors. Another discussion is found in the recent entry by Antipas Harris on Renewal Dynamics. Harris reminds us that although we live in this world we are not supposed to live like the world. In particular, “we must remain in tune with the enduring nature of God’s character — holiness to which all believers are called.” As I contemplated Harris’ blog and, in particular the readers’ comments, which seemed to suggest an uncertainty over what holiness is, I happened to read a passage in Col. 3:1-25, in which Paul refers to unholy versus holy behaviors and characteristics. In reflecting on the potential importance of these encounters, I recalled a song from the early 90s that says, “Lord, I hunger for holiness, and I thirst for the righteousness that’s yours.” The song reflects on the relationship of holiness, the desire for God, and the life and death battles (at least spiritually) we must fight in order to be victorious. I wonder, has anyone else been thinking about holiness lately?

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Letter to a Pentecostal Scholar IV: opportunities for biblical scholarship

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 by Wolfgang Vondey

Dear Prudence,

What a surprise to hear that you shared my last letter with your colleagues. And what is even more stunning is your observation that many of them had not even heard about the historical scholarship among Pentecostals I outlined so briefly. That a biblical scholar and Pentecostal is not acquainted with the history of Pentecostal scholarship is indeed a problem. Your question is well put: how can a Pentecostal be both a biblical scholar and a Pentecostal and not know the history of hermeneutics among Pentecostals? How can Pentecostals become world-scholars if they do not know the world of Pentecostal self-understanding and interpretation of the world? You are rightly upset that anyone who follows such a path will create only an isolated Pentecostal scholarship that has not much to offer to the world beyond. But let us put those concerns aside for a moment and consider the role of biblical scholarship in the history of Pentecostalism. While that may increase your concerns for the gravity of the current state of affairs, it should also instill the hope for great opportunities. Read the rest of this entry »

God Says, “Be Holy!”

Monday, August 6th, 2012 by Antipas Harris

 

Centuries of social, political, cultural, and religious diversity weigh heavily on expressions of Christianity. Party politics, greed, personality driven ministries, ministry as business, and denominational and non-denominational church struggles over members seem to be the order of the day.  These influences have moved Christians further and further away from divine principles to which Christians are called to live out before a world that is far from God. The Church is called to be holy; so Christians must pursue holiness amidst an unholy world. The world does not know God so the world cannot lead in holiness. The best way to win the world to faith in Christ is by bearing witness to Christ through the Christian’s lifestyle of holiness – a life that is indifferent of the world—and expressed love towards those who are not living that life.  Miller argues that a careful revisit of historical developments that have altered Christianity from its biblical form of indifference might be a meaningful way for the Church to regain its fervor in representing Christ in the world—a world that God expects for Christians to be in but not of. Read the rest of this entry »