Posts Tagged ‘pentecostal’

Urban America, Getting Ready for A Great Awakening

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 by Antipas Harris

Today, many people reject religion because they do not see what they consider to be its advantage in the face of injustice, lack of peace, lack of love, etc. This past weekend, however, I was blessed to visit the Dream Center in California. This innovative ministry expresses multiple outreaches to redress urban ills of Los Angeles. During our tour of the facilities, a guide explained that prior to the Dream Center, over the span of a year that area experienced an average of one shooting per three minutes. Gangs, prostitution, violence and poverty dominated the area. In a little time after the founding of the Dream Center, however, crime in that area reduced more than 75%. The ministry gives more than a million pounds of food away each month. I had the privilege of traveling with the outreach team to the Huntington Hotel in the heart of the city for the purpose of giving food, praying with and talking to very low income residents. These are only a drop in the bucket of the many outreaches Matthew Barnett’s ministry has at the Dream Center.

Approximately, 16 years ago Pastor Barnett felt a call of God to “build up people and not a mega church.” In response to the call of God, he set his feet to the pavement. Now, sixteen years later, God has blessed Barnett’s church, Angelus Temple Four Square Church, with a monstrous facility and many outreach efforts to share the love of Christ to victims of urban evils– from prostitutes, to homelessness; from victims of the economic recession to Hollywood celebrities in search of filling the emptiness that money and fame can not fill (only Christ can!); from gang bangers to drug cartels; from young people to the elderly who are seeking to overcome addictions and pain. I have not seen ministry so massive and targeted on urban revitalization as Matthew Barnett’s unique Dream Center. Read the rest of this entry »

Pentecostal Sacraments?

Thursday, September 9th, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

Historically Pentecostals have understood water baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and foot washing to be ordinances rather than sacraments. That is, they are rituals instituted by Christ, but not designed to mediate grace in any way.

In his new book, Pentecostal Sacraments, Daniel Tomberlin seeks to challenge this idea by claiming that Pentecostal spirituality actually operates within a sacramental framework that stands in tension with the claim that such ritual practices are simply ordinances. This sacramental framework is best understood in terms of the Pentecostal (and Holiness I might add) desire to see the worship service as centered upon an encounter with God at the altar (101). Ordinances are sacramental because they are also places of encounter. Read the rest of this entry »

Deeper, Higher, More: A Search for Pragmatic Implications of the Gifts of the Spirit

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 by Antipas Harris

“What is this that makes me feel so good right now? What is this that makes folks say I am acting strange? Whatever it is, it won’t let me hold my peace.” -Unknown Songwriter from the African American tradition-

A further question– “What does this mean?”– is the question that observers pose at the first Pentecost account of the earliest church (Acts 2:12). I suggest that we continue to ask this question today! Read the rest of this entry »

Creepy Miracles

Saturday, May 29th, 2010 by Jason Wermuth

In the interest in full disclosure, Dr. Clark [mentioned below] recently had some sharp words for our own Dr. Dale Coulter. While this post was initiated by reading Dr. Clark’s blog as a result of his prior comments about Dr. Coulter’s earlier blog, this post is in no way a response to or attack of Dr. Clark for his previous comments.

Recently I read a blog article written by Westminster Seminary California Church Historian Dr. R. Scott Clark entitled “Rome, Pentecostals, and Credulity” and was very surprised to read that he thinks that the one thing “Romanists and Pentecostals” share is our creepy miracles. On this topic Clark writes “I use the pejorative adjective intentionally because, at bottom, despite the formal differences between them, both are peddling magic and superstition and that’s creepy.”

Are “Pentecostal/Charismatic” miracles really creepy?

I could argue against this sort of simplistic perception using exegetical arguments or by lowering myself to the same sort of rhetoric that Dr. Clark resorts to, but I am sure that this approach would just send us around the merry-go-round again and again, so instead I want to approach this by providing a testimonial. I know, the appeal to personal experience is so anti-intellectual, but let’s leave the enlightenment need to rationalize everything here for a minute and deal with the existential realities of human experience, however subjective this form of argument may be. This does not mean, as many Pentecostals and Charismatics are accused of, that we leave our minds behind, but I am asking that we set aside the old way of using our minds for just a few minutes. I do not intend to address all of Dr. Clark’s statements in this post, but I intend only to offer a story about how the love of Christ has manifested itself in my life with the hopes of opening a dialog whereby ones lack of analogous experience does not serve as justification for immolation.
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“Discerning” the Spirit of the Charismatic Movement

Friday, May 21st, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

David Neff’s recent article on the 50th anniversary of the charismatic movement offers a two-fold assessment. Neff claims that the movement did not fade so much as become integrated with the rest of Christianity and that its lasting legacy may be in reminding the churches of the need to balance order and ardor. For a short, popular piece, I think Neff largely gets it right. While a lot happens in the pentecostal-charismatic world that is difficult to defend (and what form of Christianity is without its “embarrassments”), it has prompted the many streams of Christian tradition to “drink from their own wells” afresh, to borrow a phrase from Bernard of Clairvaux.

At the same time, some Christians remain a little hostile to it. Since ”discernment of spirits” (diakriseis pneumaton) is a gift in 1 Cor. 12:10, maybe we should attempt to exercise such discerning judgment (diakrisis) to see how we might evaluate the movement. Part of the challenge is that when persons talk about “discernment,” they assume it is a private affair rather than a communal one. As Heb. 5:14 makes clear, “discerning judgment (diakrisis) between good and evil” results from a training process in which the believer matures in the context of the church and her life. Neff’s article invites readers to discern the mind of the Spirit on the charismatic movement by thinking with the church through the ages. When one “thinks with the church,” the pentecostal-charismatic movement comes across as another form of genuine renewal that returns Christians to the sources (ad fontes). Read the rest of this entry »