I’ve been known for periodically maligning “Evangelicalism” and even “Pentecostalism” in various blog posts. But, as I feel quite strongly about a potential future in Anglican/Orthodox and Anglican/Pentecostal work, I am far from having a uniformly small opinion of Pentecostals. Indeed, I think it would be rather blind not to believe that, despite certain evil manifestations (“Health & Wealth” or various Trinitarian heresy), God has indeed given the Church a “wind” from the Spirit.
So I wanted to make mention of a few things that Pentecostals have to teach us, keeping in mind that I attempt to use “Pentecostal” in such a way as to describe Pentecostalism understood through historical churches rather than as anybody who expresses Charismatic gifts. Always remember that Charismatic Christians of various denominations from Catholics to Anglicans are growing along with Pentecostals (which leads me to believe that Charismatization need not accompany bad eschatology, but I digress)
- I am not an Evangelist, or at least I’d make a poor one and I’ve always been uncomfortable with it. But churches that grow are churches that evangelize and/or send missionaries. With the globalization of Christianity it is to be preferred that evangelism be done by the local church rather than by us Westerners, but the huge priority of Mission (almost never connected to lame trendy words like “Missional”) in Pentecostalism is a judgement on those Churches who feel no need to evangelize, or worse, find such a thing intolerable or unnecessary.
- Pentecostals were post-critical before it was cool or justified epistemologically. It forces us to attend to the Texts instead of “spiritualizing” bits of the NT which grate against rationalist nerves.
- Pentecostals aren’t afraid to go all Amos 5 on our liturgical asses
- Prayers for healing and manifestations of the “charismatic” gifts are something that all churches should practice (don’t choke the Holy Spirit)
- Pentecostals don’t neglect “the laity”
- Pentecostals have played a significant role in reminding us that God is Trinity – “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver or Life, who proceeds from the Father (and the …?), with the Father and the Son s/he is worshipped and glorified.”
- Pentecostals are unafraid of not just “helping the poor” but “being the poor.” Go into inner cities and who’s doing a most of the work with “minorities” and immigrants? There is a sort of slight embarrassment for me in being in what is often thought of as the white religion of the bourgeoisie in America.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that Pentecostalism has a LOT to learn from the church Catholic and historic. One hopes that as a movement it will be incorporated into the historic bodies, but that’s another list. Until then…Go Pentecostals!