Going postal…I mean Pentecostal

So I was recently discussing the content of a lecture that I will be giving on Miracles and Prayer at Multnomah University with a friend from my small group. I revealed to them that I spent much of my time in high school at an Assemblies of God church where I saw God work miracles through people’s prayers. I also heard tongues practiced in a biblical way and have friends who are very charismatic in that they have expectations of a revival led by the Holy Spirit to bring people to Christ and to call holiness in churches. My friend from my small group attends a Baptist church and does not believe that tongues are for today and is very wary of anyone who claims to have spiritual gifts. I believe that this is wise, since many people have used claims to spiritual gifts to deceive people and get rich quick. John Calvin is even credited with saying that the devil can perform miracles. I believe this is true, but I also believe that from my experience, even in churches in Mongolia with Bible-believeing, born-again Christians, that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ is able to heal, cast out demons, and use all of the gifts to God’s glory in order to spread the Gospel.

My experience within these groups of charismatic/Pentecostals has been refreshing and helped me to be more aware of God’s presence in my life. Through my theological and biblical studies at Multnomah I’ve come to see myself falling within the Third-wave Pentecostal movement. The book that I read that was influential in coming to this understanding was a book edited by Wayne Grudem called “Are miraculous Gifts for Today?” I would recommend that book to anyone seeking to understand where they fall in this issue.

My major point of this post is to emphasize that although I have had defining moments such as my calling and a renewal in emphasizing holiness in my life happen within a pentecostal setting, that it is not my label. I’m a youth intern at a non-denominational Bible church. In fact, I would say that in our post-modern culture that putting clear definitions to categorize others is unhelpful because although I resonate with the emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit and calls to personal and corporate holiness, I don’t agree with the emphasis on Spirit-baptism that many classical Pentecostals would stress. I am always anticipating God’s work in my life through the gifts that he has given me to present to the body as ministering tools. I am looking forward to lecturing on Miracles and Prayer and bringing a charitable, evangelical, Bible-centered atmosphere to the class so that discussion and understanding can come from our theological views and spiritual experiences.

2 thoughts on “Going postal…I mean Pentecostal

  1. I was raised in the Pentecostal/Assemblies of God church, and I can say from experience that Assemblies of God is far from the weird fringes of charismaticism (although it is commonly mischaracterized as such by people who have never had that experience). I’ve recently moved away from that in general and don’t really consider myself Pentecostal anymore.

    In my little journey exploring this kind of thing, I’ve recently come to the thought (I won’t say conclusion, since I’m still young and I may change my mind someday) that I do still believe that miraculous things happen and God does still do miracles sometimes. I don’t tend to think it’s nearly as common as it seemed in the New Testament, and I don’t think it’s as absolutely necessary to a God-glorifying ministry as some people would claim, but it could still happen.

    However, as for God speaking to us outside of the Bible, I draw a line there. I tend to think that if God really is speaking to us outside of the Bible, then people need to be writing it down and adding that to the Bible because it’s revelation from God, just like the Bible. Seeing as no one is doing that, it makes me think that we should really just stick to the Bible if we’re looking for “a word from God.” His words are right there.

    And I don’t buy into that “revelation from God isn’t as authoritative nowadays” thing. Is God not as sovereign and authoritative as he used to be? All of God’s revelation is absolutely authoritative. Anything he says now has just as much weight as the Bible. So I tend to be skeptical when someone says they have a word from the Lord and then don’t quote the Bible. You know what I mean?

    I’m not sure where that would place me or what sort of label would apply to me (if such labels are actually helpful).

    • Adam, thanks for your thoughtful response. In response to your comment about revelation I agree. Although I would say that I would say prophetic giftings as far as calling out for corporate and national repentance do exist but in all things to test anything people say about God or theology in general against what is revealed by Scripture.

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