Monday, August 07, 2006

On Being Pentecostal and Emergent

Thanks to a link over at Dr. Platypus' place, I read Bryan Thomson's' brief essay on being Pentecostal and Emergent.. I shouted "Amen, and Glory Hallelujah!" and did a charismatic bunny hop.

Okay, I didn't. :-)

But I knew a kindred soul when I read the article. If you are interested even slightly in how being Pentecostal or Charismatic and Emergent might work, you might want to take a look. If you think Pentecostal means (as I once thought) long hair, no makeup, legalism, shallow theology, and general goofiness, you also might want to look. At first your suspicions will be confirmed, but read to the end.

If you have read my profile or have read this blog for a while you know that I consider myself, among other things, to be a Pentecostal and a bit Emergent as well. My church is heading that direction--on purpose.

And here is some of what I posted as a comment to Dr. P.'s post (slightly changed).

Now THAT was a great article. Oh how I wish more people had his perspective. I hate to use the word “Pentecostal” sometimes. I know what images come to mind—and I’m about as far from Robert Tilton as I can possibley get without falling off the opposite edge.

I also deplore the “me centered” words of songs , and prayers, and much else. Our worship leader and I had a conversation about this once– but do you know how hard it is to find contemporary worship music that is COMMUNITY focused? (Almost impossible.)
But I love the way his article ends. I have one teensy weensy disagreement that is so insignificant that I won’t mention it. But I will mention that Leonard Sweet recently told some Pentecostal leaders that if we would get our act together and avoid the “fringe” elements (that almost seem to be the center)–okay that last part was me–anyway that we were ideally suited to reach a postmodern generation.


We are already experienced focused. Yes, a bit too much. A lot too much in some places. The hollering evangelists who have no depth will not get the job done, but perhaps some of us can do better.

I've felt God's presence in many places. A Catholic retreat center, an Ash Wednesday service at a nearby Presbyterian Church, a large gathering of women from several denominations (I was the only Pentecostal)--so many places. It is my personal belief that one of the primary ways we prepare our hearts and minds to "hear" God is simply to expect. Expectancy is a precious gift that I gained as part of my shift to the Pentecostal part of the Church of Jesus Christ. I hope I keep that sense of waiting for God no matter where I am. But I thank God that some precious Catholic Chariismatic women (mostly military wives) and a crusty southern (and very traditional) Assemblies of God pastor helped me gain that valuable awareness. Thank you, Lord, for those very different people who shaped my awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit.

I hope I never say "Gawd." If I do, and you are pesent, you can "smack me upside ma haid" as that same Pentecostal preacher used to say. LOL!

10 comments:

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I like that - EXPECT. Yes, when a person, church, denomination, pastor says that, such and such a worship form is the only right way, OR certain types of music just can't be really Christian, OR there is only one right way to approach the Lord, OR only one right way to read the Bible, one right way to dress or live, ........

well then the person/group saying this isn't EXPECTING to see God anywhere but in his own way. He could walk right into a pole with a sign that says, "The Lord is Here!" and miss God.

Who are we to limit where God works? Can't God turn something shabby into something good? Then God can turn any sincere worship into true worship.

The kingdom of God is like a weed; it grows where it will, with or without watering or even soil.

Which isn't to say that we have to accept everything, but rather to not be automatically closed minded.

Quotidian Grace said...

Great post!

I am not familiar with Pentecostals and have enjoyed learning more about them through your blog. Interesting point by Len Sweet, too.

Bryan said...

Hey, I'm Bryan, the author of the original article. I appreciate the feedback and the link to the article. It's great to know there are other "kindred" souls out there that get what it's about. Great blog, by the way.

SingingOwl said...

Why, thank you.

Hey yourself! Not sure if you'll be back to see this, but thank you so much for the excellent article--and thanks for stopping by.

I may share your article with a whole lotta folks.

Earl Creps said...

The more Pentecostal history you read, the easier it is to see how the movement can have a future. We need a healthy dose of our primitive values: love for the lost, power for the mission, devotion to Christ, freedom in the Spirit, discipleship via the fried chicken and biscuits model. Nothing there not to like.

Bryan said...

fried chicken, buiscuits, and sweet tea: three elements of the South that never need to go away! I think banana pudding is not far behind either! Banana pudding may be Baptist food, I'm not sure. Oh well. :)

SingingOwl said...

We need love for the lost, power for the mission, devotion to Christ, freedom in the Spirit, discipleship via chicken and bisquits.

AND, we need a bunch of women evangelists like in our early days!

(Just kidding, but only partly.)

And I grew up S.Bapt. so I can tell you that chicken, bisquits, iced tea AND banana pudding (which I will pass on down to you--yuck) are ALL Southern Baptist food too.

How about tongue.....?

ACK ACK! Verrry bad joke. It was a rough day. Sorry.

Amy said...

I was surprised to 'bump' into you again today. This time on Earl Creps's blog. Apparently the Internet isn't nearly as big as I thought it was.

John said...

I have a hard time understanding why people want to acquire a label such as "Emergent" or feel the need to do so.

Are you aware of the full spectrum of Theological Thought that is contained within the Emergent Movement?

You seem to rightly discern that in the last couple of decades the Pentecostal movement has acquired in many respects the trappings of the "me" generation and the consumer mentality. But this is not the heritage of Pentecostalism.

The last two decades of Pentecostalism has seen it go into some error. But to add the Emergent label next to Pentecostalism based soley on the belief that it better reflects the more biblical view of faith as an outward looking faith and a missional faith ignores the 99% of the Emergent movements Theology that is so anti-biblical, anti-Jesus that to put Emergent next to your name says you agree with that other 99% of Abherant Emergent Theology.

Let me give you an example:

Brian McLaren who is a leading light of the Emergent movement does not believe that Christ's Crucifixion was an atonement for the world sins. He calls the "idea" of Christ crucifixion for the atonement of the worlds sin as "Divine Child Abuse"

He also does not believe that Jesus crucifixion, death and ressurection is the gospel.

Another example; Leonard Sweet is another leading light of the Emergent Movement he believes in Universal Spirituality. He believes that we are all one entity. And that if we would all just drop the requirements of Faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven then all religions can unite as one and be as we should be; as one entity and that will resolve all of the earths problems. This Theology is so against Jesus teachings that in no way can the Emergent movement be a valid Christian Theology.

Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet both bleieve there is no ability for a Human being to know with certainty what is Absolute Truth. The very idea of Relative Truth is so shot full of holes and lies it is beyond me how anyone who could claim to be a Christian ascribe to such a Belief.

I could go on.

Now We all want to help people, we all want to be missional. But you cannot let a desire to want to help people override the Truth of the Bible based soley on the fact that you are disillusioned with the new "me" centered Pentecostalism.

Post-Modernism is all about inclusivism and where it seriously goes wrong is it wants to dilute everything even Bilbical Truth so everyone is included, do you not see that its Theology lines up squarely with the end times false religion?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that last comment! I am appalled of the believers that are falling for this new age movement that has crept into the real church. Apparently thousands of believers have left their Bible behind to follow another voice. Didn't Jesus tell us that false prophets and teachers would enter in to kill, steal and destroy the sheep. We shouldn't be surprised when we see it happening, but it sure hurts to see leaders with so much influence going astray. LO