Through church history, especially since the Reformation, I am convinced we are only rehashing old problems. We are just doing it with greater speed. (Kind of like our fashion trends these days. Did the 80s styles have to come back SO fast?)
Three voices need to be heard once again, in my view.
1. Soren Kierkegaard.
While I can never pretend to understand all he wrote, and I would probably not agree with all he wrote, I do understand his statement in 1855. He remarked that Christianity no longer existed in Denmark.
We need that voice again. We need someone who will get in the face of every American Christian and say, “Your brand of Christianity is not Christian. It’s not Christ.” Liberal Christians are acting like Democrats and conservative Christians are acting like Republicans. It needs to stop. Seriously.
2. Karl Barth
Again, there is no way I could lay claim to understanding everything Karl Barth said or wrote. I certainly wouldn’t agree with all he wrote. Yet, he stood up in the face of liberal theology and chose to BELIEVE THE BIBLE once again. He actually studied the Scriptures. He took it as truth.
We need that again. I used to think that we needed it in liberal strains of Christianity. After attending Society for Pentecostal Studies, I am convinced we need this call all through the Church in America once again. We have people who teach and preach who really don’t believe the Bible is authoritative. We need a Karl Barth once again who will plunge into Scripture, choose to believe it first, and teach what the Word is saying.
3. William Seymour
The one-eyed African American preacher pushed past all kinds of prejudice in his day to seek the power of the Spirit. He lived in the power of the Spirit and walked in radical love. He allowed racists to preach in his pulpit. He chose to love those who called Azusa Street “the last vomit of Satan.”
We need Pentecostals to be Pentecostal. We need to quit arguing about tongues and start living in the power of the Spirit. We need to be bathed in the radical love of Christ and walk with humility. We are full of ourselves. Preachers preach to show off their skill. We reward churches for their numbers. People aren’t changed. They just come to hear the band. Let’s be honest.
Where are those three voices? I want to hear them again. We need them soon.