Pope Benedict made the following comments about Pentecostalism:

The geography of Christianity has changed dramatically in recent times, and is in the process of changing further. Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss. This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability. This worldwide phenomenon – that bishops from all over the world are constantly telling me about – poses a question to us all: what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse? In any event, it raises afresh the question about what has enduring validity and what can or must be changed – the question of our fundamental faith choice.

While the Pope certainly nails our weaknesses, there is the disappointment in the lack of acknowledgement to what has happened in say, oh, the last 100 years.

We, as Pentecostals, need to do far better in our dogmatics and our stability. There are gifts we bring to the Body of Christ, and we need to partake of the gifts other parts of the Body bring to us!

4 thoughts on “The Pope and Pentecostalism

  1. Hm. Yes, I understand the Pope’s concern. It is, I think, entirely legitimate. Despite the images of camels and logs and needles currently streaming through my mind with regard to the Pope’s comments–in light of the concerns that people have with certain ecclesial communities–, however, I think it’s not unfair to consider the profound spiritual movements which have taken place, historically, in what we today would consider the Catholic Church; I mean really … I don’t know any Pentecostal who could walk around in a brown robe and preach to birds and then be held in high enough esteem to be sainted–to quote Mowers, “Just sayin’.” Clearly I’m completely oversimplifying. Little rationality? Okay, debatable: if the question is between the theologians or the laity, there may be an argument. But then we’d have another debate on our hands. As far as “institutional depth” and “dogmatic content”: I’m not a Pentecostal, but I’ll check back in 1600 years and see how you’re doing with that–I’m patient.

  2. I think he’s missing the pentecostal experiences of many Christians throughout church history even in the Catholic church and before such categories of the church were formed.

  3. As a man who spent many early years of my Christian life in pentecostal circles, I can understand what Pope Benedict is concerned about. All one has to do is go to Youtube and see the many eccesses that are currently infiltrating not only pebnetcostal churches , but now are creeping into traditionally Baptist and AME denominations. This insistance upon new “revelations”, false apopstles and so-called prophets (Juanita Bynum comes to mind) and spurious “annointings’ should give serious believers pause. In many Black pentecostal circles (I am black, by the way) it is becoming more and more common to see Anglican and Roman vestments. As if these garments give creedence to the practices of those who wear them. Trinitarian and modalists seem to act as if this very important difference makes no difference. Just a few thoughts.

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