I have been pondering the issues of race and women in ministry lately and have started to podcast again. Life got a bit busy in January, so here is my second episode. You can click on the Podcast button on the side menu of this page as well to see all episodes as they come out.
I also apologize because I have been fighting allergies and my voice is very scratchy in this episode.
It is my hope you listen, learn, and interact with me on these issues.
A body of thought is beginning to develop in my thinking and theology.
1906 was, for Pentecostals, a watershed year. It was Azusa Street. It was the outpouring of the Spirit and ushered in an unbroken time of renewal and missions in the church. It has been one long ride.
My study in the life of Moses (looking at his prayer life) takes me to Numbers 10. It is Israel just before they are “ready” to move toward the Promised Land. They are truly people of the presence. When the cloud moves, they follow. When the cloud stops, they camp. The feasts are in place. Israel is paying attention.
Of course, we then get Numbers 11. It unravels in a hurry.
As I think on how long it takes for Israel to “get it back” (and I think that comes under the early years of Solomon and doesn’t last very long), it may be from Numbers 10 to Acts 2 there just isn’t a time when there is a sustained following. Not like Numbers 10.
I know individuals who are truly “people of the presence” and I suppose we could look at revival moments like Azusa Street as “sustained movements,” but I am pondering SUSTAINED movements. Not individuals. Not revival moments. A generation. A movement. Over time.
Can we see a sustained movement where the people of God are truly “people of the Presence?”
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.