Friday, May 18, 2007

what it does it mean to be a Pentecostal?

Admit failure: that’s according to Acts 1:16ff, where Peter starts his sermon by naming Judas as one of the apostles and a sharer in ministry. No triumphalism. No ignoring leadership failure. The church of Pentecost publicly admits failure.

Inclusive, including women, in ministry: that’s according to Acts 1:14, where women and Mary the mother of Jesus are named. Their inclusion would have stood out to a 2nd century reader, as an indication that the church at Pentecost was a breaker of boundaries and a welcomer of all. According to Harvey Cox, Fire from heaven, the mark of the Spirit at Anzusa Street was not tongues, but the fact that many nations worshipped together. Again, an inclusive Spirit at work.

Bottom up leadership: that’s according to Acts 1:21ff, where new leaders are chosen from the ranks of those persons whom the prayerful community chooses to lead.

Know many Pentecostal churches around today that sound like the early church of Acts?

Posted by steve at 02:05 PM


  1. How bout Cashmere New Life, a young woman, under 30 years of age as the Senior Pastor.

    Comment by Jas — May 18, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  2. as a former member of the Church of God…I can honestly say…not places I have been

    Comment by Jason77 — May 18, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

  3. What about sharing all monies in a communal fashion and selling all we have and giving to the church..

    I’m only been faceatious Steve, just thought I’d let you know I read this even from overseas

    Comment by Andrew — May 18, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

  4. What about apostles, evangelists and prophets being as involved in ministry as pastors and teachers? And concerning Andrew’s comment about sharing finances, I didn’t find that all that facetious actually. Why don’t we?? Why should most of our giving be directed toward buildings and salaries, rather than toward the needy in our community ? Actually it’s not just pentecostal churches that don’t much resemble the early church of Acts.

    Comment by Simon — May 18, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

  5. Simon, fascinating that you jump to apostles, prophets etc. In Acts, the leadership talk is around deacons and elders. I presume you are clicking straight from Acts 1 to Ephesians 4. Why?

    In terms of money, here are some reflections:
    if in Acts 5 Ananias and Sapphira are offering a home, and if in Acts 12, the church is praying in the house of Mary; then the communal sharing obviously does not apply to all in the church …

    what do we do with the fact that Jerusalem already had a large scale church building paid for, called the Temple, which the church could meet in free of charge? and they already had paid leadership called the priests. In other words; doesn’t communal sharing in Acts 2 actually come in the context of a church building and paid leaders?

    idle musings as I try to avoid finishing my sermon on Acts 1,


    Comment by steve — May 19, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  6. Hey all,

    Well i particularly noticed your point about bottom-up leadership, that isn’t the experience I have had with the AoG that I was part of for 1.5 years.

    Also, Re: Money… if we’re all getting Pentecostal / Acts-Churchish, then I agree we also fail generally in the area of money. A community based on sharing excess to meet each others needs a la Acts 2 seems like a pretty good goal to aim for, to me.

    However, it seems that the spirit of how Simon was putting this was more like, “well we all fail, too”. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean that Steve’s assessment of what it means to be ‘pentecostal’ was wrong.

    Why can’t we all be Pentecostal Protocommunists and just get along? 😉

    Comment by Iain — May 21, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

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