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Article written for New Creation Christian Community, Jesus Army’s community organisation.
I’ve never viewed Pentecost as a mistake.
The first time I read the remarkable account in Acts 2 of how the Holy Spirit filled Jesus’ disciples with miraculous power so that they could speak other languages; how Peter’s passionate sermon resulted in 3,000 receiving Jesus; how all the disciples then had everything in common so that nobody had to be poor – I knew that this was good. In fact, it was awesome. Luke’s point isn’t that this is a tragic event that shouldn’t be repeated, he’s describing the best church ever!
I realised that a lot of miracles are better than a few miracles, that a lot of saved people are better than a few saved people, and that no economic inequality is better than existing economic inequality. I realised that if I were to claim that we don’t “need to” make our churches look like Jerusalem, I would in fact be arguing that our churches don’t need to be as good as they should.
It would be like saying that a fire extinguisher doesn’t need to extinguish fire, or that a surgeon doesn’t need to save the lives of the patients he or she is caring for. (more…)
Based on the Nicene Creed as well as statements of faith from the Vineyard movement, Azusa Apostolic Faith Mission, the Jesus Army, the old Assemblies of God, Schelitheim Anabaptists and the Lausanne Covenant.
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
The Holy Spirit and His Gifts
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is our abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe in the filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit, often a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit and in the exercise of all the biblical gifts of the Spirit. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for healing, and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the Church. (more…)
To be baptized with water is awesome, but to be baptized with fire is even awesomer. John the Baptist, who really knew baptism, said: “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Lk 3:16)
Who could this be? Spoiler alert: It’s Jesus. Before He levitated up to Heaven, He told His disciples:
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:4-5, 8)
And this happened ten days later:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)
This is a guest blog by my dear Australian friend Andrew Meakins, whom I share Facebook page with.
1) The Pentecostal view of tongues: Speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a once only experience. Tongues is for every believer.
2) The Charismatic view of tongues: Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit which usually accompanies the baptism in the Holy Spirit but not always. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a once only experience but a continual infilling that can manifest itself in different ways. Tongues are for every believer who desires the gift.
3) The Third Wave view of tongues: Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit which sometimes accompanies the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a once only experience but a continual infilling that can manifest itself in different ways. Tongues may not be for every believer but every believer is free to ask for it.
I’m inclined to go with the third wave view, because it’s more inclusive of all believers. There are some Christians who seemed to obviously be empowered by the Holy Spirit but never spoke in tongues (as far as we know). John Wesley is an example. The other benefit of the Third Wave view is it doesn’t put tongues as a measure of spirituality or maturity but simply as another gift that can edify us. On the other hand, I’m very grateful I was taught in the Pentecostal church initially because I was encouraged to earnestly desire to speak in tongues. Without that extra encouragement, I don’t think I would have pursued the gift. From my personal experience, the gift of tongues revolutionized my prayer life but having this gift doesn’t make me better than any other Christian.
I discovered the Hopewell Network of Churches today, an interdenominational network which was birthed when Charismatic renewal hit some Mennonite churches. Though more denominations are included today, the network still enhance Anabaptist values – especially the pacifist stance – which makes this a unique and, in my opinion, more biblical type of Charismatic network. I love when they write:
We are charismatic in that we believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a subsequent experience to salvation that is available to each believer. We believe all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for the believer today.
We have the expectation that the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit will be embraced and taught in our churches. We desire to see believers in all our churches encouraged with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and taught how to exercise these gifts in their lives. We do not teach that the gift of tongues is the initial or only evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is flexibility in how these gifts are administered in the context of public services and the life of the church. Leaders are expected to lead people into a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit and to encourage the accompanying gifts.
We are Anabaptist in that we hold to many of the values of Anabaptism. We have the expectation that Anabaptist values will be supported and encouraged among the churches. The Anabaptist peace position, for instance, is the official position of the network in that we encourage forms of service other then the military. At the same time, we do honor individual conscience on this matter. It would be our expectation that every young person in a Hopewell Church has heard a clear teaching on the Anabaptist view as they make their life decisions about service.
We are evangelical in that we believe the primary focus of the church should be on the centrality of Jesus and his commission of reaching the harvest. We take a clear stand on the full authority and inspiration of Scripture.