Why Pentecostals and Charismatics have all the more reason to rejoice on Reformation Day (A Reformation Day Re-Post)Baptism of the Holy Spirit 13:00
Today is Reformation Day. Admittedly, it’s not the biggest of non-official holidays (there even happens to be another unofficial holiday taking place today that’s getting all the attention, which explains why there were ghosts in the shop this evening instead of hammer wielding monks), but it is the unofficial holiday of which I am most fond.
You see reformation day isn’t about cards or presents or activities (and hopefully never will be!), but rather it’s simply a reminder in the year of one of the greatest events in the history of Europe, the Protestant Reformation, and what it stood for (helpfully summed up in 5 Solas). It’s an annual reminder of the power of God’s Word and of the glory of the gospel that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
For some reason though, Reformation Day doesn't seem to be all that big a deal in Pentecostal and charismatic circles. Now, I’m sure that part of that is that we just tend not to be very historically rooted; we tend to forget about most of what happened in the life of the church either before the Welsh Revival or before the charismatic renewal. (In fact, sometimes it feels like we easily forget anything that happened in the life of the church before last Sunday!) And this aversion to history is definitely something we need to get over quickly (after all we profess that we believe in “the communion of the saints”, not just the communion of the saints who happen to be on earth at this particular moment).
Yet, fear of history isn’t the only thing that keeps us at a distance from reminders of the Reformation. Some Pentecostals and charismatics seem to be purposefully moving away from identifying with the heirs of the Reformers, whether with ecumenical goals or with a desire to be seen as distinct from Protestantism. Others are slipping away, by preaching more about what we’re doing than what Christ has done. Still others want to build identity on experience rather than belief (which I’ve seen worked out in practice as giving experience of speaking in tongues priority over clarity on the gospel!).
But, My intention isn’t to go about diagnosing our problems. Rather I simply want to point out today, on Reformation Day, that Pentecostals and charismatics have all the more reason to be properly Protestant than anyone else! (Yes, that is a bit of hyperbole, but indulge me.)