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Showing posts from May, 2015

Pentecostal Joy

At the Feast of Weeks (the Old Testament Feast of Pentecost), the Lord called His people to come and gather together in His presence and rejoice before Him. They had plenty of reason to rejoice. Pentecost came at the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest, so they could rejoice before the Lord for His great provision of good crops. But that wasn't their only reason for rejoicing. The Lord told them that they were to remember that they were slaves in Egypt (Deut. 16:12). So, they had every reason to rejoice before the LORD at Pentecost, because He's the God who delivered them out of slavery and bondage. And we too have great reason to rejoice before Him, for He’s the God who has delivered us out of an even worse slavery and bondage! We weren’t slaves in Egypt, but the Bible tells us, we were in slavery and bondage to sin. Yet thanks be to God, for He has delivered us through the death of Jesus Christ His Son in our place on the Cross. Jesus has take

Apostleship, Communion and Unity: The Bradford Area as a Test Case

I’ve been thinking some very theological thoughts, so thought I’d try and clarify them by putting them into concrete terms. Last week I wrote about Benjamin McNair Scott’s book on apostleship and reflected a bit on Peter Wagner’s views . Today I’m going to write a bit more about apostleship (understood in a way rather different from that of Wagner). I’m not sure how to say this without getting all my Apostolic and all my Anglican friends shouting at me at once, but, theologically, our apostles basically equate to their bishops. Before anyone gets annoyed with me for saying that, let me just say that, yes, functionally and practically there are significant differences (and even theological differences about the office itself), but theologically they play a very similar role. (And in case anyone’s worried that I’ve lost the plot and just started making things up, let me stress that this point isn’t original to me – I got it from D.P. Williams who saw the ministry of the Apostolic C

Songs for the Ascension (Plus one "En Français")

Thursday is the greatest day of the year — Ascension Day! There aren't nearly enough worship songs nowadays about the Ascension of Christ, so — in anticipation of the big day itself — here are a few songs on the theme of the Ascension of our Lord. Click on the title of the first one for a video and the next three for simple audio recordings. (There's also a link to the first one in French — il y a aussi un lien vers le premier chanson en français.) 1.  Before the Throne of God Above   [ Words, Chords and Sheet Music ]  (Charitie Bancroft) Surely this must be one of the greatest hymns of all time. It's certainly one of my favourites, and a favourite in my assembly too. There are some songs that people mumble along to for years, but there are others where longstanding members and brand new people alike just suddenly burst into song with joy. In our church, this is one of those. (Also, Charitie Bancroft was from Northern Ireland, like me.) The wonderful new tune we all

"Apostle": You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

I’m in the middle of reading a fascinating book by Benjamin McNair Scott on apostles ( Apostles Today: Making Sense of Contemporary Charismatic Apostolates: A Historical and Theological Appraisal ). It’s the book of his PhD dissertation, which is fascinating enough in itself – a PhD on apostles in the church today by a Church of England priest. It’s already got me thinking a lot. After all, I’m an Apostolic, and if there’s one thing people generally associate with the Apostolic Church it’s our belief in apostles for today. And what’s more, I wrote my MTh dissertation on apostleship, and the subject even makes it into one of my PhD chapters as well. One of the things it’s got me thinking about is how our theology can easily be changed or even subverted through unnoticed redefinition. I’ve written somewhere before (though possibly not on the blog) about how Wayne Grudem’s view of prophecy totally transforms what prophecy is by classical Apostolic understandings. However, there haven’t

Even the Italians aren’t Memorialists (Or even more evidence that Apostolics aren’t Zwinglians!)

My Italian isn’t brilliant, but I’ve been managing to work through part of the section on the Lord’s Supper in the Catechismo Apostolico (which is the Catechism of the Italian Apostolic Church). The Catechismo isn’t a small book in question and answer format like our old British Apostolic catechisms used to be (and yes, we had several over the years, some in Welsh and some in English), but a 230 page book which sets out ‘the doctrinal content of the Christian faith’. It isn’t anywhere nearly as detailed and exhaustive as the Catechism of the Catholic Church , but it’s quite impressive for Pentecostals. I suspect that it’s no coincidence that it was published the year before the text of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was promulgated – as one scholar has noted, there tends to be a ‘muted apologetic against ... Italian Catholicism’ in Italian Apostolic doctrinal works. And that’s what makes the Catechismo so interesting when it comes to the Lord’s Supper. You see, if any nat