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Showing posts from October, 2017

500 Years Later: The Need for a New Reformation

Today marks 500 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, and so (as that was a notable and dateable event) it’s the day on which the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation is being celebrated around the world. And the Reformation is a good thing to celebrate and be thankful for, for the Lord used it to restore the clear preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Michael Reeves puts it, ‘five hundred years ago a discovery was made that would change the world, unleashing happiness wherever it went. Still today it is transforming lives and cultures.’ (Freedom Movement: 500 Years of Reformation, p.5). Since its beginning, Pentecostalism has been part of that Reformation happiness, and Pentecostals have always sought to bring that Reformation happiness to men and women, boys and girls all over the world, by telling them of God’s free gift of salvation, found in Christ alone, received by grace alone, through faith alone, as revealed in Scriptur…

Pentecostals and Sola Scriptura (Part 1): What We’ve Always Believed

At the end of this month, people all around the world will be remembering the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg nearly 400 years before the beginning of the Pentecostal movement, yet Pentecostalism relies on the recoveries made all those centuries before: we believe in the supreme authority and sufficiency of Scripture, and we believe in justification by grace alone through faith alone. And without that commitment to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, there would be no Pentecostalism: the Pentecostal connection between speaking in tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit came about through searching the Scriptures. (The traditional account from Charles Parham was that the students at the Bible school spent three days looking for a biblical answer to what the evidence of the baptism of the Spirit was before anyone spoke in tongues. Agnes Ozman’s account of the events is that she …

Seeing the Kingdom

What is the Kingdom of God? All around us in charismatic and Pentecostal churches we hear talk of ‘the Kingdom’. So ubiquitous is the concept that it’s been turned into a modifier: people talk about ‘kingdom values’ or ‘kingdom life-styles’. (I’ve even encountered people who describe themselves as ‘kingdom builders’!) But does any of that really have much to do with the Kingdom?

Admittedly ‘kingdom’ is a difficult concept for most of us in the western world to get our heads around today. Although some of us might live in kingdoms, the concept of the kingdom has become less and less tied to the person of the king (or in our case in the United Kingdom, queen). We might be more likely to associate the kingdom with the territory, or the people, or the government, than with the person of the monarch.

But in the ancient world a kingdom was inseparable from its king. Today, somewhere like Canada can quite happily be a kingdom, even though the monarch lives far away and only visits occasionall…