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Showing posts from April, 2018

The Mystical Theology of the Pentecostal Church

As good Evangelical Protestants, the early Pentecostals were well aware of (and frequently warned of) the dangers of ‘false mysticisms, carnal visions and dreams’ (D.P. Williams, Herald of Grace 5.7, p.125; cf. 5.11, p.220). Yet, the rejection of false mysticism doesn’t mean the rejection of a mystical theology. This is a point made not only by early Pentecostals, but also by well-respected conservative evangelical figures such as Martyn Lloyd Jones, who wrote:

There are, unfortunately, even many evangelical Christians who deny that God has any direct dealings with men today, and who hold feeling and emotion at a discount. They frequently substitute for true emotion a flabby sentimentalism. They are afraid of the power of the Holy Spirit, and so afraid of certain excesses which are sometimes found in mysticism and in certain people who claim to have unusual experiences of the Holy Spirit, that they ‘quench the Spirit’ and never have any personal knowledge of Christ. Indeed, they often…

Tears at the Table: Symeon the New Theologian and my old Pentecostal Pastor

When I was first called to the pastorate, one of the things I’m glad I did was spend an afternoon with my own first pastor. And I mean very first: he moved away from Londonderry when I was only a few days old. But, before he went, he came up to the hospital to visit the new baby, and convinced the nurses to let him lift me out of the incubator to pray for me because I was sick. And he prayed, and I was healed.

Anyway, one not so summery afternoon in August, 27 years later, we had ice-cream and tea by the Welsh seaside and he told me some wise things for which I am very thankful. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking of one particular thing which he said, as I’ve been reading the same thought from about 1100 years earlier from the pen of Symeon the New Theologian. What observation did an elderly Welsh Pentecostal pastor make in common with a medieval Byzantine monk? ‘Our problem,’ said my pastor, ‘is that there are no longer any tears at the Lord’s Table.’

Symeon would have seen that …

A Pentecostal Easter Hymn

Happy Easter! To celebrate this Easter Monday I've translated an early Pentecostal Resurrection hymn from the original Welsh to English. D.P. Williams, one of the most important leaders in the early days of the Apostolic Church (and British Pentecostalism more widely), wrote hundreds of hymns which were sung for many years by Welsh-speaking Pentecostal churches. Unfortunately, because there aren't many (or perhaps now any??) Welsh-speaking Pentecostal assemblies today, these treasures of early Pentecostal praise have largely been forgotten. So, here's my attempt to recover one of them through a meagre English translation.

1. Christ Jesus came from Heaven,
Stooped even to the grave;
God the Son clothed in our flesh
A multitude to save.
Hosanna! Hallelujah!
Praise to the Lamb of Grace;
Who died for us on Calv’ry
And suffered in our place.

2. Christ Jesus rose triumphant
The third day from the grave.
He death, by death, defeated
From death’s cold chains to sav…