Friday, October 01, 2010
Why I Have A Hard Time Trusting Pentecostalism...
The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).Hence heresies, fractiousness and just plain old sin have abounded throughout church history. Joseph Smith thought the Holy Spirit led him to some golden tablets. Jim Jones thought the Holy Spirit told him lead a mass suicide - and likely homicide in some instances. David Koresh, much the same story as Jones. In light of those stories, ordaining gays seems like pretty paltry stuff, and yet....
The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones.
There is no question in my mind that the Holy Spirit reveals himself directly and miraculously to some people. But there is also no question in my mind that the character of God does not change. God is not capricious nor flighty. He is Almighty, unchanging, slow to act, and steadfast.
Unlimited understandings of the Pentecost experience, like that claimed by the writer of this letter, lead, as it does in this case, to claiming Holy Spirit authority for just about any personal whim.
I cannot put it any more plainly than - such is wrong. When the Holy Spirit does act it will be en masse and it will be verifiable by reason and scripture. Declarations of this type are anathema - they are dangerous and they are to be denounced.
You want homosexuals ordained, please argue for it - exegete it - make your case with perseverance and vigor, but don't you dare claim direct revelation unless the Red Sea is clearly parted at your back.