Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It just works

Pentecostal spirituality is very much at home in Africa because its interpretation of and responses to evil are continuous with traditional religious ideas in which evil is believed and understood to owe its presence to spiritual causes. It is a worldview in which there is no dichotomy between belief and experience: they always belong together. As a Pentecostal minister I can say that the ministries of exorcism, healing, and deliverance have been important tools of evangelization wherever Pentecostalism has emerge and thrived. In such contexts, believers see the existential meaning of Christ’s ministry in their lives. Global Voices, page 86

<idle musing>
You've probably heard the slogan of a famous computer company, "It just works!" Well, that's true Christianity. In the west, we've watered it down to just intellectual assent—brains on a stick, if you will. No wonder there aren't converts! It just doesn't work!

Real Christianity, on the other hand, works. Look for God to work in your life today. Renounce your practical atheism!
</idle musing>


Tim Bulkeley said...

The great danger of traditional Christianity (despite a century of Pentecostal history I can't think of a better term for non-Pentecostal Christians) is as you imply practical atheism. Yet it seems to me from what I see and read that the great danger of Pentecostalism is reducing God to a super-god a power who can be manipulated. Merely like all the gods rolled into one.

Sorry, I am I'm not expressing this well but hopefully you get the idea. (For context I am a member of a Baptist church that contains many "charismatic" members - measured by speaking in tongues, prophesy etc.. but I'd not make that claim myself.)

jps said...


I understand what you are saying. Unfortunately, it seems that too many charismatic/pentecostals buy into the "name it, claim it" version of the faith. That, as you point out, is a reduction of God to a genie who is there only to answer your whims.

That being said, I think I would rather lean toward the Pentecostal/Charismatic than the dead faith—not that they have to be in tension! The best of traditional western Christianity and the best of the Pentecostal/Charismatic version is what I personally strive for.

Thanks for the comment!