Tag Archives | healing

Practical Theology | Mark J. Cartledge

The cover of Cartledge's Practical TheologyEmpirical and Theology are unlikely partners. Empirical refers to that which is verifiable through observation. Theology (at least in the more conservative traditions) is rooted in revelation and textual studies. In Practical Theology, Mark Cartledge demonstrates how these two ideas play well together in a Charismatic milieu.

Practical Theology is written in two parts. In the first three chapters, Cartledge explains his methodology along with a variety of research methods that suit. Particularly enlightening is the way he weaves contemporary philosophy and charismatic scholarship together to define truth.

The chapters in the second half of Practical Theology illustrate the methodology of the first half. Cartledge has used both quantitative and qualitative research methods in his career. He uses the data he gathered throughout his research to demonstrate various ways of doing sociological studies. These chapters are interesting on two levels. They illuminate some key ideas in charismatic theology: prophecy, the role of women, and glossolalia to name a few. At the end of each study Cartledge offers a reflection on the methods used to interpret the data.

Practical Theology should be read by anyone interested in doing sociological research from a charismatic perspective.

Cartledge, Mark J. Practical Theology: Charismatic and Empirical Perspectives. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2003.

Theological Roots of Pentecostalism | Donald W. Dayton

The cover of Dayton's Theological Roots of PentecostalismIt’s tempting to think that the modern Pentecostal movement was created ex nihilo. We imagine God invading Topeca, Kansas and Los Angeles, California in order to restore the New Testament church in a completely new and unanticipated fashion. This comforting origin story, however, is simply untrue.

Just as the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the deep in Genesis one, he moved across the theological and doctrinal landscape of early twentieth-century America to accomplish his work. In Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Donald W. Dayton examines the doctrinal landscape to uncover the antecedents of early Pentecostal doctrine. He finds the roots of Pentecostal doctrine in the Methodist Holiness tradition.

Early Pentecostals spoke of the “full” or “foursquare” gospel. Dayton quotes Amiee Semple McPherson in describing this:

Jesus saves us according to John 3:16. He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4. He heals our bodies according to James 5:14-15. And Jesus is coming again to receive us unto Himself according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. (21)

Jesus is our Saviour, Baptizer, Healer, and soon coming King. The roots of all four of these doctrines can be found in the Methodist Holiness tradition with a few notable changes.

Where Methodists emphasized Sanctification as an act of grace subsequent to salvation, Pentecostals emphasized the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Some Pentecostals held on to Sanctification as well as Spirit Baptism which created a five-fold doctrine.

The other curious change is the Pentecostal emphasis on Pre-Millennial Dispensationalism which drives so much mission work. “Methodist and Holiness traditions have historically had little interest in eschatology or have inclined toward a postmillennial eschatology” (146). Dayton roots the rise of Pentecostal Pre-Millennialism in John Fletcher’s doctrine of Dispensations.

Theological Roots of Pentecostalism is a detailed and fascinating look at how Pentecostal doctrine evolved and has served to drive a powerful worldwide movement.

—Donald W. Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1987).

To See Jesus | Frederick Buechner

To see him with the heart is not only to believe in him but little by little to become bearers to each other of his healing life until we become finally healed and whole and alive within ourselves.

—Frederick Beuchner, “The Seeing Heart” in Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, 264.

Ezekiel 39:1-8: It’s Done

Blest cross! Blest sepulchre! Blest rather be
The man that there was put to shame for me.
— Paul Bunyan

My background is pentecostal. Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada to be precise. Under the pentecostal banner, there are a wide variety of experiences. Some churches resemble liturgical mainline parishes. Others are full-out charismatic with all the excesses that brings. Most are somewhere in between these two poles. Maybe I shouldn’t have used a polarizing metaphor! Church reality is far more subtle than the stereotypes.

One of the streams that I’ve noticed in some churches is the tendency to thank God for something before he does anything. You often see it when people pray for the sick.  It sounds like this: “Lord Jesus, we thank you that _______ is already healed.”

At its worst, it becomes a mind-game—a way to trick God into thinking we believe so much, we are already thanking him. At its best, though, it can be a deep expression of trust in God’s sovereignty.

. . .

We’re in the middle of a section in Ezekiel about a future battle: the Armageddon-style conflict between God and Gog. In the current passage, God announces the utter defeat of Gog one more time, and concludes with these words:

It has come! It has happened, says the Lord GOD. This is the day of which I have spoken. (v. 8, NRSV)

The difference between my pentecostal experience and this passage is that here God is doing the talking. When God says that something is done, it is—even if it has not yet played out in history.

. . .

Maybe I still have Easter on the brain, but this reminds me of Jesus. In fact, you can understand this battle with Gog as having happened on the cross. The battle was over when Jesus said, “It is finished”. A few days later when Jesus rose from the grave, he proved that he had defeated Gog—even death itself.

So where does that leave us?

We’re in an awkward time when we know Jesus has defeated sin and death, entropy and decay, but are ravaged by them nonetheless.

I think we need God’s perspective from v. 8. “It has come!”  “It has happened”. Even if the consequences of that day have not yet played out in history, God’s work is fully accomplished.

Regardless of your view of eschatology, we all agree that the decisive battle has been won. All that’s left is for the kingdom to spread, and for the remnants of evil to be driven away like shadows from a candle.

. . .

Lord God, in discouraging times, help me to remember that the you have already defeated death. Give me the endurance and patience to continue announcing your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Ezekiel 39:9-10 | Ravaged Ravager >

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