Saturday, April 19, 2008

J.I. Packer on Pentecostalism

In the Easter edition of Today's Pentecostal Evangel, and weekly publication of the Assemblies of God there is a conversation with J.I. Packer eminent theologian and professor emeritus at Regent College. I post a portion of the conversation below:

tpe: Why is Pentecostalism growing around the world?
PACKER: The Pentecostal emphasis on life in the Spirit, which became a big thing at the turn of the 20th century, was absolutely right. It was an emphasis that hadn't been fully grasped by other evangelicals for a long time. The up-front quest for fellowship with God that grabbed the whole of the heart and therefore had emotional overtones and the openness to a recurrence of some of the signs of the Kingdom was right. In the early 20th century evangelicals didn't accept Pentecostals, and Pentecostals found themselves tempted to say, "We're the only fully fashioned Christians in the world today." Only during the last 50 years has real partnership and mutual respect become reality.

It's simply a marvelous work of God that when the Pentecostal version of the gospel has been preached all around the world for the past half-century there has been a tremendous harvest. It's a wonderful work in our time, which we can set against the decline of Christianity in North America and Western Europe. Most notably in Africa and Asia, Christianity has been roaring ahead through the Pentecostal version of the Christian message and life in the Spirit. I celebrate it and thank God for it. There have been older evangelicals who have set themselves against distinctive Pentecostal emphases as if there's something wrong with it. I have not lined up with those folk and indeed have argued that their attitude is mistaken.
Thanks for the plug, Dr. Packer!



At 3:10 PM, Blogger tc said...

This is encouraging coming from Dr. Packer. I too I'm thankful for the Pentecostal experience.


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