A Pilgrimage In The Spirit Pentecostal Testimony In The Faith And Order Movement

A Pilgrimage In The Spirit  Pentecostal Testimony In The Faith And Order Movement

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Pentecostal Theology, Volume 25, No. 1, Spring 2003

A Pilgrimage in the Spirit: Pentecostal Testimony in the Faith and

Order Movement*

Brother Jeffrey Gros, FSC

Among the characteristics of the last century is the initiation of two movements impelled by the Holy Spirit to renew the Church and deepen reconciliation. The Ž rst of these, the Pentecostal revival, was inherently reconciling and renewing in its original intent, as Simon Chan notes: “ It is in the light of the Spirit’ s constituting the church as catholic that we can begin to appreciate the ecumenical impulse of the Pentecostal pio- neer William Seymour at the Azusa Street Mission.”1

The second is the modern ecumenical movement.

Ironically, Pentecostalism emerged as a reconciling movement of the Spirit but, for a variety of reasons, found itself marginal to fellow Christians. As it entered into ecumenical contact with other Christians, the classical Pentecostal churches identiŽ ed with the evangelical subculture, dominated by the scars of the Fundamentalist-Modernist culture wars of the early twentieth century. The Pentecostal presence in ecumenical circles has been well documented.

2

* Dedicated to Kilian McDonnell on the occasion of his 80th birthday. A mentor to many, and catalyst for much of the theological re ection witnessed here.

1

Simon Chan, “ Mother Church: Toward a Pentecostal Ecclesiology,” Pneuma: Pentecostal Theology , 22, no. 2, (Fall 2000): 185. Cf. Dale Irvin, “ ‘ Drawing All Together into One Bond of Love’ : The Ecumenical Vision of William J. Seymour and the Azusa 2 Street Revival,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 6, 1995, 22-53.

Cecil Robeck, “ The Assemblies of God and Ecumenical Cooperation: 1920-1965,” in Wonsuk Ma, and Robert Menzies, eds., Pentecostalism in Context: Essays in Honor of William W. Menzies (ShefŽ eld: ShefŽ eld Academic Press, 1997), 107-150; “ A Pentecostal looks at the World Council of Churches,” The Ecumenical Review , 47:1, (1995), 60-69; “ Pentecostalism and Ecumenical Dialogue: A Potential Agenda,” Ecumenical Trends 16, no. 11 (Dec. 1987): 185-88; “ The Ecumenical Movement: Threat or Promise?” The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association (Anticipated 2001 or 2002) 33 pp.; “ Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Unity,” Pentecostal Lectureship, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, (February 11, 1993); “ Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Unity,” Pentecostal Lectureship, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, (February 11, 1993); Jeffrey Gros, “ Pentecostal Engagement in the Wider Christian Community,” Midstream, 38, no. 4, 1999, 26-47; World Alliance of Reformed Churches And Some Classical Pentecostal Churches and Leaders, “ Word and Spirit, Church and World: The Final Report of the International Dialogue: 1996-2000,” Pentecostal Theology, 23, no. 1, (Spring 2001): 9-96.

© 2003 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden

pp. 29–53

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Pentecostal Reserve Toward Other Churches

This early identiŽ cation with the evangelical subcultural side of American ecumenism has left many Pentecostals with classic reservations about ecu- menical engagement: (1) preference for spiritual rather than visible unity; (2) ecumenical erosion of the gospel, especially doctrinally; and (3) the eschatological prophecies that see the unity of the church as a sign of the end of time and its apostasy from the gospel.

3

Modern Pentecostal schol- ars have dealt with these objections in depth. In spite of tremendous cul- tural resistance, the pioneering work of such Pentecostals as David du Plessis and Jerry Sandidge stand as a testimony to the Holy Spirit’ s abil- ity to initiate reconciliation in face of tremendous cultural obstacles.

In this brief article, one stream of the ecumenical testimony of Pente- costals will be reviewed, the Faith and Order movement, which serves the reconciliation of the churches by doing the biblical and theological research enabling mutual understanding and deepening communion among Christians.

Unity and Faith

The Faith and Order movement, as a serious biblical approach to the truth of the gospel as it can be discerned together by scholars from the Christian churches, is in some ways the logical place for Pentecostal the- ologians to Ž nd their platform for testimony. As Chan notes, approach- ing the unity of the church is central to Christology and informed by the pneumatological impulses of the Scriptures:

The action of the Spirit not only constitutes the church dynamically, it also makes the church the place where truth exists dynamically. This means that connection between Christ the truth, the Head of the church, and the tra- dition of the church is far more profound than is usually acknowledged in Protestantism. Christ who is the truth is not just an individual, historical person, but is also the truth in relation to the church as his body. The church is therefore an extension of Christ the truth.

4

From this Pentecostal perspective, the search for common ground in Christian faith and the order of the church is the common search for the very truth of Christ for us.

3

Amos Yong, “ Pentecostalism and Ecumenism: Past, Present, and Future,” The Pneuma Review4 , 4, no. 2, (Spring 2001): 36-48.

Chan, op. cit., 190.

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Pentecostals have a long association with the ecumenical movement, but Faith and Order engagement has been more recent. Dr. David du Plessis was at a Faith and Order meeting of the World Council as early as 1960.5 By 1961 the Ž rst Pentecostal churches from Latin America, became members of the World Council, although their contribution to Faith and Order only began to emerge in the 1970s through Chilean rep- resentatives. The International Communion of Charismatic Churches, the only U.S. Pentecostal member of the World Council, was involved in some of the discussions of Baptism, Eucharist, Ministry , but this 1982 text did not capture the imagination of Pentecostal scholars, since it was not at the center of concern for most classical Pentecostal churches.

6

In 1984 the Society for Pentecostal Theology authorized two of its mem- bers to participate, as individuals, in the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches. In 1991 Cecil Robeck was appointed a full member of the plenary for World Council Faith and Order. Since 1988 he has been Pentecostal advisor to its Standing Commission, with oversight of the Commission’ s work.

7

One of the high points, to date, of World Council Faith and Order tes- timony was Dr. Simon Chan’ s presentation, at the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order in 1993, Sharing the Trinitarian Life. In this paper Chan re ects on two passages, John 17:20-26, 1 John 1:1-4, in light of the Conference theme of koinonia, sharing.8

Since that time Pentecostal scholars have been systematically inte- grated into the work of the World Council Faith and Order Commission. At present there is a dialogue between member churches of the World Council and classical Pentecostal scholars, co-chaired by Dr. Bruce Robbins (United Methodist) and Dr. Cecil Robeck.

This article will review Pentecostal testimony in U.S. National Council Faith and Order in the following areas: (1) the Apostolic Faith Study, (2) studies with the African American churches, (3) Apostolicity and the

5

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Keith R. Bridston, “ Faith and Order: 1960,” Lutheran World 8, no. 3, (December 1960).

Cecil Robeck and Jerry Sandidge, “ The Ecclesiology of Koinonia and Baptism: A Pen- tecostal 7 Perspective,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 27, no. 3 (Summer, 1990): 504-34.

Cecil Robeck, “ Some Re ections from a Pentecostal/Evangelical Perspective,” in Alan Falconer, ed., Faith and Order in Moshi: The 1996 Commission Meeting , Faith and Order Paper No. 117, (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1998), 135-140. For other WCC involvement, cf. “ A Pentecostal Assessment of ‘ Towards a Common Understanding and Vision’ of the WCC,” Midstream: The Ecumenical Movement Today 37, no. 1 (January 1998): 1-36; “ The Contemporary Challenges Pentecostalism Poses to Historic Churches,” Public 8 Lecture given at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland (March 8, 2001).

Thomas Best and Gunther Gassmann, eds. On the Way to Fuller Koinonia , (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1993), 88.

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American Born Churches, (4) specialized Pentecostal Consultations, and (5) issues of religious pluralism. The essay will end with a section on the issues before the Faith and Order movement where Pentecostal theolog- ical testimony is crucial.

Toward a Common Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today

It is a bit of ecumenical irony that through its Faith and Order work, the World Council has spent more time and energy on the classical trini- tarian and christological issues at the core of the Christian faith than has ever been possible in the National Association of Evangelicals or the World Evangelical Fellowship. The latter, however, has engaged in the process of exploring the Apostolic Faith by responding to the 1991 text Confessing the One Faith .9

The purpose of this worldwide study was to discern, within the frame- work of the classical creed of the early Church, a common basis in the biblical faith.

The international Faith and Order text was developed out of a mass of common historical and biblical scholarship, a series of international consultations (26), and the results of regional studies that focused on par- ticular issues and contributions from different contexts around the globe. The U.S. Faith and Order studies, beginning after the 1982 World Council study was initiated, attempted to provide, for the U.S. churches, an oppor- tunity to participate in this worldwide conversation.

10

Though an ample number of free and nonconfessional church schol- ars are included as the participants in the twenty-six consultations of the World Council, not one classical Pentecostal scholar appears in the list. The studies that were developed in the U.S. included Pentecostals from the beginning. As early as 1984, in one of the Ž rst U.S. consultations, Black Witness to the Apostolic Faith , Leonard Lovett gave a paper, “ Aspects of the Spiritual Legacy of the Church of God in Christ: Ecumenical Implications.”11

9

An Ecumenical Explication of the Apostolic Faith as Confessed in the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed (381) (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1991). The World Evangelical Fellowship response: “ An Evangelical Response to Confessing the One Faith,” Theological 10 News , 23, no. 3, (July-September, 1990): 8.

Thaddeus Horgan, ed., Apostolic Faith in America , (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 11 1988).

David T. Shannon and Gayraud Wilmore, eds., Black Witness to the Apostolic Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988).

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By 1986 the Commission had sponsored a consultation to inaugurate the Pentecostal witness: Confessing the Apostolic Faith from the Perspective of the Pentecostal Churches .12 Consultation summaries were published widely.13 This consultation also generated other opportunities for Pentecostal witness in the National Council context.

14

Again, it is ironic that a movement that dismissed creedal formalism in its inception would Ž nd such enthusiasm in giving testimony to its spirit- Ž lled theological contribution to the other churches in the common quest for unity in the orthodox faith. Likewise, it is fascinating to see leadership among the churches characteristically oblivious to the Pentecostal move- ment and caricatured as “ liberal” and uninterested in classical orthodoxy being so engaging and inviting on issues so central to the common faith.

The more fascinating dimension of the conversation was, however, the solid theological basis for Faith and Order’ s attentiveness to the witness of Pentecostal scholars, and the careful biblical foundation laid for Pentecostal participation in Faith and Order and in this exploration of the Common Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today. Robeck outlines six principles that should characterize the dialogue relationships of Pentecostals and their Faith and Order partners, and notes some common priorities, one of which is embodied in this Study, attention to the core truths of the biblical faith.

15

After this consultation, two other series of consultations between repre- sentatives of Faith and Order and of the classical Pentecostal churches took place that will be discussed below. In subsequent Faith and Order U.S. consultations in the Apostolic Faith Study, however, Pentecostal scholars were routinely incorporated into the program. Indeed, American Christian culture and the leadership of the Society for Pentecostal Theology made it imperative that an inclusive approach be taken to the Apostolic Faith.

16

12

“ Confessing the Apostolic Faith: Pentecostal Churches and the Ecumenical Movement,” Pneuma: 13 Pentecostal Theology 9, no. 1 (Spring, 1987).

Jeffrey Gros and Joseph Burgess, eds., Building Unity (New York: Paulist Press, 1989), 484-90. “ Confessing the Apostolic Faith from the Perspective of the Pentecostal Churches,” 14 One in Christ 23, no. 1-2 (1987), 61-156.

Cecil Robeck, “ The NCC and Pentecostals: An Opportunity for Dialogue,” paper delivered to the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches, Kansas City, MO, (May 15, 1987); “ Seek the Spirit to Find the Church,” Commission on Faith and Order, National Council of Churches, Chicago, IL, (March 14-17, 1990); Revisioning the Unity We Seek: The Calling of Faith and Order, a theological Symposium, sponsored by the Ecumenical 15 Development Initiative, Atlanta, GA, (February 24, 1995).

“ Pentecostals and the Apostolic Faith: Implications for Ecumenism,” Revisioning the 16Unity We Seek, 61.

Jeffrey Gros, “ The Vision of Christian Unity: Some Aspects of Faith and Order in the Context of United States Culture,” Midstream 30, no. 1 (January 1991): 1-19.

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The majority of U.S. Protestant Christians do not Ž nd the Nicene Creed as formulated in the fourth century central in their worship. Nevertheless, even these noncreedal Baptist, Holiness, Pentecostal, Methodist, and other free church Christians are no less orthodox in their faith, and no less devoted to the biblical doctrines summarized in the creed, than their Orthodox, confessional Protestant, and Catholic counterparts.

For all of these reasons, it is important in the U.S. context to deal with questions that are unimaginable in the discussions of the churches in Europe or the Middle East, where the creed can be taken for granted. The aim of the Study is not to formulate a new creed, to impose the Nicene Creed on churches that do not use it, or to reformulate its content in ways disconti- nuous with the faith of the church through the ages. As the World Council Assembly put it in 1983, “ . . . the churches would share a common under- standing of the apostolic faith, and be able to confess this message together in ways understandable, reconciling and liberating to their contemporaries.”17

Central to this study would be historic divisions and current contro- versies over the nature of the triune God. Other no less important mat- ters concern the interpretation of the history that gave rise to formulations of the faith, the nature of Christian history and tradition, and the under- standing of the church. Therefore we start with the Trinity, then look at history, and Ž nally touch on some of the ecclesial-ethical issues, all in the context of the Pentecostal contribution.

Trinity

For Pentecostals, historically one of the internally divisive issues has been between the Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinitarian Pentecostals.

18 It is encouraging to see the Society for Pentecostal Theology taking up this uniquely Pentecostal ecumenical task. It is hoped that Faith and Order experience and methodologies will be useful.

Father

One issue in American culture is the question of gender and language as embodied in trinitarian language and the baptismal formula. While Pente-

17

Gathered for Life: OfŽ cial Report VI Assembly World Council of Churches , David Gill 18ed., (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1983), 45.

David Reed, “ Origins and Development of the Theology of Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States,” Pneuma: Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 1, no. 1 (Spring 1979): 31-37.

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costal churches are not likely to be exercised by this question, it has been an important one for Protestant churches with a strong feminist movement and Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches that would feel constrained to rebaptize those not christened with the biblical trinitarian formula.

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Son

The most ancient continuing divisions among Christians date from the Ž fth century christological controversies of Ephesus (431), which gave rise to the Assyrian Church of the East, and Chalcedon (451), which gave rise to the Oriental Orthodox Churches: Syrian, Armenian, Copts, Ethiopians. Pentecostals inherit Ephesian and Chalcedonian orthodoxy through their Reformation heritage rooted in the Roman Catholic Western tradition. There- fore, all of the Western churches can rejoice together with the 1994 resolu- tion of the Assyrian and Catholic differences over the titles Mother of God/ Mother of Christ ,20 and the Byzantine-Orthodox Oriental Orthodox agree- ment21 and Catholic-Oriental accords on the nature and person of Christ.

22

The U.S. Faith and Order Commission brought together Protestant and Oriental Orthodox scholars in this country to review the international agreements and afŽ rm together our common basis of faith in Christ, truly human and truly divine.

23

While Pentecostals, like Methodists and Men- nonites, will Ž nd particular developments that resonate with Alexandrian Christology or Antiochean emphases from the early centuries, these stud- ies lay a Ž rm foundation in common afŽ rmations for fellowship in faith in Christ.

19

“ Gender and Language in the Creeds,” Union Seminary Quarterly Review 40, no. 3 (August 20 1985).

“ Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East,” in William Rusch, Harding Meyer, Jeffrey Gros, eds., Growth in Agreement 21 II (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2000), 709-712.

Paulos Gregorios, William Lazareth and Nikos Nissiotis, eds., Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite? Towards Convergence in Orthodox Christology (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 22 1981).

Wort Und Wahrheit in English, (Supplementary Issues No. 1 [December 1972], 2 [December 1974], 3 [December 1976], 4 [December 1978]); Aloys Grillmeier, “ The Council of Chalcedon— An Analysis of a Con ict,” 23-40; “ The Reception of Chalcedon in the Roman Catholic Church,” Wort Und Wahrheit , No. 1. This background scholarship and dialogue has produced a host of Common Declarations between Popes and the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, Addis Ababa and Armenia, through the 1970s to the 1990s. Cf. Ronald G. Roberson, ed., Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Pastoral Relationships and Interchurch 23 Marriages , (Washington: U.S. Catholic Conference, 1995).

Paul Fries and Tiran Nersoyan, Christ in East and West (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1987).

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Spirit

There are many facets of the question of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology and the heritage of church divisions. The Western inclusion of the Žlioque, which adds the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son to the original text, which confesses the Spirit’ s procession from the Father only is a major issue of division. This difference has stood between East and West for a thousand and more years.

As heirs of the Latin Western tradition through the Reformation, Pentecostals are likely to be categorized with the Augustinian rather than the Cappadocian approaches to trinitarian understanding of the Holy Spirit’ s processions, although one would not expect Pentecostals to place a high priority on formal discussions on the Žlioque and its pastoral implications.

Faith and Order was able to engage the conversation in a way that made the Pentecostal contribution of Gerald Sheppard

24

and the pneu- matological work of Donald Dayton

25

of particular importance. More interest in the Žlioque has emerged in the context of the Pentecostal- Roman Catholic dialogue.

26

The basic work on this question between East and West has been done in the World Council context.

27

Important pneumatological concerns are raised, however, when Pentecostal, Holiness, Anabaptist, and feminist voices are brought into the conversation. Indeed, the report of the con- sultation notes “ [t]hree areas of concern . . . : a) the Žlioque question, b) the naming of God, and c) the dynamic polarity between apostolic doc- trine (creed) and apostolic life (experience) . . . [The report] is offered neither as an agreed statement nor as an expression of consensus on any major issue, but rather as a contribution to the ongoing ecumenical con- versation on the apostolic faith and life.”28

Among the twenty-four recommendations in the Žlioque section are the following:

24

“ The Nicean Creed, Filioque, and Pentecostal Movements in the United States,” in Theodore Stylianopoulos and Mark Heim, eds., Spirit of Truth: Ecumenical Perspectives on the 25 Holy Spirit (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1986), 171-86.

“ Pneumatological Issues in the Holiness Movement,” in Stylianopoulos and Hein, eds., 26Spirit of Truth , 361-88.

Veli-Matti Kä rkä innen, “ Trinity as Communion in the Spirit: Koinonia, Trinity, and Filioque in the Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue,” Pneuma: Journal of the Society for Pentecostal 27 Studies 22, no. 2 (Fall 2000): 209-30.

Lukas Vischer, ed., Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ , Faith and Order Paper No. 103 (Geneva: 28 World Council of Churches, 1981).

Stylianopoulos and Heim, eds., Spirit of Truth , 187.

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4) A fundamental and wide agreement exists between Eastern and Western trinitarian doctrine afŽ rming the complete reciprocity and mutuality of the Son and the Spirit in their eternal relations (immanent Trinity) as well as their manifested action in creation, church and society (economic Trinity). 24) Moving beyond the question of the Žlioque, the churches should give attention to enlarging the church’ s theology of the Holy Spirit. The churches should manifest an openness to the experience of the Spirit, which could lead to actualization of the power of Christ’ s resurrection among the whole people of God.

In the section on The Naming of God , among the Ž fteen recommendations are these:

5) Gender categories constitute only one kind of language in which imago Dei is expressed. Personal language for God need not be sexual; when it is, however, it should be balanced: male and female, masculine and feminine. 15) All theological language is provisional and a mere human attempt to grasp the mystery. While formed and informed by tradition, theological language is also shaped by context. There must be a dynamic interaction between scripture, tradition, and context. The problem is to adjudicate among the possibly competing claims of each. The issue Ž nally is one of discern- ment: which names are inspired by the Spirit? Which are not?

And the section on Creed and Experience includes among its nine paragraphs:

3) Taking experience as a point of departure and looking at creedal state- ments such as the Žlioque some classical Pentecostals would regard creeds as expressions of “ sectarianism,” and “ formalism,” whether orthodox or not. 4) Some Pentecostal churches see their experience of the Spirit, including “ the baptism in the Holy Spirit,” as a signiŽ cant ecumenical event, an invita- tion for the walls of sectarian denominationalism to fall.

5) Though classical Pentecostalism is no longer identiŽ ed simply with the lower socio-economic groups (it now touches all classes), the presence of so many classical Pentecostal churches among the oppressed classes and ethnic minorities poses the question: has the experience of the Spirit of these groups been given the kind of theological and ecumenical attention it deserves.

6) The experience of the churches from the Holiness tradition contains elements which are typical of classical Pentecostal churches, such as an ori- entation to social justice issues, and a more gradual or growth approach to spiritual maturity. Like the classical Pentecostals, they are concerned that the agreement on the Žlioque, and on the broader issue of the Nicene Creed, will not adequately state the implications of life in the Spirit as viewed from their experience.

7) The presence of the charismatic renewal in so many of the historic churches has raised questions . . .

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8) some charismatic Christians and some classical Pentecostal churches are impatient with the discussion on the Žlioque because they fail to see that there is anything experiential at stake. Therefore, they are inclined to see this particular discussion as too narrowly focused, an ecclesiological dis- pute from the past without the hope of it contributing to a richer under- standing of God’ s presence among us now. Yet they would welcome reconciliation between the historic churches on this divisive issue.

The volume of essays and Summary Statement ends with twenty-two re ections and recommendations, from which these are drawn:

18) The traditional christological paradigm for ecclesiology should be set in its proper trinitarian context. Taking the trinitarian community as a model enables one to see the pneumatological moment as co-constitutive of the church. The pneumatological dimension does not belong to a second moment, as an energizer of an already existing structure . . .

19) Those from the historic churches who are somewhat new to the expe- riential pneumatology need to set aside preconceptions, and the supposi- tion that the experiential can be communicated conceptually. While remaining true to their own ethos, an openness to both pre-literary and post-literary ways of approaching religious reality is to be encouraged.

20) Those from the classical Pentecostal and Holiness churches should explore ways of expanding their deŽ nition of experience. Many would Ž nd it helpful if they would communicate to other Christian brethren the wisdom they have found in the biblical hedges against an undisciplined experiential approach to God’ s presence in history. Their own wisdom and pastoral expe- rience in this area is much more nuanced and sophisticated than is gener- ally known.

21) The bearers of a more experiential pneumatology, such as the classical Pentecostal and the Holiness churches, belong integrally to the history of the Spirit. Without their presence, both formally and informally, in the the- ological dialogue, the ecumenical endeavor must necessarily remain trun- cated and impoverished.

29

These recommendations are there for Pentecostal scholars to evaluate. As Amos Yong notes: “ the ecumenical movement needs the Pentecostal movement, but only insofar as the latter does not mute the prophetic voice of the Spirit of God. An ecumenism without truth is simply vacuous, out- ward unity. Pentecostals who are fearful on this point should be critically engaged on this front.”30

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Ibid., 187-97.

“ Pentecostal Ecumenism: A Survey,” The Pneuma Review , forthcoming.

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There was also a special volume produced on pneumatology, The Church in the Movement of the Spirit ,31 in which an article on discern- ment appears from a Pentecostal perspective.

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History

The Apostolic Faith Study has also taken up questions of the role of creeds in history and their interpretation.

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In the context of World Council discussions, these explorations are rooted in long-term convergences on Scripture, Tradition and the traditions

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and have generated more recent studies on hermeneutics.

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Christian history has traditionally been written from a denominational and culturally constricted perspective. However, more inclusive history writing is needed if we are to discern what is our common Christian story and how the rich gifts of the diverse traditions are to become gifts to one another.36

U.S. Faith and Order took up two studies both with important Pentecostal contributions and implications for the classical Pentecostal churches’ view of the Christian faith and fellow Christians. The Ž rst of these was a modest program of outlining issues to be considered in writing Christian history.

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The group of scholars from twenty-four churches, classical Pentecostals among them, found the task much more difŽ cult than anticipated, even by those for whom church history writing was their profession. David

31

William Barr and Rena Yocum, eds., The Church in the Movement of the Spirit (Grand 32 Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1994).

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Cecil Robeck, “ Discerning the Spirit in the Life of the Church,” in ibid., 29-49.

Hans-Georg Link, ed., The Roots of Our Common Faith: Faith in the Scriptures and 34in the Early Church (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1984).

Gunther Gassmann, ed., Documentary History of Faith and Order : 1963-1993, (Geneva: 35 World Council of Churches, 1993).

Faith and Order Commission, A Treasure in Earthen Vessels: An Instrument for an Ecumenical Re ection on Hermeneutics , Paper No. 182 (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1998); Peter Bouteneff and Dagmar Heller, Interpreting Together (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2001); Cecil Robeck, “ Towards a Hermeneutic for a Growing Koinonia: Some Re ections from a Pentecostal/Evangelical Perspective,” Commission on Faith and Order (Moshi, 36 Tanzania: World Council of Churches, August 16, 1996).

Jeffrey Gros, “ Interpretation, History and the Ecumenical Movements,” Ecumenical Trends 16 no. 7 (July-August, 1987); “ Toward a Reconciliation of Memory: Seeking a Truly Catholic Hermeneutics of History,” Jounral of Latino/Hispanic Theology 7, no. 1 (August 37 1999): 56-75.

Timothy J. Wengert and Charles W. Brockwell, jr., eds., Telling the Churches’ Stories: Ecumenical Perspectives on Writing Christian History (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1995).

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Daniels’ contribution to the study did not Ž nd its way into the volume.

38 The results of the study were fourteen principles for writing the history of the church ecumenically, supported by interpretive or exemplar essays and an extensive bibliography.

In summary, the principles enunciated are: (1) Church history should be the story of all who call themselves Christians, especially the ignored and suppressed. (2) It should be global, avoiding geographic centrism, classism, ethnocentrism, sexism, and personality cult. (3) It should see and hear the full range of catholicity and the variety of embodiments of apostolicity. (4) It investigates the interaction of gospel, faith communi- ties, and cultures. (5) It gives attention to worship, piety, practice, and teaching in addition to doctrine, history, and institutional development. (6) It uses iconography, liturgy and worship, oral tradition, popular liter- ature, and archeological record as sources. (7) It recognizes the variety of interpretive perspectives brought by each generation. (8) It surfaces parallels and contrasts of contemporary and historical concerns in exam- ining divisive issues. (9) It allows groups to deŽ ne their own voice and witness to their own issues. (10) It opens each tradition to the critical analysis of others. (11) It helps churches welcome investigation of their tradition in a spirit of hospitality. (12) It approaches its task in a spirit of repentance and forgiveness, avoiding defensiveness. (13) It acknowledges its presuppositions and seeks to overcome its prejudices. (14) Ecumenical history of Christianity acknowledges that no historical account can claim complete objectivity, but it attempts to be fair-minded.

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The second study on the role of history looked at the fourth century.

40 This study touched creedal relationship to the free church traditions, the liberation-ethical role of the creed in the fourth century, the relationship of the institutionalization of Christianity to the variety of spiritual move- ments and monasticism, and particular third-world and ethical concerns focused by the Nicene Creed.

What is of most interest, and most challenging to the classical Pentecostal churches, is the question of the “ Constantinian fall” of the church, inher- ited from the evangelical subculture from which emerged and the nine- teenth century restorationist ecclesiology common in some dimensions of

38

Cf. David Daniels, “ Teaching the History of U.S. Christianity in a Global Perspective,” Theological Education 29, no. 2 (Spring 1993): 91-112, and “ The Cultural Renewal of Slave Religion: Charles Price Jones and the Emergence of the Holiness Movement in Mississippi,” 39 (Ph.D. dissertation, Union Theological Seminary of New York, 1992).

40

Wengert and Brockwell, eds., Telling the Churches’ Stories , 3-20.

S. Mark Heim, ed., Faith to Creed , (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1991).

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A Pilgrimage in the Spirit

the Holiness/Pentecostal churches. If the Orthodox and Western Catholic churches are heirs of a decadent Christianity, reformed in the sixteenth century or restored in the nineteenth or the twentieth century “ new rain,” then the creed is no help in uniting the churches. The major churches of Christendom, and even some of the Reformation churches, are inherently corrupt. Mennonites and other Anabaptists have formulated this position most sharply, but it is current among many Latin American liberationists and some streams of evangelical Protestantism.

The Summary Statement from this Consultation consists of six sec- tions: (1) on the fourth-century context of the creed; (2) our own context for approaching the fourth century; (3) the relationship of creed, church, and empire; (4) the ethical issues; (5) language and gender in the creed; and (6) other issues. The conference in particular noted the importance of incorporating more Pentecostal and African American patristic experts in the discussion.

41

Discipleship

Having looked at the three persons of the Trinity and the two histori- cal explorations, the Ž nal section on the Apostolic Faith Study will focus on discipleship issues raised especially by the historic peace churches.

The claim of the historic peace churches is that their paciŽ st witness is not just an ethical distinctive but also an afŽ rmation of the biblical apostolic faith.

42

In the context of this claim, two special consultations were held, one on the biblical bases of the churches for peacemaking

43 and the other on the historical positions of the churches.

44

The second conference built on the common conviction of the earlier dialogue that the churches:

generally agree that peace is a central theme in scripture, that it is rooted in some way in the eschatological reign of God and that Jesus did not resort to violence. They differ in their estimate of the relevance of biblical views of peace, war and violence for church in the contemporary context.

45

41

42

Ibid., 198-204.

Cf. John Howard Yoder, The Royal Priesthood: Essays Ecclesiological and Ecumenical (Grand 43 Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1994).

Marlin Miller & Barbara Nelson Gingrich, eds., The Church’ s Peace Witness (Grand Rapids, 44 MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1994).

Jeffrey Gros, John Remple, eds., The Fragmentation of the Church and its Unity in Peacemaking45 , (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001).

Report, in Miller and Gingrich, eds., The Church’ s Peace Witness , 210.

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Pentecostal Theology, Volume 25, No. 1, Fall 2003

This discussion focused on the history of the churches’ divisions— or emergence, as in the case of the Pentecostal and restorationist churches— and on what unity can be found in gospel peace witness. It was able to reafŽ rm the church’ s call to peacemaking and to afŽ rm the link between church unity and its mission to the human family:

We lament that Christians have used their faith to further hate and violence. Nevertheless, events of the last decade [1980s] have also shown that the peacemaking efforts in the world and the responses of the churches have made a difference in human history. While areas of disagreement continue, the fact that peacemaking is an essential element of the apostolic faith is acknowledged by all. We continue to recognize divergences in the approach to this apostolic mandate in our pilgrimage toward full communion.

46

In spite of the common biblical afŽ rmations and seven learnings that are enumerated, however, the report enumerates Ž ve points of contention over: (1) the ways to pursue peace; (2) ways of dealing with church mem- bers who take a different path than Christian nonviolence; (3) the con- nection between peacemaking and the authenticating marks of the church; (4) the appropriate relationships of church and state; and (5) the use or nonuse of force. These differences and the eight recommendations pro- vide a source for further work.

In his essay on the evolution of the Assemblies of God away from its originating paciŽ st position, Murray Dempster notes:

Sad to say, the accommodation left believers with only an individual right of conscience and no church teaching, one way or the other, to inform the exercise of that right in a morally responsible way.

47

Like the conclusions of the traditions represented in the discussion, the classical Pentecostal churches provide biblical and historical resources and they face challenges.

African American Church Unity

A signiŽ cant factor among Christians in the United States is the her- itage of slavery and white racism, which in the ecclesiastical realm has given rise to Protestant churches— Pentecostal, Baptist, and Methodist— that are predominantly African American. The great power of the 1906 Pentecostal revival, which, for a moment by the power of the Holy Spirit,

46

47

Gros and Rempel, eds., The Fragmentation of the Church , 222.

“ PaciŽ sm in Pentecostalism: The Case of the Assemblies of God,” in ibid., 165.

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A Pilgrimage in the Spirit

was able to wash away the color line, was an ecumenical witness to the gift of unity for which the churches pray. Internal to the classical Pentecostal churches, this dimension of reconciliation remains a continuing challenge.

48

Faith and Order has had full participation by the African American churches since 1927

49

and Church of God in Christ participation since 1984. Three important contributions have been made by U.S. Faith and Order on the issue of race with full Pentecostal participation. As Leonard Lovett notes, “ it was not coincidental or accidental that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist, delivered his Ž nal speech from the world headquarters of the Church of God in Christ, Mason Temple . . . The personhood of Black Pentecostal leaders was sustained by a consistent spiritual prayer life which became the anchor during the dark difŽ cult days of their pilgrimage.”50

The report of the Ž rst of these consultations, Black Witness to the Apostolic Faith , touches the four creedal marks of the church, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, from the point of view of racial equality and the ethical implications of a consistent ecumenical ecclesiology.

The Black theologians were bold in their afŽ rmation of Christian ortho- doxy and the importance of this particular study in their communities. While critical of a merely notional search for unity, the statement is strong in its conviction that reconciliation, repentance, and concrete behavior can overcome an over-spiritualized approach to Christian unity. “ Unity is possible only when there is acceptance of suffering under Christ’ s work of liberation and when there is commitment to his mission.”51

In the section on holiness, there is an extended treatment of the Black Holiness and Pentecostal churches’ contribution to Christianity that dif- ferentiates Black spirituality of liberation from liberal social activism. For the members of this consultation, ethical witness is at the heart of apos- tolic proclamation:

In the Ž nal analysis the test of apostolicity is the experiencing of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our daily struggle against demonic

48

Frank Macchia, “ From Azusa to Memphis: Evaluating the Racial Reconciliation Dialogue Among Pentecostals,” Pneuma: Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Theology 17, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 203-18; Cecil Robeck, “ Racial Reconciliation at Memphis: Some Personal Re ections,” Pneuma: Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 18, no. 1 (Spring 49 1996): 135-40.

Jeffrey Gros, “ Eradicating Racism: A Central Agenda for the Faith and Order Movement,” 50 The Ecumenical Review 47, no. 1 (January 1995).

“ Aspects of the Legacy of the Church of God in Christ: Ecumenical Implications,” in Shannon 51 and Wilmore, eds., Black Witness to the Apostolic Faith , 41.

Ibid., 65.

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powers that seek to rob us of our inheritance as children of God redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Our deeds, more than our creeds, determine whether we have fully received and acted upon the faith of the apostles.

52

The consultation ends with six recommendations for implementation, follow-up, and further exploration.

As part of the follow-up of this consultation, an international consul- tation was prepared between the World and National Council Faith and Order Commissions in Harlem in 1988.

53

The purpose of the consulta- tion was threefold: (1) to bring the perspective of African American churches to bear on the World Council text, “ The Unity of the Church and the Renewal of Human Community: The Church as Mystery and Prophetic Sign;”54 (2) to bring the international Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic theologians into direct dialogue with and experience of African American worship, church life, and theology; and (3) to provide a case study in the church’ s quest for justice in the World Council Unity and Renewal study.

55

All three purposes were successfully fulŽ lled, and the report provides recommendations to the churches, to the World Council, and to Faith and Order in the U.S.

The most interesting debates on theological issues took place among the African American scholars from the Reformed perspective, on the one side, who felt that mystery and spirituality detracted from the justice and liberation dimension of the church’ s mission, and the Pentecostals, Catholics, and Methodists, who saw the Spirit and worship as central to the strug- gle. James Cone of Union Theological Seminary was particularly helpful in pressing the pneumatological and eschatological dimensions of the eth- ical imperative. The observations of the international participants, espe- cially from Russia, Southern Africa, and Scandinavia, were particularly interesting. It is unfortunate that these were not recorded as personal and theological re ections on this encounter.

A third study, Ending Racism in the Church ,56 provides case studies, analytical essays, biblical re ections, and a guide for churches to use in

52

53

Ibid., 69.

Thomas F. Best, ed., “ An African American Perspective on the Unity of the Church: Harlem 54 Consultation,” in Midstream 28, no. 4, (October 1989).

In Gennadios Limouris, ed., Church, Kingdom, World (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 55 1986).

Church and World: The Unity and the Church and the Renewal of Human Community (Geneva: 56 World Council of Churches, 1991).

Susan Davies and Paul Theresa Hennessee, eds., Ending Racism in the Church (Cleveland: United Church Press, 1998).

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addressing racism and the work for justice. While the work attempts to assist the churches in working together on the issue of racism, it does not try to identify the particular denominational perspectives, contributions, or problems, as other studies have done. Essays by Jack Hayford, Leonard Lovett, Tee Garlington, and Alonzo Johnson demonstrate the full integration of the Pentecostal voices in this volume that serves all of the churches.

Apostolicity and the American Born Churches

Faith and Order understandably has its origin in European and Middle Eastern thought and methods, following the original trajectory of Christianity in the Ž rst millennium and a half. African and African American interests, as well as Asian Christian scholarship, have begun to broaden that focus for ancient scholarship, while modern inculturation has globalized Christianity and enriched its incarnation beyond its Semitic and European heartland.

The United States has traditionally been dominated by the European churches, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant, or so it has appeared. How- ever, the frontier churches that were most successful among Protestants and are now most numerous have a European origin, but have come to life on American soil: Baptist and Wesleyan. The Pentecostal churches are, in many ways, heirs of these traditions. In post-enlightenment America the restorationist idea owered, especially in the Campbell-Stone movement,

57 having Ž rst emerged among some streams of sixteenth-century Anabaptism. The restorationist urge is also an element in early Pentecostalism:

The Apostolic Faith Movement stands for the restoration of the faith once delivered unto the saints— the old time religion, camp meetings, revivals, missions, street and prison work and Christian unity everywhere.

58

For the majority of Christians through the ages, “ apostolicity,” as con- fessed in the creed, has signiŽ ed continuity in the faith “ once delivered to the apostles,” in ordinations of bishops by bishops seen as successors to the apostles, and in an apostolic life of discipleship and witness. However, Protestant churches that do not self-identify as “ reformed” heirs of the Western, Roman Catholic Church, have seen apostolic continuity as Ž delity to the biblical witness, testiŽ ed to in word and sacrament. In the New

57

Elizabeth C. Nordbeck et al., eds., Living Theological Heritage of the United Church of Christ: 58 Consolidation and Expansion (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1999).

The Apostolic Faith , Los Angeles, September, 1906, in Cecil Robeck, “ A Pentecostal Perspective on Apostolicity,” Faith and Order Consultation on American Born Churches, Dallas, TX, 1991.

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World, therefore, one needs to listen carefully to the churches to under- stand Ž rst how they have come to use “ apostolicity,” before beginning the task of reconciliation.

Discussions of the Apostolic Faith made it clear that dialogue with these American Born churches on their own terms would be a necessary prelude to any move toward reconciliation. The Campbellite churches, Pentecostal churches, African American churches, Adventists, the array of Wesleyan traditions, Holiness and Methodist, were brought together by Faith and Order with colleagues from the confessional Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic churches to explore these understandings of apostolicity.

The above quote attests that a “ restorationist” ecclesiology was also oriented toward making the apostolic era present again. For Pentecostals the restoration includes all of the apostolic gifts of tongues, prophecy, and healing. It was also to be the strategy for achieving God-given Christian unity in the Holy Spirit.

For churches outside this restorationist ethos, it seems ironic to claim apostolicity over against creedal orthodoxy. The papers in the Faith and Order consultation detailed the history, theology, and implications of these deŽ nitions of apostolicity. For Robeck’ s explication of Pentecostalism, an exploration of Pentecostal historiography, the limits of apostolicity, the apostolic ofŽ ce, and even the claims of “ Jesus only” streams are devel- oped. The “ latter rain” historiography emphasizes the discontinuity and eschatological orientation of apostolicity in marked contrast with the more classical, continuity approach of the traditional churches.

For the early Pentecostals apostolic faith designated justiŽ cation, sanctiŽ cation, and baptism in the Spirit. Tongues, interpretation and prophecy, and healing came to distinguish Pentecostal from Holiness understandings of the apostolic faith.

While many would consider these ahistorical conceptualizations as naive as are uncritical claims to episcopal continuity or biblical inerrancy, they remain an important testimony to the present power of the Spirit in the Church, an element that is needed to balance and correct the search for creedal clarity.

59

59

Cf. forthcoming article, “ Fidelity on the Frontier: Confessing the Apostolic Faith in the American Born Churches,” in a collection edited by Jeffrey Gros on this Consultation yet to be published, including: Cecil Robeck, “ A Pentecostal Perspective on Apostolicity,” Thomas Hoyt, “ American Indigenous Black Churches Confessing Faith,” Frederick Norris, “ Apostolicity and the Restoration Movement Churches,” Leonid Kishkovsky, “ Concluding Remarks.” Cf. also, “ African American Pentecostalism in the 20th Century,” in Vinson Synan, The Century of the Holy Spirit (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2001), 265-92.

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Special Consultations

The Faith and Order movement attempts, by common biblical and the- ological research, to provide a theological basis for unity in faith and church order. Before 1952, however, the churches involved at that time shared their differences in a comparative way, coming to know one another’ s formulations of faith, ways of worship, spiritual traditions, and under- standings of the church and its unity. For a relatively young theological tradition and churches new to, or not yet ready for, engagement in com- mon convergence research, the “ old” method of comparative ecclesiol- ogy is a necessary requisite before common research becomes feasible. Therefore, in Faith and Order circles special consultations are held with speciŽ c churches: Orthodox, Peace churches, African American churches, and Pentecostals.

60

The National Council Faith and Order Commission sponsored three rounds of these consultations, designed to assist member churches in understanding the Pentecostal movement and its churches, and to help Pentecostal scholars to assess the points of contact with churches engaged in ecumenical dialogue.

The Ž rst of these consultations is noted above in the section on the Apostolic Faith. The second round culminated in a consultation in Lakeland, Florida, in 1991, The SigniŽ cance of the Pentecostal Movement for the Church. Many elements contributed to the full integration of Pentecostal concerns into the whole work of Faith and Order, and to stimulating stud- ies that make a particular important contribution to Pentecostal theolog- ical development.

The late Dr. Jerry Sandidge gave an important testimony to his own ecumenical journey, concluding with the plea: “ We need each other. We have much to give as well as much to learn— on both sides. This has been one of the great gifts of the worldwide renewal of the Holy Spirit. It is my prayer that the charismatic renewal will remain ecumenical!”61

Dr. Eileen Lindner, Associate General Secretary of the National Council, presented a historically informed assessment of the points of contact between the Pentecostal and conciliar movements. In it she talks about the historiographical shifts characteristic of twentieth century U.S. church

60

Donald Dayton, “ Yet Another Layer of the Onion,” Ecumenical Review 40, no. 1 (January 61 1988): 87-110.

“ Journey Toward Ecumenism: A Personal Documentary,” in National Council Faith and Order Commission (NCFOC), The SigniŽ cance of the Pentecostal Movement for the Church (Lakeland, FL: 1991).

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Pentecostal Theology, Volume 25, No. 1, Fall 2003

historians,

62

a theme picked up by David Daniels, who focuses particu- larly on internal Pentecostal debates on historiography.

63

Lindner documents some of the causes of the rise of both Pentecostalism and the conciliar movement. She suggests topics for deepening the con- versation: (1) establishing a common universe of discourse, (2) clarify- ing doctrine’ s role in unity, (3) trinitarian and pneumatological questions, (4) salvation and social reform, (5) worship and gifts of the Spirit, (6) evangelism and proselytism, and (7) ministry and ethics.

Robeck contrasts and correlates approaches to the Holy Spirit, apos- tolic continuity, and ecclesiology in the Pentecostal tradition and among ecumenical partners. This essay provides the sharp edge of theological difference that makes the unique witness of the Pentecostal churches clear as the dialogue lays its foundation.

64

Two essays by Donald Dayton, prepared for other consultations, docu- ment current studies on Latin American Pentecostalism and relationships with democratization and other churches. It is interesting to read these now in light of subsequent ecumenical developments and the evolution of Latin American society. In the Ž rst of these, he indicates the impor- tance of speciŽ cally theological engagement for Pentecostals and the afŽ nities between liberation theologies and Pentecostal movements.

65

The second essay takes up the thesis that Pentecostalism is a contribution to the democratization and modernization of Latin American society.

66

The Ž nal presentation from this consultation provides an irenic read- ing of Christian history, outlining the place of the Pentecostal impulse throughout Christian history and the genesis of classical Pentecostal churches from their Wesleyan, Anglican, and Western Catholic spiritual roots. Ted Campbell situates the Pentecostal impulse in the perennial “ reli- gion of the heart” that permeates Christian history and emerges from time to time in major spiritual movements, of which Pentecostalism is one.

67

The papers of this consultation provided resources for the integration

62

63

“ Ardor VS Order Revisited: Pentecostals and Conciliar Ecumenism” 5, in ibid.

“ ‘ You Can’ t Tell it Like I Tell It’ : A Postmodern Essay on the Historiography of US 64Pentecostalism,” in ibid.

65

“ The Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Tradition,” in ibid.

“ Is Latin America Turning Pentecostal? The Ecumenical SigniŽ cance of a Religious Revolution,” 66 North American Academy of Ecumenists, September 1991.

“ Public Virtue in the Context of Religious Revolution: Democracy and the Rise of Pentecostalism in Latin America,” Emory University: Christianity and Democracy (November 1991).67

“ The Deeper Roots of Pentecostalism: An Experiment in Critical, Ecumenical Narrative,” in NCFOC, SigniŽ cance of the Pentecostal Movement.

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of Pentecostal witness, history, methodologies, and concerns into the ongo- ing work of Faith and Order. A third consultation, begun in Boston in 1995, produced only one publication.

68

Religious Pluralism

Another issue of importance within Pentecostal discussions but with signiŽ cance among all the Christian churches is the proper approach to other world religions. Non-Pentecostals often presuppose that the Pente- costal position is the same as that of the evangelical ethos in which these churches have emerged. On the other hand, “ [t]he interreligious dialogue fostered among most mainline Protestants was vehemently rejected by Pentecostals.”69 The situation is much more complex, however.

In this context, the U.S. Faith and Order Commission has spent eight years exploring churches’ approaches to pluralism. The volume published by this study emerged from a conference in which Samuel Solivan pro- vided the Pentecostal perspective. The purpose of the conference was the exploration of the internal differences among Christians and the seeking of resources, theological and missionary, from one another’ s traditions for dealing with interreligious dialogue and living with pluralism.

70

Therefore, the witness of the Pentecostal issues raised by Solivan:

(1) the role of the Holy Spirit in experience;

(2) the view from below brought by marginal groups like Pentecostals

and U.S. Hispanics;

(3) the prevenient character of the Spirit’ s grace, beyond the borders of

the Church;

(4) the communitarian character of the Spirit’ s work;

(5) the importance of gender inclusiveness in interreligious dialogue—

were very well received. He states clearly his reservations, and those

of the Pentecostal community in general.

71

68

Gros, “ Pentecostal Engagement in the Wider Christian Community,” This article was also used as a resource for a Pentecostal-Catholic Dialogue sponsored by the Council of Latin American Bishops Conferences (CELAM) and the Latin American Council of Churches 69 (CLAI), Medellín 24, no. 95 (September, 1998).

Samuel Solivan, “ Interreligious Dialogue: A Hispanic American Pentecostal Perspective,” in Mark Heim, ed., Grounds for Understanding: Ecumenical Resources for Responses 70 to Religious Pluralism (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998), 38.

71

Heim, Introduction to Grounds for Understanding , 5-6.

Solivan, “ Interreligious Dialogue,” 40-44.

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Pentecostal Theology, Volume 25, No. 1, Fall 2003

In addition to this volume, Faith and Order has sponsored two con- sultations in cooperation with the Institute of Ecumenical and Cultural Research at St. John’ s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, that address this theme.

72

Pentecostal involvement in this process has been an impor- tant contribution.

Challenging Issues for the Future Reception

This author sees four particular areas before the classical Pentecostal churches: (1) reception of theology in congregational life, (2) reception of the ecumenical results, (3) the reception of the ecumenical impulse by ecclesiastical leaders, and (4) the role of Pentecostal scholars in the evan- gelical ecumenical movement.

Pentecostals have four decades of productive theological history, three of which have been intimately involved with ecumenical conversation, formal and informal. What will be the role of theology as an instrument of the Holy Spirit in church life? How will Pentecostal congregations be infused by the vitality of the Spirit’ s work in the theologians’ ministry and their ecumenical engagement?

Theological re ection in all of the churches will need to take critical account of the ecumenical results of the Faith and Order movement, includ- ing the bilateral dialogues, like those between Pentecostals and the Reformed and Roman Catholic churches. Part of this process of ecumenical recep- tion is response to and evaluation of texts by particular traditions. Given the high investment of Pentecostal scholars in these conversations, eval- uation of these texts in the Pentecostal theological community will be of utmost importance. Corrections in the history of all the churches, expan- sion of historiographical methods and interpretive schemes, and the appro- priate characterization of other Christian bodies are all practical, theological consequences that can be taken from the results of these dialogues.

One of the most challenging dimensions of the task of reception will be Ž nding ways to motivate and support church leaders in their development from sectarian isolation to ecumenical witness. This is a pastoral rather than a theological task, but the religious imagination and proclamation skills of the most informed theological scholars will be an essential ele- ment in this Christian mission. Churches are moved by ideas and formu-

72

Confessing Christian Faith in a Pluralistic Society (Collegeville, MN: Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, 1995); and Living Faithfully in the United States Today (Collegeville, MN: Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, 2001).

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lations supplied by theologians. However, communities, especially those with such a rich oral tradition as the classical Pentecostal churches, are moved most effectively by the gift of preaching and spiritual leadership.

The Pentecostal family of churches is the largest tradition in the U.S. National Association of Evangelicals and probably in the World Evangelical Fellowship network of local associations. In this context they have a unique gift to offer of theological seriousness and developed critical think- ing. The history of both of these organizations tends to be driven by the evangelical subcultures that emerged in opposition to the “ ecumenical” classical Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic churches.

73

If the pursuit of truth, reconciliation, and a wider vision is to serve the mission of these evangelical agencies, Pentecostal scholars and their ecumenical experi- ence become a great resource. Pentecostal and Holiness leaders have emerged in the NAE; is it not time for their scholars to make their appro- priate witness as well?

Many of the Pentecostal theologians have been able to exert in uence in their communities by their gift of proclamation. Moving those in deci- sion-making roles into an irenic conversion will take some of the best of Pentecostal thinking, preaching, and patience. It is hoped that the process of a North American Faith and Order Conference may be a context where trust can be developed and relations strengthened.

Soteriology

The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of JustiŽ cation between Catholics and Lutherans has sparked very important discussions in the evangelical subculture.

74

Of course, it is ironic that some Pentecostals retain some of the residual Reformation reservations about Catholic “ works righteous- ness,” when Wesley’ s perfectionism and Pentecostal celebration of gifts and healing are often critiqued in the same way by some strict Reformed thinkers. It is important, however, that the doctrine of grace, salvation, human response, and freedom be taken up in the light of the lingering Catholic-Protestant differences over these issues. Fortunately, some Pentecostal scholars have begun to take account of these developments.

75

73

David Howard, The Dream That Would Not Die: The Birth and Growth of the World Evangelical Fellowship, 1846-1986 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1986); Arthur Matthews, Standing Up Standing Together: The Emergence of the National Association of Evangelicals74 (Carol Stream, IL: The National Association of Evangelicals, 1992).

Cf. Jeffrey Gros,“ Evangelical Relations: A Differentiated Catholic Perspective,” Ecumenical 75 Trends 29, no. 1 (January 2000): 1-9.

Frank Macchia, “ JustiŽ cation through New Creation: The Holy Spirit and the Doctrine

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Ecclesiology

The Nature and Purpose of the Church is a text produced by the World Council of Churches. It deserves careful scrutiny and feedback by Pente- costal scholars, both as to its ecclesiological content and as to its use of pneumatology, eschatology, and the biblical bases of its arguments.

76

It may also help Pentecostal ecclesiologists to sort out the various emphases, theological and popular, that characterize the ecclesial self-understanding and identity of the classical Pentecostal churches.

Pentecostal ecclesial identity is often characterized as: (1) a renewal movement within ecumenical Christianity, (2) sectarian, insisting on par- ticular distinctives, (3) a movement focusing on restorationist purity, or (4) a consistent subset of the evangelical subculture. It is not clear whether there is a consistent ecclesiological paradigm that can give coherence to these seemingly contradictory tendencies. In an ecumenical context, how- ever, they all have a contribution to make when not presenting a reduc- tive witness. Study of the WCC text should help Pentecostal churches to clarify their own understanding and contribution.

The goal of Faith and Order, by its constitution is: To call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship expressed in worship and common life in Christ, and to advance toward that unity that the world may believe. The Pentecostal theological com- munity and eventually the classical Pentecostal churches will need to dis- cern whether this is an afŽ rmation to which they can respond, or whether some other biblically based call to reconciliation will be necessary for their churches to participate with fellow Christians. Certainly a serious discussion of The Nature and Purpose of the Church will both provide material for enhancing that text in its next generation of drafting with full Pentecostal input, and challenge Pentecostals to articulate a witness to the biblical doctrine of the church on which unity can be grounded, with cred- ibility, in their tradition.

Latin America

For all of the churches in Latin America, classical Protestant, Roman Catholic, evangelical, and Pentecostal, the conversation with Pentecostals has a pride of place, because of sheer numbers if not because of the ecu- menical biblical mandate. In this concern, the Latin American Council of

by Which the Church Stands or Falls,” Theology Today 58, no. 2 (July 2001): 202-17. Cf. William 76 Rusch, forthcoming volume from Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MI, on this theme.

Faith and Order Commission, The Nature and Purpose of the Church: A Stage on the Way to a Common Statement , Paper No. 181 (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1998).

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Churches (CLAI) has a unique place.

77

Its membership is 25 percent Pentecostal, even if the majority of Pentecostals do not belong to the Council. Some of the initiatives have already produced fruitful, reconcil- ing results.

78

Some members of the U.S. Society for Pentecostal Theology have been good colleagues of Pentecostals and other Christians in Latin America in promoting these bridges of reconciliation and the theological concepts that undergird them. On the other hand, many of the results of bilateral and Faith and Order work in which Pentecostals have been deeply involved are not yet known in many parts of Latin America, in the minority Protestant communities or in the majority Catholic community.

79

Inter-American dialogue within Pentecostal communities on ecumenism and the results of dialogue, as well as within various Protestant and Catholic churches, may be as important to our common Christian future in the hemisphere as the Faith and Order and other texts produced in ecumeni- cal conversations.

The data shows there is a rich if recent past to Pentecostal witness in the ecumenical movement, especially U.S. Faith and Order. This past is a down payment on what the Holy Spirit may do as the future emerges before us. As an eschatologically driven belief system, Pentecostalism can ener- gize a future for the churches together in response to Christ’ s prayer for unity (John 17:21). In this future the ministry of the theological commu- nity has a unique ecumenical calling to be celebrated by all of the churches.

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Manuel Quintero, Jubileo, La Fiesta del Espiritu: Identidad y Misió n del Pente- costalismo Latinoamericano (Maracaibo, Venezuela: Comisió n Evangé lica Pentecostal Latinoamericana, 78 1999).

Bernardo Campos, De La Reform Protestante a La Pentecostalidad de La Iglesia: Debate sobre el Pentecostalismo en Amé rica Latina (Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Consejo Latinoamericano 79 de Iglesias, 1997).

Juan Carlos Urrea, ed., Pentecostalismo , Medellín, 24, no. 95, (Septiembre 1998).

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