Several Pentecostal schools in the past decade, have pushed the idea of Pentecostal Sacraments. Perhaps not realizing the scheme behind it, multiple authors within various Ag, Cog, IPHC faculties and Birmingham in the U.K. have received grants to produce a line of monographs on various topics like: A Pentecostal Response to Sacraments, Encountering God in Pentecostal Sacraments, A Spirit- Vision of Social Common Good, and many more.
It all began with introducing a new theological “doctrine” under the code-word “non-practicing homosexual.” It emerged from a vital representation of the need for a safe-place, a sanctuary and necessitated a sacramental framework toward Pentecostal social transformation of the common good. Such is conceived in the vision of so-called “impenetrable monastery” – a protected temple for non-practicing homosexuals introducing a Pentecostal set of sacramentalism to encounter God anew. Yes, such places, just like any other monastic paradigm will be same-sex oriented. And they are already in high demand. Just look into the Pentecostal Monks Sought-After in Sweden
Pentecostal Monasticism: Communities of the Spirit by Evan B. Howard
I began this essay by suggesting that an interpenetration of the charismatic and monastic within the context of Christian community may prove valuable for an appropriate “traditioning” of Pentecostalism. My use of the word “traditioning” is taken from Simon Chan’s Pentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition, where he argues explicitly for the need of Pentecostals to undertake a “traditioning process”: locating theological reflection within the conceptual framework of historic Christianity—and more particularly within the frameworks of Christian spiritual theology.63 Chan recommends that Pentecostals consider a legitimate place for Christian theological systematization: thinking with exactness and thoroughness, maintaining dialogue with historic church tradition as a legitimate expression of the ongoing work of God’s Spirit, and reconsidering current practices of worship. The aim of Pentecostal Theology is just that: to foster an appropriate traditioning of pentecostal theological reflection. All well and good.
But I would like to argue—and I am sure that Chan would agree—that a theological traditioning must not (and truly cannot) be separated from an ecclesiological traditioning. We may, in our desire for both charismatic experience and Spirit-led maturity, institute “covenant communities” or “shepherding.” But in doing so, we must realize that we are venturing into models and questions—and we are wiser when we are in conscious dialogue with these models and questions—which have been discussed for centuries. Our theologies are embodied in our concrete forms of life as communities of faith. When for example we establish new charismatic communities, we are traditioning the leading of God’s Spirit. Consequently we must, as Chan recommends, examine our practices of Christian formation and congregational life (just as we examine our theology) with exactness and thoroughness, in dialogue with a church tradition that we understand to be—in spite of serious failures throughout history—as an expression of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, understanding our worship of God to encompass all of life.64 Various streams of the Christian faith are nourishing one another.65 I see great hope in this. As we permit the Holy Spirit (charismatic) to be embodied in intentional forms (monastic) in local expressions (community), I see a path toward a vibrancy of Christian life that might become a vehicle for revival in the generations to come.
The terminology of “New Monasticism” was developed by Jonathan Wilson in his 1998 book Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World. Wilson was, in turn, building on ideas of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said in 1935, “The restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ.” Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in his book After Virtue voiced a longing for “another . . . St. Benedict.” By this he meant someone in the present age who would lead a renewal of morality and civility through community. Wilson identified with that longing in his own book and outlined a vision to carry it forward.
The middle months of 2004 became a defining moment for the movement, when a number of existing communities and academics gathered in Durham, North Carolina. The conclave drew up the “twelve marks” of New Monasticism:
1. Relocation to the “abandoned places of Empire” [at the margins of society, usually in depressed, urban areas]
2. Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us
3. Hospitality to the stranger
4. Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation
5. Humble submission to Christ’s body, the Church
6. Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate
7. Nurturing common life among members of an intentional community
8. Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children
9. Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life
10. Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies
11. Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18
12. Commitment to a disciplined, contemplative life