The Ecumenical And Pentecostal Movements After A Century

The Ecumenical And Pentecostal Movements After A Century

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

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Articles

The One Hope of Your Calling? The Ecumenical and Pentecostal Movements

after a Century

Geoffrey Wainwright

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint John, Jesus implores his Father that his present disciples, and indeed all who shall come to faith through their word, “ may be one, so that the world may believe” in his own divine mission and receive the gift of eternal life which he brings (v. 20-21). The followers of Jesus were to be sanctiŽ ed in the word of truth (v. 17), perfected into one by the divine indwelling (v. 22-23), so that all whom the Father gave to the Son would share in the Son’ s glory and his gloriŽ cation of the Father (v. 1-10). Thus mission and unity belonged together from the start, for the credibility of the gospel depended on the oneness of its witnesses as they were, in turn, sent into the world with the message of salvation. From its beginnings in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, the modern ecumenical movement took its charter from that Ž nal prayer of Jesus. Under the leadership of the Methodist layman John R. Mott, the Student Christian Movement adopted “ut omnes unum sint” as its watchword, and the Student Volunteer Movement made its target “ the evangelization of the world in this generation” — and all for the praise and glory of God.

Contemporaneous with the rise of the modern ecumenical movement was the birth of Pentecostalism, whether the accouchement be located in Topeka, Kansas, or at the Azusa Street Mission, Los Angeles, whether the midwife be Charles F. Parham or William J. Seymour. The Acts of the Apostles provided Pentecostalism with its chief biblical inspiration.

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“ Fü r den PŽ ngstler ist die Apostelgeschichte normatives Protokoll der normativen Urgemeinde” : Walter J. Hollenweger, Enthusiastisches Christentum: Die PŽ ngstbewegung in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Wuppertal: Theologischer Verlag Rolf Brockhaus; Zü rich: Zwingli Verlag, 1969), 359; cf. pp. 381-83, 386-89.

© 2003 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden

pp. 7-28

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The book’ s opening chapters contain already the descent of the Holy Spirit “ poured out” by the exalted Lord, the witness rendered “ in other tongues” to the mighty works of God in Jesus Christ, the healing in Christ’ s name at the Beautiful Gate, the offer of salvation “ in no other name” to believ- ers, and the promise of the Lord’ s return. There could be found— under the pneumatological key signature of Pentecost— a “ foursquare gospel” of “ Jesus only Saviour, Baptizer and Healer, Jesus the coming King.”2 Now the fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit— the arrival of the “ latter rain” second only to the spring rain of the apostolic times (cf. James 5:7- 8)— signaled the expected “ last days,” when God would “ pour out [his] Spirit on all esh” (Acts 2:17-21); it presaged the End, which would come when the gospel of the kingdom had been preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations (cf. Matthew 24:14). Meanwhile, Charles Parham saw himself called as an “ apostle of unity,” and William Seymour viewed the Apostolic Faith Movement as standing for “ Christian unity everywhere.”

The Scriptural Base

How may we relate, historically and theologically, the modern ecu- menical movement and twentieth-century Pentecostalism? Scripturally, we should expect a positive connection. For the Holy Spirit is implicitly present in the themes of John 17, and apostolic unity and mission Ž gure in the narrative of Acts. On the one hand, the Johannine consecration of the disciples will take place by “ the Spirit of truth,” their unity with the Father and the Son will occur through the Spirit’ s indwelling, and their witness will depend on the Spirit’ s witness (John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26-27; 16:13-15; 20:21-23). On the other hand, the primitive Jerusalem church was united in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers (Acts 2:42), and the Holy Spirit was to guide and empower the mission that would carry the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem through Judaea and Samaria to the ends of the earth and result in the praise of God (Acts 1:8; 2:47; 3:8-9; 4:21, 31; 5:32; 8:29; 9:31; 10:44-48; 11:12, 18; 13:2-4, 48; 16:6-7; 19:21; 20:23; 21:4). A couple of passages from St. Paul provide a biblical pattern for a more systematic weaving together

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This phrasing comes from Aimee Semple McPherson’ s song “ Preach the Four-Square Gospel,” but the fourfold pattern was not limited to her International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; see Donald W. Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987), 14, 21-23.

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of the themes of churchly unity, evangelical mission, and divine gloriŽ cation, and the golden thread will be pneumatological.

In Romans 15, the Holy Spirit Ž gures four times by name, and once by strong implication. In verses 5 and 6, the apostle prays for his recip- ients thus:

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to be of one mind among yourselves, according to the will of Christ Jesus, that you may with one heart and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, steadfastness ( hupomonê) is often mentioned in a pneumatic con- text, almost as though it were a gift of the Spirit (Rom. 5:1-5; 8:23-27; 2 Cor. 6:1-10; 12:12; 1 Thes. 1:2-7), and encouragement ( paraklêsis) suggests the Paraclete, so that the Holy Spirit may appropriately be con- sidered the divine source to which Paul looks in asking on the behalf of the Romans that they be of one mind ( to auto phronein ), one heart or will (homothumadon ), and one mouth or voice ( en heni stomati ), in their gloriŽ cation of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unity among the believers is necessary to the proper worship of God.

Then the Holy Spirit is mentioned by name in verse 13 as the source of a hope directed toward the time when all the Gentiles would come to praise and glorify God along with God’ s people of the old covenant (v. 8-12). Paul speaks in liturgical or priestly terms of his evangelical mission among the nations toward that end: “ by the grace given [him] by God,” he is a minister ( leitourgos) of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest (hierourgountos ) the gospel of God, so that the offering ( prosphora) of the Gentiles may be acceptable ( euprosdektos ), sanctiŽ ed ( hagiasmenê) by the Holy Spirit (v. 15-16). (It matters little whether the genitive be taken as objective or subjective— whether “ the offering of the Gentiles” be Paul’ s offering of them or their own offering.) What Christ wrought through the apostles in winning “ the obedience of the Gentiles” was done “ by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit” (v. 18-19). Finally, Paul appeals to the Romans “ by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf” (v. 30), that he may emerge safely from Judaea and visit them on his journey to Spain (v. 24, 28). The inter- weaving between mission, praise, and prayer, between evangelical wit- ness and the worship of God is striking— and all takes place “ in the Spirit.”

The other Pauline passage is more concise. In 2 Corinthians 4:13-15, the apostle writes thus, with an allusion to Psalm 116:10:

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Since we have the same Spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “ I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

The identity of “ the Spirit of faith” is given by the fact that it is only by the Holy Spirit that one can say “ Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:3; cf. 1 John 4:2-3). Romans 8:11 suggests a role of the Spirit in the Father’ s raising of Jesus and in the coming resurrection, when believers will be brought into God’ s presence. The Holy Spirit inspires and accompanies the verbal testimony (1 Thess. 1:5), which is the vehicle of the extension of grace to increasing numbers of people. The result is the swelling of the eucharistic chorus ( hina hê charis . . . tê n eucharistian perisseusê i ), “ to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:15). Once more, the Holy Spirit is seen to bind believers together in their work of witness to the gospel and the symphony of praise.

In light of John 17, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Pauline letters, one might then expect to Ž nd coalescence between a movement among historic Christians toward the recovery of unity in mission and worship and the pneumatic surge springing from a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as on the Day of Pentecost. In point of historical fact, however, the modern ecumenical movement and twentieth-century Pentecostalism have not run very closely together. Is it nevertheless possible that in attending to some places of overlap, with a view to discerning mutual challenges and envisaging the possibility of greater mutual fructiŽ cation, we might discover a common calling? May what began separately prove to be joined in a quite extraordinary divine vocation? To serve this enterprise, Scripture suggests that we consider theologically— more precisely, pneumatologi- cally— the concept of unity, the theory of mission, and the practice of worship. In that way, we shall also be acknowledging each item listed when Pentecostal and Reformed Christians report from their dialogue a common recognition of “ the Spirit’ s leadership in the Church as the Church confesses its faith, gathers as a community of worship, grows in ediŽ cation and fellowship, and responds to its mission in the world.”3

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See “ Word and Spirit, Church and World: The Final Report of the International Dialogue between Representatives of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and Some Classical Pentecostal Churches and Leaders, 1996-2000,” para. 42. The text is printed in Pentecostal Theology 23, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 9-43; here p. 23.

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Unity

The unity which Jesus, on the eve of his passion, sought for his disciples was a unity of persons, such as the early Christian community lived after his Resurrection: it was a fellowship united in acceptance of apostolic doctrine, common prayer, and the breaking of bread together (Acts 2:42), all in accordance with the instructions of Jesus (cf. Luke 11:1-4; 22:19). This unity of the Church could be characterized by St. Paul as the unity of one body with many members. Into the one body of Christ, the mem- bers were baptized by the one Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12-13), and the unity of the body was maintained by the partaking of the many in the one bread of communion (1 Cor. 10:16-17). In the course of history, that living unity has been frequently threatened and, over long stretches of time and space, visibly broken. There have been divisions in both faith and fellowship among those who have continued to claim for themselves and their respec- tive communities the name of Christ. Sometimes divisions have occurred— more or less inadvertently— when the presence and work of the Spirit has been differently discerned at a moment of crisis, opportunity, reform, or renewal. The twentieth century saw both a movement on the part of many of the divided communities to resolve as many of the inherited divisions as possible as well as a spiritual manifestation that some experienced as renewal and others regarded as a factor of further division.

In so far as the modern ecumenical movement has aimed at confor- mity to the will of Christ in the matter of unity among his followers for the sake of evangelical witness and the glory of God, it has a claim to be itself a present work of the Holy Spirit; and the growth of charity among ecumenically active communities may be seen as some conŽ rmation of that claim. If, now, communities hitherto divided from one another are to achieve reconciliation, some reconsideration of the point and moment of division between them as well as their subsequent respective histories will be necessary. Where, diachronically, is the Spirit to be found?

The reading of the history will depend on the view taken of the nature of the Church and its unity. In his classic work The Household of God (1953), the great practical and theoretical ecumenist Lesslie Newbigin, bishop in the Church of South India, proposed a “ trinitarian” account of the Church such that the fullness of the Church suffered when any of the three aspects or components was lacking; and he argued that ecclesial unity required the mutual correction and complementarity of three eccle- siologies that in their isolation distorted what were otherwise valid and

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necessary features of the Church.

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Classic Protestantism saw the Church as the people of God, the congregation of the faithful; Western Catholicism saw the Church as the body of Christ; and the “ Pentecostal,” as Newbigin hesitantly designated the third “ type of Christian faith and life,” saw the Church as the community of the Holy Spirit. It was Newbigin’ s insight, novel among ecumenists at the time, that there exists “ a third stream of Christian tradition which, though of course mingling at many points with the other two, has yet a distinct character of its own. It is important to recognize this fact,” he said, “ because this stream at present runs more outside of, than inside of, the ecumenical movement, and has so far taken an inadequate part in the theological encounter which that movement has made possible” (87).

There is an initial plausibility to the view that magisterial Protestantism concentrated on purity of doctrine (“ the given message” ), and Western Catholicism on the forms and continuities of ecclesial governance (“ the given structure” ); but Catholicism was certainly concerned about “ faith,” and Protestantism had its own interests in institutional “ order.” In any case, neither could make its proper contributions to the fullness and unity of the Church, Newbigin argued, without the input of the Pentecostal stream and the pneumatic vitality it would bring to both faith and order in the Church. Newbigin maintained the necessity of both faith and order— the evangelical message and the ecclesial structures— and yet their insufŽ ciency without “ the experienced power and presence of the Holy Spirit today” (87). “ The Holy Spirit may be the last article of the Creed,” writes Newbigin (89), “ but in the New Testament it is the Ž rst fact of experience.” And he develops the ecclesiological implications thus (90):

Christ’ s atoning work had been completed. His revelation of the Father in word and deed was complete. The nucleus of His Church was chosen and ready . . . [B]oth the message and the structure, both faith and order, were complete. And yet, they had to wait. All was complete: and yet nothing was complete until the Spirit of God Himself should be breathed into the new race of men. Only then, empowered by Him, could they go forth to pro- claim the message of salvation, and to baptise men in the Name of Christ

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Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church (London: SCM Press, 1953); longer quotations will be cited by page references in the text. A few years later, and with no apparent awareness of Newbigin’ s work, another ecumenist ascribed a pneumatological “ third force” in ecclesiology to “ Radical Protestantism” (as distinct from “ Classical Catholicism” and “ Classical Protestantism” ): see Henry P. Van Dusen, Spirit, Son and Father: Christian Faith in the Light of the Holy Spirit (New York: Scribner, 1958).

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unto remission of their sins. In very truth it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that constitutes the Church.

Thus “ the Pentecostal Christian,” says Newbigin (92), “ has the New Testament on his side when he demands Ž rst of all of any body of so- called Christians, ‘ Do you have the Holy Spirit? For without that all your credal orthodoxy and all your historic succession avails you nothing.’ To quote . . . the blunt words of St. Paul: ‘ If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.’ ”5

A challenge runs in the other direction, too, however. The ecumenical movement drew from the New Testament a quality of the Church that “ the third stream” has appeared to neglect. “ The Church,” said Newbigin (77-78), “ is not constituted by a series of disconnected human responses to the supernatural acts of divine grace.” Rather:

It is the continuing life of Christ among men in a body which grows by the addition of new members but is itself essentially continuous and indi- visible . . . Its unity is not merely ideal or spiritual: it is visible, social, organic; effected, revealed, and sealed in the fellowship of the one table. Breach of that fellowship makes the sacrament into an instrument of judg- ment. Disunity in the Church is no mere external crack on the surface of a solid reality. It is something which goes down to its very core.

Newbigin accordingly speciŽ ed a number of “ distortions” to which “ the Pentecostal type” of ecclesiality was prone. “ In its most extreme form,” it occurs as a “ non-historical mysticism in which the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart is regarded as practically independent of Christ’ s

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As a participant in the early years of the WCC Faith and Order Commission’ s “ apos- tolic faith study” (see Confessing the One Faith: An Ecumenical Explication of the Apostolic Faith as it is Confessed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed [381], Geneva: WCC Publications, 1991), I could have wished for a more insistent challenging reminder con- cerning the vital, pneumatic, holistic character of “ the apostolic faith” from ecclesiastical quarters that originated as “ the Apostolic Faith Movement.” Thus, from Bennett Freeman Lawrence, The Apostolic Faith Restored (St. Louis: Gospel Publishing House, 1916):

There is, in the religious world of today, a great activity of the Lord’ s Spirit known as the Pentecostal or Apostolic Faith Movement . . . The honest-hearted thinking men and women of this great movement have made it their endeavor to return to the faith and prac- tice of our brethren who served God prior to the apostasy. They have made the New Testament their rule of life. . . . The Pentecostal Movement . . . leaps the intervening years crying “Back to Pentecost .” In the minds of these . . . men and women, this work of God is immediately connected with the work of God in New Testament days. Built by the same hand, upon the same foundation of the apostles and prophets, after the same pattern, accord- ing to the same covenant, they too are a habitation of God through the Spirit. They do not recognize a doctrine or custom as authoritative unless it can be traced to that primal source of church instruction, the Lord and his apostles.

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work in the esh, the Scriptures, and the sacraments” — whereas it is “ the massive central witness of the New Testament” that “ the gift of the Holy Spirit is bound to the Ž nished work of Christ by the twin bonds of hear- ing and believing the message and being baptized into the fellowship of His death and resurrection” (98-99). A related “ distortion” is “ the setting of ardour against order, . . . the preference for the abnormal and the spec- tacular, the belief that what is extempore and unprepared is more spiri- tual than what is customary or planned, the tendency to regard order and organization as antithetical to the life of the Spirit” (103-4). The resul- tant individualism leads to factionalism— whereas it is the teaching of 1 Corinthians as a whole that “ the supreme gift of the Spirit is not the spectacular power by which an individual may gain preeminence, but the humble and self-effacing love by which the body is built up and knit together. It follows that a decisive mark of the Spirit’ s presence will be a tender concern for the unity of the body . . . Life in the Spirit is life in the body of Christ, and factions in the Church involve the enormity of dismembering the body of Christ” (104). According to Newbigin (105- 8), order and unity require also that “ the real primacy” of “ the local con- gregation” — on which Pentecostals rightly insist— should not be asserted at the expense of Christ’ s purpose to draw all people to himself: “ The visible fellowship of all who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus” needs expression and embodiment— in forms as little bureau- cratic as possible— at the regional and even universal levels.

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At mid-point in the twentieth century, Lesslie Newbigin clearly believed that Pentecostal ecclesiality had both much to give to the ecumenical movement and much to learn from it. How far each party— ecumenism and Pentecostalism— has in fact subsequently opened itself to the other is a matter for later attention. Meanwhile I continue to look for theolog- ical connections, in the areas now of mission and worship.

Mission

Lesslie Newbigin was seconded by the Church of South India for ser- vice as general secretary of the International Missionary Council at the

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Pentecostals confess their tendencies to individualism, factionalism, and parochialism at two points in their dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church. The four reports from the Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue can be conveniently cited according to year (1976, 1982, 1989, 1997), paragraph number, and page occurrence in Growth in Agreement II: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982-1998 , ed. Jeffrey Gros, Harding Meyer, and William G. Rusch (Geneva: WCC Publications; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000). Here, 1989 report, ##75-76, p. 746; 1997 report, #26, p. 758.

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time of its integration with the World Council of Churches (1959-1961) and then as the Ž rst director of the new Division of World Mission and Evangelism in the WCC (1962-1965).

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Given his perception of the pneu- matological dimension of the Church, it will not be surprising that Newbigin attributes a crucial role to the Holy Spirit in the Church’ s missionary enterprise. He Ž nds a key in the notion of “ Ž rst-fruits.” St. Paul speaks at Romans 8:23 of the “ Ž rst-fruits” of the Holy Spirit, and the apostle uses the same term, aparchê, in an ecclesiological sense at Romans 11:16 (“ If the Ž rst-fruits be holy . . .” ) and 16:5 (“ Epenetus, the Ž rst-fruits of Asia for Christ” ; cf. 1 Cor. 16:15, “ the house of Stephanas, the Ž rst-fruits of Achaia” ). According to James 1:18, those begotten by the word of truth are “ a kind of Ž rst-fruits of God’ s creatures.” With the notion of “ the Ž rst- fruits” comes an eschatological orientation toward God’ s kingdom (cf. Rev. 14:4). Its status as the Spirit-produced Ž rst-fruits of the new creation in Christ is what, according to Newbigin, not only makes the Church the “ sign” of the salvation wrought in Christ but also impels the Church to be God’ s “ instrument” in spreading the gospel of its coming.

In the 1950s and the early 1960s, the missiology of the ecumenical movement was deeply indebted to Newbigin’ s christological and pneu- matological— in fact fully trinitarian— vision. Under his drafter’ s hand, already the “ Statement on the Missionary Calling of the Church” issuing from the Willingen conference of the IMC in 1952 reads (in part):

On the foundation of this accomplished work [of Christ’ s death, resurrec- tion and ascension] God has sent forth His Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, to gather us into one Body in Him, to guide us into all truth, to enable us to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, to empower us for the continu- ance of His mission as His witnesses and ambassadors, the Ž rst-fruits and earnest of its completion.

By the Spirit we are enabled both to press forward as ambassadors of Christ, beseeching all men to be reconciled to God, and also to wait with sure conŽ dence for the Ž nal victory of His love, of which He has given us most sure promises.

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In Newbigin’ s own tract, Trinitarian Faith and Today’ s Mission (1964), the Holy Spirit Ž gures as the energy in “ the pattern of missionary advance.” In uenced by the work of Roland Allen on St. Paul’ s missionary methods,

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For a full account of Newbigin’ s career, theologically interpreted, see Geoffrey Wainwright, Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 8 2000).

See Missions under the Cross , ed. Norman Goodall (London: Edinburgh House Press, 1953), 188-92.

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Newbigin sees the apostle as ever eager to move on, convinced that “ the Holy Spirit of God is himself the missionary,” “ the essential resource for witness and growth,” and “ the source of truth and holiness” in the rapidly established new congregations which will themselves soon take respon- sibility, under the Spirit’ s impulse and guidance, for propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ among their neighbors.

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These thoughts are further developed in The Open Secret , the missio- logical treatise that sprang from Newbigin’ s teaching at the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham after his retirement from India.

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As the free, sovereign agent of mission, the Spirit goes ahead of the Church, guiding, surprising, and changing it (the conversion of Cornelius is also a “ con- version” of Peter in favor of the Gentile mission). The Spirit, as Advocate, defends those who witness to Christ (John 15:18-27; cf. Mark 13:11) and confutes their adversaries, “ proving to the accusing world that its funda- mental and moral convictions are wrong and proved wrong by the work of Jesus (John 16:8-11)” (68/61). With the Spirit as the source of hope, the Church can “ work and wait with both eagerness and patience for the fullness of what God has promised for his whole creation” (71/63): “ By obediently following where the Spirit leads, often in ways” — Newbigin insists also from personal experience as a missionary— “ neither planned, known, nor understood, the Church acts out the hope which it is given by the presence of the Spirit who is the living foretaste of the Kingdom” (72/65). The Spirit may go ahead of the Church as a preparation for the gospel, but it is the Church that the Spirit goes ahead of: Newbigin will have no truck with any alleged work of the Spirit that would be ultimately unrelated to building up the body of Christ.

Theological resonances may perhaps be heard between an ecumenical missiology as represented by Lesslie Newbigin and the understanding and practice of mission among Pentecostals. We may look for evidence to the four rounds of dialogue between “ some classical Pentecostal churches and leaders” and the Roman Catholic Church, which itself had entered fully and ofŽ cially into the ecumenical movement only with the Second Vatican

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This short writing of Newbigin’ s Ž rst appeared under the title The Relevance of Trinitarian Doctrine for Today’ s Mission (London: Edinburgh House Press, 1963). The author himself preferred the title of the American edition, Trinitarian Faith and Today’ s Mission10 (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1964).

Lesslie Newbigin, The Open Secret: Sketches for a Missionary Theology (London: SPCK; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978); revised edition, The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995). Longer quotations will be cited in the text according to the pages in both editions (1978/1995).

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Council (1962-1965). From its Ž rst report in 1976, the dialogue’ s declared object has been “ Christians coming closer together in prayer and common witness” (#4, p. 713). Devoted to “ perspectives on koinonia,” the third report (1989) declared that “ Roman Catholics and Pentecostals lament the scan- dal of disunity between Christians. The lack of agreement on how koinonia should be lived out in the church, and our lasting divisions, cloud the world’ s perception of God’ s work of reconciliation. Insofar as koinonia is obscured, the effectiveness of the witness is impaired. For the sake of giving an effective gospel witness, the issue of Christian unity must be kept before us” — and John 17:21 was invoked in its entirety (#38, p. 740; cf. the fuller development of this point in the 1997 report, ##85-89, pp. 768-69).

The report of 1989 describes how, “ in their own way,” Pentecostals “ afŽ rm that the church is both a sign and an instrument of salvation” :

As the new people of God, the church is called both to re ect the reality of God’ s eschatological kingdom in history and to announce its coming into the world, insofar as people open their lives to the in-breaking of the Holy Spirit. In Pentecostal understanding, the church as a community is an instru- ment of salvation in the same sense in which each one of its members is both a sign and instrument of salvation. In their own way, both the com- munity as a whole and the individual members that comprise it give wit- ness to God’ s redeeming grace. (#94, pp. 748f.)

The language of “ sign” and “ instrument” proved to be agreed termino- logy in the report of year 2000 from the Pentecostal-Reformed dialogue: “ The Church is a sign of the reign of God that has been inaugurated by Jesus Christ” (#64). “ [T]he Church is birthed by the Spirit and serves as an instrument of the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed and inaugurated” (#79).

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During the fourth round of the Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue, Gary B. McGee’ s “ historical review of Pentecostal mission theology” was delivered under the title “ Apostolic Power for End-Times Evangelism” (cf. Growth in Agreement II , p. 778, n. 2). Pentecostals hold that “ baptism in the Spirit” constitutes “ empowerment for Christian witness.” Pentecostals “ stress the urgency of proclamation because many believe in the imminence of [the second coming of Christ]” (1997 report, #16, p. 756). While some charisms are given “ more for personal ediŽ cation (cf. 1 Cor. 14:4a),” and some “ provide service for others,” “ some especially are given to conŽ rm evangelization (cf. Mark 16:15-20)” (#27, p. 758). The gifts of the Spirit given for the sake of witness include tongues-speaking, healing, and

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“ Word and Spirit, Church and World,” quoted from the text in Pneuma 23, no. 1 (Spring 2001), here pp. 29 and 32.

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liberation from the forces of evil. “ Most Pentecostals,” it is said in the report from the Pentecostal-Reformed dialogue, “ believe that baptism in the Holy Spirit is for the empowerment of believers to be effective wit- nesses of the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). This empower- ment includes divine calling, equipping, commissioning, and the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit throughout mission” (#66); thus it is that “ [t]he ministry of Jesus Christ . . . continues in the world by the power of the Spirit working through the eschatological people of God” (#74).

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Already during the second round of the Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue, a tension was noted that would be more fully developed in the report of the fourth round. It concerns an issue that will likely become more controversial on the ecumenical front during such years as remain, namely, the character of any work of the Holy Spirit that may occur beyond the current bounds of the Church, and particularly among adher- ents of non-Christian religions. Paragraphs 20-21 of the fourth report read thus (1997, pp. 756-57):

Catholics and Pentecostals both agree that the Holy Spirit prepares indi- viduals and peoples for the reception of the gospel, despite the fallen con- dition of humankind. While they believe that “ ever since the creation of the world, the visible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’ s understanding of created things” (Rom. 1:20; cf. Ps. 19:1-4), their perspectives diverge over the existence and/or meaning of salviŽ c elements found in non-Christian religions. Catholics and Pente- costals agree that those who are saved have been saved without exception through the death of Christ. Catholics do not deny that the Spirit may be at work in other religions “ preparing the way for the gospel” (cf. Evan- gelization in the Modern World, 53). Catholics also say, “ Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or his church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through dictates of their

12

Ibid., 29 and 31. In The Apostolic Faith Restored (1916), B. F. Lawrence had writ- ten: “ [W]e desire a return to New Testament power and custom along those lines of activ- ity which made evident beyond controversy that the church was the living body of a living Christ. We believe that healing for the body, expulsion of demons, speaking in other tongues, were in early times the result of an activity of the Holy Spirit in direct harmony with, nay, stronger still, a direct result of the divine attitude towards the church and the world. Further we hold that this attitude was the only one consistent with the divine nature. If this is true, then with the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews we say, ‘ Jesus Christ is the same yes- terday, today and forever,’ and expect the immutable nature to maintain an unchanged atti- tude accompanied by the same glorious results” (13); and: “ The baptism [of the Spirit] makes everyone a messenger; some of course, are more deŽ nitely chosen than others; but all are to beseech the world to be reconciled to God” (24).

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conscience— those too may achieve eternal salvation” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 16).

Many Pentecostals on the other hand, like many of the early Christians, tend to point out the demonic elements in other religions. When Pentecostals acknowledge the work of the Spirit in the world, convincing people of sin, righteousness and judgment (cf. John 16:8-11), they generally do not acknowl- edge the presence of salviŽ c elements in non-Christian religions. Some Pentecostals would see a convergence towards the Catholic position above in that the Holy Spirit is at work in non-Christian religions, preparing indi- vidual hearts for an eventual exposure to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pentecostals and Catholics, however, together believe that there is only one Name whereby we can be saved (cf. Acts 4:12). Both believe in the neces- sity of responding to the divine invitation to seek him and to Ž nd him (cf. Acts 17:27).

In the second report, the “ classical Pentecostal participants” had bluntly declared, with appeal to John 3:3, that “ non-Christians are excluded from the life of the Spirit” (1982, #14, p. 723).

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Worship

In the twentieth century, there was an evident con uence between the ecumenical movement as such and the liturgical movement which worked at the renewal of worship in the Roman Catholic Church and the main- stream Protestant churches; the Church of South India, for instance, was both a product and an agent of the two movements.

14

One remarkable rediscovery— inspired by patristic scholarship and the encounter with the Eastern Orthodox churches— was that of the pneumatological epiclesis, whereby the Holy Spirit is invoked upon the assembly, its ritual action, and, where appropriate, the material elements. Not merely a verbal change introduced in the textual revisions of service books, this feature helped to stimulate a greater sense of the liturgy as the place where, in terms of St. Basil’ s treatise On the Holy Spirit , the Father’ s blessings reach us through the Son in the Holy Spirit and, matchingly, our grateful response in the Spirit mounts through Christ to the Father. The pattern is biblical: through Christ we have access in the one Spirit to the Father (cf. Eph.

13

An initial exploration of the religious question has been undertaken by the Assemblies of God theologian Amos Yong, Discerning the Spirit(s): A Pentecostal-Charismatic Contri- bution to Christian Theology of Religions (ShefŽ eld, England: ShefŽ eld Academic Press, 2000). Yong’ s approach by way of a “ pneumatological imagination” is likely to prove controversial to the 14 extent that it suspends— however temporarily— the christological connection.

See Geoffrey Wainwright, Worship with One Accord: Where Liturgy and Ecumenism Embrace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), esp. chap. 1 (pp. 1-18).

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2:18), or (as the Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue put it) the “ prayer of praise” is “ the adoration of the Father in the Spirit and in the truth of Christ (cf. John 4:23-24)” (1976 report, #42, p. 719). In terms of perfor- mance and experience, the worship of many Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations has also been affected by the presence within the “ historic churches” of participants in the transconfessional Charismatic Movement that has afŽ nities with Pentecostalism.

In their third dialogue report, it is stated that “ [b]oth Roman Catholics and Pentecostals agree that the Holy Spirit is the source of koinonia, or communion. The church has been gathered in the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 13:13)” (1989, #30, p. 739). Further, they “ acknowledge the need to invoke the Holy Spirit. In accordance with this invocation, they believe in the presence of God whenever two or three are gathered in Christ’ s name (cf. Matt. 18:20)” (#77, p. 746). The Pentecostals then describe their assem- bly thus (#96, p. 749):

For Pentecostals, the central element of worship is the preaching of the word. As persons respond to the proclamation of the word, the Spirit gives them new birth, which is a pre-sacramental experience, thereby making them Christians and in this sense creating the church. Of secondary impor- tance are participation in baptism and the Lord’ s Supper, spontaneous exer- cise of the charismata, and the sharing of personal testimonies.

In an earlier round (1976 report, #34, p. 718), the two parties had jointly described “ corporate worship” as

a focal expression of the worshipper’ s daily life as he or she speaks to God and to other members of the community in songs of praise and words of thanksgiving (Eph. 5:19-20; 1 Cor. 14:26). Our Lord is present in the mem- bers of his body, manifesting himself in worship by means of a variety of charismatic expressions. He is also present by the power of his Spirit in the Eucharist. The participants [in the dialogue] recognized that there was a growing understanding of the unity which exists between the formal struc- ture of the congregation and the spontaneity of the charismatic gifts. This unity was exempliŽ ed by the Pauline relationship between chapters 11 and 14 of 1 Corinthians.

Now, in 1989, the two sides issue a mutual challenge (#97, p. 749):

Pentecostals ask Roman Catholics whether they could not deepen the expe- riential dimension of koinonia through spontaneous exercise of the gifts and the sharing of personal testimonies. Convinced that word and sacra- ment cannot be separated in worship, Catholics ask Pentecostals to re-exam- ine the dynamic relationship between these two in the celebration of baptism and the Lord’ s Supper.

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As Catholic theologians deeply involved in dialogue with Pentecostals, the Benedictine Kilian McDonnell and the Jesuit Donald Gelpi have high- lighted the pneumatological dimension of the sacraments and their con- versional functionality in ways that both help Pentecostals to a greater appreciation of the sacraments and help Catholics and others to a more vivid experience of them.

15

The key issues between Pentecostals and the historic churches, whether Catholic or Protestant, reside somewhere in the relations between faith, water baptism, regeneration, and the continuing work or further gift of the Holy Spirit. “ In the Pentecostal movement,” it is said, “ ‘ being bap- tized in the Spirit’ , being Ž lled with the Holy Spirit’ , and ‘ receiving the Holy Spirit’ are understood as occurring in a decisive experience distinct from conversion whereby the Holy Spirit manifests himself, empowers and transforms one’ s life, and enlightens one as to the whole reality of the Christian mystery (Acts 2:4; 8:17; 10:44; 19:6)” (Pentecostal-Roman Catholic report, 1976, #12, pp. 714f ). Pentecostal participants in the dia- logue with the Roman Catholic Church agreed that such “ baptism in the Holy Spirit” should not exclude “ traditional understandings of the expe- rience of, and faith in, the reality of Christian initiation” (ibid., #14, p. 715). It was agreed that “ [t]he Holy Spirit, being the agent of regen- eration, is given in Christian initiation” (ibid., #18, p. 716), and that “ [t]he Holy Spirit dwells in all Christians (Rom. 8:9), and not just in those ‘ bap- tized in the Holy Spirit’ . The difference between a committed Christian without such a Pentecostal experience is generally not only a matter of theological focus, but also that of expanded openness and expectancy with regard to the Holy Spirit and his gifts” (ibid., #16, p. 715). While that aspect of the matter may thus appear reasonably settled between Pentecostals and not only Roman Catholics but also other historic churches, the third report revealed in paragraphs 41-51 (pp. 741-42) a pair of issues that more broadly pit “ baptist” and many “ evangelical” Christians against the “ sacramental.” In what sense(s) must faith precede or accompany water baptism? One side asks how in the case of infants that may at all be so. Or if, from the other side, personal “ conversion” and even regeneration

15

See Kilian McDonnell, Charismatic Renewal and the Churches (New York: Seabury Press, 1976); Charismatic Renewal and Ecumenism (New York: Paulist Press, 1978); The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan: The Trinitarian and Cosmic Order of Salvation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1996); and, with George T. Montague, Christian Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit: Evidence from the First Eight Centuries (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990). Donald L. Gelpi, Charism and Sacrament: A Theology of Christian Conversion (New York and Paramus, NJ: Paulist Press, 1976); Committed Worship: A Sacramental Theology for Converting Christians (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1993).

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belong before water baptism, what is left for water baptism to accom- plish? In the dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church (1989 report, #50, p. 742), Pentecostals state that water baptism

serves to strengthen the faith of those who have repented and believed in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Often a person will have a deep spiritual experience at baptism (manifested sometimes, for instance, by speaking in tongues). Provided that the person who is being baptized has experienced conversion, some Pentecostals would even speak of baptism as a “ means of grace.” Without denying the salvation of the unbaptized, all Pentecostals would consider baptism to be an integral part of the whole experience of becoming Christian.

Past Problems and Future Prospects

Relations have not been easy, on either side, between Pentecostals and what are sometimes called “ the ecumenical churches.” The Ž rst report from the Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue spoke in 1976 of Pentecostal churches as coming into being “ over the last Ž fty or sixty years when some Protestant churches expelled those who made speaking in tongues and other charismatic manifestations an integral part of their spirituality” (#7, p. 714). A couple of Pentecostal churches in Chile and one in Brazil came into membership of the World Council of Churches in the 1960s, and the WCC Faith and Order Commission has included one or two Pentecostal theologians. After the 1991 Canberra Assembly of the World Council of Churches— which met under the banner of a cosmic epiclesis (“ Come, Holy Spirit: Renew the Whole Creation” ) but with some appar- ent loss of christological focus— attempts were made to woo Pentecostals into a more broadly conceived association with the WCC, but Pentecostals generally remained suspicious of an institution that many Evangelical observers and Orthodox participants at Canberra judged in need of a return to its biblical and soteriological roots in a Christ-centered trinitarianism with a message of redemption to the world.

16

In this context, the sus- tained dialogue between Pentecostals and the Roman Catholic Church assumes special importance as a venture that takes up the concerns of the earlier ecumenical movement for unity in life, mission, and worship and

16

See Signs of the Spirit: OfŽ cial Report, Seventh Assembly, Canberra, Australia, 7-20 February 1991 , ed. Michael Kinnamon (Geneva: WCC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 15-16 and 37-47 for the controversial events, and 279-86 for the Orthodox and Evangeli- cal criticisms.

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sets them in a new key that may hold promise of resolution.

17

In the fourth report, both partners express the hope that Pentecostals will “ share their visions of greater Christian unity with other Christians” — which would entail, say their participants, that Pentecostals rediscover “ the richness of their earliest call to facilitate unity between all Christians, by internaliz- ing anew the role the Holy Spirit has presumably played in the birth of these deep yearnings” (1997, ##87-88, pp. 768-69).

18

Throughout the ecumenical movement, the ecclesiological and the broader doctrinal issues have been interwoven. Pneumatologically put, it has been a matter of discerning the Spirit’ s presence and work, of spec- ifying the signs by which the Holy Spirit is known and the instruments by which the Holy Spirit lets himself be conveyed. Structurally, “ Pentecostals tend to view denominations as more or less legitimate manifestations of the one universal church. Their legitimacy depends on the degree of their faithfulness to the fundamental doctrines of the scripture” (Pentecostal- Roman Catholic dialogue, 1989 report, #34, p. 740). By contrast, “ Roman Catholics consider the establishment of denominations which result from the lack of love and/or divergence in matters of faith as departures away from the unity of the one church, which in fulŽ lment of the command of the Lord remains visibly one and subsists in the Roman Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium , 8)” (ibid.). Those may perhaps be considered, in terms of ecumenism, as two extremes in “ the understanding of [the] one church and of the way one belongs to it” (ibid.). Is it possible that, from their interaction, insights and energy may result that beneŽ t the entire ecu- menical cause?

Perhaps the process can be framed in terms of the need for both con- tinuity and renewal as factors in the visibility demanded of the Church as the united company of Christ’ s followers in the service of the gospel and the glory of God. In their dialogue, Pentecostals and Roman Catholics agree that “ the present state of visible separation in Christianity is a con- tradiction of the unity into which we are called by Christ” and consequently

17

Learned studies of the Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue are two works by Veli- Matti Kä rkkä inen: Spiritus ubi vult spirat: Pneumatology in Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue (1972-1989) , Helsinki: Luther-Agricola Society, 1998, and Ad ultimum terrae: Evangelization, Proselytism and Common Witness in the Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue 18 (1990-1997) , Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1999.

That the earlier vision remained alive in some parts of Pentecostalism is evidenced in an item of the 1949 “ Manifesto and Declaration” of the World Pentecostal Conference: “ To demonstrate to the world the essential unity of Spirit-baptized believers fulŽ lling the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘ That all may be one,’ John 17:21” ; see Growth in Agreement II, 778, n. 12.

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agree also on the need “ to discern alertly, and in an ongoing way, the character and shape of the visible unity demanded by koinonia” (1989 report, #37, p. 740). Precisely because “ today God is bestowing his Spirit everywhere on Christians from different churches, promoting unity around our common Lord,” so “ the common experience of the Holy Spirit chal- lenges us to strive for greater visible unity as we re ect on the shape God wants this unity to take” (ibid., #32, p. 739). Now, Pentecostals have become more willing than in earlier years to recognize the presence and work of the Holy Spirit across “ the nineteen centuries” (1976 report, #14, p. 715) between apostolic and contemporary times, recognizing that “ the Holy Spirit has never ceased manifesting himself throughout the entire history of the church” in manners that have differed “ according to the times and cultures” (ibid., #16, p. 715). Could this recognition lead Pentecostals— and those Protestants who also tend to a more discon- tinuous view of Christian history— to a more positive view of those sacra- mental and institutional features that Catholicism considers necessary to the mediation of the Christian tradition? Contrariwise, could the Roman Catholic Church arrive at a more positive view even of those apparent movements of the Spirit that have occurred at the cost of ecclesial dis- ruption (the Reformation) or quite beyond its own institutional bounds (Methodism and, of course, Pentecostalism)? In each case, the presuppo- sition is, of course, a present commitment to the search for Christian unity in life, mission, and worship.

Classic ecumenists will share the agreement between Roman Catholics and Pentecostals, recorded in the 1989 report from their dialogue (#106, p. 750), that

the ofŽ ces and structures of the church, as indeed every aspect of the church, are in a continual need of renewal insofar as they are institutions of men and women here on earth. This presumes that the Spirit can breathe new life into the church’ s ofŽ ces and structures when these become “ dry bones” (Ezek. 37). This ongoing effort at renewal has important ecumenical impli- cations. This is an essential dynamism of “ the movement towards unity” of the people of God ( Unitatis Redintegratio , 6).

The Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue declared from the start that “ its immediate scope was ‘ not to concern itself with the problems of immi- nent structural union’ ” (1976 report, introduction, p. 713), and successive reports repeated the point in their introductions. Yet, it must be hoped that Pentecostals will take part in that “ patient and fraternal dialogue” to which Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint of Ascension Day 1995, invited “ Church leaders and their theologians,” on the basis of “ the real but

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The One Hope of Your Calling?

imperfect communion existing between us,” in an effort to “ Ž nd a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essen- tial to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation” (##95-96).

Certainly, in that encyclical in which he reafŽ rmed the “ irrevocable commitment” of the Roman Catholic Church to the ecumenical cause, John Paul II proposed a pneumatological and eschatological vision of the church and interpreted the twentieth-century history of Christianity in that light. Thus in paragraph 14:

In accordance with the great Tradition, attested to by the Fathers of the East and of the West, the Catholic Church believes that in the Pentecost Event God has already manifested the Church in her eschatological reality, which he had prepared “ from the time of Abel, the just one.” This reality is some- thing already given. Consequently we are even now in the last times. The elements of this already given Church exist, found in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other Communities, where certain features of the Christian mystery have at times been more effec- tively emphasized. Ecumenism is directed precisely to making the partial communion existing between Christians grow towards full communion in truth and charity.

The Pope repeatedly acknowledges the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in other Christian communities as well as the Roman Catholic Church (##9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 22, 42, 48, 95) and attributes the ecumeni- cal movement to the inspiration and fostering of the Holy Spirit (##7, 12, 15, 30, 41). He views ecumenical dialogue as guided by the Spirit of Truth (##36, 38, 41, 80-81) and as entailing not simply an exchange of ideas but an “ exchange of gifts” (#28). The gifts of the Spirit in the sep- arated communities can help to build up the Roman Catholic Church, too (##38, 48), and the saints and martyrs are already shared in the “ com- munio sanctorum” : “ [W]e Christians already have a common martyrol- ogy,” and the “ saints come from all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities which gave them entrance into the communion of salvation” (#84). A “ spiritual ecumenism” includes a “ dialogue of conversion” that “ draw[s] the Christian communities into [a] completely interior spiritual space in which Christ, by the power of the Spirit, leads them all, without excep- tion, to examine themselves before the Father and to ask themselves whether they have been faithful to his plan for the Church” (#82). In that “ spiritual space,” “ each community hears the call to overcome the obsta- cles to unity. All Christian Communities know that, thanks to the power given by the Spirit, obeying [the] will [of the Father] and overcoming those obstacles are not beyond their reach” (#83). With a reminder that

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“ unity is above all for the glory of the Father,” John Paul II endorses the “ missionary outlook” of the ecumenical movement in the twentieth cen- tury, declaring it “ obvious that the lack of unity among Christians con- tradicts the Truth which Christians have the mission to spread and, consequently, gravely damages their witness” (#98). Knowing “ the grave obstacle which the lack of unity represents for the proclamation of the Gospel,” the Bishop of Rome has made the ecumenical task “ one of the pastoral priorities” of his pontiŽ cate (#99), and he remains convinced that

a Christian Community which believes in Christ and desires, with Gospel fervor, the salvation of mankind can hardly be closed to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who leads all Christians towards full and visible unity. Here an imperative of charity is in question, an imperative which admits of no exception. Ecumenism is not only an internal question of the Christian Communities. It is a matter of the love which God has in Jesus Christ for all humanity; to stand in the way of this love is an offence against him and against his plan to gather all people in Christ.

And the Pope ended his encyclical on a pneumatological note (#102):

The power of God’ s Spirit gives growth and builds up the Church down the centuries. As the Church turns her gaze to the new millennium, she asks the Spirit for the grace to strengthen her own unity and to make it grow towards full communion with other Christians.

How is the Church to obtain this grace? In the Ž rst place, through prayer. Prayer should always concern itself with the longing for unity, and as such is one of the basic forms of our love for Christ and for the Father who is rich in mercy . . .

How is she to obtain this grace? Through giving thanks , so that we do not present ourselves empty-handed at the appointed time: “ Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness . . . [and] intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26), disposing us to ask God for what we need.

How is she to obtain this grace? Through hope in the Spirit, who can banish from us the painful memories of our separation. The Spirit is able to grant us clear-sightedness, strength and courage to take whatever steps are necessary, that our commitment may be ever more authentic.

It may just be that Ecumenicals and Pentecostals are, after all, joined in one calling and one hope. To quote the Apostle (Ephesians 4:3-6):

. . . [M]aintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in the one hope that belongs to your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

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Appendix

The import of a diachronic reading of the church for the synchronic task of restoring unity among Christians is recognized toward the end of the third report of the Pentecostal-Roman Catholic dialogue (1989, ##107- 8, pp. 750-51):

Pentecostal and Roman Catholics appear to view the history of the church quite differently. The members of this dialogue believe that the differences in these perspectives deserve further mutual exploration. Both Pentecostals and Roman Catholics recognize that continuity in history by itself is no guarantee of spiritual maturity or of doctrinal soundness. Increasingly, both traditions are coming to share a genuine appreciation for the value that church history reveals for them today.

Roman Catholics believe that the contemporary church is in continuity with the church in the New Testament. Pentecostals, in uenced by restora- tionist perspectives, have claimed continuity with the church in the New Testament by arguing for discontinuity with much of the historical church. By adopting these two positions, one of continuity, the other of disconti- nuity, each tradition has attempted to demonstrate its faithfulness to the apostolic faith “ once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The signiŽ cance of this for the welfare of the whole church urges upon us the need of fur- ther common re ection on the history of the church.

As an example of how a pneumatological reading of history will, it is hoped, help resolve divisions between Catholics and a Protestant family of churches, let me invoke the dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church, in which I have been person- ally engaged for some twenty years. From the start, the Joint Commission recognized in its Denver Report of 1971 a congeniality between the “ spir- itualities” of the two traditions— the “ entire sanctiŽ cation” preached by the Wesleys and the “ universal call to holiness” reiterated in the Vatican II Constitution on the Church. The Singapore Report of 1991 on The Apostolic Tradition spoke of features in early Methodism as “ part of a fresh and extraordinary outpouring of the gift of the Spirit who never ceases to enliven and unify the Church” (#93, Growth in Agreement II , p. 615), and went on in the next paragraph (615-16):

[W]e rejoice in the work of the Spirit who has already brought us this far together, recognizing that the ecumenical movement of which we are a part is itself a grace of the Holy Spirit for the unity of Christians. When the time comes that Methodists and Catholics declare their readiness for that “ full communion in faith, mission and sacramental life” towards which they are working, the mutual recognition of ministry will be achieved not only by their having reached doctrinal consensus, but it will also depend on a

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fresh creative act of reconciliation which acknowledges the manifold yet uniŽ ed activity of the Holy Spirit throughout the ages. It will involve a joint act of obedience to the sovereign word of God.

Both the 1991 report and the two subsequent reports—The Word of Life: A Statement on Revelation and Faith (1996; in Growth in Agreement II, pp. 618-46) and Speaking the Truth in Love: Teaching Authority among Catholics and Methodists (2001)— were strongly trinitarian in content, with explicit recognition of the pneumatological dimension of all the themes treated. It may therefore be expected that the same will be the case when, in the next phase of its work just under way, the Joint Commission seeks to discern those threads of continuity amid the dis- ruptions of the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries that will be integral to an increasingly positive mutual evaluation among the parties in the pre- sent and a more complete reconciliation in the future.

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