Thursday, October 17, 2002

Word and Power Church

Ive been reading The Word and Power Church by Doug Banister who is the teaching Pastor of Fellowship Church - Knoxville, TN.

His premise is that we are at a point in history where Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism are merging into one stream. Ive read the first four chapters.

So far, he has pointed out the "sin" of the evangelicals, which was to condemn and even at some times physically beat people who spoke in tongues. Ive seen this in our own denomination (not they physical but certainly the verbal). But this was also 10-15 years ago, and you wouldnt find it very easily today. It disappeared with the last generation.

Then, he has pointed out the "sin" of pentecostalism as saying that if you don't speak in tongues, you dont have the Holy Spirit. He quotes Jack Hayford in his book, The Beauty of Spiritual Language, as saying that speaking in tongues is not the only evidence of being Spirit-filled. The other "sin" of pentecostalism, according to Banister, has been weak theology.

So far I have a couple of questions. Will Banister address whether the "Health and Wealth" movement is weak theology? If there is a "second filling" that helps to stop sin much more significantly, why are there "second filled" pentecostals caught in as much sin as "first filled" evangelicals? On page 40, he gives Marks story. Mark was a pentecostal preacher who saw "deaf girl healed... legs growing -- everything!" But he was "abusive to his wife... looking at pornography..." The emphasis on the second filling as having a significant step of power seems weak.

Another concern is in chapter 3, page 38, he says that most of his church is either from other evangelical churches or other pentecostal churches. Then a "final portion" werent involved in church. My hope is to get a significant portion who weren't involved in church.

Instead of a "merging of two rivers," I wonder if it isnt something new. New wineskins... Of course, we will see elements of pentecostalism and evangelicalism, but I wonder if something like Brian McLarens A New Kind of Christian isnt more what we are talking about, and more of what will lead a significant portion of people who arent from either stream into a powerful relationship with Jesus Christ.

But all at the same time, I think many of us long for power over sin and sickness and poverty and demons. I am open and even long for some conversation with others who seem to have a more "intimate" relationship with God. Ill read on.

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