Groping for Indentity (The Benefits and Problems)

Chapter IV

The Benefits and Problems

Benefits

 “Conflict is a fact of life throughout society, including the church. Conflict that hones the edge of an organization and keeps it mindful of and true to its purpose is healthy. An organization with no conflict at all must have either no purpose at all or, at best, a very frivolous purpose.”[1] Possibly the greatest benefit of the way the church has dealt with postmodernism is the very tension it caused. This tension has caused a church to look deep within and ask the hard, but needed questions.

Seeker-Sensitive/ New Paradigm

The Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm churches have offered some amazing benefits for the church in the Twenty-First Century. “The church-growth movement stresses the centrality of the church, the priority of mission, the possibility of growth, the necessity of speaking to outsiders, the acknowledgment of cultures and the insistence on real results, and the wisdom of using the best insights and technologies proffered by the key disciples of the human sciences.”[2]

The Seeker Sensitive/New Paradigm churches stressed the need for more management of the congregation, how to get things done by promoting management tools, such as mission/vision statements, organizational design, team building and training.[3] Although to some people the ideal of management has a sinister ring of manipulation, if the best fruits of the management revolution in the church are practiced constructively and critically, the potential for the gospel would be incalculable.[4]

The Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm churches were the most influential movement the American church saw in decades and they gave significant expression for the lost authority of faith.[5] The ability to see the cultural and spiritual shifts taking place are enormously important for the future of the church in the twenty-first century. This movement historically is significant as a group that refused to sit on the sidelines and watch the Christian faith become more secular in its public life and pluralistic in it private life.[6]

The Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm churches have been the most successful in their ability to meet the spiritual needs of those who are looking for a safe place to explore what Christianity is and to minister to new believers.[7] Bullock says, “A key point that we should keep in mind is that the seeker sensitive church is winning people to Jesus Christ. Our ministers see this and desire to want the same thing; I applaud them for wanting to see people won for Jesus.”[8]

The Emergent Church

The greatest benefit the Emergent Church brings to Christianity, in the twenty-first century, is the idea of a lived-out faith.[9] It is the Emergent Church’s desire to reclaim the ancient notion of the church as primarily a people called out and called together according to God’s will for the purpose of redeeming God’s beloved cosmos that highlights a great strength.[10] For the Emergent Church, church is a verb rather than a noun; a belief that is opposed to the common misconception of church as a place to meet once a week, but a 24/7 affair that requires nothing less than a commitment to authentic and meaningful community wherein whole persons live out their new identity in Christ as the adopted children of God.[11]

Within the Emergent Church, relationships and friendships take on a deeper meaning. “A recurring theme from post-church group members was the importance of friendship. People repeatedly said that they continue to go to their group because they have close friends there who care for them, support them and whose company they enjoy.”[12]  This idea of community has touched a chord with the postmodern, which gives the Emergent Church a wonderful platform in which to move with the message of Jesus Christ.

“The Emergent Church is strongly affected by the belief that theology becomes a conversation in the community, and all of us can learn from it. On one issue they are exactly right. Theology is meant to be lived out in community.”[13] This one lesson must be learned from the Emergent Church, being the body of Christ in the market place; seeing the full impact of the Holy Spirit as he transforms lives.

A hallmark principle of the Emergent Church is its focus on contextualization, the church delivering its message within the context of the culture.[14]  Redman has observed, “While some critics view
this as the ‘secularizing’ of worship, missiologists and church-growth experts view it as the ‘inculturation’ or ‘contextualization’ of worship.”[15] Osborne says, “At the heart it (contextualization) entails cross-cultural communication, and while the theory is fairly recent, the process characterizes not only Christianity but every religion that has appeared on earth as each relates its theories to the marketplace.”[16]

Pentecostals

“Perhaps it would be a good exercise for every pastor and spiritual leader to examine every aspect and detail of what is going on in their church.”[17] This ability to look in the mirror and take a self assessment is critical to the Pentecostal Church’s continued health and success. The Pentecostal Church owes a great debt for the tension caused by postmodernism as it finds new ways to interact with society. The benefits of self reflection, in regards to postmodernism, offer the opportunity to see hundreds touched by the very hand of God.[18]

Although it may cause the church great pain and discomfort when this generation says, “The virtues of Jesus are great and his teaching on love outstanding, but for Christians to insist that we follow Jesus as the only hope is completely unacceptable,”[19] the church must have the patience to ask, why do they believe that?  If the church will take the time and have the proper attitude to ask those questions without closing up doors and locking the world out, the possibilities to reach the postmodern is tremendous.

The Pentecostal Church’s reaction to postmodernism cause it to once again find ways to reach beyond the four walls of the church building and continue as the body of Jesus Christ in all his fullness. There are two things the Pentecostal Church must keep in mind when reaching out to the postmodern, (1) they are completely open to the supernatural and mysteries;[20] and (2) God has chosen to pour out his Spirit upon all flesh in order that the church of Jesus Christ would go into the schools, markets, the work site, public places, neighborhoods, homes, recreational sites, and families to proclaim the greatest message ever given-Jesus saves.[21]

The Pentecostal Church’s reaction to postmodernism has allowed creativity to flow in the church once again as new and exciting ways are discussed to enhance the church and find ways to make connection to the postmodern. This benefit cannot be underestimated and its effects must be honored. The Pentecostal Church must embrace these new, cutting edge ways of reaching the postmodern.

Another benefit of how the church responded to postmodernism is the updating of how church is to be conducted, making the church a pleasant place, comfortable and friendly. The Pentecostal Church must ensure a safe place where people who are searching for answers to the complex issues of the day can come and ask hard and difficult questions and not feel alienated in the process.[22]

Problems

As wonderful as the benefits are in how the church responded to postmodernism, the problems are many and troubling. For the Pentecostal Church, the problems threaten to change the church at its very core doctrines and beliefs. The idea within the Postmodern Church that it is not important how a person believes, it is only important how they live[23] leaves no foundation for the person to stand on. “The New Paradigm Christians tend to be relatively uninterested in doctrine. They are doctrinal minimalists, with the focus on retelling the narratives of the Bible and seeking analogues to the experience of their members.”[24]

Johnston quotes Ravi Zacharias from his book, Can Man Live without God?, in describing the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts on Ohio State University campus, the first deconstructionist building, “Puzzlement only intensifies when you enter the building, for inside you encounter stairways that go nowhere, pillars that hang from the ceiling without touching the floor, and angled surfaces configured to create a sense of vertigo. The architect, we are duly informed, designed this building to reflect life itself-senseless and incoherent-and the ‘capriciousness of the rules that organize the built world.’ When the rationale was explained to me, I had just one question: did he do the same with the foundation?”[25]

No matter how much a movement claims there is no absolute truth or foundation, the simple facts are that without a solid foundation, nothing can stand or last.

The Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm Movement

A troubling trend with the Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm churches has been its focus on reaching the culture by becoming the culture.[26] According to this concept, churches must fully recognize the importance of culture. Even though meticulous attention should be paid to the cultural context of each population subgroup in a community where a church is located,[27] it should be noted that all these churches seem to have a similar look and design. “One evangelical commentator observed that instead of experiencing the local flavor in the neighborhood evangelical church, one is increasingly more likely to find a McDonald’s-like uniformity as large numbers of churches adopt the church growth movement model of organization.”[28]

Another concern with the Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm Movement, in regards to how it responded to postmodernism, is that although they have done a great job of reaching the un-churched and new believers; they could be doing a much better job of helping the more spiritually mature in their relationship with Christ. There is a definite one-sidedness or characteristic of this movement that does not help or encourage those who are more mature in Christ.

Willow Creek Community Church, perhaps the largest and most influential Seeker-Sensitive Church, recently released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. Hybels said, “I got the wakeup call of my adult life.”[29] What they discovered was that the church was not helping the fully devoted followers of Christ as much as they thought they were. Hybels says, “The fully devoted followers of Christ told us that they are not being fed. They want more of the meat of the word of God and to be challenged more. We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and became Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become self feeders. We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their Bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.”[30]

Although the doctrinal statements of The Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm Movement tend to be very strong and biblical, the focus is on the un-churched making discipleship somewhat disconnected. From the parking lot to the end of the weekend service, people are exposed to everything that will make them feel as comfortable as possible and completely entertained. There will be little confrontation or challenge, just connection with people who look and act like they do.  This focus on building relationships seems to leave little time or effort for discipleship.

Willard says, “It is almost universally conceded today that you can be a Christian without being a disciple.”[31] When are people going to learn about the doctrines of the church or learn how they should be living in regards to these beliefs? “Nondiscipeship is the elephant in the church. It is not the much discussed moral failures, financial abuses, or the amazing general similarity between Christians and non-Christians. These are only the effects of the underlying problem. The fundamental negative reality among Christian believers now is their failure to be constantly learning how to live their lives in The Kingdom Among Us. And it is an accepted reality.”[32]

For this movement it is the mid-week believer service which has been designated to accomplish the teaching and discipleship of the believers. However, it has been reported that Willow Creek Community Church has 17,000 in attendance during the week-end services, but only 7,000 in the mid-week service.[33] Although they have an impressive number of attendees, by Hybels own admission, they seem to be coming up short in helping people mature into devoted followers of Jesus Christ.[34]

For the Pentecostal Church the problem is even more dramatic since much of what makes up Pentecostal worship has traditionally happened on Sunday mornings and has been focused on a more holistic approach to encouraging people. Part of the Assemblies of God’s doctrine, when describing the mission of the church is; “God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save the lost, to be worshiped by man, and to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, the priority reason-for-being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is: (1) To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world, (2) To be a corporate body in which man may worship God, and (3) To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His son.”[35]

The way the seeker sensitive service is designed to focus on the un-churched and new believers, leaves very little time or opportunity for the Spirit of God to guide and encourage as he might in a Pentecostal service. “A distinguishing Pentecostal trait is that at almost any time in the service a person might break out with a message in prophecy or speak forth in other tongues, the latter followed by an equally inspired interpretation.  There are abuses, but Spirit-filled people know when the message is from God.  It concerns us greatly that some pastors discourage praise in tongues or manifesting the gifts of the Spirit in church.  Where else should we expect spiritual manifestations to occur?  A church service is a live meeting with the living God!”[36]

In those Pentecostal churches that have adapted the seeker-sensitive approach to worship, the operation of the Holy Spirit has been moved from the worship service to a private experience or designated to small groups. In fact, according to Bullock, the gifts of the Holy Spirit would not be allowed in the public Sunday service in these Pentecostal services.[37] When Bullock asked the Pentecostal pastors of these churches if the gifts of the Holy Spirit were operating in their small groups, not once was the answer a yes.[38] “When everything is controlled, from first impressions in the parking lot to the wardrobe colors and stage movements of the platform party, who controls the church and who controls the controllers? Something of the mysterious and loveable but unwashed reality of the real-life bride of Christ is lost. Something of the impossible-to-predict, category-shattering sovereignty and grace of God is walled off.”[39]

The manifested presence of God should be the sign of a great worship service; God meeting with his people. However, what seems to be the bench mark of success in the church today is how many people are in attendance.[40] Is it possible that church growth can happen in the church today without the Holy Spirit? According to Chan, “Let’s be honest: If you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church. Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming.”[41]

Chan goes on to say, “The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdom and values of this world.”[42] Although this seems to be a strong statement, the perception is that there is something missing in many churches today; the presence of God. The idea that the Seeker Sensitive Church model on its own is the answer for the Pentecostal Church in the Twenty-First Century is contested by Hirsch. “Of the 480,000 or so churches in America, only a very small portion of them can be described as successful seeker-sensitive churches, and most of them have fewer than eighty members What is more, the church in America is in decline in spite of having church growth theory and techniques predominating our thinking for the last forty or so years-for all its overt success in a few remarkable cases, it has failed to halt the decline of the church in America and the rest of the Western world.”[43]

What will re-ignite the American Church? The answer to that question is revival[44] led by the innovative Holy Spirit.[45] With amazing power that lies within the church, a world can be arouse and reengage for Jesus Christ. What is needed in American today is transformation that will bring a lost and broken world back together again.[46] At some point the body of Christ will need to see that attending church once a week is simply not enough.[47]

The Emergent Church

The Emergent Church offers a different set of problems, the greatest to the Pentecostal Church is a lack of Spiritual direction and foundation. “The postmodern way is an experience. The journey is more wandering than directional, more action than belief, more ambiguous than defined. To explain and define the journey of faith would be to cheapen it.”[48] There are a growing number of young Pentecostal preachers who have grabbed hold of this idea and are drawn to it because of the abuses they have seen in the Pentecostal Movement and because they have questions about certain doctrines that have not been taught properly.

Another concern for Pentecostals, when it comes to the Emergent Church, is the way they handle the Word of God. Since propositional truth makes the Emergent Church nervous and uneasy, is it any wonder they don’t see the Bible as the voice of God, but as a ways of new imagining and learning.[49] Bell (an Emergent Church leader) is quoted, “The Bible is still in the center for us, but it’s a different kind of center. We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it.”[50] To explain this new imagining and learning further, Bell’s wife Kristen is quoted, “I grew up thinking that we’ve figured out the Bible, that we knew what it means. Now I have no idea what most of it means.”[51] If Pentecostals are going to adapt to the Emergent Church’s handling of the Word of God, then they reject what has been a part of their inheritance since the beginning. “Among Pentecostals the fact that the Bible is the divine Word places it in an absolute position in the life of the church.”[52]

Some in the Emergent Church question those who insist on a literal approach to Scripture and believe people can get caught up in the details of the text instead of plumbing the meaning of a text.[53] It is said that when Bell speaks to people, he is careful to paraphrase biblical passages, and avoids technical words and doctrinal terms in order to keep from being too literal.[54]

With all the doctrines of the church and certainly the Pentecostal Church, the Emergent Church desires to stay vague at best and completely uncommitted in the extreme. When explaining Scripture in a narrative approach to theology, it cannot be reduced to the point of not having any authority and true meaning. “We must oppose those practitioners who use story theology to deny and replace propositional truth in Scripture.”[55] Without a firm foundation, is there a Pentecostal Church?

Although the Emergent Church would say that “Theology is meant to be lived out in community,”[56] it does not mean to say that each community can discover its own truth, and that truth is as reliable as any other community’s truth.[57] Osborne puts it plainly, “The postmodern turn rightly centers on community, but in replacing logical reasoning with the interpretive community as the matrix of theological truth, it goes too far. Theological truth is Bible-centered, not community-centered, and it is not up for grabs depending on which community you join.”[58]

The Emergent Church tends to struggle to provide adequately for the faith development of their children and teenagers. Although they are aware that this is an important priority they find it difficult to address the range of ages and needs.[59] They also tend to have little or no leadership which leaves them with no sense of direction or overall insufficient leadership.[60] There is a feeling with many in the Emergent Church that there is a lack of worship and prayer in their group life.[61]

The Pentecostal Church

The problems and issues associated with how the church responded to postmodernism cannot rest completely at the feet of the Seeker-Sensitive/New Paradigm or the Emergent Church, but the Pentecostal Church must take a large part of the responsibility also. “Throughout our churches today there is a general agreement that we are not committed to being Pentecostals as we used to be.” [62]

Over the past twenty years there have been terrible abuses by some who call themselves Pentecostals. Charlatans whose only motivation is to see how much money they could steal from people. “Sexual promiscuity and financial misconduct are rampant within the ranks of the Pentecostal church, and little is done about this unless a scandal becomes public.”[63] Pentecostal leaders claim of the wonderful working power of God’s hand, but in the end have only false testimony and no sincerity to show for it. “It is common within Pentecostal circles to use the phrase ‘evangelistically speaking’ to refer to exaggerated numbers or unsubstantiated tales.”[64]

How many times have Pentecostal people had to endure a leader apologizing for moral failure, when that same leader has proclaimed that through the power of the Holy Spirit they could be over comers? It did not take long for even the faithful to be looking for something better than what they were seeing. The Pentecostal Church only needs to look in a mirror to understand why the postmodern no longer believes in absolute truth.

“We may not fully understand what fired the souls of our Pentecostal forefathers, but we do know we have lost something that we must regain if we are to fulfill our divine purpose. It is time to call our people back to God, to seek for a new Pentecostal revival, and to insist that true religion is New Testament Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and passed down to us by the apostles.”[65]

Some are concerned that Pentecostal scholars are moving away from the doctrines and practices that are at the core of Pentecostal identity.  Trask in his last report as Superintendent of the Assemblies of God stated, “There are some among us who are advocates of softening the church’s position on some of our core doctrines and values.”[66] Dresselhaus says, “Across the spectrum of leadership within the Assemblies of God is frequently articulated that the academy might be party to compromise on doctrines held as inviolable by the church.”[67]

There seems to be a growing number of Pentecostal scholars who no longer hold to the doctrine of “initial physical evidence,” as defined by Menzies, “Classical Pentecostals have long affirmed (1) a baptism in the Holy Spirit ‘distinct from and subsequent to’ conversion; and (2) glossolalia is the ‘initial physical evidence’ of this experience.”[68]  Lewis points out that scholars who have left their Pentecostal denominations over theological issues, “The number one reason was the doctrine of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, not necessarily the issue of the doctrine but the emphasis on ‘speaking in tongues’ being ‘the’ initial physical evidence as expressed in some of the classical Pentecostal denominations (e.g., Assemblies of God-USA). Most stated that it could be ‘an evidence,’ but they could not in good conscience say that it was ‘the’ evidence.”[69]

Clifton’s response to Lewis’ research, “Scholarship should play a vital role in church missions, since it is the scholar’s job to engage with an ancient theological heritage and respond to the horizons of the contemporary culture. That is to say, since the mission of the church is necessarily theological, a movement that alienates its teachers is in danger of proclaiming a narrow and distorted message.”[70] It is Clifton’s hope that Pentecostal leadership and scholarship can find a place to communicate their differences. However, the danger here is that the softening or even changing of the core values and doctrines of the Pentecostal Church is, in effect, changing the church from Pentecostal to Evangelical. At some point the church will have to decide who it is.

The Pentecostal Church has been slow to react to the challenges of religious liberalism by either ignoring it, make light of it, or with simplistic sound bites.[71] The problem is that the liberal worldview is dominant, entrenched, and strident in all walks of life; influencing deacons, Sunday school teachers, junior Bible quizzers, and the person in the pew.[72] Pentecostals have heard through almost every media outlet that the New Testament is an unreliable document and that the Jesus of Scriptures was a mythological figure.[73] The father of this thought is Rudolf Bultmann, who claimed that the New Testament could not be accepted as literal, probably was written many years later then currently thought and unreliable for faith.[74]

Bultmann suggested that those passages which attribute divinity and supernatural to Christ be de-emphasized in favor of Jesus’ high ethical and moral teachings.[75] The problem with this is that the gospel then becomes a collection of thoughts modern man has chosen for himself and holds no authority or power. Before quickly dismissing this as liberal nonsense and foolishness, remember that this message is popular opinion in the marketplace.[76] Pentecostal people spend more time in this environment then they do a more traditional Pentecostal setting. For this reason and this reason alone, preachers must proclaim the gospel in power and truth, not some watered down message that doesn’t speak to those spiritual foundations that will keep Pentecostals grounded in their faith.

Although Oden makes this statement about evangelicals, as more Pentecostals adapt evangelical ways the same could be said about them. “Evangelicals are looking more and more like the old liberals. Less and less is being heard from our pulpits about the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection, the sinful human nature, and the need for redemption. We hear more about the goodness of God then we hear about God’s willingness to judge mankind in its rebellion against Him. We have peeled the onion almost down to nothing. We have cheated our young people out of the hard but necessary Christian word about human sin and divine redemption.”[77]

If the Pentecostal Church does not provide discipleship and correct teaching, then ancient lessons have not been learned. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”[78]  “When we allow the subjectivism of our hearers to undermine the objective realities of Christian faith, haven’t we violated the integrity of the gospel? We’d be better off staying quiet and letting the rocks preach than to offer a version of Christianity so diluted that it becomes unrecognizable.”[79]

The strengths of the Seeker Sensitive and Emergent churches are intoxicating and influential.  As the Pentecostal church nears one hundred years as a movement and struggles with an identity crisis, it is not hard to see why they are drawn toward what appears to be the answer for the postmodern age. There are great and wonderful concepts that the Seeker Sensitive and Emergent churches bring to Christianity. However, there are troubling issues that these movements bring to Christianity as well and they may pose a greater risk to the church then the benefits.

Since the benefits are exciting and the problems complex and with so much to understand and to digest it is tempting to simply do nothing at all. However, because the mandate of the church is to “Go into all the world and preach the good news,”[80] doing nothing is not an option.

 



[1]Kenneth C. Haugk, Antagonists in the Church: How to Identify and Deal with Destructive Conflict (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988), 31.

[2] Guinness, Dining with the Devil, 22.

[3] Shawchuck, Managing the Congregation, 45-46.

[4] Guinness, Dining with the Devil, 24.

[5] Ibid, 22.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Christianity Today, What Reveal Reveals: Criticisms of Willow’s latest self-study do not undermine its value http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/march/11.27.html (accessed February 16, 2010).

[8] Bullock, interview by author, December 8, 2009.

[9] Moritz, “Beyond Strategy, Towards the Kingdom of God,” 29.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Alan Jamieson, “Post-church Groups and their Place as Emergent Forms of Church,” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 6, no. 1 (March 1006): 72.

[13] Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation 2nd Ed. (Dowbers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2006), 403.

[14] Wilson, “Dining With the Devil,”172.

[15] Robert R. Redman Jr., “Welcome To The Worship Awakening,” Theology Today 58 no. 3 (Oct. 2001): 371.

[16] Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 411.

                [17] Charles Crabtree, Transformation Discipleship: Experiencing the Life Changing Power of His Spirit (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2002), 28.

[18] Bullock, interview by author, December 8, 2009.

[19] McKnight, “Five Streams of the Emerging Church,” http://www.christianitytoday.com/40534 (Accessed Oct. 12, 2009).

[20] Nunnally, Pentecostal Proclamation in a Liberal, Postmodern World, 67.

[21] Steven M. Fettke, “Ministers According to God’s Purpose: The Role of the Laity in Ministry,” A paper presented at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (Lakeland, Fl. Nov. 7-9, 1991).

[22] Bullock, interview by author, December 8, 2009.

[23] McKnight, “Five Streams of the Emerging Church,” http://www.christianitytoday.com/40534 (Accessed Oct. 12, 2009).

[24]Donald E. Miller, “Postdenominational Christianity in the Twenty-First Century,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 558, (Jul. 1998): 203.

[25] Johnston, Preaching to a Postmodern World, 82.

[26] Wilson, “Dining With the Devil,”172.

[27] Ibid, 173.

[28] Ibid.

                [29] Bill Hybels, “The Wake Up Call Of My Adult Life,” Reveal http://revealnow.com/story.asp?storyid=49 (accessed on April 5, 2010.)

[30] Ibid.

[31] Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God (New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1997), 282.

[32] Ibid, 301.

[33] Jim Stokes, “Willow Creek Redefines Worship,” Sound & Communication 51 no. 4 (April 18, 2005): 31.

                [34] Bill Hybels, “The Wake Up Call Of My Adult Life,” Reveal http://revealnow.com/story.asp?storyid=49 (accessed on April 5, 2010.)

[35] The General Council of the Assemblies of God Constitution, art.V, sec. 10.

[36] Trask, Back to the Altar, 105-106.

[37] Bullock, When the Spirit Speaks, 12-13.

[38] Ibid, 19.

[39] Guinness, Dining with the Devil, 51.

[40] Chan, Forgotten God, 15.

[41] Ibid, 31.

[42] Ibid, 17.

[43] Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church (Grand Rapids, MI: BrazosPress, 2006), 36.

[44] Castleberry, interview by author, SeaTac, WA, January 31, 2010.

[45] Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 431.

                [46] Hirsch, The Forgotten Way, 17.

[47] Castleberry, interview by author, SeaTac, WA, January 31, 2010.

[48] DeYoung, Why We’re Not Emergent, 33.

[49] Ibid, 70.

[50] Andy Crouch, “The Emergent Mystique,” Christianity Today (11/01/2004), http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/november/12.36.html (accessed Oct. 12, 2009).

                [51] Ibid.

[52] French L. Arrington, “The Use of the Bible by Pentecostals,” PNEUMA 16 no. 1 (Spring 1994): 103.

[53] Bendis, “Bell’s Appeal,” 25.

[54]Ibid.

[55] Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 409.

[56] Ibid, 403.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid, 404.

[59] Jamieson, “Post-church Groups,” 73.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

 

[62] Trask, Back to the Altar, 80.

[63] Paul W. Lewis, “Why Have Scholars Left Classical Pentecostal Denominations?” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 1, no. 1/2 (Jan-Jul 2008): 75.

                [64] Ibid.

[65] Trask, Back to the Altar, 80.

 

[66] Thomas Trask, “Biennial Report of the General Superintendant: 2005-2007,” Assemblies of God (USA) Official Web Site, http://ag.org/top/About/Biennial_Reports/2005_2007/01_01_General_Superintendent.cfm (accessed August 14, 2009).

[67] Lewis, “Why Have Scholars Left,” 76.

[68] Robert P. Menzies, “Pentecostals and the Issue of Subsequence,” Enrichment Journal, http//:www.enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200501/200501_heritage_pt1.cfm (accessed January 17, 2008).

[69] Lewis, “Why Have Scholars,” 76.

[70] Shane Clifton, “A Response to Paul Lewis’ ‘Why Have Scholars Left Classical Pentecostal Denominations?” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 11, no. 1/2 (Jan-Jul 2008): 89.

[71] Nunnally, Pentecostal Proclamation in a Liberal, Postmodern World, 53.

[72] Ibid, 55.

[73] Ibid, 61.

[74] John B. Cobb, “The Post-Bultmannian Trend,” Journal of Bible and Religion 30, no. 1 (Jan. 1962): 4.

[75] Nunnally, Pentecostal Proclamation in a Liberal, Postmodern World, 62.

[76]Ibid, 65-66.

[77] Thomas C. Oden, After Modernity…What? Agenda for Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1989), 168-169.

                [78] Judges 21:25 (NIV).

[79] Loscalzo, Apologetic Preaching, 89.

                [80] Mark 16:15.

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