Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecost Observed

I don't have time to write much, but I did want to express how fun it would have been to walk through Acts 2 here today.  I've paid special attention to Acts 2 as a Wesleyan, since the holiness revivalist tradition always saw this passage as the disciples becoming entirely sanctified.  That wasn't, of course, how John Wesley himself formulated the idea, and I couldn't name one Wesleyan, Free Methodist, or Nazarene New Testament scholar who thinks that's what Acts 2 is about, but it is an important part of Wesleyan history.

[for the article that was the tipping point away from this interpretation, see]

Although it's hard to say what the future will bring, after I've finished the two Jesus books I'm working on, it would be nice to do two final books covering Acts and the other non-Pauline parts of the New Testament.  If so, Acts 2 will almost certainly get its own chapter!


Angie Van De Merwe said...

As The Holy Spirit" is a "new revelation" of the Church, then is such revelation true? and what does it mean? Does everyone have to believe such "to be saved"? And what exactly is the Holy Spirit? Isn't the Holy Spirit the linch-pin that divided the Eastern and Western Church?

As humans tend to "romanticize" the past, history is going to have bias. "Self" is justified by such biases....Therefore, the Wesleyan "heritage" is justifying the existance (and validity) of the Wesleyan Church. Humans rationalize (theologize) to understand themselves within a given context. (God is on THEIR side)...

Isn't the issue over Trinitarianism, or monotheism the issue of how Pentecost is understood? And then, isn't understanding also dependent on whether one believes that revelation is ongoing or not? Islam believes that "Allah" revealed himself in Muhammed, more fully. And each scientific discoverty/theory is a "new revelation"..Where is revelation? in science (discovering new ways of understanding the physical and social universe), in tradition (history), the text (as revelation itself), the person (Jesus Christ), the Church (social organization), or the human? And if the human, is human nature itself a revelation, or is there "sin" that distorts "perfection"? Just what does revelation entail?

Reason has been a threat or seen as a challenge to those that believe that revelation is ongoing and a more important aspect to "protect", as these understand "God" as an actual reality, and not just an idea or explaination among many of "the world". And this leads inevitably to conflict.

Science seeks to explain, by analyzing and coming to conclusions that promote a better world.

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Thanks Mr. Schenck.

JohnM said...

I'm wondering, who in the holiness revivalist tradition "always saw this passage as the disciples becoming entirely sanctified" if not Wesley himself. When you say it is an important part of Wesleyan history do you mean Wesleyan scholars once saw it that way, but no longer, or was it always more of popular idea? Just curious.

Ken Schenck said...

The association with Pentecost seems to go back to John Fletcher, an Anglican priest who lived at the time of Wesley and was one of the early Methodists. This association would become the assumption of American Methodism and theologians like Larry Wood have pointed to some letters where Wesley seems to ascent to Fletcher's association. However, the fact remains that Wesley himself never presented Christian perfection by way of Acts 2.