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Pentecostal Leaders as Biblical Theologians


Biblical Theology of Mission Dr. Byron D. Klaus Day 4 Nature of Ministry (cont.) The act of God is the hermeneutical horizon for the being of God. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Pentecostal Leaders as Biblical Theologians

Pentecostal Leaders as Biblical Theologians
  • Biblical Theology of Mission
  • Dr. Byron D. Klaus
  • Day 4

Eschatological People
  • Living in the reality that we are eschatological
    peoplewe have a destiny that is played in space
    and real time.

The Holy Spirits work fully actualized at
Pentecost ushers in an era where
  • The Spirit is the experienced, empowered
    entrance of Gods own personal presence in and
    among us, who enables us to live as a radically
    eschatological people in the present world while
    we await the consummation. The fruit and gifts
    of the spirit permeate the ethical life and
    charismatic dynamic of the communitys life to
    that end.
  • Gordon FeePaul, the Spirit and the People of God

Holy Spirit Validation
  • Affirming that the empowerment of the Holy Spirit
    is valid only as it is connected to the mission
    for which it was intended.
  • Acts 16-8

Reason and Spirituality are not
mutually exclusive
  • Affirm the rigor of reason and the dynamic of
    spirituality are not mutually exclusive.
  • The Spirit that leads us into all truth is the
    same Spirit that empowers Jesus in His redemptive
  • John 167-15
  • John 2019-22

Epistemology Rooted in Jesus Christ
  • Affirm that epistemological pathways are all
    rooted in Jesus Christ.
  • Affective and cognitive dimensions of human
    experience need not compete with other, but are
    created to enrich a human being for maturity.

Validity of mission and ministry
  • Contemporary mission and ministry is only valid
    as they replicate the mission and ministry of
    Jesus Christ is
  • Purpose
  • Character
  • Source of empowerment
  • Hebrews 1

Role of Created Order
  • Christs Kingdom rules over all created order and
    thus created order deserves to be taken
  • Because God sent His Son to redeem all creation,
    His Church must seek to represent Him fairly in
    all facets of created order.
  • Ephesians 118-21

WesleyA Proto-Pentecostal Case Study
  • Wesley was a practical theologian with a balanced
    equation for leadership

World of Wesley
  • A growing empire
  • A revolution in the colonies
  • Royalty as Gods servant
  • The Church of England and England as a
    nation-state joined at the hip

The Shaping of Wesley
  • Epworth
  • OxfordLincoln College
  • Holy Club (with brother Charles and George
  • Georgia Missions
  • Moravians
  • Heart Strangely warmed at Aldersgate Street
  • The vile thing

The Wesleyan Influence
  • The Church as a community of Gods grace
  • The Churchs unity is the koinonia of the Spirit
  • Pursuit of maturing Christian lives sustained by
    grace is crucial

The Wesleyan Method
  • Outside accepted boundaries, but connected to the
  • The Church is a system of discipline in
  • Class Meetingsonce a week to inquire how our
    souls prosper (house churches, seekers welcome)
  • Bands/Small Groupsto confess your faults one to
    another and pray for one another that ye may be
    healed (had received assurance of sins forgiven)
  • Select Society those making progression
    inwardoutward holiness

Three Rules of a Select Society
  • Let nothing spoken in this society be spoken
  • Submit to the appointed minister.
  • Bring an offering for the common stock.

Traveling Preachers
  • Taught to manage difficulties in societies
  • Face mobs
  • Brave any weather
  • Subsist without means
  • Rise at 4 a.m. and preach at 5 a.m.
  • Die without fear

Daily Rules
  • Preach
  • Study
  • Travel
  • Meet with bandsclassessocieties
  • Exercise daily
  • Eat sparingly
  • Preach nowhere that could not be followed up with
    organized structures with adequate leadership

The Primacy of Scripture
  • I allow no other rule, whether of faith or
    practice, than the Holy Scriptures.
  • Scripture was the only all-sufficient source
    commonly available to people for investigating
    the nature of God and life.
  • O give me that book! At any price give me the
    book of God!

  • The personal character of humility and reliance
    on grace gave Wesley the freedom to see a dynamic
    inter-action between sources to illuminate and
    enrich biblical truths. This never succumbed to
    a thoroughly pragmatic approach that reduces
    truth to relativity.

  • Wesley affirms Reformation treatise of sola fide
    and sola scriptura.
  • However, he interprets sola as primarily rather
    than exclusively.

  • Tis not enough to have Bibles, but we must use
    them, yea, use them daily. Our souls must have
    constant meals of that manna, which if
    well-digested, will afford them true nourishment.

Rule of Interpretation by John Wesley
  • Literal sense is emphasized
  • Importance of context
  • Comparing Scripture with Scripture
  • Christian experience has confirmatory and
    correctional value
  • Reason is the handmaiden of faith
  • Practicalityfor the plain unlettered people

The Authority of Tradition
  • Wesleys concern for historical continuity in an
    age of distrust in Christian tradition.

  • Old Religion
  • Religionthe Bible
  • Religion of the Primitive Church
  • Religion of the Church of England
  • Methodism

  • Old Religion
  • John 316heart religion
  • Religionthe Bible
  • The only sufficient authority for religious life
  • Religion of the primitive church
  • It would be easy to produce a cloud of witnesses
    testifying the same thing, were not this appoint
    which no one will contest who has the least
    acquaintance with Christian antiquity
  • Religion of the Church of England
  • Methodism

  • If any doubt still remains, I consult those who
    are experienced in the things of God and then the
    writings whereby being dead they yet speak. And
    what I thus learn, that I teach.

  • Tradition as authority second only to Scripture.
    To the extent that the Holy Spirit continued to
    direct decisions in the early church, Wesley
    believed tradition was an essential extension of
    the witness of the Scripture.

The Authority of Reason
  • Desired a religion founded on reason and in every
    way agreeable to it. Passion and prejudice rule
    the worldit is our part with religion and reason
    joined to counteract them all we can.

  • The image of God persisted in the human race
    after Adams fall, effaced but not obliterated.
  • Human reasoning was a part of humanitys original
  • Although the heart was prone to evil, the mind
    was free to reason and respond to God by faith.

  • An era where the Enlightenment is in full
  • Natural theology present in the Church of England
  • Navigates philosophical influences from
    Aristotles rational (scientific) sensory
    perspective to Plats intuition.
  • This explains his both-and posture integrating
    the empirical with the experiential and

  • His both-and perspective draws criticism from
    all sides.
  • Wesley concludes that
  • No man is a partaker of Christ until he can
    clearly testify the life I now liveI live by
    faith in the Son of Godrevealed in my heart.

Acknowledge Tension
  • Let reason do all that reason can. Employ it as
    far as it will go. But, at the same time,
    acknowledge it is utterly incapable of giving
    faith, or hope or love and consequently of
    producing real virtue or substantive happiness.
    Expect these from a higher source, even from the
    spirits of all flesh.

The Authority of Experience
  • Considered by many as Wesley's greatest
    contribution to the development of Christian
  • Im not afraid that the people called Methodists
    should ever cease to existI am afraid lest they
    should only exist as a dead sect having the form
    of religion without the power.

  • It is necessary that you have the hearing ear
    and the seeing eye, that you have a new class of
    senses opened to your soul not depending on
    organs of flesh and blood to be evidence of
    things not seen as your bodily senses are of
    visible things, to be avenues to the invisible
    world, to discern spiritual objects and to
    furnish you with ideas of what the outward eye
    has not seen, neither the ear heard.

  • Wesley was deeply concerned about enthusiasm.
  • While he acknowledged excesses, Wesley still
    believed in the supernatural, immediate gift of
    God, which He commonly gives in the use of such
    means as he hath ordained.

Outward Experiences
  • Empirical experiences with creation were a source
    of evidence for religious experience.

Inward Experiences
  • Knowledge derived from a personal experiential
    encounter with God is objective in the sense if
    establishing contact with a real, albeit hidden
  • Wesley believe that the reality of God and of
    Gods salvation is hidden from our natural senses
    though not from spiritual senses.

  • Spiritual senses were created by God and
    reactivated by His grace that gives potential for
    discovering religious insights that were
    previously inconceivable.
  • The personal conversion experience as well as
    assurance of salvation are two places people
    experience a direct awareness of God.

  • The testimony of the spirit is an inward
    impression on the soul whereby the Spirit of God
    directly witnesses to my Spirit.
  • Now there is properly the testimony of our own
    spirit even the testimony of our own conscience
    that God has given us to be holy of heart and
    holy in outward conversation.

A Heart Strangely Warmed
  • In the evening I went very unwillingly to a
    society in Aldersgate Street, where one was
    reading Luthers preface to the Epistle to the
    Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he
    was describing the change which God works in the
    heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart
    strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ,
    Christ alone for salvation And an assurance was
    given me, that he had taken away my sins, even
    mine, and saved me from the law of sin and
  • The Wesleyan Quadrilateral by Donald A. D.
    Thorsen, p. 129

  • Experience is the appropriation of authority and
    confirms the truthfulness of Scripture, tradition
    and reason.

Contemporary Applications of Wesleys
Understanding of Experience
  • Pentecostals experience the sacred in the midst
    of the profane, divine guidance for both personal
    and institutional concerns, standing in contrast
    to rational and beaureacratic methods, a
    reticulate organization that refuses to
    immortalize tradition and the past. In addition,
    it refuses to routinize the charismata.
  • Margaret Poloma in The AG at the Crossroads

  • Pentecostals insist that it is not enough for
    truthseven biblical truths, to be precipitated
    in the mind and viewed philosophically. There
    must be a submission to the truth in faith and
    reverential adoration in worship. This is
    worship of truth that is not merely imprisoned in
    the mind, but is personified transcendentally
    over the mind in the glorious person of Christ.
    This is an experiencecertified theology where an
    experience of Christ as subject and not just
    object constitute genuine experience.
  • William McDonald in Perspectives on the New

Can the church tolerate the separation of the
theoretical task from the concrete situation of
its own existence? Will theologians be permitted
to do their work in cool absentia while pastors
sweat out their own existence in the steamy space
of the Church in the world? When theological
thinking is practiced in abstraction from the
Church in ministry, it inevitably becomes as much
unapplied and irrelevant as pure. Ray Anderson
Theological Foundations for Ministry
When the theological mind of the minister is
educated primarily through experience, an adhoc
theology emerges which owes as much (or more) to
methodological and pragmatic concerns as to
dogma. The task to work out a theology for
ministry begins properly with the task of
identifying the nature of and place of ministry
itself. Ray Anderson Theological
Foundations for Ministry
The Achilles Heel of Pentecostals
  • Pragmatism
  • Leviticus 101 Strange fire
  • Aarons sons Nadab Abihu took their censers,
    put fire in them and added incense and they
    offered unauthorized fire before the Lord,
    contrary to His command.
  • A divine task attempted with reliance on human
    design alone.

  • Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,
    says the Lord Almighty (Zechariah 46).
  • Might human resources
  • Power human resoluteness
  • Spirit divine initiative and power for Gods
    eternal purposes
  • The temptation to offer our resources to the
    service of God believing that they are an
    adequate substitute for Gods eternal resource.

  • Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will
    enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only he who does
    the will of the Father who is in heaven. Many
    will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord did we not
    prophesy in your name and in your name drive out
    demons and perform many miracles? Then I will
    tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from
    me you evildoers!
  • Matthew 721-23

  • Success is rejected by the Lord as having no
    kingdom legitimacy.
  • Human efforts dont even get a pat on the back.
  • We can actually think our usage of strange
    fire/might-power/sign ministry carries with it
    Gods seal of approval. Success is viewed as

So What?
  • How do we counteract bifurcation?
  • How do we resist pragmatism?
  • How do we challenge our cultures immunity to the

Biblical Clues
  • God is at work! (John 517)
  • God continues to empower His redemptive mission.
    (Acts 16-8)
  • Pentecost is the guarantee that the Jesus of the
    Gospels is the Jesus who continues His ministry
    empowered by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 222-24)
  • Our ministry is the continuing ministry of Christ
    working through us by the presence and power of
    the Spirit of Christ. (II Cor.520)

  • Discernment as an act of Church Leadership is the
    minimal expectation for our 21st century church
    leader (Acts 211-21).
  • Discernmentspiritual maturity to know the
    difference between works of human effort and the
    continuing ministry of Jesus empowered by the

Discernment (cont.)
  • Discernment assumes the present tense of Jesus
    redemptive ministry.
  • Discernment assumes that Christs Kingdom rule
    extends over all human structures and efforts.
  • Discernment strives to see the presence of
    Jesus in all ministry actions structures. (Not
    as an act of piety, but as a biblical necessity.)

Discerning True Ministry Requires
  • A connectedness to the life of Jesus (John 15)
  • An affirmation that holiness and ethics are never
    mutually exclusive (II Cor. 520)

Discerning True Ministry Requires
  • A willingness to exegete ministry contexts with
    the same rigor we exegete biblical texts (Mt.
  • A commitment to evaluating ministry methodology
    by whether or not it facilitates Jesus
    continuing redemptive ministry.

Key Considerations
  • Ministry action as poiesis.
  • An action that produces a result.
  • The end product of the action completes the act
    regardless of what the future of the product may
    be i.e. a ministry action can be viewed as
    effective simply because it added more people or
    people were supportive (fiscally) or people were
    blessed, or it most effectively facilitated a
    programs success.

Key Considerations (cont.)
  • Ministry action as praxis-telos (discernment of
    ultimate purpose.)
  • A ministry action that includes the ultimate
    purpose of that action as part of the action.
    i.e. no ministry action, program or ministry
    structure is incidental. It either reveals the
    redemptive purpose of Jesus or it has no
    contribution to make to God eternal concerns (Mt.

Challenges Facing Ministry Effectiveness
  • Pragmatism is the result of a willingness to be
    tempted like Nadab Abihu to substitute our
    stuff for Gods design.
  • Pragmatism in ministry is a function of a culture
    where consumerism is accepted as normal and
    choice is a divine right.
  • Dissonance between a missional heritage and a
    plateauing present reality.

Crucial Questions
  • Will theologians be permitted to do their work in
    cool absentia while pastors sweat out their
    existence in the steamy space of the Church in
    the world?
  • Does theological training end where practice

  • When theological thinking is practiced in
    abstraction from the Church in ministry, it
    inevitably becomes as much unsupplied and
    irrelevant as pure.
  • When the theological mind of the minister is
    being educated primarily through experience, and
    ad hoc theology emerges which owes as much (or
    more) to methodological and pragmatic concerns as
    to dogma.

Theology for Ministry
  • The task of working out a theology for ministry
    begins properly with the task of identifying the
    nature and place of ministry itself taking the
    Bible authoritatively and the context seriously.

Nature of Ministry
  • Ministry precedes and produces theology, not the
  • All ministry is Gods ministry
  • Every act of revelation is a ministry of

Nature of Ministry (cont.)
  • The act of God is the hermeneutical horizon for
    the being of God.
  • The Incarnation signals that every ministry
    activity has theological objectivity in and of

Assumptions in Theological Reflection
  • Making sense of this mess? How?
  • Gods Word is authoritative
  • It reveals Gods character and His mission
  • The context must be taken seriously
  • It is legitimate because it is the place that God
    revealed Himself most clearly in Jesus Christ
  • That revelation has eternal intentreconciliation

Assumptions in Theological Reflection (cont.)
  • Ministry must be an act of God to be legitimate
  • All ministry is God's ministry
  • It cannot be taken on a life/purpose of its own
  • The mission of God comes most clear in Jesus
    Christ and its continuation is guaranteed by

Assumptions in Theological Reflection (cont.)
  • The ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ exemplifies
    Gods purposes
  • That ministry (its purpose, power/pattern/charact
    er) is the standard we are co-missioned to
    participate in

Theology for Ministry (cont.)
  • John 112
  • Revealer of God and His mission
  • Jesus legitimates the context with His presence
  • It is worthwhile it counts.

Theology for Ministry
  • Takes Scriptures authoritatively
  • Views the context seriously
  • Affirms that God is at work in ministry contexts
  • Acknowledges that orthodox doctrinal
    conceptualizations do not guarantee ministry
    effectiveness or orthodoxy
  • That ministry has theological objectivity in and
    of itself

  • What has God done?
  • II Cor. 517-20
  • Capacity to acknowledge the significance of
    Christ in the world
  • To make sense of life
  • What is my purpose?
  • What is God doing?
  • John 517
  • Acts 18 24
  • The process of affirming the Christ of Scriptures
    at work in our local contexts
  • Agent of Transformation
  • What is the source of my power?
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