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Featured Non-Christians: What's your impression of Pentecostalism?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Laya404, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    I had to look this up. It turns out that there is a Pentecostalist church a few miles away from me in London, but in the sort of neighbourhood that I would not expect ever to visit. If that sounds snobbish, I must admit as an ex-Anglican to feeling that protestant sects are "not quite the ticket" — rather lower class.

    As for the people you mentioned, I had to look them up too. They seem to be tele-evangelists, and such broadcasts are only available here by subscription.

    Obviously, I disagree with much of any form Christianity: monotheism, original sin, the divinity of Jesus, heaven and hell, and the attempt to force others to obey their commandments. When I was a Christian I would have still disagreed with the fundamentalist protestant doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.

    So, to sum up, I'd rate them pretty low on my religious scale, alongside Salafi Islam.
     
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  2. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    What makes you think that any non-Christian should or would know anything at all about your faith?
     
  3. MNoBody

    MNoBody Well-Known Member

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    from my observations it is like any other "mystical" variety of spiritualism,
    in that it has enough unexplainable phenomena to keep it around as a thing of genuine interest,
    but as with all things 'invisible' and psychic/spiritual,
    it is not uniform nor consistent in results ;
    to the degree that there will be more skepticism than concurrence when others consider it,
    and so it has become marginalized in general as a social phenomenon and only appeals to a specific demographic of personality
    ....in brief.
     
  4. Kenny

    Kenny Face to face with my Father
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    That humans are fallible? Obviously.

    That an experience is superficial because we are human? Hardly. Can it be? Yes. But it doesn't negate when it is real, deep and life changing. So I wouldn't hold to "superficial".


    true- but that doesn't mean it is superficial (though it can be)

    It IS personal.... doesn't mean it is superficial

    It isn't that hard to figure it out--at least that is what I have found

    It is, and remains, regardless of the hierarchy that a denomination provides.

    The topic is about Pentecostalism and not all the other religions and their personal experiences. Why are you making a different issue?
     
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  5. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    It is superficial, because it is a physical response and far to common in many different beliefs.

    It IS personal.... doesn't mean it is superficial


    Personal testimony for you OK, but beyond that not meaningful, and no new knowledge nor revelation revealed.

    The problem remains that each church, denomination or religion claims the truth of the experience is equated to the truth of their belief only.



    The topic gets broadened for two reasons: (1) Charismatic experiences were brought up for Baptists and Roman Church followers. (2) The experiences are wide spread through all religions, and not unique, as each church or belief system claims.

    The point is this claim of the experience is not unique to the Pentecostal nor Christian belief system. as those who experience claim. Nothing apparent that is new nor Revelation is revealed as the result of the experience. Part of my view of the Pentecostal as well as other Christian experiences like those of the Charismatics is they are not unique.
     
    #25 shunyadragon, Apr 14, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  6. Kenny

    Kenny Face to face with my Father
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    I disagree. Certainly, just you saying it doesn't make it so. It is a spiritual experience and the response is first spiritual Does it have physical ramifications? Absolutely. But it certainly hasn't been superficial.

    You can say it is all you want... but it doesn't change the deep experience that millions have had.



    How do you know? How did you establish no "new knowledge" nor "revelation revealed"? Buy what standard did you make that declaration?

    Certainly the Book of Acts says differently as does our immersion into the dunamis of the Holy Spirit.

    You are moving the goal post. We are talking about the Pentecostal experience that bypasses what others claim the truth is.

    Disagree or you misinterpreted. All I said was that you don't have to be in a Pentecostal church to experience pentecostalism.

    So? We are still talking about the Charisma of God.
     
  7. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    There's another translation that says "different tongues", thus meaning different languages, such as what happened at Pentecost. Paul also makes the point that if no one translates the words, then all it is is noise.
     
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  8. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member
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    First, welcome to the forum.

    My overall impression of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians is generally favorable. The passion they have is obvious if sometimes tedious. To the extent that passion gives them empathy towards their fellow man that is good. When it clouds their reasoning or makes them inflexible, then less so. Not that there is anything per se of passions that leads to the clouding of reasoning.

    I think I am actually quite familiar and knowledgeable about Pentecostals and Charismatics. More so than most Christians I suspect. (I am Jewish)

    I am not as keen on most of the individuals you mentioned. I have some less than positive opinions of most of them. In my experience local “salt-of-the-Earth” neighborhood Pentecostals/Charismatics are much better representatives and ambassadors of Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings than the “celebrity” types you identified. I think those high profile examples have done some good raising the awareness of the movement, but that is about it. For example, I don’t see much of cerebral or theological importance coming from them. And when they stray into politics that can be bad.

    Shalom
     
  9. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Nothing any of us says makes it so. It does not change the deep experience that millions of mdifferent religions and faiths of the world have had.

    Nothing revealed as far as new knowledge. Still waiting . . .

    Certainly the Book of Acts says differently as does our immersion into the dunamis of the Holy Spirit.

    No, part of my view of the Pentecostal experience or that of the Charasmatics is that it is unversal with humanity.

    Maybe, but they consider it unique with Chirstianiyt.

    Yes, and I do not consider it unique with Christianity.
     
  10. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus retired astronomer

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    Hello. I am no Greek scholar but the original (well the oldest we have, more or less) is

    λαλει μυστηρια

    or "speaks mysteries" or "cries mysteries"

    Then soon after,

    9 So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air.

    But anyway, Paul can be a hard nut to crack sometimes. :)
     
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  11. Yazata

    Yazata Active Member

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    That's me, I guess.

    Well, I'm aware that many self-styled evangelical protestants believe that they are somehow superior to pentecostals. I don't know why. Perhaps they feel that an openness to 'gifts of the spirit' threatens their own 'sola scriptura' presuppositions.

    As for me, I'm very interested in religious experience so that side of pentecostalism is attractive to me.

    That being said, given that I'm not a Christian, I'm pretty doubtful about the theological framework, about what the experiences are experiences of, for example.

    Not very. I'm pretty ignorant about pentecostalism.

    I don't know a whole lot about them. My gut steers me towards a pretty dim view of celebrity preachers though.
     
  12. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    I have little to say what's good about them.

    As far as I'm concerned Pentecostalism is a scam designed for emotional people.
     
  13. Kenny

    Kenny Face to face with my Father
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    Another subject.... so I won't address that.

    The Baptism in Acts 10 gave Peter a revelation for Jews about the Gentiles

    For me was the revelation that healing can take place

    For those who went through Teen Challenge, deliverance.

    For everyone, the confirmation that they are sons of God--so it varies.


    Maybe... but that isn't the subject
     
  14. Agnostisch

    Agnostisch Egyptian Man

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    There is no denying that God still performs miracles. Some of what is happening in the charismatic circles is a true work of the Holy Spirit. But the truth remains: the body of Christ does not need those who claim to be messengers, or miracle makers according to their own vision. What the Church needs is to return to the Word of God and proclaim all God's right with the power and love of the Holy Spirit.
     
  15. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Until convincing evidence surfaces there certainly is denying that god still performs miracles, or has ever performed miracles, for that matter.

    .
     
  16. Agnostisch

    Agnostisch Egyptian Man

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    Sorry I had to say According to me ..You (yourself-your body-your soul ...) are on of them .
     
  17. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    Unfortunately there are people who are convinced only by testimony.

    Pentecostalism depends upon that, and focuses on a person's emotions to think that there's something more than what things actually are.

    Especially tongues which is really just a bunch of gibberish and nonsensical utterings to make the person feel that they're doing something supernatural or have a special exclusive way of talking a God. It's a great and amazingly effective psychological tool to convince somebody without ever having the need to produce even an iota of hard evidence of any type of actual communique that is perceived to be going on.
     
  18. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    I'm a Catholic Christian but I'd be happy to give you my thoughts as well, although my direct experience has primarily been with Catholic Charismatics (the movement, although beginning in American Protestantism, has of course grown to become ecumenical).


    My overall impression is 'mixed' to be honest with you.

    There are elements of the Charismatic Renewal movement I consider worthy of reproach, because I find them objectionable from either a moral, humanistic or rational standpoint (if not, in certain cases, downright harmful) and other aspects which I'm much more approving of or, at least, open-minded with regards to (in terms of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, which I do not reject out-of-hand as a believer myself).

    The Glossolalia / 'speaking in tongues' is pretty harmless I think (if a little weird looking from the outside) and I don't have any objections to it, even if I'm not convinced that this - at least, as currently practised by Pentecostals - is quite what the New Testament authors actually had in mind (i.e. it may just have been speaking foreign languages like at Pentecost, hitherto unknown to the speaker, as opposed to indecipherable utterances voiced in tandem with a mild dissociative state). But I'll leave that to the biblical scholars to discern.

    A scientific study published in the American Journal of Human Biology back (2010) found that such autonomous 'religious ecstasy' may have demonstrably beneficial mental and spiritual effects for the individual worshipper (namely in reducing baseline stress levels through a significant decrease in cortisol, which was apparently cultured in their saliva). The researchers concluded: "Engagement in Pentecostal worship may be associated with reductions in circulatory cortisol and enhancements in α-amylase activity."

    So, if it floats your boat and no one's hurt - be my guest! I have no business impeding or interfering with how other freely consenting adults choose to worship or spend their time (even if I, personally, prefer the orderly and more solemn beauty of a traditional liturgy, with all its smells and bells). For as St. Paul plainly tells us in scripture: "The faith you have, have as your own conviction before God. Let us therefore stop turning critical eyes on one another. If we must be critical, let us be critical of our own conduct and see that we do nothing to make a brother stumble or fall." (Romans 14).

    (continued....)
     
    #38 Vouthon, Apr 14, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
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  19. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    "Faith healing", on the other hand, is an alleged 'charism' that I find truly reprehensible if performed on its own (without recourse to qualified health professionals first and as a side-thing alongside this) and deem to be a thoroughly psychologically abusive activity; whether it is performed out of sincere motives or those of a distinctly more unsavoury nature (i.e fraudulence and exploitation of the vulnerable by charlatans).

    Even if one holds to a theology which hypothesises that God could, in extraordinary circumstances - and I emphasise the word extraordinary - intervene to potentially work a 'miracle' outside of the normal physical laws He has established at creation (according to which the universe operates), such hopes should never be the primary or (god forbid) exclusive refuge of the sick and suffering, to the exclusion of scientifically proven cures or remedial methods.

    The 'laying on of hands' or 'anointing with oil', as in the sacrament of Extreme Unction, is primarily (according to my church at least) about "preventing the believer from losing Christian hope in God's justice, truth and salvation" and thus "the principal effect of extreme unction is to give, with sanctifying grace or its increase, the right to certain actual graces for strengthening and comforting and alleviating the sick person". In other words, providing the chronically or terminally ill with the comforting assurance of God's divine providence, love for them and forgiveness of their sins. Only secondarily, as something extraordinary, "a conditional and occasional effect of extreme unction, comes the restoration of bodily health" which is not, however, to be sought or relied upon as something that will ever actually flow from the sacrament.

    Faith healing as a secondary practice to give comfort to sick people already receiving actual standard medical treatment, I'm fine with.

    By contrast, in the initial decades of the movement, it is said that Pentecostals/Charismatics thought it was sinful to take medicine or receive therapeutic care from health professionals. This is deeply irresponsible and dangerous IMHO. I've even read some real horror stories about a minority sect of Pentecostals telling HIV patients not to receive AIDS-drugs!

    In scripture (well, in the Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments to be precise, so more applicable to Catholic Charismatics) we find the Wisdom of Ben Sira affirming the pre-eminent importance of seeking trusted medical treatments:


    Sirach 38


    "Honor physicians for their services,
    for the Lord created them;
    2 for their gift of healing comes from the Most High,
    and they are rewarded by the king.
    3 The skill of physicians makes them distinguished,
    and in the presence of the great they are admired.
    4 The Lord created medicines out of the earth,
    and the sensible will not despise them.
    ...
    6 And he gave skill to human beings
    ....
    7 By them the physician heals and takes away pain;
    8 the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.
    ....
    12 Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;
    do not let him leave you, for you need him.
    13 There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians,
    14 for they too pray to the Lord
    that he grant them success in diagnosis
    and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.
    15 He who sins against his Maker,
    will be defiant toward the physician
    "​



    During the Roman Plagues from 249 - 262 A.D. and in the fourth century, the early Christians did not win the renown of their neighbours by placing their hands upon those who were afflicted by the disease and saying, "be healed in the name of Jesus" as their baseline approach to healthcare. No, they received acclaim for selflessly administering to the bodily needs of the countless unfortunates stricken down by the illness (regardless of religious confession), As St. Cyprian of Carthage noted at the time:


    The Plague of Cyprian, c. 252 – The Ancient and Medieval World


    The pain in the eyes, the attack of the fevers, and the ailment of all the limbs are the same among us and among the others, so long as we share the common flesh of this age....

    How suitable, how necessary it is that this plague and pestilence, which seems horrible and deadly, searches out the justice of each and every one and examines the mind of the human race; whether the [healthy] care for the sick, whether relatives dutifully love kinsmen as they should . . . whether physicians do not desert the afflicted.

    It was actually Cyprian, in his homilies, who provided the most accurate and detailed clinical description of ancient plague:


    Solving the Mystery of an Ancient Roman Plague


    The Plague of Cyprian, named after the man who by AD 248 found himself Bishop of Carthage, struck in a period of history when basic facts are sometimes known barely or not at all. The lack of a medical witness like Galen is partly compensated by the vivid account of the disease in Cyprian’s sermon on the mortality. The preacher sought to console an audience encircled by unfathomable suffering.

    Cyprian’s account is central to our understanding of the disease. The pathology included fatigue, bloody stool, fever, esophageal lesions, vomiting, conjunctival hemorrhaging, and severe infection in the extremities; debilitation, loss of hearing, and blindness followed in the aftermath.

    So, as I say, this dimension of Charismatic Christianity - faith healing - gives me serious cause for concern (to put it mildly) but the 'glossolalia' and more 'ecstatic' dimensions do not, generally speaking. (I even see some potential mental and spiritual benefit in them for the worshippers.)
     
    #39 Vouthon, Apr 14, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  20. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    That's for the gift of tongues and interpretation. On the day of Pentecost it was not the gift of tongues. It was just speaking in tongues when the Spirit fell on them. There's a difference.
     
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