Book Reviews From 2014

14 Quotes From “Pentecost”

Pentecost

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pentecost by Robert P. Menzies, and learned quite a bit. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Here are a few quotes that stood out to me.

“It’s because Pentecostals fuse the biblical and contemporary horizons that we link baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues, since that’s what Acts 2 does. It’s why we associate Spirit-baptism with empowerment for mission rather than with spiritual regeneration. And it’s why we expect God to perform ‘signs and wonders’ and to manifest spiritual gifts in worship services. All these things happened in the first Pentecostal community, and their story is our story.” 

“At its heart, the Pentecostal movement is not Spirit-centered but Christ-centered. The work of the Spirit, as Pentecostals understand it, centers on exalting and bearing witness to the Lordship of Christ.”

“Pentecostals are ‘people of the Book.’ Although Pentecostals certainly encourage spiritual experience, they do so with a constant eye to Scripture.”

“So, the stories of Acts are our stories, and we read them with expectation and eagerness: stories of the Holy Spirit’s power, enabling ordinary disciples to do extraordinary things for God. … The hermeneutic of the typical Pentecostal believer is straightforward and simple: the stories in Acts are my stories—stories that were written to serve as models for shaping my life and experience.”

“In Luke’s view, every member of the church is called (Luke 24:45–49; Acts 1:4–8/Isaiah 49:6) and empowered (Acts 2:17–21; cf. 4:31) to be a prophet. Far from being unique and unrepeatable, Luke emphasizes that the prophetic enabling experienced by the disciples at Pentecost is available to all of God’s people. … Through his two-volume work, Luke declares that the church, by virtue of its reception of the Pentecostal gift, is nothing less than a community of prophets. It matters not whether we are young or old, male or female, rich or poor, black or white; the Spirit of Pentecost comes to enable every member of the church, each one of us, to fulfill our prophetic call to be a light to the nations.” 

“Not long ago a Chinese house church leader commented, ‘When Western Christians read the book of Acts, they see in it inspiring stories; when Chinese believers read the book of Acts, we see in it our lives.’”

“Luke’s theology of the Spirit is different from that of Paul. Unlike Paul, who frequently speaks of the soteriological dimension of the Spirit’s work, Luke consistently portrays the Spirit as a charismatic or, more precisely, a prophetic gift, the source of power for service.” 

“Luke crafts his narrative so that the parallels between Jesus’ experience of the Spirit (Luke 3–4) and that of the disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1–2) cannot be missed. Both accounts: 1. Are placed at the outset of Luke’s Gospel on the one hand, and the book of Acts on the other; 2. Associate the reception of the Spirit with prayer; 3. Record visible and audible manifestations; 4. Offer explanations of the event in the form of a sermon that alludes to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.”

“Luke’s understanding of baptism in the Holy Spirit, I have argued, is different from that of Paul. It is missiological rather than soteriological in nature. … The tendency in Protestant churches has been to read Luke in the light of Paul. Paul addresses pastoral concerns in the church; Luke writes a missionary manifesto.” 

“Bold witness for Jesus is recognized as our primary calling and the central purpose of our experience of the Spirit’s power. Missions is woven into the fabric of our DNA.”

“I do not wish to minimize in any way the significance of the great doctrinal truths of Paul’s writings. I merely point out that since Paul was, for the most part, addressing specific needs in various churches, his writings tend to feature the inner life of the Christian community. His writings, with some significant exceptions, do not focus on the mission of the church to the world. … It is probably fair to say that while Paul features the ‘interior’ work of the Spirit (e.g., the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22–23); Luke features His ‘expressive’ work (Acts 1:8). Thus, by appropriating in a unique way the significant contributions of Luke-Acts, Pentecostals have developed a piety with a uniquely outward or missiological thrust.”

“The clarity of the Pentecostal message flows from the simple, straightforward manner in which we read the Bible. As I have noted, Pentecostals love the stories of the Bible. We identify with the stories that fill the pages of the Gospels and Acts, and the lessons gleaned from these stories are easily grasped and applied in our lives. For Pentecostals, the New Testament presents models that are to be emulated and guidelines that are to be followed. It should be noted that our approach to doing theology is not dependent on mastering a particular set of writings, say, the works of Luther; or coming to terms with a highly complex theological system. Pentecostals also do not worry much about cultural distance or theological diversity within the canon. We do not lose sleep over how we should understand the miracle stories of the Bible or how we might resolve apparent contradictions in the Bible. Our commitment to the Bible as the Word of God enables us to face these questions with a sense of confidence.”

“We must remember that whatever we do, God is measuring the work we do for Him in a qualitative, not quantitative way. … Only the work which is done by the power of the Holy Spirit can be acceptable in the Kingdom of God.” —David Yonggi Cho

“Some will still remain skeptical. They will ask: Is not this approach to church life, with its emphasis on ecstatic experience, emotional response, and spiritual power, filled with inherent dangers? Might it not encourage us to feature emotionally manipulative methods and to focus on superficial matters? Yes, undoubtedly, there are dangers. However, there is more danger in an approach that fails to make room for the full range of human experience, including the emotions, in our encounter with God.”

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