Hand-Clapping in a Gothic Nave

Hand-Clapping in a Gothic Nave

Bethany clued me in to an article I’ve seen around the office but hadn’t yet read, and I’m nearly ashamed, because I just blogged about the subject! Anyhow, Grant Wacker, a noted Pentecostal historian currently Professor of Church History at Duke University, recently wrote an amazing article for Christianity Today: “Hand-Clapping in a Gothic Nave: What Pentecostals and mainliners can learn from each other.” Here’s an excerpt:

Recently media have paid much attention to two distinct religion stories. One is the surge of global Pentecostalism. The other is the visibility of mainline Protestantism in U.S. culture wars. Yet the two stories rarely connect, and for good reason.

Pentecostals and mainliners generally glide around each other like icebergs passing in the night. Over the years, Pentecostals have viewed mainliners with deep skepticism, judging them theologically lax and culturally spineless. Mainliners, for their part, have viewed Pentecostals—when they viewed them at all—with disdain, judging them theologically primitive and culturally unwashed. No one took prisoners.

My aim is modest. It is not to foster ecumenical dialogue (though that would be nice), nor ecumenical worship (though that would be even nicer). I only hope to suggest that the standoff should cease—not for reasons of Christian unity, but so that each tradition can be more true to itself. Pentecostals can become better Pentecostals, and mainliners can become better mainliners, by paying attention to each other’s strengths.

It’s well worth the read.

We publish so much stuff that I rarely get a chance to read our own magazines. I read Christianity Today more before I became an employee more than I do now!

:: sigh ::

[tags]BlogRodent, Grant-Wacker, Pentecostals, Pentecostalism, mainline, ecumenical, dialog, Evangelical, Religion[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Hand-Clapping in a Gothic Nave

  1. Steven F

    Wonderful article, Rich — a great catch. For anyone who has debated on maillists between Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals, a lot of it sounds familiar… especially when heresy raises it’s head, and both sides come together as one to combat it. Sideline things become moot when fundamentals come under attack.

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