24074Pentecost and charismata
- Mar 3, 2012As portrayed in Acts, the followers of Jesus were transformed at
Pentecost, and there began a period of intense fellowship portrayed
in Acts 2 & 4. When Paul writes about his "road to Damascus"
experience, the Damascus congregation seems to have some of that
Pentecostal spirit. Then Paul writes about charismata among the
Corinthians a few decades later, and we seem to see something similar
to the original Pentecostal movement in Jerusalem. But in both cases,
it seems to have been difficult to sustain this charismatic
fellowship for long. After Acts 4, we seem to hear no more about
charismatic fellowship in the Jerusalem church. The later Pastorals
focus less attention on the Charismata than on church organization.
Periodically, the church in various places experiences a period of
renewal, engendering much excitement, new converts, etc. This initial
stage is often, but not necessarily, pentecostal in some sense. But
that stage seems everywhere difficult to sustain. People get older,
some die, the "magic" seems to fade, and people move away. Sometimes
they come back, expecting everything to be the same as when they
left, but things have moved on in their absence. For example, when
Paul returns to visit the Jerusalem Church, as told in Galatians, the
Jerusalem church seems very different than it was portrayed in the
first 4 Chapters of Acts.
I could cite other examples from the last 50 years, or the Great
Awakening, or Babette's Feast, or a host of other examples, including
my Iowa ancestors, but I suspect someone has already researched this
pattern. I would be grateful if someone would share with me your
favorite and most insightful references so that I may understand this
pattern better. I think it would help us understand the development
of Christianity in the First Century.
Northern Arizona University
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