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24074Pentecost and charismata

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  • Bob Schacht
    Mar 3, 2012
      As 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.
      What happened?

      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.

      Thanks,
      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University

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