By Dr. Frank Macchia, Professor of Systematic Theology at Vanguard University
This month, the Assemblies of God will be 100 years old!
Over the next 3 issues, we will present a look at our impact as seen by an anthropologist,
a theologian, and a missionary, all Vanguard University professors with a life-time in our fellowship.
Frank Macchia, Ph.D., Professor of Systematic Theology, writes this –
Each family of churches is gifted in unique ways to edify the larger body of Christ. Here is what I think we contributed to the flow of Christian history:
1) Filled with the Spirit: Historically, the Spirit was neglected in the theology of the West due to the tendency over time to subordinate the Spirit in the developing theology of the Trinity and to dualistically separate creation (the realm of the Spirit’s work) from God. Pentecostalism moved against these trends by accenting the presence and power of the Spirit to raise up the church and to energize it for world mission.
2) Healing: In response to the neglect of the Spirit in the history of the church, the Pentecostals also highlighted wholeness in body as well as soul. Salvation is not just of the soul, as an escape from the body or from material life. It is the transformation of our lives and communities.
3) Spiritual gifts: In response to overly hierarchical and juridical notions of the church, the Pentecostals advocated the charismatic structure of the church. This is an emphasis on the church as a “gift-evoking fellowship” where everyone is uniquely gifted to edify the whole and where signs of the age to come grab hold of us in the here and now.
4) Racial diversity and gender inclusiveness: In response to the cultural hierarchies of the world, the Pentecostals stressed the all-inclusive reach of the Spirit in the world. The Pentecostals at Azusa Street not only allowed racial diversity and female involvement in ministry, they celebrated this as crucial to the revival of Pentecost in the latter days. And they did so at a time when such was rare in the church.
To continue this discussion – contact Dr. Frank Macchia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next month we will conclude with a missionary’s comments.