Pentecostal Sacraments: A Review from Brother Jeffrey Gros

Bro. Jeffrey Gros, FSC. President, Society for Pentecostal Studies; Dean, Catholic Institute for Ecumenical Leadership

The Pentecostal and liturgical movements are among the most important transformative renewal events of the 20th century. For the most part, their mutual influence has been marginal and minimal, with Pentecostals seeking to restore biblical worship devoid of dead ritualism, and the liturgical movement drawing first on the ancient patristic heritage and more recently on the rich cultural diversity of the Church catholic. This volume will be welcome addition to the emerging literature that seeks to discern the Spirit in both and their mutual enrichment.

The Pentecostal community inherited an “ordinance” approach to the dominical two sacraments in the evangelical Protestant canon, many adding foot washing. This author treats these three, adding anointing and baptism in the Holy Spirit, which those familiar with the sacramental heritage in theology and the liturgical practice of the classical Pentecostal churches will immediately recognize. These are included in this Pentecostal theological treatment, if not yet to the ecumenical canon of sacramental thinking. In the context of foot washing the author treats confession, reconciliation and ministry, all important sacramental rites in the wider ecumenical discussion.

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Pentecostals, Tradition, and Hermenuetics

This article is an excerpt from PENTECOSTAL SACRAMENTS.

From their earliest days, Pentecostals have been committed to the study of Scripture. It was in the study of God’s Word they found validation for the Holy Spirit’s outpouring they were experiencing. For many early Pentecostals, it was this single-minded devotion to Scripture that assured a latter-day restoration of the New Testament church. Therefore, the Spirit-renewed church would be “the church of the Bible.” As the church of the Bible, the Spirit renewed church should reflect the life, doctrine, and polity of the apostolic church. Pentecostals justified their faith and practice by the Bible. Speaking in tongues was the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit because it was “the Bible evidence.” Converts were to receive water baptism; believers were to partake of the Lord’s Supper and wash the saints’ feet; church members were to practice tithing; the sick were to be prayed for and receive divine healing—all because“it’s in the Bible.”

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A Witness to Unity

The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad called the altar Witness; “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God” (Joshua 22:34).

After the partial conquest of Canaan, Joshua began to assign territories of inheritance to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. The people of these tribes were faithful to the covenant of Moses; they were obedient to the commands of Joshua; and they maintained the solidarity of the community. Because of their faithfulness, they now entered into the rest of the Lord.

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Forty Days with God

A message for Lent

The Lenten season lasts forty days, beginning with Ash Wednesday. Forty is a number that is deeply rooted in the biblical tradition. For forty days and nights as the rains fell upon the earth, the future of humanity, and of all life on the earth, was protected within the confines of the ark of Noah. The inhabitants of the ark remained for forty more days as they waited for the flood waters to recede.

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Sound an Alarm!

Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the Lord is coming; Surely it is near… (Joel 2:1).

While preaching to American soldiers in Bataan during World War II, U. S. Army chaplain W. T. Cummings said, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” His point to those young soldiers was that when we are faced with the certainty of dying, then the certainty of God becomes more real.

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The Gospel according to Elvis and Whitney

My favorite gospel music is that of Elvis Presley. From his majestic rendition of How Great Thou Art to Let Us Pray, the final song of his last movie, I love the hear Elvis sing songs of inspiration and faith. His musical style was born in his Pentecostal faith and married to the Blues music of Memphis. In fact, I enjoy all of his music, from Teddy Bear to In the Ghetto. When Elvis died I mourned his loss, but found myself wondering, “How can a man with his gift to sing sacred music and reared in Pentecostal church live and die like he did?”

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The Bible – A Dangerous Weapon?

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Peter 1:19-21).

In the 1980’s I attended a small Southern Baptist College. This was during the conflict between the conservatives and moderates (liberals?) about the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. In our “Gospels” class, I remember telling a small group that the future debate would not be about verbal inspiration or inerrancy, but about hermeneutics. Thirty years later, that statement has proved to have been prophetic.

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