As we enter the 2016 presidential election cycle I am reminded that the people of Israel sought a king (1 Samuel 8:5). Saul was impressive and anointed by the Spirit of God. But his ascension as king was little more than tolerated idolatry. On the day that Samuel presented Saul as their king God said, “I brought up Israel out of Egypt… but today you have rejected your God…” (1 Samuel 10:19). Humans tend to idolize their leaders, even as we acknowledge that the best leaders have feet of clay. In fact, we seem to prefer flawed leaders. It’s tough to admit that our gods are little more than grandiose representations of ourselves.
One of the events I try to attend is the annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Each year scholars of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement gather to present papers, engage in dialogue, fellowship, and worship. This year SPS met at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. The campus is beautiful and the University students and staff were excellent hosts.
There are many ways in which Christianity has been, and is being, revisioned. The Protestant reformers revisioned medieval Catholicism; and Pentecostals have revisioned rational Protestantism. Deconstructionist liberals and conservative nationalists seek to revision the Christian faith after their respective (and defective) political visions. In truth, the Christian faith has always embraced diverse cultural and theological tongues.