A Pentecostal Mind?

August 4, 2007

Interesting article in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today about Tanya Levin, who has recently written a book critical of Hillsong church. She is now calling herself an atheist rejecting Christian faith as such. Judging by the article (I haven’t read her book) one of key things that put her off was being discouraged from asking questions, either about the church or the Bible.

Whatever the rights or wrongs of her case and Hillsong, this does raise an important issue for Pentecostals in general. Most Pentecostal churches in Australia have grown by a combination of strong leadership and contemporary music. Nothing wrong with that: it has helped them be relatable and unified where some other churches are old-fashioned and divided. But we are still inclined to suggest to people that they check their brains at the door!

In postmodern times, discouraging questions instead of engaging them and giving thoughtful answers is not a good long-term strategy. Christians should question things, including their own leaders and their faith. The truth is strong enough to stand this.

I’m not advocating a kind of endless questioning that never comes to a commitment, that uses questioning to avoid commitment. Jesus challenged people to follow him even when they didn’t understand it all and we never have all our questions answered (not in this life anyway). But authoritarianism and emotionalism are no substitutes for honest engagement with real issues.

A few years ago, Mark Noll wrote about “the scandal of the evangelical mind”.¬† Someone else remarked that we are still looking for a Pentecostal mind. Don’t be afraid to think.

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One Response to “A Pentecostal Mind?”

  1. Peter said

    Nice one again. This is an issue that I have actually thought quite a lot about recently, but possibly from a slightly different angle. I wouldn’t say I’ve been afraid to ask questions, but it definitely hasn’t been something that has been encouraged.

    The other thought I had was about the whole intellectual side of Christianity. I feel this is too neglected in church. It seems as though you have to go to Bible College to get any real teaching. Just a thought really, but I’d like to hear more teaching on Sunday mornings.

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