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» Ship of Fools   » Ship's Locker   » Limbo   » Purgatory: Are Pentecostals Evangelical? (Page 5)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Are Pentecostals Evangelical?
Gordon Cheng

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quote:
Originally posted by Gracie:

That begs the question though on whether or not it's possible to know you've got it right, and even more so to know that you've got it right on absolutely everything.

Oh well, you can only work with what's in your head at the moment. If you think it's right you act on it. If you doubt it's right you don't. You can't both trust your weight to the chair and not trust your weight to the chair at one and the same time, now can you?

quote:
Gracie:That said, I know an alarming number of Evangelicals who think they've got it right about absolutely everything, whilst being in complete disagreement with one another on certain issues.
You have to go into this sort of thing with a certain degree of epistemological humility. I personally think I'm right about the main things, but then I would argue, so do we all. Evangelicals don't have a monopoly on saying 'boo' and 'hiss' to people who disagree with them. We all like to have a bash on behalf of our own beliefs; that's human nature.


quote:
what space there is for you to work out that you've got something wrong by engaging in discussion and debate. Has that ever happened to you?
Yes. If you exclude my conversion, the most significant issues on which I've changed my mind in the last twenty years would include the way God guides, women's ordination, women's preaching, the meaning of 'justification', the meaning of Romans 7, the nature of 'tongues', whether it is possible to obey the law of God, scriptural inerrancy, the role of spiritual beings in the life of the Christian, the meaning of leadership, the shape of spiritual experience, the nature of forgiveness, Christian fellowship, the significance of Karl Barth's theology, the univocality of language about God, and quite possibly some other things I can't remember just at the moment.
I am currently confused about Intelligent Design and hoping to get some help on the question.

quote:
Yes, your original claim, to which I reacted by starting this thread, that pentecostals are not evangelical was in Hell and not in Purgatory. I wanted a "purgatorial" debate on this, rather than a hellish one, so I started the discussion here. If you'd wanted a more restricted discussion on Hillsong, you could have always started a thread yourself. Right from the start I was more interested in discussing the more general question.
I figured that. but this is a liberal Ship with lots of clever people who get annoyed when I speak in generalizations. So I tiptoe around a bit and try not to offend unless I mean to. Sometimes this works, sometimes not.

quote:
You haven't even said, that there might be some evangelical pentecostals somewhere.
Give me an example, then.


quote:
OK, I think I'm gradually understanding a little better where you're coming from. For you "evangelical" would be a synonym for "biblical"? Would that be right?
Yes.


quote:
I have understood from what you've written here and elsewhere on the ship, that you're an Anglican. From my own understanding of the Bible and evangelical upbringing, there are lots of things taught and done by Anglicans which don't have the support of Scripture.

Don't you find it at all disturbing to say that others aren't evangelical because they have some teaching which in your opinion doesn't square up with Scripture, whilst accepting other things in your own church's practice?

Anglicanism is a dog's breakfast these days. Yes I'm an Anglican, you're right, but the beauty and the disgrace of contemporary Anglicanism is that you can be anything you want to be, including evangelical.

Traditionally, however, Anglicanism is evangelical. But I don't like conflict, so I'd much rather not kick up a fuss and tell others they've got it wrong. Which, it seems to me, is the quintessence of post-modern Anglicanism.

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quantpole
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Heres an example
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Gordon Cheng

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Hi quantpole,

Like many pentecostal statements of faith it is solid but vague. I would like to know what exactly is meant by statement 6. I would like to see (as an evangelical) a statement on Justification by faith alone; and it's not clear from the statement whether they believe works contribute to salvation. Neither of these omissions are trivial, there was a Protestant Reformation some 480ish years ago which broke apart Roman Catholicism because of these two issues, among others. Evangelical doctrinal bases such as that of UCCF tend to reflect this important piece of history.

I'm not saying the church in question doesn't have a view on these matters, you just don't know from their statement of belief.

Not to mention that if we just went on statements of belief, the Anglican church is thoroughly evangelical (witness the 39 Articles). If only it were so!

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Not to mention that if we just went on statements of belief, the Anglican church is thoroughly evangelical (witness the 39 Articles). If only it were so!

If only it were so that you would include in statements like this phrases such as "I believe that the Anglican church...", or "evangelical by my definition", or some such, trying to engage in debate with you would be much less jarring.

For starters, I would like you to explain to anabaptists (most if not all of whom would describe themselves as evangelicals and who, historically, suffered no small persecution at the hands of Anglicans and others on this score - and as far as I know all Pentecostals would be basically anabaptist) how article XXVII is "evangelical" ie self-apparent from the Bible. (To my amazement, this does not even appaear to be a Dead Horse).

Then we can move on to Articles XXI and XXXVI through XXXIX. I look forward to learning how these are "throroughly evangelical", too.

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quantpole
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Gordon,

I really didn't take statement 6 to be anything like a requirement for salvation. It would be a bit odd for a pentecostal church not to make reference to gifts of the spirit. I know this church and have no problems with saying that it is evangelical. That might not prove much I know but given our locations it would be a bit tricky to find a church that we are both aware of!

Incidentally, I went to Abundant Life, Bradford, which has some relations with Hillsongs. I would say that the messages being given off from there were certainly not evangelical.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by quantpole:
Gordon,

<snip>
Incidentally, I went to Abundant Life, Bradford, which has some relations with Hillsongs. I would say that the messages being given off from there were certainly not evangelical.

Could you say in what ways you found this to be so?

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
If only it were so that you would include in statements like this phrases such as "I believe that the Anglican church...", or "evangelical by my definition", or some such, trying to engage in debate with you would be much less jarring.

Hey Euty, I'm just a jarring kind of dude. But you can blame my year 8 English teacher Ma Readford if it will make it easier. She told me "Don't say 'I think' in your essays! It's obvious you think it, or you wouldn't have said it." She scared me into submission. Or blame it on me, because the other woman in my life (my wife) tells me I do smug like no-one else can.

quote:
Euty: For starters, I would like you to explain to anabaptists (most if not all of whom would describe themselves as evangelicals and who, historically, suffered no small persecution at the hands of Anglicans and others on this score - and as far as I know all Pentecostals would be basically anabaptist) how article XXVII is "evangelical" ie self-apparent from the Bible.
Article 27 is dodgy. A lot of the others are pretty good. Article 6 is a real winner.

quote:
Euty: Then we can move on to Articles XXI and XXXVI through XXXIX. I look forward to learning how these are "throroughly evangelical", too.
Pick one and we can talk about it. Maybe not on this thread though?

ETA: Hi quantpole, interesting stuff. I have no doubt there are pentecostal churches that are evangelical, really. I don't know enough to speak with any authority. Hillsong, however, is completely fruit-loopy and is more like neo-paganism than Christianity. (Sorry Euty, add liberal doses of "I thinks" into that statement)

[ 02. September 2005, 08:06: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]

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quantpole
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Hi Barnabas,

If you followed the original discussion on Hillsongs then it was pretty much the same issues. If you want a fuller answer I'll try later (busy right now!)

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Robert Armin

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After weeks of computer problems I think/hope I am now back on board again. I would like to pick up on a point that Gracie made earlier, if I may. Many pentecostalist/charismatic preachers I have heard would claim that they are taking the Bible seriously, in a way that "traditional" evangelicals do not. The basis of this claim would be their expectation that the whole range of spiritual gifts (including tongues, miracles and prophecy) should be found in the church today, and that when the gospel is preached there should be "signs following".

This seems a reasonable and logical claim to me. What objection would a non-pentecostal evangelical have to it?

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by quantpole:
Hi Barnabas,

If you followed the original discussion on Hillsongs then it was pretty much the same issues. If you want a fuller answer I'll try later (busy right now!)

No that's fine. I understand

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
Many pentecostalist/charismatic preachers I have heard would claim that they are taking the Bible seriously, in a way that "traditional" evangelicals do not. The basis of this claim would be their expectation that the whole range of spiritual gifts (including tongues, miracles and prophecy) should be found in the church today, and that when the gospel is preached there should be "signs following".

This seems a reasonable and logical claim to me. What objection would a non-pentecostal evangelical have to it?

From Gordon's recent post, possibly that they are being fruit-loopy and neo-paganistic? (Unworthy B62, slap wrist time.)

Its actually a profound question. Charismatic renewal cuts the church cake into different slices. You'll find your catholics and anglo-catholics, your liberal and conservative Anglicans, all sorts of nonconformists all relating being renewed by God's Spirit. Not in any elitist way at all. But thankful, mostly. You get used to it after a while - the conferences are a lot more eclectic from that viewpoint than you would think by looking at the speakers.

For a while I thought renewal was going to be a major transformer of ecumenical processes (I have a genuine passion for seeing a greater unity in the church) because I've seen some really surprising barriers broken down and genuine mutual recognition of faith occur. But I think that hopeful aspect is not so evident in the UK these days. Personally, I do my best to foster it, but doctrinal defences can easily kick in. Its one of these irregular verbs

We are SOUND
You are TREADING ON THIN ICE
They are NEO-PAGAN FRUIT-LOOPIES

Ah me.

In a recent book, the American Christian Jim Wallis observed that some denominational behaviour reminded him of the rivalry of street gangs. Loyalty to the "tribe" and the "local code" came first and got in the way of the risk of genuine mutual recognition and friendship. And disarming.

I guess some will say that's pretty fruit-loopy too. It speaks some truth to me though. Maybe I'd better say I was an evangelical in future. But I really dont want to do that.

[ 02. September 2005, 16:14: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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quantpole
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quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
After weeks of computer problems I think/hope I am now back on board again. I would like to pick up on a point that Gracie made earlier, if I may. Many pentecostalist/charismatic preachers I have heard would claim that they are taking the Bible seriously, in a way that "traditional" evangelicals do not. The basis of this claim would be their expectation that the whole range of spiritual gifts (including tongues, miracles and prophecy) should be found in the church today, and that when the gospel is preached there should be "signs following".

This seems a reasonable and logical claim to me. What objection would a non-pentecostal evangelical have to it?

Well I'm non-pentecostal but also non-cessationist. Basically I think that spiritual gifts are found in the church today but not to the extent that charismatics would say. I am wary of people telling me that I should be exercising spiritual gifts to get closer to God as I believe God reaches all of us in different ways. I don't exclude tongues etc but think that if it's going to happen it will and forcing the issue isn't necessary. In terms of your question the only difficulty I would have is in the phrase "should be found" and I'm not altogether sure what the signs are of "signs following". I would agree that 'traditional' evangelicals who preach cessationism are not being very bibilical and often resort to the kind of word analysis they condemn liberals and others for in explaining this.

[ETA what Barnabas said too]

[ 02. September 2005, 16:43: Message edited by: quantpole ]

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Gracie
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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:

If you think it's right you act on it. If you doubt it's right you don't. You can't both trust your weight to the chair and not trust your weight to the chair at one and the same time, now can you?

Indeed, but here you've made that shift from knowing to thinking which makes all the difference from my perspective, and maybe has something to do with the "epistemological humility" you mention in your next paragraph.

quote:
…the most significant issues on which I've changed my mind in the last twenty years would include […] I am currently confused about Intelligent Design and hoping to get some help on the question.


So concretely, when you feel you need some "help" on a question, how do you proceed?

quote:
Gordon:
Give me an example, then.
Quantpole:
Here's an example

Here Quantpole linked to the statement of faith of a Pentecostal church that explicitly says in its first article:
quote:

"We believe in the inspiration and the sole authority of the Bible"

and rather than taking that at face value, you are still trying to suggest that they are not evangelical.

I do thank you however that you finally manage to admit for the first time since the beginning of these discussions:
quote:

I have no doubt there are pentecostal churches that are evangelical, really.

And congratulations to Quantpole for getting you to admit it.


quote:

Traditionally, however, Anglicanism is evangelical.

So in your eyes, non-anglican churches must get all their teaching and practices from the Bible in order to qualify to be evangelical… whereas Anglicanism is evangelical, in spite of all the stuff in the 39 articles about the consecration of bishops and ordering of priests etc?

Don't you think there are double standards here somewhere?

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When someone is convinced he’s an Old Testament prophet there’s not a lot you can do with him rationally. - Sine

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
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quote:
Originally posted by Gracie:

So concretely, when you feel you need some "help" on a question, how do you proceed?

I read the Bible, I pray, I check commentaries and other books, I ask friends. If I'm feeling particularly feisty I log on to Ship of Fools to talk about it, if I want a more in-depth online discussion (as opposed to a combative one) I go to Sydney Anglicans. Somewhere along the way I come to a provisional conclusion.


quote:
Gracie:
and rather than taking that at face value, you are still trying to suggest that they are not evangelical.

I didn't suggest that at all. I just said there's not enough information in that one web-page for me to know.

quote:
Gracie:
I do thank you however that you finally manage to admit for the first time since the beginning of these discussions:
quote:

I have no doubt there are pentecostal churches that are evangelical, really.

And congratulations to Quantpole for getting you to admit it.


It's not an "admission". I've said consistently on this thread that I'm really talking about Hillsong. If you want me to talk about other parts of Pentecostalism, I'll happily admit ignorance, and have done all along.


quote:
Gracie: So in your eyes, non-anglican churches must get all their teaching and practices from the Bible in order to qualify to be evangelical… whereas Anglicanism is evangelical, in spite of all the stuff in the 39 articles about the consecration of bishops and ordering of priests etc?

Don't you think there are double standards here somewhere?

There cetainly would be, if I'd said that! Thankfully, I didn't. To clarify: Anglicanism is not evangelical. The 39 Articles of Religion, however, are a very good evangelical statement of faith, but like all stuff that is not divinely inspired, liable to contain some error. The 39 articles still form the official standard of faith for the Anglican Church in many parts of the world, including Australia (according to the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia). Many Western Anglicans don't bother with them too much these days, but I do.

Thankfully, the 39 articles gets it right in all the key areas (IMHO-that's for you, Euty) like authority of Scripture, universal sinfulness of mankind, justification by faith alone, the divinity of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, salvation by God's grace without any contribution from our works, the certainty of coming judgement by the Lord Jesus, and quite a bit more besides—including the pointing out of the errors of official Roman Catholic teaching.

[ 02. September 2005, 23:01: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]

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Gracie
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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:

I read the Bible, I pray, I check commentaries and other books, I ask friends. If I'm feeling particularly feisty I log on to Ship of Fools to talk about it, if I want a more in-depth online discussion (as opposed to a combative one) I go to Sydney Anglicans. Somewhere along the way I come to a provisional conclusion. ?

My question is how do you come to a conclusion (provisional or otherwise)?

quote:

I didn't suggest that at all. I just said there's not enough information in that one web-page for me to know.

But your interim conclusion is that they aren't and it's not clear what it would take for you to entertain the idea that they might be, in spite of the fact that they say quite clearly that they believe in the sole authority of Scripture.


quote:
It's not an "admission". I've said consistently on this thread that I'm really talking about Hillsong. If you want me to talk about other parts of Pentecostalism, I'll happily admit ignorance, and have done all along.
I was using "admit" in the sense of to "acknowledge", and it does go further than anything than you have said previously.


quote:

The 39 Articles of Religion, however, are a very good evangelical statement of faith, but like all stuff that is not divinely inspired, liable to contain some error…

Thankfully, the 39 articles gets it right in all the key areas (IMHO-that's for you, Euty) like authority of Scripture, universal sinfulness of mankind, justification by faith alone, the divinity of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, salvation by God's grace without any contribution from our works, the certainty of coming judgement by the Lord Jesus…

I'm still not convinced here, Gordon. I think it's possible to read the 39 articles "in an evangelical way", but I find it very difficult to give an evangelical interpretation to article 27 for example just for starters.

I still think it's curious that you're willing to give so much more latitude to Anglicans than to Pentecostals, but there you go.

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
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quote:
Originally posted by Gracie:
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:

I read the Bible, I pray, I check commentaries and other books, I ask friends. If I'm feeling particularly feisty I log on to Ship of Fools to talk about it, if I want a more in-depth online discussion (as opposed to a combative one) I go to Sydney Anglicans. Somewhere along the way I come to a provisional conclusion. ?

My question is how do you come to a conclusion (provisional or otherwise)?
Not sure what you're asking now. I thought I just described the process. It would take a psychologist or philosopher to go past what I just said. Theologically speaking, I take it that God answers my prayer for enlightenment by giving me a brain, discussion partners, commentaries, and online forums to assist in understanding his Word, the Bible. If I turn out to have made a mistake and become aware of it, I change my mind, apologise as necessary and move on.

Ultimately though, understanding God is a work of his Holy Spirit. It can't be otherwise.

quote:
Gracie:
quote:
me:
I didn't suggest that at all. I just said there's not enough information in that one web-page for me to know.

Gracie: But your interim conclusion is that they aren't and it's not clear what it would take for you to entertain the idea that they might be, in spite of the fact that they say quite clearly that they believe in the sole authority of Scripture.


Well when you say 'they', who are you talking about? I've already said I'm not in a position to talk about worldwide Pentecostalism, and I haven't here expressed anything other than ignorance. Why ask me to comment on something I've told you I don't know about?

If you want to talk about Hillsong, it would take repentance from their publicly stated position on things like prosperity gospel. And clarity on biblical basics, things like justification by faith alone, and the nature of God's blessing in Jesus. We would argue points on a case by case basis, as with everything where you're really trying to grapple with an issue, rather than make sweeping generalisations.

My generalisations about Hillsong are made on the basis of specific information that I've already referred to. But don't ask me to generalise about Pentecostalism on this thread, unless you're going to define what you mean.

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Gracie
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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:

Theologically speaking, I take it that God answers my prayer for enlightenment by giving me a brain, discussion partners, commentaries, and online forums to assist in understanding his Word, the Bible. If I turn out to have made a mistake and become aware of it, I change my mind, apologise as necessary and move on.

Ultimately though, understanding God is a work of his Holy Spirit. It can't be otherwise.
.



Ok. So it appears that we're agreed that you need a work of the Holy Spirit in order to understand the Bible. I was wondering whether you had a particular person or group of people as a reference, that you could ask if you'd got it right. From what you've just answered it would appear that this is not the case.

And so it appears all the more curious to me, that you can maintain that you've got it right and are evangelical, whilst others who also subscribe to the sole authority of Scripture have got it wrong and are not evangelical.

quote:

Why ask me to comment on something I've told you I don't know about?



I believe it was you, (when I remarked that you hadn't even said that there just might be some evangelical pentecostals somewhere) that asked for an example. When an example was given, rather than accept the statement of faith at face value, it was you that hedged the issue claiming that their statement of faith wasn't clear enough.

You did however finally concede to Quantpole that you had no doubt that "there are pentecostal churches that are evangelical churches really".

You seem to have three conflicting positions on this:

Which should I believe to be true?

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
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quote:
Originally posted by Gracie:
And so it appears all the more curious to me, that you can maintain that you've got it right and are evangelical, whilst others who also subscribe to the sole authority of Scripture have got it wrong and are not evangelical.

I don't claim to have all things right, but I do make stronger claims with regard to certain issues. Thus I believe it is impossible to be evangelical and not teach "justification by faith alone", or to be evangelical and teach prosperity gospel. I believe it is possible to be evangelical and differ on questions such as paedobaptism (that would be Article XXVII in the Anglican 39 Articles), or the meaning of Revelation 20:1-3 as applied to world history.

Some issues of evangelical belief are more important than others. To take a relevant example, if a particular church (such as Hillsong) sidelines "justification by faith" to the extent of not being clear about it or even stating it, then it follows that they are not evangelical.

quote:
Gracie:
I believe it was you, (when I remarked that you hadn't even said that there just might be some evangelical pentecostals somewhere) that asked for an example. When an example was given, rather than accept the statement of faith at face value, it was you that hedged the issue claiming that their statement of faith wasn't clear enough.

That's true, it wasn't. I'm not prepared to make decisions about a church on the basis of one statement of faith from one website. Nor should you, or anyone (and you'll notice that although I have referred people to Hillsong's website, my own view concerning them is based on more than this).


quote:
Gracie:

You seem to have three conflicting positions on this:
  • Pentecostals (or more specifically Australian AOG pentecostals) are "not even close" to being Evangelical
  • You have no idea
  • You have no doubt that there are some evangelical pentecostals

Which should I believe to be true?

Well, as long as you allow that the three positions are not logically inconsistent, you can believe all, two, one or none (your choice).

Your summary statement one (and I'm glad you've added the necessary qualifier, although your qualifier is still broader than the one I have actually offered) is reasonably close to what I believe. What I actually said on this thread, in this discussion we're having right now, is that given that Brian Houston as pastor of Hillsong is also the national President of AOG in Australia, it is likely that Hillsong is representative of Australian Pentecostalism. Even here, I may be mistaken, and what I've said all along acknowledges the possibility.

You also linked to a sweeping statement I made in Hell. I said at the time (you'll see where if you scroll right down to the bottom of the page you linked, in a response to Callan) that statements made in Hell by me tend towards hyperbole, and need to be carefully qualified once we are moving to a serious discussion in Purgatory. So: I qualified that statement in Hell, I also qualified it early on this thread in Purgatory, and as far as I know have maintained the qualification consistently.

Statement two as a statement about my knowledge of Pentecostalism worldwide is a self-evident truth, or if it isn't now you know.

Statement three is a concession based on the fact that of millions of people I confess I know nothing about, who claim to be Christians, it is quite likely that some of them are evangelical. The idiom of the third statement is tending towards hyperbole, but I stand by it.

So if you seriously want me to comment on whether or not Pentecostals are evangelical (and yes, you're quite right if you notice that I haven't made such a comment anywhere on this thread), then I am going to ask you how it is that you are defining 'Pentecostal'. Once you do that, I can give you an answer in line with your definition.

[ 06. September 2005, 21:21: Message edited by: Gordon Cheng ]

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Dubious Thomas
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I need to begin my "intervention" by noting that I've followed this thread with some puzzlement. I'm a former "evangelical" and was active in IVCF while a university student in Canada. At no time did the subject of Pentecostals' status as evangelicals come up. IVCF was full of Pentecostals who regarded themselves--and were regarded by everyone else--as evangelicals. I'll also note that all of the major Pentecostal denominations in the United States are members of the National Association of Evangelicals, and if I am not mistaken, the Assemblies of God here were a founding member.

With these preliminary comments out of the way, I come to a question about a specific assertion:

quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
I don't claim to have all things right, but I do make stronger claims with regard to certain issues. Thus I believe it is impossible to be evangelical and not teach "justification by faith alone", or to be evangelical and teach prosperity gospel.



I understand the claim about "justification by faith alone," but the claim about teaching the prosperity gospel perplexes me. Please don't get me wrong. I find prosperity teaching repugnant and--to speak as I once would have with no self-consciousness--"unbiblical." But holding a position someone believes to be unbiblical certainly doesn't make someone not an evangelical. If it did, no one would be an evangelical!

So, it must have something to do with violating a supposed identity marker of evangelicalism. Perhaps I missed your previous explanation on this. If so, I'd appreciate being referred to it. Otherwise, further clarification would be helpful. How is teaching prosperity specifically non-evangelical?

Thomas [believing God for Gordon to answer my question ... claiming that answer in the name GEEE-ZUZ!]

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שפך חמתך אל־הגוים אשר לא־ידעוך
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The Revolutionist
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Here's my take on the definition of an evangelical, though I think it's necessary to distinguish between the evangelical approach/methodology and Evangelicalism as a denomination.

The evangelical approach is the back-to-the-Bible approach. In particular, characterised by a belief in "The divine inspiration and infallibility of Holy Scripture, as originally given, and its supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct" or equivalent. That, to my mind, is the defining characteristic of an evangelical.

Stuff like the UCCF doctrinal basis, the Evangelical Alliance statement of faith and so on are the typical conclusions of those who identify themselves as "Evangelical". But those aren't the defining characteristics of an evangelical, but ones that usually result.

A good evangelical doctrinal basis would be one that summarised essential Biblical doctrines that cannot be denied without denying the integrity and truth of the Bible itself. There are many issues which can be legitimately disagreed upon by the use of an evangelical approach. There are other issues where Christians disagree on what the Bible says because they hold a different view of the Bible. An appeal to the Bible may or may not be evangelical depending on one's methodology in interpreting the Bible.

However, it is possible to agree with those beliefs without having reached them by an evangelical methodology, or perhaps to use an evangelical methodology come to different conclusions on what scripture teaches.

I think a lot of the confusion around the term "Evangelical" arises because people tend to group around the resulting doctrines rather than the underlying approach. Earlier, Alan Creswell listed a common broad definition of evangelical:
quote:

* Emphasis on the Cross, often (but not exclusively) taking a Penal Substititionary Atonement model.
* Centrality of Scripture, it's "supreme authority in matters of faith and conduct" (could be inerrancy or infallibility)
* Importance of conversion, evangelicals believe in a need to make a personal decision to follow Christ.
* Activism, the Christian faith is something that results in action - primarily evangelism, though also social action.

My view is that points 1, 3 and 4 usually follow on from point 2, that of the "centrality of Scripture". But I think that a genuinely evangelical approach needs to be carefully specified, because churches can often hold Scripture to be central while giving equal or higher footing to reason, experience, new revelation, tradition and so on. There are many churches that have characteristics and beliefs that are evangelical, and many churches within Evangelicalism are probably like this, but they can't be said to genuinely be evangelical because they do not hold to the evangelical approach to scripture.

I think this is pretty much the same kind of thing that Gordon has been arguing, so sorry for the repetition! It's helped me think things through, even if I don't have anything massively original to contribute.

Caleb

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Gracie
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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon

I don't claim to have all things right, but I do make stronger claims with regard to certain issues. Thus I believe it is impossible to be evangelical and not teach "justification by faith alone", or to be evangelical and teach prosperity gospel. I believe it is possible to be evangelical and differ on questions such as paedobaptism (that would be Article XXVII in the Anglican 39 Articles), or the meaning of Revelation 20:1-3 as applied to world history.

Personally I believe it is not possible to be evangelical and believe in baptismal regeneration. Article 26 seems to be unclear on this issue.
quote:

Well, as long as you allow that the three positions are not logically inconsistent, you can believe all, two, one or none (your choice).




Well I can see how you might hold a combination on one and two or one and three with the given qualifiers. However it does appear to me that two and three are contradictory in the way I perceived them to be originally used by you.

quote:

So if you seriously want me to comment on whether or not Pentecostals are evangelical (and yes, you're quite right if you notice that I haven't made such a comment anywhere on this thread), then I am going to ask you how it is that you are defining 'Pentecostal'. Once you do that, I can give you an answer in line with your definition.



Well as I said at the outset of this thread I’m not Pentecostal. I will however attempt to give a definition, or to elaborate on one I think I gave earlier. If any Pentecostals feel I’m misrepresenting them – maybe they could let me know.

I think Pentecostalism would be characterised by a belief in God’s ongoing intention for the spiritual gifts mentioned specifically in Acts and Corinthians to be available for believers throughout the church age. These are to be received by a “Pentecost experience” or “second blessing” following on from conversion. Some pentecostals (notably AOG) believe that the initial evidence of this experience, also called “baptism in the Spirit” is the gift of speaking in tongues, others (notably Elim) believe that it could be any spiritual gift. It is by baptism in the Spirit that the believer is empowered for service.

They also believe in the sole authority of Scripture (see the link Quantpole gave), justification by faith alone and all the major evangelical beliefs.


Meanwhile I will be interested to read your answer to Dubious Thomas’ question:

quote:
Originally posted by Dubious Thomas


I understand the claim about "justification by faith alone," but the claim about teaching the prosperity gospel perplexes me. Please don't get me wrong. I find prosperity teaching repugnant and--to speak as I once would have with no self-consciousness--"unbiblical." But holding a position someone believes to be unbiblical certainly doesn't make someone not an evangelical. If it did, no one would be an evangelical!

So, it must have something to do with violating a supposed identity marker of evangelicalism. Perhaps I missed your previous explanation on this. If so, I'd appreciate being referred to it. Otherwise, further clarification would be helpful. How is teaching prosperity specifically non-evangelical?




I’m right here with you on this one Thomas. And Gordon, I’ll be interested to read your answer.


quote:
Originally posted by Caleb



The evangelical approach is the back-to-the-Bible approach. In particular, characterised by a belief in "The divine inspiration and infallibility of Holy Scripture, as originally given, and its supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct" or equivalent. That, to my mind, is the defining characteristic of an evangelical….

However, it is possible to agree with those beliefs without having reached them by an evangelical methodology, or perhaps to use an evangelical methodology come to different conclusions on what scripture teaches….

I think this is pretty much the same kind of thing that Gordon has been arguing, so sorry for the repetition! It's helped me think things through, even if I don't have anything massively original to contribute.




Hi Caleb, thanks for contributing. However I don’t find that what you said is the same kind of thing at all as Gordon has been arguing. Specifically, from what I have understood from what he has written he does not believe that it is possible to use an evangelical methodology and come to different conclusions on what scripture teaches. Otherwise I think I have pretty much the same idea of the defining characteristic of an evangelical as you do.

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When someone is convinced he’s an Old Testament prophet there’s not a lot you can do with him rationally. - Sine

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Dubious Thomas
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quote:
Originally posted by Gracie:
Personally I believe it is not possible to be evangelical and believe in baptismal regeneration. Article 26 seems to be unclear on this issue.

This is the funny thing about the criteria used to define evangelicalism and to decide who is "in" and who is "out". While I think many (most?) evangelicals would agree with you, the problem is that a good case can be made that baptismal regeneration is taught in Scripture. So, if most evangelicals reject what the Bible says about baptism,* are they evangelicals, if evangelicalism is defined by fidelity to Scripture? [Biased]

[*It is the means by which we arrive at forgiveness of sins (Acts 3:38); it is the means by which we wash away sins (Acts 22:16); it saves (1 Peter 3:21).]

Thomas

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Gordon Cheng

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quote:
Originally posted by Dubious Thomas:
How is teaching prosperity specifically non-evangelical?

G'day DT.

Now I’m going to assume that neither you nor anyone on these boards thinks that prosperity gospel is biblical, but if someone wants to have a go at arguing that it is, let’s have that discussion too.

Given that it’s not biblical, the question then arises as to whether or not it is important enough to cause a fuss over. In my book, there are all sorts of things we could disagree over and it wouldn’t cause a murmur of disturbance on the question of whether it was ‘evangelical’ or not. Not just things like hair colour or whether or not you like vegemite; but other more substantial things like the age of the earth, or whether we expect that Christ will reign for a thousand years on earth before the kingdom comes, or whether or not adult baptism is a good thing.

Mind you things do change category as to how importantly we rate them or not, don’t they? I imagine that there will not now be a theological fuss over whether male children of Christians should be circumcised or not. But when Galatians was written, it was as near enough to a life or death issue as you could get. This is one reason why you couldn’t get a definition of “Christian” or “evangelical” and freeze it in aspic for centuries to come, even though the core issues might remain completely unvaried (eg I still believe the Nicene creed, and I can’t foresee a time when the issues in it become peripheral, but I don’t think the Nicene creed is exhaustive in its listing of the things that matter. Does anyone?)

As for prosperity gospel, as far as I can see it stands in direct contradiction to the promise of the New Testament. There are multiple examples of this in the teaching of Jesus, Peter, Paul and the other NT writers. Take this one example of the gospel as it was preached in Acts:

quote:
originally posted by God:
Acts 14:21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had kmade many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,
Acts 14:22 lstrengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them mto continue in nthe faith, and saying that othrough many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.


The theme of "suffering now, glory then" seems to me so central to the teaching of the New Testament that if you explicitly contradict it (and I think we would agree that prosperity gospel does?) then you can't both believe it and be evangelical.

Gracie Your definition of Pentecostalism is sufficiently vague that it might be OK to believe it and still call yourself evangelical. When you look at a fuzzy thing from a long way away and squint, it appears to be indistinguishable from another fuzzy thing that you can see out of the corner of your eye. So it is with the definition you have given. But the more you insist on the distinctives you've mentioned, the less evangelical that definition looks.

I have a personal dislike for fuzzy definitions, however, and I wonder if there isn't something more substantial you or someone could come up with? It's one of the reasons I would rather talk about Hillsong than some broad term like 'Pentecostalism'.

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Dubious Thomas
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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Now I’m going to assume that neither you nor anyone on these boards thinks that prosperity gospel is biblical, but if someone wants to have a go at arguing that it is, let’s have that discussion too.

G'day, Gordon!

I asserted quite forcefully in my OP that I don't regard the 'prosperity gospel' as 'biblical'. It would be helpful if there were someone here who did believe in it, as that would allow us to see how the arguments are advanced. I can say, from all I have seen of prosperity teachers--who are "a dime-a-dozen" here in the United States--that they make the case for their teachings by direct appeal to the Bible, which they treat as fully authoritative: prosperity teachers are, without exception, inerrantists.

quote:
Given that it’s not biblical, the question then arises as to whether or not it is important enough to cause a fuss over.
With due acknowledgement of what you say after the above quoted material, the issue here is not whether prosperity teaching is or is not "important enough to cause a fuss over." The issue is whether there is something about it that makes it inherently incompatible with an evangelical identity.

In your argument, which I haven't reproduced, you merely make a case against the teaching by quoting the Bible against it. That's no different than quoting Mark 16:16 ("He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved....") against infant baptism (infants can't "believe"), or quoting Romans 9:18 ("Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.") against Arminianism. Surely, the issue of whether or not God predestines people to salvation or damnation is worthy of some "fuss"! But I doubt very much that most Calvinists would go so far as to assert that traditional Methodists aren't evangelicals because they believe something the Calvinists insist is "unbiblical".

So far, I simply have not seen an argument from you that demonstrates specifically why holding to prosperity teaching is un-evangelical. Being unbiblical is simply not the same thing as being un-evangelical. If the two were the same ....

.... then Baptists could declare that all paedobaptists are not evangelicals
....Mennonites could declare that anyone who believes in "just war" is not evangelical
.... Calvinists could declare that all Arminians are not evangelicals
.... members of the Campbellite Churches of Christ could declare that anyone who rejects their views on adult baptismal regeneration are not evangelicals
.... and Pentecostals could declare that anyone who rejects the gifts of the Spirit described in Scripture is not an evangelical!

You have been arguing on the basis of an assumption that committment to biblical authority is constitutive of evangelical identity; that is, you're not an evangelical if you explicitly reject something in the Bible. For the sake of argument, I'll accept that claim. It does fairly represent the views of most evangelicals, I think (and, for the record, is why I am not myself an evangelical).

Do prosperity teachers explicitly reject biblical teaching? I am not asking if you think they reject biblical teaching. I'm asking if they articulate this position themselves. Do they say something to the effect that they know their teaching is contradicted by the Bible, but they prefer it to the Bible? I very much doubt this. All of their rhetoric is centered on claiming that what they teach is entirely biblical. They talk like evangelicals.

[As an aside: I can't really participate in this discussion in terms of Hillsong, as it is not something about which I know anything. My whole experience of Pentecostalism is limited to North America.]

Thomas

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שפך חמתך אל־הגוים אשר לא־ידעוך
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The Revolutionist
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quote:
Originally posted by Dubious Thomas:

So far, I simply have not seen an argument from you that demonstrates specifically why holding to prosperity teaching is un-evangelical. Being unbiblical is simply not the same thing as being un-evangelical. If the two were the same ....

.... then Baptists could declare that all paedobaptists are not evangelicals
....Mennonites could declare that anyone who believes in "just war" is not evangelical
.... Calvinists could declare that all Arminians are not evangelicals
.... members of the Campbellite Churches of Christ could declare that anyone who rejects their views on adult baptismal regeneration are not evangelicals
.... and Pentecostals could declare that anyone who rejects the gifts of the Spirit described in Scripture is not an evangelical!

You have been arguing on the basis of an assumption that committment to biblical authority is constitutive of evangelical identity; that is, you're not an evangelical if you explicitly reject something in the Bible. For the sake of argument, I'll accept that claim. It does fairly represent the views of most evangelicals, I think (and, for the record, is why I am not myself an evangelical).

Do prosperity teachers explicitly reject biblical teaching? I am not asking if you think they reject biblical teaching. I'm asking if they articulate this position themselves. Do they say something to the effect that they know their teaching is contradicted by the Bible, but they prefer it to the Bible? I very much doubt this. All of their rhetoric is centered on claiming that what they teach is entirely biblical. They talk like evangelicals.

I notice in your list of "If the two were the same..." you lump together "are not evangelicals" and "is not evangelical". I think there's a distinction to be made - anyone who uses the evangelical methodology can fairly be said to be "an evangelical", but a doctrine is only evangelical if it is what the Bible actually says - which is open to disagreement . Or to put it another way, evangelicals are those who aim to be Biblical (in a particular understanding of what "being Biblical" means), but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily right in their conclusions nor can we necessarily know whether they are right in their conclusions, so whether or not they are evangelical in the sense of being Biblical is always open for discussion.

So I'd say that those who teach a prosperity Gospel may be evangelical in their method, but are not evangelical in their conclusions - prosperity teaching is not Biblical, but some people believe it to be. You can be a "successful" evangelical, that is, one who is genuinely Biblical, or you can be a mistaken one. Or most likely, you'll be right on some things and mistaken on others.

You could say that only those who have got it right and are Biblical are evangelical, but since only God can properly judge that, I think distinguishing on grounds of approach to the Bible is a better way of defining who is and isn't an evangelical, and then argue about who has "got it right" within that.

Caleb

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Wood
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Am I right in thinking that the reasoning is going like this?

1.Pentecostals believe in Prosperity teaching.
2. Prosperity teaching is wrong and unBiblical (as any fule kno).
3. Ergo, Pentecostals can't be Evangelicals.

Anybody spot the leap between point 2 and point 3?

The assumption seems to be that Evangelicals can't be in error. Which is in my book surely an error.

So while most of us seem to be saying that - and this is a no-brainer, kids - Pentecostals are clearly, plainly, obviously, patently a subset of Evangelicals who happen to have a charismatic theological position and who often teach the pernicious and frankly nuts (but somehow obvious) prosperity Gospel... there's still the point of view that because they're got errors, they can't be evangelicals.

Because evangelicals are never wrong. Oh, no.

Point is, unless this assumption is tackled, neither side is going to get anywhere.

(Of course, this may have been mentioned before. I couldn't find it, mind. But even if it has, it's not been dealt with, cos the assumption is still there.)

[ 09. September 2005, 09:52: Message edited by: Wood ]

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Gordon Cheng

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DT, I'm fairly sure I've answered some of the stuff you've raised somewhere back on this thread, although I can't really remember as it seems to have been going on now for longer than the bubonic plague. I may dredge through at some point and link it, if I can manage without sending myself sleepy-byes.

quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
The assumption seems to be that Evangelicals can't be in error. Which is in my book surely an error.

You're right, it is an error. Evangelicalism, however, is theologically defined by the content of Scripture, so it is impossible for it to be in error. Evangelicals, by contrast, may well fail to get it right, at which point they are not living up to the content of evangelical belief (which is Scripture).

Pentecostalism as manifested by Hillsong (DT, I posted a link to the Oz site earlier in the thread, on page 1, so you can get a pretty good feel for it.), however, is in error on the question of prosperity doctrine. Therefore it is not evangelical.

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Callan
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Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:

quote:
You're right, it is an error. Evangelicalism, however, is theologically defined by the content of Scripture, so it is impossible for it to be in error. Evangelicals, by contrast, may well fail to get it right, at which point they are not living up to the content of evangelical belief (which is Scripture).

Pentecostalism as manifested by Hillsong (DT, I posted a link to the Oz site earlier in the thread, on page 1, so you can get a pretty good feel for it.), however, is in error on the question of prosperity doctrine. Therefore it is not evangelical.

If I read you aright:

1/ Scripture is inerrant
2/ Evangelicalism is the correct interpretation of scripture and is, therefore, also inerrant.
3/ Hillsongs et. al. hold to the prosperity Gospel which is an error.
4/ Error is incompatible with Evangelicalism.
5/ Therefore Hillsongs et. al. do not teach Evangelicalism.
6/ Therefore Hillsongs et. al. are not Evangelicals.

Quite apart from the staggering lack of intellectual humility in this position, it raises the interesting question of those areas where Evangelicals disagree. Gordon's exist clause is, presumably, that either those who do not agree with him (I nearly capitalised the pronoun there, which is worrying) are not evangelicals or that such disagreements are not of the nature of circumcision, Nicene orthodoxy and prosperity teaching and therefore not sufficient to debar one from the ranks of the True Evangelicals™.

Personally, if I were an evangelical I might find this model a little disturbing. One the one hand it offers the conviction that my views are error free. On the other hand, I could find myself unchurched for espousing an interpretation of the Bible that was a) deemed to be in error and b) deemed to be sufficiently serious to cast me out into uttermost darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. As the diagnosis of serious error appears to be left to prominent evangelical divines who are, according to evangelical theology, not given any special charism in interpreting the Bible this model appears to have all the difficulties of Papal Infallibility and none of the benefits.

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ken
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Nope. He's talking about God's Perfect Evangelicalism in Heaven of which any mere earthly church is but a shadoe.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Gordon Cheng

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Ken, you Platonist.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Quite apart from the staggering lack of intellectual humility in this position, it raises the interesting question of those areas where Evangelicals disagree. Gordon's exist clause is, presumably, that either those who do not agree with him (I nearly capitalised the pronoun there, which is worrying) are not evangelicals or that such disagreements are not of the nature of circumcision, Nicene orthodoxy and prosperity teaching and therefore not sufficient to debar one from the ranks of the True Evangelicals™.

Personally, if I were an evangelical I might find this model a little disturbing. One the one hand it offers the conviction that my views are error free. On the other hand, I could find myself unchurched for espousing an interpretation of the Bible that was a) deemed to be in error and b) deemed to be sufficiently serious to cast me out into uttermost darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. As the diagnosis of serious error appears to be left to prominent evangelical divines who are, according to evangelical theology, not given any special charism in interpreting the Bible this model appears to have all the difficulties of Papal Infallibility and none of the benefits.

Blimey, I was right.

Gordon, I'm trying hard to get my head around this, but you are in fact saying that "evangelical" is cognate with "correct".

If, when you get to heaven, you're placed in an area with very high walls and loud music playing, don't be surprised. [Smile]

Seriously, though: how can you possibly justify that position? I mean, in the real world, now, obviously.

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
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In the real world? Oh well, I just do my best and trust God that it'll all come out in the wash. Like a lot of people, I guess.

(For some reason I have this song going through my mind. I identify with this dude)

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
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Sorry, or try this.

ah'm just doin' the best ah can...

[replaced long URL with tinyurl]

[ 09. September 2005, 12:51: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]

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Wood
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Hoping it all comes out in the wash is nice and everything, but... well, it's a fudge, innit?

And actually, that's not a justification. That's a strategy for getting by with it. So how do you justify it?

[ 09. September 2005, 12:36: Message edited by: Wood ]

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
# 8895

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Sorry about scroll lock, hosts. [Hot and Hormonal] [Hot and Hormonal]

(Posting in haste, doin' the best ah can).

What's to justify? That there is a right position doesn't mean I hold it in all respects.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Sorry about scroll lock, hosts. [Hot and Hormonal] [Hot and Hormonal]

(Posting in haste, doin' the best ah can).

What's to justify? That there is a right position doesn't mean I hold it in all respects.

But it's not a right position.

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
# 8895

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I don't think, on your view, that you can know that.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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You don't actually know what my view is, cobber.

So you're in the advantage because you know you're right, and we only think you're wrong?

What if I said that I knew that your position as outlined on this thread was objectively wrong on Biblical grounds (even with the assumption that the Bible was inerrant), historical grounds and theological grounds to boot?

[ 09. September 2005, 12:47: Message edited by: Wood ]

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
# 8895

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
cobber.

Don't come the raw prawn with me, sunshine.

Well, if you knew my position was wrong, we'd have to have an amiable discussion about it, and if you proved me wrong, I'd have to change my mind, wouldn't I?

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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But I know you're wrong, and you know you're right. Bruce.

Which leaves us at an impasse, eh?

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Narcissism.

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
# 8895

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Well, here at the Philosophy department of the University of Woolloomooloo, we like to think we have a bit more epistemological humility than that.

So if you really disagree with me about prosperity doctrine, and you think those of us with the most faith oughtta be rolling in cash, you just go ahead and say so with reasons, sport, and the faculty here will consider your submission.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon Cheng:
Well, here at the Philosophy department of the University of Woolloomooloo, we like to think we have a bit more epistemological humility than that.

So if you really disagree with me about prosperity doctrine, and you think those of us with the most faith oughtta be rolling in cash, you just go ahead and say so with reasons, sport, and the faculty here will consider your submission.

Actually, I think that prosperity doctrine is a boil on Christendom's backside (and I'd be suprised if there were all that many here on this board who disagreed with me).

No, what you're wrong with is the assumption that you have to be completely right to be evangelical, and that "evangelical" is cognate with "100% doctrinally pure", which is a definition that's a new one in any historical context anyone can think of, at least here in the Theology Faculty of the University of Llandewi Brefi, where the professors are called Dai, Dai, Dai and Dai.

[ 09. September 2005, 13:12: Message edited by: Wood ]

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
# 8895

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
Actually, I think that prosperity doctrine is a boil on Christendom's backside (and I'd be suprised if there were all that many here on this board who disagreed with me).

I'm cool with that.

quote:
No, what you're wrong with is the assumption that you have to be completely right to be evangelical, and that "evangelical" is cognate with "100% doctrinally pure"
Nah, near enough is good enough for mine.

All I've said on this thread (I think) is that prosperity gospel is 180 degrees away from correct, and that since Pentecostalism as represented by Hillsong teach prosperity gospel, they're not evangelical. And wrong as well.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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But hang on, Gordon, me old kangaroo-botherer, did you not say:

quote:
Evangelicalism, however, is theologically defined by the content of Scripture, so it is impossible for it to be in error.
?

Given my experience of evangelicalism, there's a lot of mutually exclusive beliefs which fall under the old Evangel/Metaphor/ical Umbrella - eg. Welsh non-conformism vs. Axis of Jensen Anglicanism vs. HTB evangelicalism vs. evangelical Methodism vs. evangelical English Baptist practice... I could go on.

Given what I know about these people, they differ on a lot of points. They can't all be right. Some of them are, objectively, factually, very wrong, in fact (I find the EMW's practices bordering on cultish at times, for example, and as for the bloke who runs Spurgeon's Tabernacle... well) - but hang on. That means they can't be evangelicals.

There are many on this board (or there were before I took my break) who will tell you that they know that Lay Presidency is one hundred and eighty degrees from correct. Does that mean that the evangelicals in the Axis of Jensen aren't followers of evangelicalism?

I hardly think so.

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Emma Louise

Storm in a teapot
# 3571

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maybe i *know* not ordaining women vicars is 180% from truth.

if evangelical = truth then we can knock Gorden Cheng out [Smile]

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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quote:
Originally posted by Emma.:
maybe i *know* not ordaining women vicars is 180% from truth.

...and there's a lot of evangelicals around ba yur who think that having women as ministers is one hundred and eighty degrees from the truth.

And there's the point: there are evangelicals who know both mutually exclusive facts with equal certainty. The only way of saying which one's evangelical by Gordon's reckoning is picking the one you disagree with, as per:

1. I am evangelical.
2. You are wrong.
3. You are not evangelical.

But the fact is, evangelicalism as a phenomenon is not defined by being right and never has been, much as we'd like to think otherwise. It's defined by other stuff.

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Gracie
Shipmate
# 3870

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quote:
Originally posted by Gordon

Gracie Your definition of Pentecostalism is sufficiently vague that it might be OK to believe it and still call yourself evangelical. When you look at a fuzzy thing from a long way away and squint, it appears to be indistinguishable from another fuzzy thing that you can see out of the corner of your eye. So it is with the definition you have given. But the more you insist on the distinctives you've mentioned, the less evangelical that definition looks.

Gordon can you please tell me in what way my definition of Pentecostalism is fuzzy and vague? It seems pretty precise to me, and no pentecostals have got in touch with me to tell me I'm wrong or being fuzzy about what they believe.
quote:
Originally posted by Gordon

DT, I'm fairly sure I've answered some of the stuff you've raised somewhere back on this thread, although I can't really remember as it seems to have been going on now for longer than the bubonic plague. I may dredge through at some point and link it, if I can manage without sending myself sleepy-byes.


Hi again, Gordon. Well I certainly remember asking pretty much the same stuff as Thomas a few pages back (although maybe in less eloquent terms), but I don't think you ever answered those specific points. Maybe that's why this thing is dating back to the bubonic plague. So can we have an answer please?
quote:
Originally posted by Wood


Am I right in thinking that the reasoning is going like this?

1. Pentecostals believe in Prosperity teaching.
2. Prosperity teaching is wrong and unBiblical (as any fule kno).
3. Ergo, Pentecostals can't be Evangelicals.



That certainly sums up Gordon's reasoning as I'm understanding it.
quote:

Anybody spot the leap between point 2 and point 3?


And that's the problem with what he's saying that I've been trying to point out for some time now. I must admit I have been sorely tempted to bang my head against a brick wall.


quote:
Originally posted by Callan

If I read you aright:

1/ Scripture is inerrant
2/ Evangelicalism is the correct interpretation of scripture and is, therefore, also inerrant.
3/ Hillsongs et. al. hold to the prosperity Gospel which is an error.
4/ Error is incompatible with Evangelicalism.
5/ Therefore Hillsongs et. al. do not teach Evangelicalism.
6/ Therefore Hillsongs et. al. are not Evangelicals.

Quite apart from the staggering lack of intellectual humility in this position, it raises the interesting question of those areas where Evangelicals disagree…

Personally, if I were an evangelical I might find this model a little disturbing… As the diagnosis of serious error appears to be left to prominent evangelical divines who are, according to evangelical theology, not given any special charism in interpreting the Bible this model appears to have all the difficulties of Papal Infallibility and none of the benefits.


Indeed I do find Gordon's model more than a little disturbing, not least because we don't even know who his "prominent evangelical divines" are, so in my opinion it's even worse than Papal Infallibility.
quote:
Originally posted by Wood

Gordon, I'm trying hard to get my head around this, but you are in fact saying that "evangelical" is cognate with "correct".


Yes, he actually admitted this a few pages back, then went on about epistemological humility. The thing is I can't see any of that in his position.
quote:
Originally posted by Emma
maybe i *know* not ordaining women vicars is 180% from truth.


Hi Emma <big wave> [Yipee]
Thank you for joining The One True Thread
In fact, I think you'll find that ordaining anyone, male or female is 180% from the truth, but there you go, more grist to my mill.

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When someone is convinced he’s an Old Testament prophet there’s not a lot you can do with him rationally. - Sine

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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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Gracie, I wouldn't worry about it. I haven't had the heart to get involved in this thread again, because GC argued himself into a corner pages ago but hasn't had the gumption to admit it. Now, as well as claiming the Bible and the cross as the exclusive preserve of GCEs, he tells us that only GCEs are correct. I'm afraid it seems to me that there is a breathtaking arrogance about all of this - but it takes a while to spot it because he does have very nice manners. (In much the same way as Stalin was fond of cats.)

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Gordon Cheng

a child on sydney harbour
# 8895

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
Now, as well as claiming the Bible and the cross as the exclusive preserve of GCEs, he tells us that only GCEs are correct.

So many questions, so little time... at least some of you lot are asleep now. The benefits of being Antipodean, or should that be Podean?

Anyway, TW, what you've said here is just silly. I'm sure I've said that people other than evangelicals take the Bible and the cross seriously, preserve schmeserve.

And as for only people who agree with me being correct, a page or so back I gave about 10 examples of things I changed my mind over in the last 20 years, while still claiming to be evangelical. So according to you, which version of me was I claiming to be correct? And am I correct now? If so, when I change my mind again, will I (on your view) be consigning myself to outer darkness? This is a worrying development. I better go right now and write down as much of what I believe as I can remember, so I can go back and use it as a reference point [Biased]

A lot of youse seem to be het up by the extraordinary fact that evangelicals disagree among each other, and some of you have mentioned the lack of a papal style magisterium to sort it all out. Naturally I'm really pleased that you've pointed the fact of disagreement among evangelicals out, as without your help I would never have become aware of it!

The answer to all your questions about this is that we just need to take a Midol (whatever that is—we don't have them in Oz so someone will have to PM one to me), a deep breath and just relax about some of these details. Perfect doctrinal clarity won't get you into heaven—I know because SoFists keep reminding me. Then we can talk about whether they matter or not.

On this thread, the only issue I've identified with respect to Pentecostalism (as manifested by Hillsong) is prosperity gospel. Prosperity gospel is a lot of tosh, it is unbibliical (thank God that some of you have acknowledged that) and as it is quite important, it is also (and in consequence of all these reasons) unevangelical. I believe prosperity gospel is unliberal, unRoman Catholic, and unFreggers-style-orthodox as well, but not being an expert on any of those other theological positions, youse can all tell me if I'm right or not.

(Wood: kangaroo-botherer [Killing me] what aminals do they have in Wales, then, or have you bothered them all to extinction? Actually I seem to remember a few sheep on that OICCU houseparty I attended there, and I'm not talking about the students!)

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Emma Louise

Storm in a teapot
# 3571

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quote:
Originally posted by Gracie:


Hi Emma <big wave> [Yipee]
Thank you for joining The One True Thread
In fact, I think you'll find that ordaining anyone, male or female is 180% from the truth, but there you go, more grist to my mill.

hehe - ive even managed to convince a few ministers of that in my time [Biased]

AS for ordaining anyone -heck i believe that, whats got into me?!?!?! Im being anglicanised by the ship and now by church...

heeeeeeeeeeelllllllllpppppppppppppppppp

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