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Source: (consider it) Thread: Are pentecostals anabaptists?
chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

However, just because you are ignorant of your history doesn't mean that bits of it can't filter down an organisational culture over the generations.

Sure - up to a point - but your general point upthread seemed to be more about *emergence* of practices after decades/centuries (which is where the DNA analogy comes in). Movements that have become internationalist (like pentecostalism) have weird transmission paths anyway - because they are influenced by all sorts of movements/teachers.

On the specific point of re-baptism, I used to feel very uneasy about it when I 'believed' in adult-baptism only but understood it as a an inevitable consequence of such a belief, and am generally opposed to it now. I probably went through a cage phase where I'd have thrown out similar comparisons under provocation.

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Dark Knight

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I think it is a tad extreme to say that an organisation which practices baptism of people who are already baptised are anabaptists.

Obviously they are in the strict technical meaning of the word, but also fairly obviously anabaptist as a thing has grown into a fairly well established collection of beliefs that it would be very hard to show that a pentecostal church had.

No disrespect intended to Pentecostals or Mennonites/Anabaptists, but it is fairly clear that they're only superficially the same thing.

None taken. I agree with this.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Yes, anabaptists was definitely a jibe, complete with references to Münster. But the provocation was extreme...

Well I guess that's fair if they managed to blunder in and press someone's buttons.

I suppose in the modern age, I think there are few Evangelicals who haven't somehow been influenced by other forms of Evangelical and even further afield.

I've no knowledge of the situation in France, but I wonder the extent to which the Reformed churches really have a claim to being descendants of the Huguenots. Are there long-established Protestant churches which can show linear relationships with them? Are they claiming that their beliefs are the same?

There is a French Protestant church in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral which has been there for centuries, I think originally set up by Huguenots, so maybe there is that kind of long-established pedigree in France.

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Gamaliel
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I might be wrong, but I thought the Reformed Church of France claims direct descent from the Reformed Church that emerged in Calvin's day - the 1550s.

My impression is that they were Presbyterian in organisation but operated more independently under force of circumstances and pressure of persecution. They were recognised but restricted after the Edict of Nantes in 1598 only to be formally repressed during the 1680s when the Edict was revoked.

That was why Huguenots began to arrive in London as refugees.

Some of the Huguenot groups developed decidedly 'enthusiastic' views and practices - outbreaks of 'tongues' and 'prophecy' in the Cevannes for instance - and Wesley seems to have taken some of those accounts seriously. From what I can gather, some of these developed under pressure of persecution - and there are accounts of some of the more extreme Huguenots rushing headlong into battle in the believe that had divine protection against musket balls ...

By and large, though, they don't seem to have been that different to Reformed churches elsewhere in Europe - although they'll have borne the marks of particularly intense repression.

So one could understand why they might react badly to some Johnny-Come Lately Pentecostals who claim to be taking on the mantle ...

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Gamaliel
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The French Protestant crypt in Canterbury, like shadowy vestiges of French Huguenot presence in London's East End date back to the arrival of Huguenot refugees from the 1680s to the 1720s when persecution was at its height.

See: http://www.historytoday.com/robin-gwynn/englands-first-refugees

It seems that Protestants could still be executed in France as late as the 1760s. So their position was always precarious.

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mr cheesy
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I'm sorry, I was muddling up the terms again. As previously proven I know little about Reformed and Presbyterian churches - I meant to say that I'd be surprised if there were any Protestant churches in France (Reformed, reformed, Evangelical or otherwise) who haven't been influenced by other groups to some extent.

But again, I don't know exactly which churches are being discussed or how long they've been in existence.

I do know that there has been church-planting be conservative Reformed Evangelical Baptist types in parts of France in recent decades.

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arse

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I might be wrong, but I thought the Reformed Church of France claims direct descent from the Reformed Church that emerged in Calvin's day - the 1550s.

That's right; Huguenot and French Reformed are (or were) the same thing.

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Steve Langton
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By Eutychus;
quote:
I don't want to get too much into local specifics here, but in the case that led to the OP it was not a claim but more of an accusation.

The pastor of a historic protestant church tarred a pentecostal church with the anabaptist brush following an implicit claim by the latter to the Huguenot ecclesiastical heritage. 

My musings were that while the pentecostals were definitely not Huguenots by any stretch of the imagination, they weren't really anabaptists either.

Evangelicals here tend to be "protestant" when it suits them and "evangelical" when it doesn't.

And later....
quote:
Yes, anabaptists was definitely a jibe, complete with references to Münster. But the provocation was extreme...
Aah! Now this is a bit clearer. And I can't help feeling both groups were a bit confused about the history.

Presumably these Pentecostalists are 'credo-baptists' rather than 'paedo-baptists' and again presumably in a country like France with a Catholic past a lot of their baptisms will be 'rebaptisms' as implied by the term 'Anabaptist'.

Dealing first with the 'Munster' jibe, as we've discussed in many previous threads the Munster Anabaptists were something of an anomaly even at the time, and best regarded as one of many erratic experiments that eventually failed in the confused situation after the Reformation – modern Anabaptists definitely reject that kind of thing.

But also there's the irony that when the 'mainstream' Catholics and Protestants back then criticised Munster, they were criticising the aspect in which the Munsterites actually agreed with them. That is, like the Catholics, Protestants (Lutheran and Calvinistic alike) and indeed the Orthodox, the Munsterites believed in a form of Christian state and a kingdom of God in earthly form, upheld by state military and police power – unlike the majority Anabaptists and of course unlike Jesus, Peter, Paul.... The modern pastor Eutychus describes has also clearly failed to notice that!!!!

I'm not sure what is the modern position on Church and State of the French Protestants descended from the Huguenots, but the original Huguenots presumably followed Calvin and, like the Scots Presbyterians and the English Civil War Puritans, were aiming to replace Catholics as the state church. As such they were at least partly therefore being persecuted as a military threat to the state, a threat of violent revolt. Again, like the Munsterites but unlike mainstream Anabaptists....

The Pentecostalists involved almost certainly disagree with any kind of state church; though I'm less sure whether they might want some measure of wider 'Christian country' concept, also whether they would be pacifists.

On the wider point I can see why an 'evangelical' group working in France would claim to be related to the early Protestants there. Not by direct descent from Reformation-era or 17thC Huguenots, but simply as representing what the early Protestants stood for in terms of preaching gospel and new birth. I find myself wondering whether, despite the direct 'lineage', the modern French Protestant is also fully Bible-believing evangelical, or whether they are somewhat liberal in theology and somewhat less evangelistically active. In which case the Pentecostalists might actually be closer to the original Huguenots despite their lack of direct descent...?

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mr cheesy
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Whilst I agree with some of what you've written there, Steve (although I wouldn't quite have put it as you have..) I think you're also in danger of muddling terms. Reformed is not necessarily Evangelical. Anabaptist is not necessarily Protestant. Protestant is not necessarily Evangelical or Reformed.

I don't know the French context, and it sounds like you don't either, so I'd be a bit careful when waving around your tarry brush.

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Steve Langton
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I don't know the French situation and hope Eutychus may enlighten us further.

In original terms, 'Reformed' effectively IS 'Evangelical', though not all Evangelicals are the Calvinists implied by modern usage. Bodies like the Evangelical alliance include many 'Reformed' groups. Equally a church calling itself 'Reformed' may by now have moved quite a way from the original Calvinism which is the rootspring of 'Reformed' ideas.

I'm not 'tarring' anyone here. On Munster I made the point that ironically the thing Munster is criticised about is actually the point they have in common with the critics, and on which majority Anabaptism disagrees with Munster and with the others. And I wondered how close the modern French Protestantism is to its roots; direct 'lineage' doesn't necessarily mean identity.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I don't know the French situation and hope Eutychus may enlighten us further.

In original terms, 'Reformed' effectively IS 'Evangelical', though not all Evangelicals are the Calvinists implied by modern usage. Bodies like the Evangelical alliance include many 'Reformed' groups. Equally a church calling itself 'Reformed' may by now have moved quite a way from the original Calvinism which is the rootspring of 'Reformed' ideas.

Steve, I suspect you and I are coming from a similar place, but to avoid looking like the idiot that I did on another thread I'd avoid talking about what Reformed is unless you actually know.

I'm told Evangelical isn't the same as Reformed.

quote:
I'm not 'tarring' anyone here. On Munster I made the point that ironically the thing Munster is criticised about is actually the point they have in common with the critics, and on which majority Anabaptism disagrees with Munster and with the others. And I wondered how close the modern French Protestantism is to its roots; direct 'lineage' doesn't necessarily mean identity.
Well you've made at least two statements that others who know more about it than either of us say is wrong. So I'd say you are actually tarring things by suggesting French Protestants are evangelicals. That may not even make sense in your own terms and definitions.

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arse

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Jengie jon

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You need to define both "Reformed" and "Evangelical" to make that sentence either 'true' or 'false' and it can be either according to how you do.

Reformed is not monolithic and never was monolithic. If it has an originating date then it is the signing of the Consensus Tigurinus

Jengie

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm not sure what is the modern position on Church and State of the French Protestants descended from the Huguenots, but the original Huguenots presumably followed Calvin and, like the Scots Presbyterians and the English Civil War Puritans, were aiming to replace Catholics as the state church.

This was undeniably the case, as the Ambroise Conspiracy in 1560 embarassingly demonstrates.

However, I think they gave up on that idea at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 at the latest. Those protestants who remained in France formed the "Desert church" (in French).

I'm not a historian*, but I would make an informed guess that their idea of separation of Church and State developed then, and came to full fruition in the original expression of laïcité state-church relations, in which historic protestants played a major role.

It is blindingly clear in France today that the Protestants have a theological basis for separation of church and state which the Catholics simply don't have. Fundamentally, French Catholics see the secular French state as a temporary aberration and a Catholic-run state as the archetype.

(Marine Le Pen is playing into this archetype in a big way, incidentally; charismatics and pentecostals are also being wooed by her "Christian nation" subtext even though she dissed massacred protestants as having "interests contrary to the nation" a week or so ago).

quote:
On the wider point I can see why an 'evangelical' group working in France would claim to be related to the early Protestants there. Not by direct descent from Reformation-era or 17thC Huguenots, but simply as representing what the early Protestants stood for in terms of preaching gospel and new birth.
This is undoubtedly true, but it is at the very least crass to pretend there was nobody being persecuted for centuries for preaching the doctrine of the Reformation there before them.

(For historic French protestants, it could usefully be seen as a local emotional equivalent of the Turkish denial of the Arminian genocide).

Furthermore, even if the arrogance is discounted, it is simply not true to assert an identity as Huguenot, which relates as much to a historic lineage as to a doctrinal position. It's verging on revisionism.

quote:
I find myself wondering whether, despite the direct 'lineage', the modern French Protestant is also fully Bible-believing evangelical, or whether they are somewhat liberal in theology and somewhat less evangelistically active. In which case the Pentecostalists might actually be closer to the original Huguenots despite their lack of direct descent...?
There is a lot of loaded vocabulary in that paragraph.

Without creating too much of a tangent, all I can say is that I consider myself an evangelical in terms of having a "high view of Scripture" and pretty much adhering to the Bebbington quadrilateral, but these days I find these values to be represented equally well, if not better, in historic protestant churches in France as in those calling themselves evangelical.

==
*I recall The French Huguenots - anatomy of courage being a very readable book on this subject.

[ 29. April 2017, 17:42: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Gamaliel
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You are making a lot of assumptions, Steve Langton. Modern evangelicals arguably owe more to Zwingli than Calvin.

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
You need to define both "Reformed" and "Evangelical" to make that sentence either 'true' or 'false' and it can be either according to how you do.

Reformed is not monolithic and never was monolithic. If it has an originating date then it is the signing of the Consensus Tigurinus

Jengie

That terms like 'Reformed' are not monolithic is one of the problems - or points - of this thread. At an early stage I think all 'Protestants' were in a broad sense 'Reformed' and also described themselves - particularly the Lutherans - as 'Evangelical' again in a fairly broad sense. Later 'Reformed' seems to have acquired a narrower sense by being attached particularly to churches and theologies related back to the Calvinist ideas.

In the current case I'm using 'Reformed' simply to mean that the Huguenots were in the Calvinist/Presbyterian tradition - which is also in loose terms part of the 'Evangelical' tradition.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
In original terms, 'Reformed' effectively IS 'Evangelical' . . . ..

No. In original terms, "Evangelical" meant simply "Protestant" or if anything more more specific than that, "Lutheran," while "Reformed" meant "Protestant but not Lutheran." "Evangelical" is still used in that way by North American Lutherans, and my understanding is that it is still used that way in continental Europe, though others would know better than I on that.

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
You are making a lot of assumptions, Steve Langton. Modern evangelicals arguably owe more to Zwingli than Calvin.

I'm actually not making a lot of assumptions at all. 'Modern Evangelicals' is pretty wide category owing many different things to different traditions with lots of cross-fertilisations, with those doing it not always aware of the origins and transmission channels. And churches which were once emphatically 'Reformed' may now have beliefs Calvin wouldn't be happy with - a lot of former English Presbyterian churches are nowadays officially part of the Unitarian movement....

Modern Pentecostalism and its individual associations and churches have quite a few roots from all over the wider 'evangelical/Protestant/Reformed/Anabaptist' field, and also sometimes not 'roots' as direct links but independent 're-invention of the wheel'. The links are interesting academically - but to me the ultimate question would always be "Are they biblical?" as well as what channels they came through. I'm afraid to me the key Pentecostalist idea of seeing tongues as proof of the 'baptism of the Spirit' in biblically questionable (though too much of a tangent for this thread!).

Pentecostalists have in many cases developed ideas of church organisation or of church-and-state issues which are similar to Anabaptists; mostly these are independent developments based on both groups going 'back to the Bible', rather than one 'owing' the other. By and large Anabaptists and Pentecostalists recognise each other as fellow Christians and 'broadly evangelical'.

In terms of this thread the Pentecostals would appear to be 'technically Anabaptist' in terms of baptismal practice - but almost certainly not 'Munster-like', as charged by the French pastor, in terms of setting up a worldly militaristic 'Kingdom of God on earth'. Ironically the early Huguenots were much more 'Munster-like' than mainstream Anabaptists; though as Eutychus points out, it seems they have changed in ways I'll explore elsewhere....

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Steve Langton
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Thanks, Nick Tamen.

Though if we regard the Lutheran movement as 'The Reformation' then Lutherans were 'Reformed' whether or not they used the label. At some point a distinction was made; but it doesn't seem to me all that important. In practice I generally use 'Reformed' to mean the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand - but I might also use it as a general adjective for "All the Reformation Churches".

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Steve Langton
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by Eutychus;
quote:
This is undoubtedly true, but it is at the very least crass to pretend there was nobody being persecuted for centuries for preaching the doctrine of the Reformation there before them.

(For historic French protestants, it could usefully be seen as a local emotional equivalent of the Turkish denial of the Arminian genocide).

Furthermore, even if the arrogance is discounted, it is simply not true to assert an identity as Huguenot, which relates as much to a historic lineage as to a doctrinal position. It's verging on revisionism.


Yes that would be crass. If the Pentecostalists did that, they would be wrong. But referring to the Pentecostalists as 'Munster-like' would also be a bit crass on the other side, given that history of Huguenot attempts to become the French established church.
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Gamaliel
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You are using the term 'biblical' too narrowly.

All Churches / churches claim to be biblical.

What you mean by biblical is essentially that to be biblical is to agree with you.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Though if we regard the Lutheran movement as 'The Reformation' then Lutherans were 'Reformed' whether or not they used the label.

But that's the point—Lutherans have never used that label to refer to themselves, nor did other Reformation-era groups use it to refer to Lutherans. The label was used by Lutherans and others to refer to Reformation churches, primarily but not completely growing out of the Reformation in Switzerland, who were more thoroughgoing in their reforms than the Lutherans were (but not radical like the Anabaptists).

"Reformed" was always understood as being distinct from Lutheran. To call Lutherans "Reformed" is akin to calling them "Non-Lutherans."
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
In practice I generally use 'Reformed' to mean the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand - but I might also use it as a general adjective for "All the Reformation Churches".

And if you used it as a general adjective for all Reformation Churches, then you would be using it incorrectly.

[ 29. April 2017, 21:09: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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Gamaliel
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Of course Calvin wouldn't have approved of Presbyterians becoming Unitarian, Steve Langton.

I rather doubt he'd have been that pleased about Pentecostals trying to claim they'd inherited a Reformed mantle either ...

Nor of apparently 'Reformed' Christians adopting a more Zwinglian approach to the eucharist or a credo-baptist position either come to that ...

You seem to consider that a particularly Western European and North American Anglo-phone form of evangelicalism is not only THE default biblical position but that it also applies to parts of mainland Europe where other forms of Protestantism were the norm ...

Yes, of course contemporary forms of evangelicalism derive from Reformation and post-Reformation developments but so do other forms of Protestantism that aren't evangelical in the way you are using the term.

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Steve Langton
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Again, thanks Nick; I'll try to be a bit more careful in my usage in future.

Gamaliel, I think in this case I'm saying the same basic thing as you, just not in the same words. And part of what I'm saying is that over the years all the various strains of Protestant/Reformed/Evangelical/Anabaptist have gone in many different directions and met and rearranged ideas to the point that there aren't many straightforward links any more.

My primary point about the Unitarians was simply an extreme case of the point that 'lineage' doesn't mean 'identity', and that sometimes a body with a very different development may be closer in belief and practice to a Reformation era body than are the modern descendants of that body.

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Dark Knight

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Yeah, a lot more care in use of terms would be super.
Classical Pentecostals believed that speaking in tongues was the initial evidence of being baptised in the Holy Spirit, but that idea is hardly universal in the movement today.
I always become skeptical when someone starts talking about whether something is "biblical". What they usually mean, as you clearly do here, is "does this fit with my interpretation of the Bible?"
Finally, unless you've done some kind of survey I don't know about, the rather sweeping statement that anabaptists and Pentecostals regard each other as Evangelicals is unjustified. Here in Australia, Pentecostals and Evangelicals have been regarded as very different groups. I well remember a sign from a church in the eastern hill suburbs of my city (Perth), stating the denomination was "Evangelical (Non-Charismatic)". The Evangelicals in the early twentieth century in Australia were very hostile toward Pentecostalism, regarding it as evidence of demon possession (at worst), or at least delusion.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Dark Knight:
Classical Pentecostals believed that speaking in tongues was the initial evidence of being baptised in the Holy Spirit, but that idea is hardly universal in the movement today.

The Assemblies of God, which is far and away the largest mainstream evangelical denomination in France, has tongues as initial evidence of the baptism in the Spirit in its confession of faith*; this belief is shared by the Light and Life gypsy mission, an offshoot of the AoG and quite possibly just as big. Light and Life would be pretty close to believing, functionally, in baptismal regeneration, too.

==

*The UK AoG statement of faith now says the essential, biblical evidence.

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Gamaliel
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Well, QED Eutychus - the AoG ARE classical Pentecostals. They are the paradigmatic classical Pentecostal denomination.

But I've detected a shift. For all that 'tongues' are cited as 'initial evidence' or 'essential biblical evidence' in their statements of faith, to all practical intents and purposes they tend to sit rather loosely by that 'on the ground' these days - rather as Elim always did.

Give it a generation or two and it'll be a 'nice to have' rather than a 'must have' ...

Meanwhile, @Steve Langton. Well yes, to an extent - but both Luther and Calvin believed in baptismal regeneration and both had a more 'realised' eucharistic theology than most evangelicals and Pentecostals do today.

You can't be selective and say, 'The Pentecostals believe you must be born-again, so did the Reformers ...'

No, it's not as simple as that. Yes, the Reformers believed in justification by faith. But they weren't Billy Graham.

We have to be careful not to redact our own favoured groups or approaches back into earlier centuries.

We have no way of knowing how Calvin would have responded to later developments in Reformed theology. Would he have welcomed Barth or Torrance? Would he have appreciated Dort? Would he have approved of Reformed Baptists?

You seem to take your own brand of Anglophone mild Anabaptism/evangelicalism and make it normative for all time.

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Steve Langton
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by Dark Knight;
quote:
statement that Anabaptists and Pentecostals regard each other as Evangelicals is unjustified. Here in Australia, Pentecostals and Evangelicals have been regarded as very different groups.
First, my comment was that generally Anabaptists and Pentecostalists regard each other as "fellow Christians" and "broadly evangelical" (note the small 'e'). I'm not too interested in the bit of this thread which is getting all fussy about terminology which isn't necessarily absolutely universal anyway, as per your own "Here in Australia..."

Also by DK;
quote:
I always become skeptical when someone starts talking about whether something is "biblical". What they usually mean, as you clearly do here, is "does this fit with my interpretation of the Bible?"
This one probably needs another thread. I think it's fairly obvious that whoever uses the word, "Biblical" tends to mean "fit(ting) with my interpretation of the Bible SO FAR". But for me it's also about a basic attitude of putting the Bible first; if I'm getting the Bible wrong I want you to show me, by properly framed argument and exposition, so I can improve my interpretation and understanding.

But I'm also putting 'biblical' against two trends/strands/traditions which seem to me to be decidedly and objectively unbiblical.

One is the 'liberal' strand where you get, for example, people taking a passage quoted of Jesus in the NT and saying, because it doesn't suit their idea of what Christianity should be, "Would our Jesus have said that?" Such an 'our Jesus' is clearly not biblical but someone making up the faith to suit themselves - and I struggle to see that kind of approach as even honest.

The other is the kind of church that tries to claim their church as an institution has some kind of privileged status in relation to biblical interpretation on the basis of ideas like 'apostolic succession'. Which of course can be extremely self-serving for those who have risen to authority in the institution and can then in effect put their interpretations 'beyond criticism'.

I tend to bear in mind there the words of Jesus to the religious authorities of the day when he talked about their "...anull(ing) God's Word through your tradition...." No, it must always be possible to do as Jesus did and challenge such authorities by and against the Scripture.

As far as I can see there are actually only two bodies that can credibly make such a claim to special interpretative competence, the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics - and both have effectively shown themselves in real terms incompetent by their acceptance of the Roman Imperial State Church and the bad things like Crusades and Inquisitions which flowed therefrom. Realistically that leaves the Bible as the authority.

A third trend I would regard as objectionable is when people make airy comments like "There are 'other interpretations' you know" and seem to think they've somehow just by saying that proved me wrong.

Yes, as a fluent reader for around sixty years, I very much know that there are 'other interpretations' - and the problem is that lots of them are mutually contradictory and they can't all be right. And in many cases it is quite important to establish which is right, and that's what I aim at.

I don't put my views forward as infallible Papal style declarations; they are my opinion with as much as possible back-up evidence or at least pointers to where evidence may be. If I'm wrong I seriously want to know. "You are wrong because...." with evidence, is helpful. A rather sneering condescending "There are other interpretations' with neither detail nor evidence is monumentally unhelpful. It also doesn't appear all that intelligent, frankly.

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Gamaliel
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Here we go again.

[Snore]

Sorry Steve, I know I can labour points too, but I've heard this stuff about why particular groups have 'disqualified themselves' in Pope Steve's eyes rather a lot of times ...

To return to a point I made earlier, you are making claims to universality that you just don't have.

Sure, evangelicals, Pentecostals and Anabaptists tend to regard one another as 'true Christians' ... but that isn't universally the case. I've come across full-on hyper-Calvinists from the USA who aren't convinced that Pentecostals are 'truly saved'. Sure, that's rare, but it is a position some hold.

Equally, as I've been told on another thread, quite rightly - I don't know anything about the church scene in Australia.

So here, on this thread, I'm inclined to defer to Dark Knight's first-hand experience of that.

I can see what you are getting at and, believe me, I do have a fair bit of sympathy with the broad points you are making.

All I'm saying is that none of us can make the kind of claims to universality about our own personal opinions in the way you appear to be doing here.

Just sayin' ...

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Baptist Trainfan
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May I also say, Steve, that there are some "liberal" Christians who try take the Bible very seriously but struggle to make sense of it in a vastly different world and taking into account scientific, critical and historic developments.

Not true of all, of course - there are some who are vastly dismissive of Scripture which they don't like or doesn't fit into their rationalistic mindset - but don't group them all together and simply write them off.

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
But for me it's also about a basic attitude of putting the Bible first; if I'm getting the Bible wrong I want you to show me, by properly framed argument and exposition, so I can improve my interpretation and understanding.

Great. Does that mean that two months on, I can expect an answer to my question here?

Meanwhile, back on topic...

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Dark Knight

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I won't address Steve's post here outside of a hell thread. Other than to say that complaining about fussiness over terminology in a thread which is discussing whether one form of Christianity is actually a form of another one seems pretty obtuse.
Yes, Eutychus, I accept that the largest Pentecostal denomination in France does espouse the Classical Pentecostal position, that is that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. It still isn't universal to all Pentecostals, nor has that been the case from the start. One of my students is currently writing their dissertation on what is distinctive about Pentecostalism, and as might be expected there is not just one thing, nor is Pentecistalism one thing, but a group of phenomena loosely united by some historical contingencies.

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Gamaliel;
Yes here we go again - but you followed by Dark Knight did raise the issue of what I meant by 'biblical' and from your references to 'Pope Langton' it seems you still haven't grasped the basic point that I don't remotely consider myself anything like 'infallible' - on the contrary, that would completely contradict my interpretative ethos!!! Which in turn rather makes the point that you appear NOT to be engaging with the arguments but just well basically sneering at ideas you aren't even trying to understand.

As regards the rest I did I think say that my point was 'generally' rather than claiming universality - did you really want me to spell out all the exceptions I know of just to head off your determination to suggest I was claiming universality? Surely my use of the word 'generally' was pretty explicit in denying a claim that I was describing something 'universal'??

BT - As you should know by now I'm not of the 'dumb wooden literalist' school myself, and I'm more than happy to engage constructively with "those among "liberal" Christians who try to take the Bible very seriously". Just not with those who try to solve their problems in the superficial way I described and who clearly are not taking the bible seriously. And who by implication are on the face of it being a lot more 'Papal' than I would dare be.

DK
Yes I see what you mean by " complaining about fussiness over terminology in a thread which is discussing whether one form of Christianity is actually a form of another one".

Thing is I'm dealing in the broad picture in which Anabaptists on the whole have certain basic characteristics, Pentecostalists on the whole have certain basic characteristics, and likewise the 'Reformed' in the 'basically Calvinist' sense. And in the course of history there have been all sorts of crossovers and mixing but also independent developments as well, so that Pentecostalists and Anabaptists often-but-not-always share some features - but are not 'identical'. And as I said there's the irony that the 'Munster' accusation is generally thrown at Anabaptists by precisely the groups whose own desire for a form of 'Christian country' means that compared to mainstream Anabaptists they have themselves more in common with the Munsterites in the matter they're complaining of!

In this context having an argument about whether the term 'Reformed' can be applied to all 'Reformation' groups or only to one section seems a bit too pernicketty even to a comparative pedant like myself.... And some of the other points made seemed to be getting similarly pernicketty and perhaps missing the bigger picture I was trying to discuss.

Eutychus;
I do expect to answer your point - though obviously not in this thread. I just took a considerable break from the Ship because I was fed up with the bigotry and simple nastiness, and your answer was one of the things shelved pro tem. Surprised you can't work out the answer to my point yourself, mind....

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Gamaliel
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The point I was making - and perhaps labouring - was that whilst you might not consider your 'take' to be infallible, you post as if you think it is - and you also tend to 'universalise' your particular tradition / understanding as if it is the only possible or permissible one that anyone could derive from the scriptures.

Hence my jibe about Pope Steve.

I am trying - and failing - to get you to see that.

As for the Munster thing. I won't even respond to that as I've heard it all before. It ought to be a Dead Horse.

Nobody's saying the 16th century Catholics and Protestants who clamped down on the Anabaptists in Munster were paragons of virtue themselves. But Munster was like Waco. The Anabaptists there were completely nuts.

Does that make all the other Anabaptists nuts? No, of course not.

I would imagine the Reformed pastor in Eutychus's example didn't accuse the Pentecostals of being Munsterish in any literal sense - he was probably simply using it as a colloquial / proverbial shorthand way of referring to religious enthusiasm going wrong.

He'll have been hacked off because the Penties were laying claim to his Reformed heritage despite having bugger all to do with that heritage in any way, shape or form. As far as he was concerned they weren't simply stealing his sheep, but they were re-baptising them and sticking their own brand mark on the fleece.

Whether he is right to think that way isn't the issue. The issue is that he was pissed off and if we were in his shoes and shared his theology we might respond in a similar way. I know I would.

It's called empathy. You may have heard of it.

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Gamaliel
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Any how, I did respond to the Munster thing, even though I said I wouldn't.

Apologies for that.

But Munster in and of itself isn't the point. The point is the perceived offence the pastor took.

As to whether Pentecostals are Anabaptists ...

Well, only by analogy.

That said, I do take the point you are making, Steve about cross-currents and cross-fertilisation between broadly reformed (small r) churches and movements. I don't have an issue with that at all.

But that doesn't mean that any of these groups can justly lay claim to anyone else's heritage or 'mantle'.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:


Thing is I'm dealing in the broad picture in which Anabaptists on the whole have certain basic characteristics, Pentecostalists on the whole have certain basic characteristics, and likewise the 'Reformed' in the 'basically Calvinist' sense. And in the course of history there have been all sorts of crossovers and mixing but also independent developments as well, so that Pentecostalists and Anabaptists often-but-not-always share some features - but are not 'identical'.

<snip>

In this context having an argument about whether the term 'Reformed' can be applied to all 'Reformation' groups or only to one section seems a bit too pernicketty even to a comparative pedant like myself.... And some of the other points made seemed to be getting similarly pernicketty and perhaps missing the bigger picture I was trying to discuss.

The problem is that you seem to be drawing arbitrary lines and using definitions that none of these groups would use about themselves.

You've also said this:

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

But I'm also putting 'biblical' against two trends/strands/traditions which seem to me to be decidedly and objectively unbiblical.

One is the 'liberal' strand where you get, for example, people taking a passage quoted of Jesus in the NT and saying, because it doesn't suit their idea of what Christianity should be, "Would our Jesus have said that?" Such an 'our Jesus' is clearly not biblical but someone making up the faith to suit themselves - and I struggle to see that kind of approach as even honest.

The other is the kind of church that tries to claim their church as an institution has some kind of privileged status in relation to biblical interpretation on the basis of ideas like 'apostolic succession'. Which of course can be extremely self-serving for those who have risen to authority in the institution and can then in effect put their interpretations 'beyond criticism'.

Taken together you appear to be arguing that there is Truth within a theological understanding you've described as biblical and you've located that understanding as existing within something you think is too "pernicketty" to define, but apparently includes Calvinists, Pentecostalists and Anabaptists inside some kind of amorphous lump that you want to call - for a lack of a better term "evangelical", which includes Cavlinist, Reformed, Pentecostalists and other.

One problem is that some of these groups believe things which are mutually exclusive. Pentecostalists who say that the sign of salvation is the practice of tongues are by necessity separated from their Calvinist brethren who say that the gifts have stopped and who regard them with suspicion. Reformed groups may well have suspicions about Anabaptists, which is nothing to do with the understanding of the church-state.

So far from drawing a useful definition here, you've just introduced something arbitary and confusing.

Second, you keep going off on this beef about "bible believing". But what does that mean, exactly? All of these groups are "bible believing" but have come up with ideas that are contradictory. They can't all be right, can they? So what basis are you going to use to separate them?

And what does "bible believing" really mean anyway? Are you going to try to argue that the Orthodox or Roman Catholics don't believe in the bible? Or that George Fox wasn't deep into the bible?

I submit that the way that you want to define the Christian faith into those who broadly agree with you is so woodenly based the issue of whether they agree or disagree with the church-state that you've essentially created spiritual bedfellows of groups that in reality have little in common.

And your blundering into threads with this ridiculous pseudo-intellectual attitude does yourself no favours. You are persuading nobody of anything.

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Gamaliel
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Indeed, and as Orthodox posters here who live in the USA have pointed out to Steve Langton more than once, Orthodox people within the 'Diaspora' and, one imagines, even some in majority Orthodox countries aren't dead-set on Church-State conjunction either.

Of course, some of them are, but I've been ribbed online - not here - by Russian Orthodox folk in the State who think that the CofE is a department within the UK government and who are dead-set against the union of Church and State as any US Protestant I've encountered ...

I 'get' what Steve Langton is driving at and in my younger, more fervently evangelical days I'd have been on a similar page to him.

But it's a rather arbitrary personal-preference kind of 'take' on things.

The only thing the groups Steve Langton seems to approve of are those who somehow remain outside of the nefarious Church-State connection he's erected in his own mind as the yard-stick for what is or isn't kosher.

Also, like many contemporary evangelicals he's convinced himself that Luther and Calvin were on the same page as he is. They weren't. At least, not in quite the way he seems to imagine.

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
The problem is that you seem to be drawing arbitrary lines and using definitions that none of these groups would use about themselves.
From my perspective the problem is that the 'arbitrary lines' are already there, created by others, and I'm trying to pick my way among them.

It is, for instance, an 'arbitrary line' that in the wake of what everybody calls 'The Reformation' there is just one group, the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand, who are allowed to use the designation 'Reformed' My position would be that logically they are all 'Reformed' but that historically churches that actually include 'Reformed' in their title are (generally) of the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand. And as I've pointed out, just because they started there doesn't mean they are still in that position - the modern descendants may be far removed from the original in beliefs.

The Anabaptists are of course a classic example of peopple who originally did not 'use about themselves' the designation 'Anabaptist'. That's quite a modern phenomenon arising from a perceived need to distinguish the collective Mennonites/Amish/Hutterites/etc from the significantly different UK/US 'Baptist' tradition which shares 'credo-baptism' but can be ambivalent on the church/state issues - particularly in the US 'Southern Baptists' and some Baptists in Northern Ireland.

Although like 'Methodist' originally a name put by enemies/opponents, 'Anabaptism' has now been adopted to 'label' the distinctive European tradition.

Substance, which is what concerns me, is not in the titles used but in the actual practical beliefs. That Pentecostalists have a particular belief/practice centred on 'Baptism in the Spirit/glossolalia' for instance. Anabaptists have as well as credo-baptism a particular view of Church and State issues.

Munster had credo-baptism, but also believed in setting up a 'kingdom of this world' for Jesus by military power, and so actually had more in common with Orthodox/RCC and mainstream Protestant than with mainstream Anabaptism. And as I've said, ironically the other groups criticise Munster at precisely the point where Munster agreed with them....

In terms of the immediate thread I'm saying that (broadly) the Pentecostalists, though presumably credo-baptists and very likely sharing other features derived independently from Scripture, are not directly of the Anabaptist tradition.

I don't know the exact state of the French Protestants. They were AIUI originally of the Calvinist/Presbyterian tradition, and originally aimed at replacing the RCC as the state church. They now it seems have a 'separation of church and state' policy but not quite the same as Anabaptism. In the early days they were clearly in the broadly Protestant bible-believing tradition - I'm wondering whether the modern version is quite so much so.

IF (and note the IF!) the modern French Protestants are significantly 'liberal' in theology (and I will depend on Eutychus for that info), then despite institutional continuity they won't be in substance the same as their 16th/17th Century forebears and a separate 'bible-believing' group would in fact represent the Protestant tradition better than the lineal descendants of the Huguenots.

The Pentecostalists in question may have been simply wrong in portraying themselves as akin to the original Huguenots in comparison to the modern church descended from those Huguenots. Or they may have been a bit tactless but nevertheless correct in representing themselves as closer to the Huguenots than are modern liberal descendants of the Huguenots. I pose that as a question; Eutychus will know the answer better than me.

The Protestant pastor at least seems to have a somewhat sketchy view of both Anabaptists in general and of what Munster was about.

Your later comments really need a separate thread about the meaning of 'bible-believing'. At the moment too busy to actually start such a thread but would certainly contribute...

OH, BTW - tried entering 'Biblical but Bollocks' in my search engine and can't find a book of that exact title - clearer info please on that one; or is that just some kind of joke....

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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
The point I was making - and perhaps labouring - was that whilst you might not consider your 'take' to be infallible, you post as if you think it is - and you also tend to 'universalise' your particular tradition / understanding as if it is the only possible or permissible one that anyone could derive from the scriptures.
I just post what I believe and some explanation of why. I don't waste a lot of the Ship's space by posting all the possible qualifications and different views I know of as well. People are welcome to disagree and explain why in their turn. I welcome that. This is how debate/discussion is carried on. Get into the debate by providing well formulated alternatives/evidence/rationale/etc.

But no more about the actual meaning of 'bible-believing' on this thread, I suggest. I'd rather discuss that separately.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
From my perspective the problem is that the 'arbitrary lines' are already there, created by others, and I'm trying to pick my way among them.

It is, for instance, an 'arbitrary line' that in the wake of what everybody calls 'The Reformation' there is just one group, the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand, who are allowed to use the designation 'Reformed' My position would be that logically they are all 'Reformed' but that historically churches that actually include 'Reformed' in their title are (generally) of the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand. And as I've pointed out, just because they started there doesn't mean they are still in that position - the modern descendants may be far removed from the original in beliefs.

The Anabaptists are of course a classic example of peopple who originally did not 'use about themselves' the designation 'Anabaptist'. That's quite a modern phenomenon arising from a perceived need to distinguish the collective Mennonites/Amish/Hutterites/etc from the significantly different UK/US 'Baptist' tradition which shares 'credo-baptism' but can be ambivalent on the church/state issues - particularly in the US 'Southern Baptists' and some Baptists in Northern Ireland.

Although like 'Methodist' originally a name put by enemies/opponents, 'Anabaptism' has now been adopted to 'label' the distinctive European tradition.

I generally agree with that, although it doesn't logically follow that these groups regard each other as brethren or see each other as broadly parts of evangelicalism.

quote:


Substance, which is what concerns me, is not in the titles used but in the actual practical beliefs. That Pentecostalists have a particular belief/practice centred on 'Baptism in the Spirit/glossolalia' for instance. Anabaptists have as well as credo-baptism a particular view of Church and State issues.

Munster had credo-baptism, but also believed in setting up a 'kingdom of this world' for Jesus by military power, and so actually had more in common with Orthodox/RCC and mainstream Protestant than with mainstream Anabaptism. And as I've said, ironically the other groups criticise Munster at precisely the point where Munster agreed with them....

The point here is that you seem to be suggesting that the line which (for example) divides Anabaptists from the Orthodox is the church-state. I'm saying it is much more than that, and you're only saying that it is because you are fixated on the church-state theology.

quote:
In terms of the immediate thread I'm saying that (broadly) the Pentecostalists, though presumably credo-baptists and very likely sharing other features derived independently from Scripture, are not directly of the Anabaptist tradition.
I agree with this, although in the next paras below you seem to be arguing that it doesn't matter..

quote:
I don't know the exact state of the French Protestants. They were AIUI originally of the Calvinist/Presbyterian tradition, and originally aimed at replacing the RCC as the state church. They now it seems have a 'separation of church and state' policy but not quite the same as Anabaptism. In the early days they were clearly in the broadly Protestant bible-believing tradition - I'm wondering whether the modern version is quite so much so.
So according to your definition, if they were "bible-believing", they'd not believe in the church-state. Is that correct?

quote:
IF (and note the IF!) the modern French Protestants are significantly 'liberal' in theology (and I will depend on Eutychus for that info), then despite institutional continuity they won't be in substance the same as their 16th/17th Century forebears and a separate 'bible-believing' group would in fact represent the Protestant tradition better than the lineal descendants of the Huguenots.
This is the part that seems to be contradictory. You've said above that they've probably not got a historical link to the anabaptists. But here you've said that it is possible that they have a theology which is somehow closer to the Huguenots than those which actually have a historical link to the Huguenots.

So couldn't they also not have a historical link to the anabaptists but have a theology which is closer to them than the existing Mennonites in France?

Once again, your "bible-believing" definition is getting in the way here. Surely one can either show a linear historical link to a previous group or show a theological link back to the theology of a former group. What one can't do is impose an arbitary standard of "bible-believing" and then insist that because a modern group does or doesn't meet it then they are or aren't proper descendants of a former group. Because that's just nonsense.

quote:
The Pentecostalists in question may have been simply wrong in portraying themselves as akin to the original Huguenots in comparison to the modern church descended from those Huguenots. Or they may have been a bit tactless but nevertheless correct in representing themselves as closer to the Huguenots than are modern liberal descendants of the Huguenots. I pose that as a question; Eutychus will know the answer better than me.

The Protestant pastor at least seems to have a somewhat sketchy view of both Anabaptists in general and of what Munster was about.

Your later comments really need a separate thread about the meaning of 'bible-believing'. At the moment too busy to actually start such a thread but would certainly contribute...

Not sure I can be bothered to do that, because it would just you be stating your poorly constructed and half-baked theology as fact and then getting all hot-and-bothered when anyone dares to suggest that they might know something more than you do. Been there, done it. Not interested.

quote:
OH, BTW - tried entering 'Biblical but Bollocks' in my search engine and can't find a book of that exact title - clearer info please on that one; or is that just some kind of joke....
Not really a joke, just supposed to annoy people like you. Because the categories of "biblical" and "bollocks" so often seem to intersect.

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Gamaliel
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Steve Langton, with the greatest respect, you are redacting your contemporary evangelical / Anabaptist 'take' on things back into the 16th century.

The differences between what we might call the 'classic' or 'Magisterial' Reformers and the radicals of the Radical Reformation was broader than the separation of church and state and the particular mode of baptism.

Luther and Calvin had a rather different Eucharistic theology to one another, for instance, let alone differences with the Anabaptists on that particular issue - among others.

Of course, pre-Enlightenment, none of them - Magisterial Reformers or Radical Reformers - were 'liberal' in the 19th/20th century sense.

So it's a bit bizarre claiming that non-liberal forms of Protestantism are somehow closer to the Reformers than liberal forms of Protestantism are - because a liberal option wasn't open to people in the 16th century. The liberal tradition had not developed by that stage - although one can see that the seeds of it were being sown to some extent - the Enlightenment is sometimes called the Bastard Child of the Reformation ...

Again, it's this half-baked, highly selective approach ...

You see something you like - Luther and Calvin weren't theologically liberal - and so immediately ally yourself with them - irrespective of how far their views may have differed from your own in other respects.

You see the Pentecostals as fellow travellers because of their views on the new-birth - being 'born again' - and their emphasis on Holy Spirit baptism/glossolalia as a secondary issue. Fine. I would agree on that ... however, it's by no means certain that Luther and Calvin would have done.

I repeat: Luther and Calvin believed in justification by grace through faith. But they weren't Billy Graham. They weren't evangelicals in the 19th and 20th century sense. They were Protestants in the 16th century sense.

They believed in baptismal regeneration.

They had a 'higher' and more 'realised' view of the Eucharist than most contemporary evangelicals.

They also had a more developed ecclesiology.

Forget Munster. The Reformed pastor in Eutychus's example was probably simply using that as short-hand for a particular form of religious enthusiasm that ran astray.

It's probably got bugger all to do with his beliefs about the separation of church and state and so on.

I'm sorry, but your posts appear to me at least to lack any real depth of understanding of the historical context and a kind of pick-and-mix approach to deciding what is 'biblical' and what isn't - ie. whatever it is you happen to agree with is 'biblical' - that which you don't agree with is 'unbiblical'.

The role of umpire and final authority doesn't rest with any group or even with the scriptural text - it lies with your personal interpretation of the text.

Whether we are Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox, the Christian faith has never been a matter of 'me and my Bible'. These things have always been thrashed out and apprehended in community ... whether in a Big C type way with the Big C historical Churches or a small c type way with the churches that emerged from the post-Reformation period.

There ain't any other way of doing theology.

No man is an island.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
It is, for instance, an 'arbitrary line' that in the wake of what everybody calls 'The Reformation' there is just one group, the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand, who are allowed to use the designation 'Reformed' My position would be that logically they are all 'Reformed' but that historically churches that actually include 'Reformed' in their title are (generally) of the Calvinist/Presbyterian strand.

It's not a matter of being "allowed" to use the designation "Reformed," Steve. It's a matter of paying attention what words actually mean and how words are actually used so as to further the purpose of using words—communication.

The point is that despite what may seem logical, as a matter of history and actual usage "Reformed" has consistently been used to refer to a specific branch or tradition growing out of the Reformation, not to all Reformation churches.

You are certainly allowed to use "Reformed" in whatever way that seems logical to you. But if you do so, don't expect others to assume or be aware of your personal definition.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
originally by Steve Langton
quote:

OH, BTW - tried entering 'Biblical but Bollocks' in my search engine and can't find a book of that exact title - clearer info please on that one; or is that just some kind of joke....

Not really a joke, just supposed to annoy people like you. Because the categories of "biblical" and "bollocks" so often seem to intersect.
So basically as I suspected, a joke; pity in a way, such a book from you could be quite entertaining - though not necessarily actually right, of course....
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Steve Langton
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Nick Tamen, I wasn't actually arguing with your point - just making the other point about how arbitrarily that particular line is drawn.
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Gamaliel
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It seems to me that you are the one drawing the lines quite arbitrarily, Steve.

Nick's and other people's lines seem to drawn rather less arbitrarily than yours.

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Steve Langton
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By Gamaliel;
quote:
Steve Langton, with the greatest respect, you are redacting your contemporary evangelical / Anabaptist 'take' on things back into the 16th century.
No - but I might be considering that even with the bulk of such products as the Institutes, the Reformation was very much a 'work in progress' and in all the various derived bodies development has continued. And what you try to dismiss as my 'pick and mix' approach might rather be quite a sophisticated development.... Even at the time of the Reformation the idea of 'sola Scriptura' was taken further and more consistently by the Anabaptists than by either Luther or Calvin.

Not 'reading back' my take, then, but refining the earlier works and, in refining, taking the best and discarding what were obviously still errors - including at times errors by Menno and other Anabaptists. I think the phrase is 'standing on the shoulders of giants', innit??

Some developments, like both liberalism since the enlightenment and hyper-literalism from about the 1920s were misguided of course....

I think, BTW, that you are working with a narrow (to the point of caricature) version of what 'Sola Scriptura' means which would not have been agreed with by Luther, Calvin, Tyndale or Menno. I think they all understood that you can't just isolate Scripture from the world in which it exists, the languages it was written in/translated in/etc. So do I....

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Gamaliel
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Nor the tradition into which and from which the scriptures were written and from which they emerged ...

You forgot to mention that.

Whilst I might agree with you that theological liberalism was misguided, in terms of the direction it went at the extreme ends - leading to Spong and Cupitt - you've not given any indication as to why you think it may be found wanting - other than to state that you don't agree with it.

Equally, you clearly see yourself as the pinnacle - so far - of theological development that began with the Reformers. In other words, you know better than they did, you are more biblical than they were ...

Nice to have such self-assurance ...

Your viewpoint isn't more sophisticated than my admittedly caricatured portrayal of certain forms of evangelical Protestantism. Far from it.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:


Not 'reading back' my take, then, but refining the earlier works and, in refining, taking the best and discarding what were obviously still errors - including at times errors by Menno and other Anabaptists. I think the phrase is 'standing on the shoulders of giants', innit??

No, it is called lacking the self awareness to realise you are doing exactly the thing you accuse others of doing.

You've erected a theology which you admit is different to the early Anabaptists. So in the senses that you introduced earlier you are neither standing in the lineage of historic anabaptists nor are a modern believer in their theology.

Indeed, you actually believe in your own theology which is neither one thing or another. And then you use that as a standard to measure against whether someone is a "bible-believer" - not whether they're part of a church with a particular lineage, not if their theology is the same, but if they measure up against your standards and happen to be within your stupid definitions of "acceptable" and "unacceptable" Christian churches.

And then you wonder why nobody is even slightly interested in engaging with you on the level that you want. Nobody can persuade you of anything because you're using a measure that nobody else is using - because it only exists inside your head.

There is a term for this, it begins with b (and isn't biblical).

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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
Equally, you clearly see yourself as the pinnacle - so far - of theological development that began with the Reformers. In other words, you know better than they did, you are more biblical than they were ... Nice to have such self-assurance ...
If only...!

Again, no, just making the point about historical development - that such development does occur and that we're supposed to do it.

A lot of this in the last few centuries has been 'restorative' development after the considerable departures from the Bible by the Orthodox and in particular the RCC. The efforts of the Reformers tended to be stifled by their continued involvement in 'state churches'; as seen for instance in Elizabeth 'freezing' development for political reasons in her national 'Church of England', and later as seen in the recent documentary on the AV/KJV Bible which showed King James insisting on translations of words like 'church' and 'bishop' to suit the kind of church he wanted.

The Anabaptists were among those groups which took the restoration further than the politically stifled state churches. But their development was also somewhat stifled as they became somewhat withdrawn in their efforts to survive persecution. Nowadays they're very much back in the game both of 'restoration' interpretation and of further development as per the Pilgrim Fathers' pastor's belief that God still has more light and truth in his Word for us to discover.

You should not, BTW, think of me as just 'me and my Bible' - it's me and lots of other theologians whose words i read and (inevitably as they don't all agree!) assess to the best of my ability, and I don't by a long way just confine myself to the ones I already agree with. And it's also me and lots of people with whom over the years I've discussed things face to face. I very much believe in biblical interpretation being done by 'the Church' - just that like Tyndale I see it as a collective effort by God's people as a 'congregation' (though wider than just the local congregation I'm most involved with) rather than being the job of a 'top-down' institutional church like the RCC or CofE.

The big point is I want to get it right! That is a major motivation to Aspies like myself and one of the reasons we make such good 'absent-minded professors'; it's not massive 'self-assurance', it's just "This is how it looks to me - if you think I'm wrong please show me...." We in a strange way don't care about the 'me' thing; 'getting it right' - and worrying at it till we do - is what matters.

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
And then you use that as a standard to measure against whether someone is a "bible-believer"
NO.

To me a person who accepts the Bible as the ultimate authority is a 'Bible-believer' - and if two such 'Bible-believers' disagree we discuss it and try to work out not so much 'who is right' but 'what does the Bible actually say'.

Those who are not 'Bible believers' are the kinds of people I referred to in an earlier post - those who add the authority of an institutional Church to the authority of the Bible by claiming that the institution has some special interpretative competence and authority, and those who clearly don't believe the Bible as ultimate but essentially make up the faith to suit themselves - the "would 'our Jesus' have said that?" kind of people who are essentially telling the Bible what they think it should have said.

I should point out that modern Anabaptists don't just hang on to all their traditions. Indeed Mennonite mission in the UK - which I have some involvement with - consciously recognised that not all their traditions might be useful, and instead of planting Mennonite Churches as yet another competing 'denomination', set up a 'Centre' - currently based in Birmingham - to share Mennonite/Anabaptist ideas with anyone who's interested, in parallel with a UK home-grown 'Anabaptist Network' which has people in most UK churches - our local group includes RCs and Anglicans as well as people from the already somewhat Anabaptist-like groupings.

'Anabaptist' is not about doing things because they are Anabaptist - it is about faithfulness to Scripture even if we find that means junking some of the traditions.

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Gamaliel
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No, your position is self-contradictory.

You want to broaden the burden beyond the local congregation and make it more 'connexional' but other than your particular take on what is or isn't 'biblical' you have no yardstick to offer as to how we are to measure the effectiveness of that.

You want to make sure we 'get it right' - fine. But what assurance do you have that you and your connexion of like-minded churches are more likely to get things right than any other grouping - be it the kind of top-down, institutional Big C Churches you deplore or some kind of loose confederation of independent evangelical churches?

You are pursuing a chimera.

You still haven't demonstrated that what constitutes 'being biblical' goes beyond 'What Steve Langton and his mates believe to be biblical.'

This isn't anything to do with being an 'aspie' or an 'absent-minded professor.' It's to do with logic and with internal contradictions within your argument.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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