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Peter Hocken: The Glory and the Shame

 

Fr. Hocken’s focus on two new groups need to be mentioned as part of his graced insights. Hocken sees the non-denominationals – independent charismatic churches, and such loosely knit groups as the Vineyard and World Harvest churches, as a special grace to the universal church (chapters nine and twenty-two). Hocken sees the non-denominationals as a prophetic model to the rest of the Church, demonstrating an evangelistic fervor and Spirit empowerment that the other churches lack. That the Spirit raised up such entirely new bodies is an indicator of the sin and lack of repentance of the older denominations. The older denominations have both refused to take seriously the outpourings of the Spirit, and have not moved to curb their destructive traditionalism.

No less insightful but perhaps more significant is Fr. Hocken’s analysis of the rise of Messianic Judaism. The formation of these congregations, that for the first time since the First Century enable Jews to be Christian without diminishing their Jewishness, have far reaching implications. These congregations are mostly Spirit-filled and naturally liturgical. Hocken believes that this combination will enable these churches to lead the other denominations to unity so that the unity on earth will approach that in the heavenlies. Hocken’s analysis is based on a careful exegesis of Romans 11, which predicts a reincorporation of the Jews into the body of Christ after the fullness of the Gentiles. Similarly, the re-establishment both of Jewish Christianity and of the of the state of Israel are keys to coming parousia (chapter 20).

Fr. Hocken’s understanding of the relation between revival and parousia answers a repetitive theme of revival groups throughout history – they have all believed in the imminent return of Christ. Hocken suggests that the reason for this is that if the Church were truly obedient to the grace of revival, any single revival could so heal and perfect the Church that the parousia would then occur. It is the disobedience and opposition of the churches, and the sin response of the revival leaders, which prevents any one revival from fulfilling this potential. This is a conditional understanding of history not usually found among orthodox theologians, but increasingly considered as an option within orthodoxy. Recently such evangelical scholars as John Sanders (The God Who Risks, Intervarsity, 1999) have elaborated just such a conditional understanding of scripture (see the critical discussion of Sanders work in Stephen Williams’ “What God Doesn’t Know,” Books & Culture, (Nov./Dec. 1999, 16-18).

Aside from this controversial insight, The Glory and the Shame will have nothing to disturb the sensibilities of the most conservative of readers. This work really is “must reading” for Pentecostal and charismatic scholars. It is not an easy read, but neither is it as difficult as most academic books. With guidance it would find a most useful place in adult Sunday school and college classes.

Reviewed by William L. De Arteaga

 

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Category: Church History, Summer 2001

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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