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Power from on High to Bear the Fruits of the Spirit

 

The book of Isaiah depicts the suffering servant who has the Spirit of God for the sole purpose of bringing justice, Isaiah 42:1 says, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring justice to the nations” (NRSV). Two characteristics of the suffering servant are 1) he has the spirit of God, 2) because that Spirit is upon him, he will bring justice. How will this suffering servant bring justice? Isaiah 42:7 says that he comes, “To open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness” (NRSV). In order to bring people out of darkness, the empowerment of the Spirit is manifested through the gifts, but in order to reach out to people that are physically and spiritually blinded, the fruit is needed, the fruit of love and compassion. Yes, the power is great, but the fruit is greater in bringing social justice.

Another aspect of Pentecostal ecclesiology is liturgy. Liturgy is a part of the Pentecostal worship. Yong explains Pentecostal liturgy, “Put this way, the sacramental liturgy, a gift of God and the Holy Spirit, is now a performance that redeems and transforms all persons, along with their times and places, for the kingdom and glory of God” (166). Liturgy, in the Pentecostal setting, comes alive by the rhema word, “which speaks God’s word anew and afresh to the here-and-now situation of the believer and the believing community” (161). Yong outlines five dimensions of the Lord’s Supper. First, the Spirit is present in the sacraments. Secondly, the Supper taken under careful self-discernment can serve as an occasion where God’s healing power is released to heal emotional or physical illness. The third dimension defines the Supper as, “an ecclesiastical and social act of solidarity whereby Jesus the resurrected Word is united with the body of Christ through the Fellowship of the Spirit” (164). Fourth, the Supper is “a political and prophetic act whereby the enacted and enacting body of Christ provides and mediates an alternative way of life through the gracious activity of the Spirit” (165).

In section 4, after defining “ecumenism” from a biblical perspective, Yong goes on to say, ” …the ecumenical movement is more about affirming differences than it is about making churches the world over fit into one mold. In fact, as the Baptism, Eucharist, Ministry document illustrates, the plurality of churches, liturgies, and traditions are affirmed [section 4.1.3]” (pp. 175). Each church or denomination has something to contribute to other churches in order to bring the unity of the body of Christ. Ecumenism also has its challenges in a pluralistic world. Yong challenged pentecostals to engage on this front by discerning and engaging others and by not forming a “sectarian withdrawal and condemnation” view (pp. 175).

 

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Category: In Depth, Winter 2007

About the Author: Rony M. Reyes, Th.M. (Winebrenner Theological Seminary, Findlay, Ohio), has pastored churches in urban and rural settings in Indiana and Illinois. He is a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Pastor Reyes is the author of Apocalyptic Anointing (Emeth Press, 2008).

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