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Retro Faith: A Christian Response to Postmodernism


As a movement, Pentecostal/charismatics represent a radical return to the faith and practice of New Testament Christianity. Perhaps this is why the movement has become the fastest growing body of Christians on the face of the planet. Pentecostalism is growing at a rate of 13 million a year, 35,000 a day, and has nearly a half billion followers.5 It is the second largest Christian group after Roman Catholicism. There are Pentecostals in almost every denomination and every part of the world. Retro faith or New Testament Christianity will flourish in every age and every generation. I believe that if Pentecostal/charismatics want to continue to remain on the cutting edge they must revisit their New Testament roots and hold onto a retro faith.

Every generation of believers should revisit the passionate faith and spirituality of the early church because there are always new challenges and concerns that face the church. The faith of the first century followers of Jesus Christ offers us a foundation and model of authentic Christianity in every age. In other words, the authentic faith of the early church is an anchor for Christians of all ages especially in those who are living in changing and uncertain times. I do not claim to be the only one calling for the church to revisit first century Christianity there are many other pastors, theologians, and writers who believe that the church must keep the past and the future in perpetual conversation so every generation will find a fresh expression of the gospel.6





1 Leonard Sweet, Soul Tsunami: Sink or Swim in the New Millennium Culture (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999).

2 Brian D. McLaren. The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000). p.11.

3 John Wesley, Works, 7:423 “At The Foundation of City-Road Chapel.”

4 See the following books for examples. Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith (New York: Harper Collins, 1998). Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God (New York: Harper Collins, 1997).

5 For a more in depth discussion about the explosive growth of the Pentecostal Movement see Vinson Synan, The Century of the Holy Spirit. 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001) and Harvey Cox, Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA: De Cappo, 1995).

6 Leonard Sweet, Post-Modern Pilgrims: First Century Passion for the 21st Century World (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000). Robert Weber, Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999). Norman T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is (Downers Grove, Ill: Intervarsity, 1999). Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995).


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Category: Ministry, Spring 2007

About the Author: The Rev. Dr. Winfield H. Bevins serves as the Director of Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. He is also the Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas and an adjunct professor at Trinity School for Ministry. He is the author of Plant: A Sower’s Guide to Church Planting (Seedbed, 2016), Rediscovering John Wesley (Pathway Press, 2005), Our Common Prayer: A Field Guide to the Book of Common Prayer (Simeon Press, 2013), Creed: Connect to the Basic Essentials of Historic Christian Faith (NavPress, 2011), and Grow at Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Family Discipleship (Seedbed, 2016). Amazon Author Page Facebook Twitter: @winfieldbevins

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