Are We Pentecostal?
The well known author and preacher Fred Craddock tells a rather funny story about a lecture he was giving: A few years ago, when he was on the west coast speaking at a seminary, just before the first lecture, one of the students stood up and said, “Before you speak, I need to know if you are Pentecostal.” The student continued with his quiz right in front of everybody. Craddock was taken aback and said, “Do you mean do I belong to the Pentecostal Church?” The student said, “No, I mean are you Pentecostal?”
Craddock said, “Are you asking me if I am charismatic?”
The student said, “I am asking you if you are Pentecostal.”
Craddock said, “Do you want to know if I speak in tongues?”
The student said, “ I want to know if you are Pentecostal.”
Craddock said, “I don’t know what your question is.”
The student said, “Obviously, you are not Pentecostal.” He left.
As Christians, we need to be keenly aware of word traps and putting people into ‘boxes’. Most Christians will be celebrating the ‘Day of Pentecost’ (Acts 2) this week in church. At least for a day, all of us will be Pentecostal! If what we mean about Pentecostal is that we believe in the miraculous power of God that not only has power over the dead, but has power to transcend all languages, cultures, times, and places, then certainly all of us are Pentecostal. We may worship with variant styles, liturgies and even instruments, but in the end, we worship the same risen Lord.
Burt McGlawn, Pastor
First Presbyterian Church