My Views of the Pentecostal Spirit in Response to the Tensions Presented in G.W.H. Lampe’s Proposals

Posted: January 5, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Acts, Pentecostal/Charismatic Interests
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Turner, M. (2000). Power from on High: The Spirit in Israel’s Restoration and Witness in Luke-Acts. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic.

Turner offers 7 major views within historical scholarship on the nature of the Pentecostal gift of the Holy Spirit. The fourth major view is dubbed, “The Gift of the Spirit Emphasized by Luke as the Spirit of Prophecy and Missionary Empowering” (Turner 2000:56). G.W.H. Lampe is credited with this view. Lampe viewed the gift of the Spirit strictly within the prophetic paradigm offered in the OT. Prophets perform miracles and preach. Lampe therefore sees Pentecost as the bestowing of the Spirit unto preaching and supernatural ministry. Lampe struggled with a Lukan pneumatology as it regards the Spirit being poured out on all in its universal nature. While it appears that Luke does emphasize reception of the Spirit as an empowering work for some, it does not suggest such for all who received the Spirit. This tension forced the positing of two different works of the Spirit, one that is soteriological and one that is missionary in His intent. Lampe suggested that Luke himself was using  “two basically different concepts of the Spirit” (Turner 2000:58).

I respect the contributions of Lampe in seeking to be faithful to the OT paradigm of the Spirit’s work upon the prophet as a paradigm for Christ and the Disciples on Pentecost. He struggled, as do I, in Luke’s seemingly clear expectation that the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit is a universal fulfilling of Joel’s charismatic paradigm. The fact also remains that Luke highlights the fact that Phillip’s daughters were prophetesses, when such mentioning would be rather insignificant if everyone was a prophet of sorts. Traditional Pentecostals view the ‘charismatic’ empowering as normative and plead with the Christian community to life in the fullness of what God intends to bring to us through the Holy Spirit. Christians who lack “charismatic” empowering would be seen as the exception, no matter what the respective percentages are for those who have or have not the charismatic experience.

Non-Pentecostals have instead emphasized the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ as the normative paradigm for life in the Spirit. The charismatic nature of the Spirit is either seen as the exception or serving an ad hoc function for the early church.  In either paradigm, the non-Pentecostal is certainly not encouraging believers to seek the charismatic empowering as the normative paradigm.

I struggle in tension between both views. I have lived and ministered within both paradigms and have the greatest respect for believers in each respective community. I have essentially adopted the view that Joel’s charismatic paradigm is the norm for all believers today. However, I would suggest that this charismatic empowering need not necessarily match the extraordinary experiences that we find in Acts. The empowering might not take the form of prophecy or miracles, but may take the shape of incredible hospitality in the koinonia of the Church. Some would accuse me then of not being faithful the Joeline paradigm, which expects prophecy as a normative experience. I would simply say that there does remain tension in my view, however I would emphasis that we have all been made “prophets” in an objective sense through the Spirit and that our individual manifestations proceeding from our “prophethood” will take on varied and complementing functions within the broader community (1 Cor. 12).  As such, the person who ministers mercy in the Spirit is just as much a prophet as the one who speaks in tongues or prophesies in the corporate gathering. Many Evangelicals have rightly understood the “priesthood” of all believers, which views the church as ontologically one and encouraged to minister in various capacities. Those who hold this view would suggest that all are “ministers” in a general sense, without obliterating the distinct nature of a Pastor/Elder who ministers in an analogous, though authoritative fashion. So also, the “prophethood of believers” affords the same paradigm, allowing for a general application, and yet respecting the more extraordinary gifts that God should bestow on some.

Peter, who preached the Pentecostal sermon sheds some light on the potential variety that the “charismata” may take in the Christian community:

1 PT 4:10-11 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

I referenced 1 Cor. 12 earlier and many take exception with that because it is seen as a reading of Pauline pnuematology into Luke. I find helpful the reading of Peter through Peter approach. Peter is the one who preached the sermon and is the one who offers us this passage that presumes that “each has received a gift” and then generalizes two categories: speaking and serving. Peter offers not an “all or nothing” approach, but rather a “both and” approach to the nature of the charismata, but it is clearly within an “ALL” paradigm as to  respective recipients, being the full body of believers.

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