08 September 2008

Pentecostalism at the root of the GAFCON movement

In an interesting article about the decline of Pentecostalism as a revival movement, Monty Lee Rice made an interesting comment.

The second tradition I served with, though quite briefly, was within Anglicanism, which involved a brief stint in a cathedral followed by ministry for a while in a charismatic, contemporary-driven, Anglican “mega-church.” I had gained some appreciation towards Anglican spirituality. At one point, I began initial steps towards entering the priesthood, with the hope of seeking a synthesis between the two traditions. [. . .]

[…] At some point I realised however, I could journey no further into Anglicanism. I found myself facing the prospect of having to displace those [Pentecostal] embedded values and paradigms, and I did not to risk that. On a critical note, I became even more aware of the contrast between an oral-nuanced and print-nuanced liturgical ethos.

Most particularly I realised all the more that a print-nuanced liturgical ethos does indeed produces a deadening, cerebral-skewered approach to worship which hinders any desire towards an in breaking of the Spirit’s power, and thus why printed liturgical elements must be kept subordinate to a broader oral-based liturgical or congregational setting; .

What I found so interesting was that the above perfectly sums up the alleged crisis in the Anglican Communion. They can go no further in Anglicanism, and so are develop a new religion of book worship

Christians, with Jews and Moslems, have long been called “people of the book,” but Christians have never been libercentic. We have always been Christocentric. Even the Roman and Orthodox churches do not worship the book as the fundamentalists do.

But a libercentric religion meets the needs of the fundamentalists who cannot function without iron clad rules and proscriptions to counter the “secular humanistic” world they must live in, but cannot not be part of.

What these neo-fundamentalists are attempting to do is to put new wine in old wine skins. The new religion is cloaked in the legitimacy of Anglicanism and “the faith once delivered”—but it is neither Anglicanism nor the faith that has been delivered throughout Christian history. It is a completely different religion, one Jesus would not recognize.

Jesus’ entire ministry was spent overthrowing the Law. Jesus repeatedly chose people and compassion over the law. He chose love over legalism. But the fundamentalists do not want this Jesus; they want a “new Moses” who give a new law – one which the fundamentalists develop from selective verses of Moses’ law. And they have found him in ++Akinola who speaks for God.

The explosive growth of Pentecostalism in African religion and politics plays into the Anglican drama, too. The Anglican churches of Africa have “bent to society.” As the African society moved in the Pentecostal/fundamentalist direction, the African Anglicans moved in that direction.

Now, the primates will deny that until the cows come home, but it is a fact. Before Pentecostalism took root, there was no “broken communion” between the Anglicans in the Western Word and Africa.

Heresy begets heresy. Pentecostalism is deeply donatist by nature (among other things including Montanism, Modalism Jansenism, Catharism, and some Gnosticism, too).. Just as the charismatic movement (with its donatist neo-Montanism leanings) brought the headache to TEC, so the Pentecostal movement in Africa brought schism to the Communion. If one understands the historic heresies of the Church, one will see the Gafcon movement for what it is – heresy. (Here is a great resource on Pentecostalism.

To end this post on a much better topic, I’d like to wish the Blessed Virgin Mary a happy birthday, today.

Over on The Grapevine, Susan O. has posted an update on the situation in San Joaquin at St. Mark's in Shafter. Please go read it.