"Apostoliese tye as onherhaalbaar en uniek": Pinksterkerke en Lukas-Handelinge
Some Christians' scientifically-informed worldview leave little room for supernatural phenomena or divine interventions outside the accepted system of explainable cause and effect. They do not expect a supernatural/divine intervention because it falls outside their frame of reference. A part of these believers are the "cessationists" who inter alia limit the Acts 2 events of Pentecost and the other incidents of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31; 8:14-17; 9:17; 10:44-48; 11:15-16; 13:52; 19:2-6) as well as the prevalence of charismata or spiritual gifts in the early church (1 Cor 12-14; Rom 12:6-8; Eph 4:11-13; 1 Pet 4:10-11) to New Testament or apostolic times. On the other hand, classical Pentecostal believers expect that the supernatural would continually surprise them and that the events of the Day of Pentecost as well as the operation of the Spirit that characterized the life of the apostles and first assemblies as described in Acts would be repeated in their midst. In fact, they interpret and model their current reality on the basis of biblical narrative and especially Luke-Acts plays a decisive role as the replicable "history" of Jesus and the early Church. Pentecostal theologians use various aspects of the Lukan narrative to indicate that the author describes events with the clear aim and intention to encourage readers to model their practice on the basis thereof contra the cessationist view that interpret Luke's narrative about the Spirit from the theology in Paul's letters where he responds to specific situations in congregations to teach about the Spirit. These interpretations of Luke-Acts are then briefly described and analysed in contrast to the cessationist view that the events in Acts are unique and nonrepeatable before some aspects of the Pentecostal viewpoint are discussed critically. Pentecostals argue that Jesus' and Peter's sermon in respectively Luke 4:16-30 and Acts 2:14-41 intentionally provides an introduction to the two books in order to emphasize the important role that the Spirit plays in the ministry of Jesus and his disciples. Luke's unique reference to the mission of 70/72 disciples also serves as the fulfillment of Moses' plea that all the Lord's people may be prophets and equipped with the Spirit which is then demonstrated systematically and intentionally in the way Acts unfolds the history of the early Church. Cessationist theology responds to Luke's version of the baptism in the Spirit by interpreting Luke in Pauline terms, when Spirit baptism is limited to the event of initiation of the faithful into the Body of Christ, while Pentecostal theology chooses to describe it as a further experience in the lives of believers, in distinction from the first experience of salvation and the second experience of sanctification. It bases its view on what it perceives to be Luke's presentation of the term "filled with / baptized in the Spirit" as equipment with power in order to be effective witnesses unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Some object that doctrine or didactic conclusions cannot be based on biblical narrative; Pentecostal theologians argue that they do not base their dogma on the narratives found in the Bible alone but primarily on the continuity of charismatic experiences witnessed in the Bible and repeated in the contemporary situation. However, the danger is that a door is left open for heresies that threaten the church because it allows for charismatic interpretation of scriptures as well as extrabiblical revelations. The issue of the underlying a-scientific worldview that underpins Pentecostal theology has not been discounted adequately. And Pentecostals' ecstatic experiences are difficult to describe; although contemporary descriptions borrow language from the Bible in order to describe these experiences, it is impossible, methodologically speaking, to place the historical and contemporary side by side in an undifferentiated analogous manner. To compare literary and contemporary spirituality with each other is impossible because of the differences in worldview, language and culture.
- Faculty of Theology