Sacramental Pentecostals?

I’m delighted to announce that Chris Green (newly dubbed “Dr.” for the completion of his PhD) has just published his (long awaited and anticipated in my opinion) dissertation: Toward a Pentecostal Theology of the Lord’s Supper: Foretasting the Kingdom (CPT 2012).  This is a continuing trend among Pentecostals to view the Lord’s Supper in more sacramental terms.  His dissertation is not the first move in this direction (by any stretch), but is another helpful volume clarifying that Pentecostal tradition and practice is already sacramental in many ways (see Dan Tomberlin’s Pentecostal Sacraments: Encountering God at the Altar, Center for Pentecostal Leadership and Care 2010). 

One of the reasons I bring this all up is because I received an update in my blog feeder that Renovatus (a well-known church in Charlotte, NC) just announced their move to a weekly Lord’s Supper as part of their move toward a greater sense of community.  Pastor Jonathan Martin had some tremendous thoughts in this regard and in relation specifically to being Pentecostal and sacramental.  It marks a turn toward the table as offering “the real presence” (something the Reformer’s — aside from those called “radical reformers”– held strongly to). 

This may seem a strange move for Pentecostals, but in actuality our doctrine and practice of the gifts of the Spirit are themselves offer a sacramental perspective (particularly as we affirm something akin to “the real presence”).  I do know of other Pentecostal works (including Assemblies) which share in communion every week as a part of their corporate worship experience.  It seems quite fascinating that we act like we MUST sing X number of songs, have announcements, etc. every week, but don’t practice the Eucharist that often because we usually say we don’t want it to become less meaningful.  Is that what we think we’ve done with our singing?  Why don’t we sing choruses and hymns just once a month?  Or the reading of Scripture?  When it is all said and done, this is just the kind of thing that the church needs as a reminder to confession, forgiveness, reconciliation and mission.  This is why I regularly equate the Lord’s Table with our modernist “altar call”.  I believe it is the call to the saints to embrace the life of Christ even as we work and live toward His coming again.  There is something which our Lord works in our presence as we participate in His life.

What are your thoughts on the sacramental nature of the Lord’s Supper? 

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2 thoughts on “Sacramental Pentecostals?

  1. Hey Rick,

    I was google searching Pentecostal sacramentalism and stumbled upon this older post of yours. I enjoyed it. I too wish that Pentecostals would see our Eucharistic practices as more vital to our spirituality.

    Cheers.

    Andrew

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