Spirit: What the Church Needs Most

From Matt Jenson and David Wilhite Church: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides For The Perplexed):

At Pentecost, Joel’s prophecy [2:28-29] is fulfilled and Babel [Genesis 11] is undone.

What Pentecost represents — and in this it marks the beginning of the mission of the church — is the unity of the gospel (‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ — Eph. 4.5) communicated in a diversity of languages, all in the power of the Holy Spirit. Note, too, that the unity of proclamation does not require — we might even say, does not allow for — a unified language. This signals a Spirit-directed, Spirit-filled flourishing of the many — as many — as they are united to the one Lord.

The Pentecostal gift is nothing less than empowerment for mission in which the Spirit catholicizes the people of God.

The Spirit is also the one who particularizes Christ’s person and work, uniting and conforming individuals to Christ. By applying Christ catholically and personally, the Spirit constitutes the Church.

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  • Richard

    Powerful truth… too bad there isn’t more emphasis on this in the church planting/growth strategies I’ve heard and been exposed to.

  • Isn’t the real problem the dearth of Spirit manifestations on the scale one reads of in the Bible? Speaking in tongues is all very-well but when a televangelist makes a prophecy, even Christians roll their eyes. When a parent refuses medical treatment for their child, many turn hostile.

    The expectation of the miraculous just isn’t there anymore. Is this because of so many disappointments in the past? Churches don’t want to get hopes up? Or … are they afraid that miracles will be expected and they will not be able to deliver?

  • Robert

    Pentecost is surely about communication and human unity. Too bad the church so often doesn’t know how to communicate with anyone outside its doors!