Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Revivals and cultures

My neighbouring Vicar and pal Simon Downham told a story in his Pentecost sermon of a time several hundred church leaders gathered to hear Gordon Fee teach on the Spirit from Galatians. They had, so they believed and 'felt',  a wonderful time of worship and as Fee was about speak the leader of the meeting announced that the Holy Spirit "was powerfully present". Fee paused and then responded by saying: "He might be here, but given you are all white and middle class and all from one nation I cannot be sure"

Fee's point was that when a move of the Spirit occurs the nations are gathered in as happened at Pentecost. Recently, I read this report of conversions in Manchuria in China in 1908. As I aside, I enjoyed the cultural awareness and engagement of Scottish missionaries indicated by their use of the descriptor 'John Chinaman':

‘A power has come into the church that we cannot control if we would. It is a miracle for stolid, self-righteous John Chinaman to go out of his way to confess to sins that no torture of the Yamen could force from him, for a Chinaman to demean himself to crave, weeping, the prayers of his fellow-believers is beyond all human explanation
Perhaps you will say it ‘s a sort of religious hysteria. So did some of us.....But here we are, about sixty Scottish and Irish Presbyterians who have seen it- all shades of temperament –and, much as many of us shrank from it at first, every one who has seen and heard what we have, everyday last week, is certain there is only one explanation- that it is God’s Holy Spirit manifesting himself…..One clause of the Creed that lives before us now in all its inevitable, awful solemnity is, “I believe in the Holy Ghost!


The expression ..'..inevitable, awful solemnity..' has stayed with me.

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