Monday, February 16, 2009


Bapticostal is the term for someone who attends a Baptist church with just a little extra kick in the excitement area. It can also describe a person who was raised Baptist only to have a Pentecostal experience at some point in their life. Personally, I believe that since Jesus is "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) there's always the potential to experience him the same as the early church did, as recorded in the book of Acts. Bapticostals really do exist!

One of the biggest issues that comes up between Baptists and Pentecostals is speaking in tongues. Most Baptists see Pentecostals as not only fruits of the Spirit, but also nuts and flakes. While the Pentecostals call the Baptists the "dead in Christ!" The church I pastor has several Bapticostals. Some have spoken in tongues, and some have not. Being a Pentecostal/Charismatic church, most of the original members believe in and practice praying in an "unknown tongue."

I view this issue from a unique perspective, because my parents were Pentecostal ministers who sent me to a Baptist school. I've seen and participated in arguments over speaking in tongues that would make us forget any of us were Christians. Pentecostals often rely on personal experience to sway the argument. Baptists tend to lean on Scofield. Occasionally both groups will actually pull out some Bible verses to look at.

Ironically, Baptists and Pentecostals often use the same passages of scripture to prove their position on the subject. Let's look at 1Corinthians 14 as an example. Just looking at the first few verses we see how each group uses bits and pieces of the scripture to support their doctrine. We'll color code the Pentecostal verses red, and the Baptist one's blue. This is no reflection on either group's personal fervor or body temperature!

Pentecostal - Red, Baptist - Blue
1Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified. 6Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?

1Corinthians 14:1-6

Wait a minute, I didn't color the first phrase, "follow the way of love." That's because neither side who takes bits and pieces to prove the other wrong can claim it! Do you see my point? Imagine what would happen if we could combine these bits and pieces back into one passage. Not only would the result be an interesting shade of purple, but I think we would have a chance to show the world that we are Jesus' disciples, by our love for one another.

If you're a Baptist, I encourage you to study the red part of this passage. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your Pentecostal brother. Relax, those are not his dancing shoes! Be open to the Holy Spirit's move in your life. Pentecostal, look at the blue and try to imitate the reverence your Baptist brother has in worship. Don't worry, your face won't freeze like that! Be open to the idea that, "everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1Corinthians 14:40).

I understand that my color coding is a tad simplistic in approaching doctrine. But I don't think ether side is so rigid, that we can't learn something from each other. I believe the number of Bapticostals is going to increase as people from different backgrounds and denominations continue to merge ideas, theology and worship styles. It's a sign that the church is becoming one. After all, the saving power of the cross is supposed to be our common claim. As long as we're hidden in its shadow, I think we'll be alright.

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