The missionary Spirit gives life to the people of God at Pentecost video discussion

This Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost, when we remember, celebrate, and re-engage with the first giving of the Spirit at Pentecost as recounted in Acts 2., and the lectionary reading in this Year CX is, as every year, Acts 2.1–21. Although it is a comparatively long reading, in one sense it is not long enough, since we do not hear the whole of Peter’s speech, nor do we hear the response to it!

With any of these annual celebrations, we are always confronted with the question of whether there is anything fresh to say. Commentators note that this is one of the most pored over passages in the whole New Testament—and in fact it is laden with theological significance in just about every verse.

In a return of their weekly video, James and Ian discuss all these issues, including questions about how we preach and teach on this passage. For a full discussion, see the previous article here.

 


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31 thoughts on “The missionary Spirit gives life to the people of God at Pentecost video discussion”

  1. Well presented video. Each point made came over cleary.

    James said to the effect that one can receive the Holy Spirit if you believe.

    Believing in Jesus is not enough.

    John the Baptist said repent and believe.

    Jesus said repent and believe.

    Peter says repent and believe.

    Which of our vicars call for repentance today?

    Perhaps we ought to rehabilitate Pelagius.

    Reply
  2. Both the presenters defended the assertion that Peter was standing with ‘these people’ (with the suggestion that Peter was standing with more than 11 men).

    I think it was James who said that 17 language groups were present; and presenting the further assertion that that suggests more than 12 people were standing with the apostles.

    Acts 2:8 states:

    “And how we hear, each in our own language in which we were born.”

    If Colin Hamer’s analysis (looking at the Greek text yesterday) is correct, then one person could have said that to his compatriot.

    Given that God never wastes a word (for it is written Man shall live by every word from the mouth of God), Acts 2:11 states Luke reporting in his ‘executive summary’:

    “Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

    Acts 2:14:

    ‘But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice…’.

    I think Hamer’s analysis is the one to follow and not the one which seems to come under the new doctrine of Inclusivity (see yesterday’s blog and comments).

    Reply
    • Correction:

      If Colin Hamer’s analysis (looking at the Greek text yesterday) is correct, then one person could have said that to his compatriot where that person understood more than one language being spoken (by the crowd and the apostles).

      Reply
      • Hello D Singh,
        There is need to look at the context of the Jewish Pentecost Festival, as to who would probably be at this biblical God ordained,
        commanded Festival.
        (See my comment on the earlier article for this scriptural setting at the time of Jesus. As a devout Jew, during his life, Jesus would have attended the Festival during his life, and known it’s importance and relevance in pre-ordained history of His redemption, and the scriptures (Old Testament at that time) and the timing of outporing of the Holy Spirit as intrumental in the work of the Great Commission.
        It has nothing to do with reading this through any contemporary “inclusive” lens, I’d suggest. Though it seems to be a red flag/card category for you.
        It is inclusive in that the Good News of Jesus is for every, tongue, tribe and nation.

        Reply
        • Geoff

          I agree it’s for every, tongue, tribe and nation.

          Acts 1 and 2 tell us the disciples were moving about from dwelling to dwelling. At times it is reasonable to presume the disciples were divided into different dwellings from each other.

          It is impractical for 120 people to follow each other round and dwell in the same place at the same time (the logistical support needed won’t add up).

          Then, I think Hamer is correct here, they (the disciples) came back together:

          ‘When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.’

          That suggests the disciples were living in different houses and then came together in one place – for Pentecost (Luke wastes not a word).

          What I object to is this constant undercurrent of suggestion that women (Mary the mother of Jesus and/or the brothers of Jesus) must have been baptised by the Holy Spirit in the same place and time as the disciples because Mary is a woman (and mother of Jesus and of course His brothers could not have been excluded because they were His brothers).

          I have, in principle, nothing against including people.

          Women do get baptized in the Holy Spirit as well as different ethnic groups and young children.

          However, there is no egalitarian principle to be applied when it comes to inviting the baptism. Those, as Peter points out (and John the Baptist and Jesus) who repent and believe will receive the baptism.

          Reply
          • Hello,
            The disciples were together on the day of Pentecost because scripture required it of them.
            The whole of Acts 2 is the setting, must be read and taken as a whole, which includes/ results in Acts 2: 37-41 and stimulates what us described in the remainder of the chapter.
            I’d suggest that being welded to set text lectionary readings can result in an unbalanced and erroneous emphasis, especially if there is no conclusion to Peter’s sermon, which was indeed a true festal latter -rain
            harvest reaping.
            And this text -setting is something that is bemoaned by both of our hosts. From experience, not all Anglicans stick to the set texts.

          • In this instance I think the baptism is egalitarian… for Jews at least and then later for gentles. The premise is ‘all flesh’ and male and female is specifically emphasised. I believe in male leadership in the home and church but this is not the issue here. This is the Spirit enabling to proclaim the message as a sign that the last days of eschatological salvation have arrived…all who will call on the name of the Lord would receive this gift of the Spirit… the expectation of the gift widening out to the nations is explicit.

            This is not about leadership in the church. This is ‘by one Spirit you were baptised into one body’. This is ‘in Chris there is neither male nor female…’

    • D

      Acts 11. f then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?

      Who are the ‘us’ Peter refers to. It is the believers in Jerusalem (11:2) which is a broader band than the apostles (it includes James, the Lord’s brother). The proof that the Spirit had fallen on the Jews at Pentecost and gentiles at Caesarea is that they speak in tongues and extoll God. It is not said that a select few do so – that is a concept that has to be read in and militates against the inclusivism of the context. This has nothing to do with male leadership or apostolic authority. You weaken your case for male leadership by using texts that say the opposite to defend it,

      Reply
      • Indeed, God was making a strong point to the apostles. The Holy Spirit and therefore salvation was for ALL who believed. No discrimination between Jew or Gentile, male or female, free or slave. Thank God.

        Peter

        Reply
  3. John Thomson

    No one is denying that all are invited to benefit from salvation.

    The debate yesterday was:

    1. Were there there 120 (including women) gathered in the place or just the 12 disciples?
    2. Some bibles say that Peter stood with ‘these people’ (implying that women were with them – as part of the 120); or did Peter stand with the 11 disciples before the crowd?

    The debate was seen as important for the promotion of women in that they were presumed to be included with the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit in such a dramatic way – and not receiving it later.

    Receiving it later (the next two thousand years or so – from that day) is still in conformity with Joel.

    You can argue about the man being the head – fine.

    But if women at that moment were baptized by tongues of fire – then they have, presumably, equality of status with the apostles.

    Then, if there is equality of male and female among the apostles then why should they not also be elders and bishops?

    But, presumably, you would argue that equality of status is not demonstrated in the New Testament. The women would argue that that evidence has been suppressed and erased by the patriarchy.

    If you have female elders and bishops then why should the male be the head of the household? Why can’t there be equality between husband and wife?

    Reply
    • “But if women at that moment were baptized by tongues of fire – then they have, presumably, equality of status with the apostles.”

      Surely, as sons and daughters of the living God, we all have equal status in terms of our relationship with him. Since when did the pouring out of the Holy Spirit have to do with equality in leadership terms? I’m not even sure what that means.. I can’t see any “leadership” connection with the passage.

      All have a variety of gifts, endowed by the Spirit but all are part of the one body with Christ as the head. Gifts are not status. That would be a worldly valuing of people.

      Reply
    • But if women at that moment were baptized by tongues of fire – then they have, presumably, equality of status with the apostles.

      They have equality of new covenant status which is what the gift of the Spirit is about. TWICE the women are mentioned in the Joel quotation.

      Colin Hamer was not arguing the women were not baptised in the Spirit. He argued (wrongly) that they did not participate in the glossolalia.

      My quotation from Acts 11 shows clearly that more than the apostles were baptised in the Spirit at Pentecost.

      You are making an extrapolation that is unnecessary and against the flow of the event. This is not a domino text that will lead to all sorts of egalitarian excess. To prove your patriarchal points go to texts that teach patriarchy and don’t use a branch that can’t take the weight you want to give it. I am persuaded of patriarchy yet I can see no case for it in Acts 2.

      Reply
      • John Thomson

        Very well. Permit me to argue from ‘the feminist’ point-of-view.

        ‘They have equality of new covenant status which is what the gift of the Spirit is about.’

        Whatever that is, the apostles must have that too – altogether they have the same status.

        ‘Colin Hamer was not arguing the women were not baptised in the Spirit. He argued (wrongly) that they did not participate in the glossolalia.’

        Very well, they were baptised in the Spirit and then, they participated in speaking in tongues to the crowd with Peter and the eleven disciples.

        Altogether, they were the sent ones – the apostles – to the crowd.

        Every thing that has happened to the 12 has happened to the women with them. The women too, preach to the crowd (in tongues).

        Then on what basis can you deny the women the title apostles?

        Reply
        • You can be baptised in the Spirit and filled with the Spirit without being an apostle.

          I have always assumed that being an apostle was just one of multiple callings and giftings in the Body of Christ.

          We’re not all hands, and we’re not all legs, but we can all be children of God and receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

          I don’t see the problem.

          Reply
  4. The pre -amble intro discussion by our hosts, is summed up clearly and somewhat succinctly here:
    “It was not until the Holy Spirit came upon them that the disciples came to see the real purpose of Jesus coming to earth.
    “They now understood that
    (1) the falling of the Spirit was a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32;
    (2) Jesus death on the cross was no accident but was purposed for our salvation;
    (3) His resurrection demonstrated who Jesus was- that he was the Son of God;
    (4) Jesus was now at the right hand of God;
    (5) the ascension took place to make way for the Holy Spirit;
    (6) people needed to be forgiven of their sins; and (7) all those who heard Peter’s sermon could receive the Holy Spirit if they repented and were baptised (Acts 2:14 -39). It all fell into place for Peter.”
    ” In fact ( in the power to preach in fearlessness) Peter’s preaching was. si effective that hearers were “cut to the heart” something only the Holy Spirit can do and asked, “What shall we do?”

    Interestingly, the writer continues (along with Colin Hamer) “They were scoffing at first, dismissing the 120 who were filled with the Spirit as having ” too much wine.” Acts 2:13

    From RT Kendall’s book, Holy Fire

    Reply
  5. John Thomson

    Moreover, if equality between the sexes at apostolic level – then sex is irrelevant. If sex is irrelevant then why should sexusl orientation be relevant for the office of priest and bishop? If sex, sexual orientation are irrelevant then why should transgender be relevant (it then can’t be) for the offices of priest and bishop?

    That is why one of the liberals said yesterday to Psephizo: you voted for women priests. That liberal understands far more than we do on the orthodox-evangelical wing.

    Unless you try to understand at a deep level their thinking – we will be defeated.

    Try to understand why they were cock-a-hoop over Psephizo asserting that Luke was using the same techniques as Greek and Roman writers (like Suetonius).

    The liberals have completed their studies – we haven’t started.

    Reply
    • D

      You’re overthinking. Does the issue that males and females are saved in the same way mean there are no distinctions in role in the church? Of course not. The giving of the Spirit at Pentecost is almost tantamount to conversion in that it is the implementing of the new covenant. All God’s people are involved in the new covenant and the new covenant gift of the Spirit. This is a separate matter from order in the church. Joel’s prophecy explicitly puts male and female on an equal standing in terms of the Spirit given ability to bring God’s word. We must keep apart things that differ.

      Reply
      • John Thomson

        ‘We must keep apart things that differ.’

        Yes, of course:

        Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.

        Surely some revelation is at hand;
        Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
        The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
        When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
        Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
        A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
        A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
        Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
        Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
        The darkness drops again; but now I know
        That twenty centuries of stony sleep
        Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
        And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
        Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

        W.B. Yeats

        Reply
  6. John Thomson

    This is in reply to your previous posts – there is no ‘reply’ icon for it.

    I have stated my case you have stated yours.

    It appears I was given a piece of advice early this morning as I looked forward to the ‘battle’:

    Never disturb the enemy when he is making a mistake.

    Napoleon

    Reply
  7. DS,
    It didn’t end well for him.
    There has been a long game strategy from the enemy Director of operations, Screwtape.
    I see that you recognise something that seems ill considered, certainly inside the church, which is that to know the opponent’s case and to able to articulte it better than they, is to be properly prepared.
    And I’ve visited this blog long enough to see, as have others, the ground where the battle rages even when camouflaged by a scattergun technique of advocacy.
    So while it is important to recognised where the various strands of argumentation may arise, that may be formed into a composite case at some future point, or has been made in the past, it is not the point or case being made now in this piece, on this scriptural text.
    And you have missed the target, as there wasn’t one put up to take aim at.
    And if we want to continue in adversarial mode of language: maybe the point is better served by keeping your powder dry, in this instance.
    Finally,(Part1) Philippians Chapter 3.
    Therefore, Philippians 4:4-8
    And Finally (Part2) Philippians 4:8-9

    Geoff

    Reply
  8. Screwtape?

    Who Screwtape. He big liberal?

    You, me Psephizo, Thomson, S, Jock and Robinson – we form Theological Crew.

    We buy baseball bats. Carry them in pram. No stop and search. Go to Canterbury. Find Screwtape. Clobber Screwtape. Put him in bin. Police pleased. Crime go down.

    Phone Psephizo. Tell him plan.

    Queen honour with medals. We heroes.

    Reply

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