Amiee Semple McPherson

doing series of posts from the past while I was still at AGTS.  This is a post from Friday, Dec 30, 2005:

This is a bit long, but I think you’ll find it interesting…

Okay, so I am doing some reading over the break to get ahead because I have a lot of reading to do next semester (don’t worry, I’ve been enjoying my break and getting rest as well).

I have been reading on the life and ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson, who achieved “cultural phenomenon” status in just a few years time.  I mean, she is a part of North American history (she was Canadian by birth and American by marriage) in the early part of the 1900’s.  “Cultural Phenomenon” might be an understatement.  Literally thousands upon thousands of people flocked to her meetings.  She had an outdoor healing serivce in Denver in 1921 that had a minimum of 30,000 in attendance, I mean it is just mind-boggling really.  Much of it had to do with her being a woman and breaking social boundaries, so people came to see her and in the process got either saved or baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Interestingly, Debbie’s grandfather gave is life to Christ at one of her crusades and later became a missionary in Alaska.

An interesting issue being discussed in the book is the idea of how a religious subculture provided support and vindication (particularly in religious language) for the choices Amiee made in her life and ministry, particularly Pentecostalism and the Salvation Army.  She may have been a cultural pehnomenon but her personal life was problematic.  Her first husband, Robert Semple, died while they were in China, and her two other marriages ended in divorces.  When social conventions hemmed in, Amiee opted out, but the religious subculture she was a part of vindicated this.  So, when her marriage to Harold McPherson was falling apart, instead of leaving the ministry, she left the marriage.  In the Salvation Army, ministry (participation in “the war”) took precedence over family and personal choices.   Pentecostalism in the early days valued defying social conventions – being misunderstood, despised by the world – commending someone like Amiee, a single mother, a divorced woman, and an evangelist.  Maybe it was regrettable Amiee had to leave Harold but given the ominous fact that she was accountable to God for “souls” and this was vindicated by the huge numbers of people she attracted, she had “no choice” and leaving her marriage seemed justified.

I can’t help but wonder if, today, a hundred years later, we haven’t changed much?  Does our relgious subculture of evangelicalism or charismainia provide the religious language and support we need to make various choices in life?  Doesn’t the call of God take priority over obedience to parents or even honoring them, or leaving the kids with grandma and grandpa so the couple can tour Europe “preaching the gospel”?  Oh, that’s right, taking off on some outrageously expensive philandering jaunt around the world to “preach the gospel” or “to reach the nations” justifies leaving one’s family in disarray?  “God’s will” takes precedence right?

Just a few thoughts. What do you think about this?  Have you ever used religous language to justify personal choices in life?  I have, it resulted in my attending a YWAM DTS.  Looking back, I know the Lord lead me there, but I think how I went about it could have been handled differently.


what kind of church?

doing a flurry of post from the past when I was still at AGTS.  This was one was posted Dec 6, 2005:

Okay, so I was with some friends Sunday night and they talked about their vision for family ministry (they are recent aGts grads)  I was connecting with them and understanding everything fine, then the word “postmodern” came up.  They would like to be in a postmodern church.  I thought to myself hmmm…because another friend I have also wants to minister in a so-called “postmodern” church as well.

That’s cool. So, just what is a “postmodern” church?  Since nobody can even really define what “postmodern” is, which may be fitting with some of the values of the concept, how do we know what “it” is?  What would it look like?  How would it function in a given setting, say, rural areas?

Also, since the new wave seems to be a so-called “hyper-modernism” why would anyone want to be postmodern anymore (whatever that is)?

Why can’t we just be the church, the people of God as he has called us to be?  Willing and able to function in any setting in which he places us?  Why label it?  Whatever “it” is?


Spiritual Ministries

Here is a post from Dec 9, 2005 (while I was still at AGTS):

Heard something new the other day at my professor’s house.  Spiritual gifts should not be called “gifts” but instead “ministries.”  The term spiritual gifts no longer seems to be appropriate because of widespread misuse of the gifts.  Too often they are used for selfish means instead of the benefit of others.  Well, perhaps they may be called gifts but their function in the body of Christ is ministerial.  The Spirit of God “gifts” us to minister to the body and to individuals, but even then, the “gift” is really to the body or the individual who receives the ministry more than the person who mediated the ministry.  Make sense?  God is the giver and the gift of encouragement is give to the person who received the encouragement, not necessarily the one who said the encouraging words.  So, the purpose of the “gifts” is the edification of the body of Christ, not the glorification of the individual.  Amazing stuff huh?  What do y’all think?

Gordon Fee on the Task of Exegesis

I was trying to figure out how long I have been blogging in one form or another (for a certain reason) and saw this post I put up on an old blog on July 15th, 2009.  I thought I would repost it, and put it out there for you all (might seem kind of ridiculous now, but it was what I thought then (ps my very first ever blog post was on May 2, 2005):

A friend put up a post I want to copy here from Gordon Fee that he titles “a word of advice to bibliobloggers”:

I want to say with great vigour that even though the first task of the exegete is the historical one (to determine the biblical author’s intended meaning), this first task is not the ultimate one.  The ultimate task, and now I repeat myself, is the Spiritual one, to hear the text in such a way that it leads its reader/hearer into the worship of God and into conformity to God and his ways.

-Gordon Fee, Listening to the Spirit in the Text, (Eerdmanns, Grand Rapids, MI, 2000, p.11)


Here is a question I have:

If exegesis does not lead us to the worship of, and a deeper more intimate knoweldge of, God, is it then an idol, something that sets itself against the knowledge of God?

Now, I know this is not always the case but I wonder if it could be the case for some people in some instances?   Could some be more interested in knowledge of the Bible and it’s teachings than necessarily the One to whom the Bible points?

I would assert that, yessome are more interested in knoweldge of the Bible for it’s own sake and that for them the task of exegesis is not a spiritual one by any means but a strictly historical or literary one and so therefore it does not lead them to a deeper worship and or a more intimate knoweldge of the Holy One.

So for these, yes, exegesis is a kind of idolatry