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‘Evangelically ecumenical’ view of Pentecostalism voiced by speaker

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–In dealing with potential conflicts with Pentecostalism, it is necessary to take note of the movement’s strengths and weaknesses, said Max Turner, the keynote speaker at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s 2001 Pastor’s Conference Oct. 9-11.

“The challenge for Pentecostals is to accept that the Spirit is not merely a second blessing, but the presence and power of salvation, too,” Turner said. “The challenge for the more traditional evangelicals is to accept that … the Spirit will inevitably be connected with revelations, charismatic wisdom and prophetic utterings.”

Turner, who described himself as “essentially evangelically ecumenical in spirit,” is director of research at London Bible College and professor of New Testament at Brunel University. Using “Baptism and the Holy Spirit” as his theme, he delivered this year’s Huber L. Drumwright Lecture Series at Southwestern’s Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

Turner spoke four times during the three-day pastors’ conference, covering the issue from several vantage points. His first lecture looked at passages in Luke and Acts that pertain to the activity of the Holy Spirit.

These are the principal books used by Pentecostals to develop the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as a “second blessing,” Turner said. The text as a whole, however, does not seem to convey that view, he noted, saying, “Luke in Acts does not support a two-stage giving of the Spirit.”

Turner’s second lecture focused specifically on Acts 8 and the Samaritans who seemed to receive the Holy Spirit as a second blessing, having been saved prior to that event. While this passage is often cited by Pentecostals in defending that view, Turner noted that the event as recorded by Luke in Acts seems to be unusual or unexpected.

The third lecture contrasted Luke’s apparent view of the Holy Spirit’s role with the theology of John and Paul, as well as modern interpreters. In the fourth lecture, Turner turned his attention to the Pentecostal movement itself and how it should be reacted to.

While the movement has reminded evangelicals that the Holy Spirit is present and active and should not be underestimated, it is important to remember that the Spirit is also present and active at the time of salvation, Turner said.

Turner, who holds B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Cambridge, is the author of several books, including “Jesus and the Four Gospels” and “The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts: Then and Now.”

The Drumwright Lectures were established by Minnette Drumwright in memory of her late husband, who was dean of the Southwestern’s school of theology from 1973-80.

The 2001 Pastor’s Conference also included lectures from two Southwestern faculty: professor of Old Testament Harry Hunt, who spoke on the Book of Genesis, and Al Fasol, professor of preaching, who delivered two lectures on preaching from Genesis.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MAX TURNER.

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