Guest / Limited Access /

It can be a little intimidating in a Reformed context to admit that one is Pentecostal. It's a bit like being at the ballet and letting it slip that you're partial to NASCAR and country music. Both claims tend to clear a room. And yet I happily define myself as a Reformed charismatic, a Pentecostal Calvinist.

It's been said that testimony is the poetry of Pentecostal experience, so permit me to begin with a personal poem to provide some background. I wasn't raised in the church; rather, I was quite "miraculously saved" the day after my 18th birthday through my girlfriend (now wife!), who was doing a little missionary dating. I received my earliest formation among the Plymouth Brethren, in a sector that defined itself as anti-Pentecostal and took a certain pride in knowing that the "miraculous" gifts had ceased to function with the death of the last apostle. Through a path that is convoluted and riddled with hurts, our spiritual pilgrimage eventually took us across the threshold of a Pentecostal church where we were welcomed, embraced, and transformed.

There, in that Pentecostal church in Stratford, Ontario—once home to Aimee Semple McPherson—God showed up. Encountering him in ways I hadn't experienced or imagined before, God shook my intellectual framework and rattled my spiritual cage at the same time.

But let me add one more layer to this story: Just as I was being immersed in the Spirit's activity and presence in Pentecostal spirituality and worship, I started a master's degree in philosophical theology at the Institute for Christian Studies, a graduate school in the Dutch Reformed tradition at the University of Toronto. So my week looked a bit odd: Monday to Friday I was immersed in the intellectual resources ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Rapid Rise of Nondenominational Christianity: My Most Recent Piece at CNN
The Rapid Rise of Nondenominational Christianity: My Most Recent Piece at CNN
Membership, baptism, and weekly attendance numbers are down in the largest evangelical denomination, but evangelicalism is a different story.
Editor's PickHow Dante's Poetry Rescued Rod Dreher from Despair
How Dante's Poetry Rescued Rod Dreher from Despair
The popular blogger leaned on 'The Divine Comedy' when his world was falling apart.
Comments
Christianity Today
Teaching a Calvinist to Dance
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.