Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: One Lord One Spirit One Body

One Lord One Spirit One Body One Lord One Spirit One Body by Vinson Synan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please note: The author of this book is Peter Hocken and not Vinson Synan. Synan is referenced in the back cover only as recommending the book.

In spite of it's publication date of 1987, Hocken's book is still very relevant for today, especially in the time of attacks made against Pentecostal and Charismatic communities and the deep divides between the Charismatics and non-Charismatics on theological grounds, even between the Protestant and Catholic, and between the Protestant churches themselves. This is certainly a book that needs to read and taken seriously. Hocken calls for unity - ecumenism -on the basis of the Charismatic experience of the Holy Spirit falling upon the various traditional Christian denominations with endowments of the charismata, an experience once thought unique to Pentecostal churches.

The first section examines the history of the charismatic movement, although not in depth, by introducing particular individuals from different Christian traditions and denomination and sharing their experience of the baptism of the Spirit; he also briefly discusses the Asuza Street Pentecostal revival of 1906, it's spread into various denominational renewals, and the character and meaning of the charismatic revival.

The second section, Hocken seeks to help us understand what exactly is the Charismatic renewal and it's development and significance within the traditional churches. His counsel on how the different Christian traditions and denominations my approach unity with their various doctrinal emphasis - although core beliefs are the same - is both enlightening and practical, having as fundamental the experience of the Holy Spirit in bestowing the Pentecostal gifts.

Written by a Catholic who was baptized in the Holy Spirit, it is written in the spirit of of yearning for the unity of God's people to be a reality and, therefore, Hocken "has tackled the difficult problem of ecumenical relations" (p.vi). The last sentence in his introduction reads that the neither the Pentecostals nor the charismatics can "realize its God -given potential without the other." And, although this may be a book directed specifically to the Pentecostal and Charismatic community, I feel it is a book that requires reading for even those who see these communities as dubious, at best, or demonic, at worst in order to get a more truthful perspective regarding the character and purpose of this Holy Spirit renewal that began in America 1906 in a limited fashion and expanded to the traditional churches without bias, somewhat hidden in the 1950's but exploding out for all to see in the 1960's, which continues even today if perhaps in a more subdued fashion.

It is required reading for all because Christ calls the believers in every place all over the world to unity, making it's actualization a prayer to the Father, "that they may be one, even as you and I are one; that they may be one in us" (John 17).

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