Often people say (in humor) that they are “Bapticostal,” meaning
that they see positive elements in both Baptist and Pentecostal churches. But with as many times as this statement has been
made by believers there has never arisen a movement of people who bridge the gap between the two groups. Evangelicals and
Charismatics remain undeniably distinct in worship, despite the many advances that we have made in building ecumenical unity.
Does it have to be so, though?
Most specifically, the issue of speaking in tongues is often
central in hindering complete oneness between these sects. But are there other teachings, if emphasized by both camps of the
Faith, that could help us to overlook the topic of tongues and come into deeper fellowship? Aside from our inherent Christian
beliefs, such as the authority of God's Word and the Lordship of His Son, I believe there are several things we could agree
on. Yet we often over-look some of these.
Here are five statement that I believe Evangelicals and
Charismatics could both promote, and which our Father in Heaven could use to release widespread revival:
The Fruits of the Spirit: Theologians and laymen both often debate whether the gifts of the Spirit should be
practiced in the modern Church. Yet over the gifts of the Spirit the Bible emphasizes the importance of bearing the fruits
of God's Spirit. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 declares that love is more important than having the gift of tongues, prophetic revelation,
or faith that can work miracles. And when speaking about “trees that do not bear good fruit” in Matthew 7, Jesus
told His disciples, “Many will say to me on [Judgment] day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and
in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me,
you evildoers,” (vs. 22, NIV). So clearly God values character above anointing. And so should we.
The Power of Christ: Whether or not one's theology allows for dramatic,
instantaneous healings, all Christians hold some value for the supernatural. It is by His miracle-working power that Christ
created the universe, and it is by this power that He was able to overcome the grip of death to give us new life. Be it through
astounding coincidences, progressive healings, or the change of heart in someone who was set in their ways, the Lord is still
working wonders for His children today. In fact, many wondrous phenomenon are predicted to occur in the Book of Revelation,
during the end time events preceding Christ's return. It is important for God's children to pray for His sovereign intervention,
so that He can move in ways that surpass the natural order of things.
God's Experiential Presence: Traditional Pentecostals may believe that
tongues are a required evidence for someone to show that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit. However, everyone should
agree that people are able to experience God's presence and power without receiving the specific manifestation of tongues.
Sometimes the Holy Ghost may move in a meeting, overwhelming people on a spiritual level that goes beyond man's mental activity.
The Lord simply reveals His glorious presence, touching people with deep peace, joy, awe, and conviction. Often nothing unusual
will happen in the physical realm, but believers will simply have an overwhelming sense that Christ is in their midst. This
is, in one sense, a “baptism in the Spirit” that we can all experience.
Hands On Ministry: In Hebrews 6:1-2, the apostle Paul lists five “elementary
principles of Christ” that are supposed to lay the foundation of our faith. One of these teachings is the doctrine “of
laying on of hands,” (verse 2). One can lay their hands on another person when praying for them, simply as a sign of
gentle kindness and affection. This act can also represent the hand of God reaching out to the recipient. Someone does not
have to fall on the floor in order to receive God's love as expressed through this action. But it helps to tangibly demonstrate
the power of Christ being extended forth. And the Word of God declares that believing this is a priniciple matter in our spiritual
Hearing God Communicate: There is some controversy as to how the Lord
communicates with His people today, but all believers have a two-way relationship with Him. They may not hear an audible voice
from Heaven, but the Holy Spirit can highlight a specific Bible verse to someone or give them an impression on their heart
about His thoughts. The Bible says in 1 John 2:27, “His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not
a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him,” (NASB). So even if one does not believe in the ministry of
official prophets, all God's people are able to receive and share His messages of truth. As long as it is in line with God's
Word, one can accept a revelation to be specifically for them or their peers.
In recent years many Evangelical groups have been losing
their fear of appearing “too Charismatic,” as there has been a trend to move away from extreme fundamentalism.
And with the rise of leaders such as Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, and other former-evangelical leaders, there has been an increasing
emphasis on “balance between the Word and Spirit” in Charismatic circles. It seems that Christendom is in a prime
state for receiving a sort of “Bapticostal” awakening. These five doctrines would no doubt be part of such a renewal,
possibly among others. And the day would finally come when Baptists and Pentecostals are longer contrasted, but seen as virtually
one and the same Church.