Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Christian background is in the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. Some GOP leaders are trying to downplay this. Why? Because Pentecostals believe in things like “speaking in tongues” and divine healing. Horrible things, aren’t they; viz., the idea that God can speak to and communicate through someone who believes in him, and that God both is willing to heal people and has the power to do so.
I’ve met “Christians” who downplay those things, too. Or, rather, who take things like tongues and healing right off the playing field, saying God used to do that kind of stuff but doesn’t do it anymore. Which I find absurd.
In I Corinthians 14:39 Paul instructs Christians to “not forbid speaking in tongues.” Hmmm… sounds like God himself doesn’t want to downplay the gift of tongues.
In James 5:14 we read that if we are sick we should call the leaders of the church, and they will come to us, anoint us with oil, and “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.” I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody over a period of 38 years as a pastor who’s been sick who would want me to downplay my praying for them for healing.
Have you ever seen anyone healed as a result of praying for them? I have, many times. And I’ve documented a number of these events in 3000 pages of journal entries over many years. Have I ever prayed for someone who has not gotten healed? Yes. But I refuse to bring the teachings of Jesus down to the level of my personal experience. That is, I cannot “downplay” what Jesus says and does and instructs that we can do in his name.
Palin’s former Pentecostal pastor Tim McGraw says her Pentecostal roots may be being downplayed for a reason: “I think there could be issues of belief that could be misunderstood or played upon by people that don’t know.”
McGraw goes on to say: “Everyone has a way of viewing the world and Sarah does too and hers would be shaped by the common-sense practicality of how she’s been shaped by the Bible — which is basically the world view that says God loves people, people can access him and he’s given us wisdom for living,”
Of course. Everyone has a worldview. No one’s life is uninfluenced by that worldview. There are worldview issues going on here. Having lived in a religious environment that’s closer to practical atheism than living-God-theism, I’m not thrilled about those who want to downplay the latter into the secularism of the former.
(I have many Pentecostal friends here in Monroe and am myself indebted to Pentecostal teachings on the Bible. Pentecostalism has helped me in my desire to find the Real Jesus.)