pentecostals and lex orandi

Can you imagine anyone refuting lex orandi? Surely, we must turn to the Pentecostal/Charismatic side of Christianity to see such a refutation. But….

In their concept of doctrine, Pentecostals stand closer to the Roman Catholic idea of the development of doctrine than the Protestant understanding of doctrines as the unchangeable deposit of faith.8 Formative in this understanding is the link between the authority of spirituality and the authority of doctrine (lex orandi, lex credendi).9 Pentecostals can speak of spirituality as doctrine by locating the starting point for all doctrine in the human response to God. The response in immediate testimonies, visions, songs, tongues, or prayers is initially pre-cognitive, affective, and behavioural, or to put it differently, therapeutic and prophetic.10 From there, a more articulate, scrutinized, and deliberative formulation of doctrine, such as creeds, dogmas, and official teachings are generally not attempted by Pentecostals. Nonetheless, most Pentecostals readily embrace formal articulations of doctrine from other traditions if these reflect their own spirituality and experiences.

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8 Cf. Simon Chan, ‘The Church and the Development of Doctrine’, JPT 13, no. 1 (2004), pp. 57–77.

9 See Christopher A. Stephenson, ‘The Rule of Spirituality and the Rule of Doctrine: A Necessary Relationship in Theological Method’, JPT 15, no. 1 (2006), pp. 83–105.

10 See Jean-Daniel Plüss, Therapeutic and Prophetic Narratives in Worship: A Hermeneutic Study of Testimony and Visions (Bern: Peter Lang, 1988).

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