I.B.4 Relational Aspects

Part I  –  The Lamp-Stand Model

Subpart A –  CONSTRUCTION

Articles 4  –   RELATIONAL ASPECTS

A video of this article is viewable at the follow Youtube link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpI3mdLG67s&feature=youtu.be

a.  Lamp-Stand as Characterized by Three Forms of Relationship  

The lamp-stand model combines the principles of redemption and witness into a single-structure allowing the examination of what appears to be three sets of relationships formed by virtue of these two principles.  These relationships lend themselves to examination through the model and suggests expression of a theological-system.   We find these relationships to be of three sorts, namely those:

– Associational   (as occupying the same position in the model),

– Transactional   (as occupying positions laterally-opposite one to another), and

– Transitional     (as occupying positions vertically & serially one to another)

For instance, the Feast of Passover (as a principle of redemption) occupies the same position on the model with the Witness of the Holy Ghost (a principle of witness).  These bear an associational relationship.  The same feast has a lateral-opposite feast (the Feast of Trumpets) which presents a transactional relationship.   Passover has a serial-relationship with Unleavened Bread (which is the feast above it) which constitutes a transitional relationship.  This system is demonstrated in the figure below.

 

The figure above elongates the model in order to render it square so that we now have a system of horizontal and vertical relationships that aid clarity.  We can now see:

            –  how the feast-days interrelate,

            –  how the witnesses expressed in I John 5:7-8 interrelate, &

–  how the feast-days interrelate with the witnesses.

b.  Transitional vs. Transactional Aspects of Redemption

             i.  Phased-Redemptive Process a Distinctive of a Pentecostal-Theology

Part Three of this treatise will study these relationships in much greater depth.  We find that the ASSOCIATIONAL-pairings occupy the same position within the model.  These represent principles of redemption that are static relationships.  Parts IV and V will study the  TRANSITIONAL and TRANSACTIONAL characteristics of the model respectively.  These relationships constitute active-principles.

One of the chief criticisms of Wesley was directed at his rendering-distinction between an initial-event of coming to faith and a latter-event of deliverance from sin.  Later in life, he allowed-place for yet a third event in his theology, ie. the “baptism in the Holy Spirit”.[1]  When Pentecost arrived in the twentieth-century the Holy Spirit fell upon the Wesleyans (ie. those that withdrew from a Methodism standing in rejection of Wesleyan teaching.)

Therefore while early Pentecostals initially misconstrued the baptism of the Holy Spirit in terms of their Wesleyan-based-assumption that it constituted that third event predicted by Fletcher’s Checks, they rightly-perceived the plan of redemption as involving multiple “events” of grace.  However, given the disorder created by their faulty assimilation of Pentecost into these Wesleyan-principles, the Baptistic-view which rejected out of hand the idea of a subsequent experience of sanctification prevailed among Pentecostals.

This phased aspect of Pentecostal theology was offensive to the majority of evangelical ears.  In fact, one of the reasons German-Evangelicals banded together under the Berlin Declaration (which condemned Pentecostalism as “from below”) was the affront presented by a phased-model of redemption.  Walter J. Hollenweger quotes the 1909 statement of A. Bruckner which expresses why German theologians considered a phased plan of redemption to be a main fault of Pentecostalism and particular basis for the severe German-reaction.  He writes:

. . . even though the converted Christian believes that he has obtained one part after the other, a final part of his whole spiritual armament is always lacking, so that he can never completely rejoice in his salvation.[2]

The German theologian Theodor Jellinghaus sorrowfully blamed himself for what limited success Pentecostalism realized in Germany given he himself had taught a phased view of redemption through his involvement with the Keswick (ie. Holiness) Movement.  The vitriolic response to Pentecostal doctrine in Germany only represented a more abrupt version of what was also occurring in Europe and in North America where the evangelical denominations rendered like judgment upon the Pentecostal message.

The phased-aspect of Pentecostal teaching is sometimes referred to by theologians as the “doctrine of subsequence.”  When theologians use this term they normally relate it to the principle asserted by Pentecostals and Charismatic-believers that there is a baptism that follows after (ie. subsequent-to) conversion.  It is sometimes misapplied by non-Pentecostal scholars to suggest  the Pentecostals taught the baptism as an event following reception of the Holy Spirit,[3] when the common-Pentecostal teaching was that the two principles were one-and-the-same.

ii.  Reason for Pentecostal Teaching as Phased; Earth’s Witness

Redemption may be viewed as a transaction between heaven and earth.  In referring to the transactional aspects of redemption these pages focus upon redemption as an event as opposed to a process.  However, redemption is also a process.  When referring to redemption as a process these pages use the term transitional.  However, whether we are speaking in terms of Event or Process, we must recognize these contemplate the existence of a broader principle called time – a principle innate only to our material existence.  Thus the necessity for prophecy to incorporate within its message allusions to the principle of “Earth.”  The principle of time is certainly subordinate to the principle of redemption.  Therefore the more-perfect view of redemption is one of timelessness, wherein these two-principles of; event and process, merge.

In their opposition to Pentecostal doctrine, Evangelicals did not apprehend this quality of redemption.  While one might assume at first glance that the believer (under a phased-principle of redemption) “lacks his spiritual armament” and is therefore “unable to rejoice in his salvation,” this view is grossly shortsighted for a couple of reasons, but primarily because of the truth of Heaven’s Witness that “these three are one.”[4]  The truth of the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a finished and completed work.  What occurs in the earth is the unfolding of that complete and finished work.  Therefore justification (if it is truly that) must result in sanctification.  Therefore Paul writes:

And if the first piece of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches are too.                               Rom. 11:16

Because sanctification (if it is truly that) is the fruition of a true justification, its fruition must be glorification.  The church’s vicarious justification via the blood of Christ is a principle stated in past tense:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined  to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; & whom He predestined, these He also called; & whom He called, these He also justified; & whom He justified, these He glorified.        Rom. 8:29-30

Therefore mystical Israel, being “foreknown,” has always been “justified”, and that, via a foreknown atonement:

For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you . .                                     I Peter 1:20

And yet, those that would become heirs of salvation, having been justified, are born under law for the working out of this salvation.  In fact, not only are they born under law, they are even given double exposure to the Law by virtue of baptism into the death of Christ.  This is the phased Witness of Earth that is responsive to the singular and timeless Witness of Heaven.  Therefore while redemption is finished as to the foreknowledge of God, redemption manifests within the material realm of time in respect to our existence in a physical body.  And being presumptively a linear principle, time includes both properties of point (ie. relating to events) and continuum, (ie. relating to process).

Secondly, as pertaining to the evangelical argument that a phased redemption constitutes an incomplete Christian, there seems little basis for the assumption that a complete unfolding of the work of God cannot be performed in a single and instantaneous event.

[1] See I.D of this treatise; Wesleyan-Methodism; The Repairing of the Doctrine of Sanctification for an historical-review of this aspect of Wesleyan-theology.

[2] The Pentecostals, by Walter J. Hollenweger (c) 1969, first published in English in 1972 by SCM Press Ltd., London, © 1988 Hendrickson Publishers at pg. 224.

[3] See this treatise at I.K.3.b for further treatment.

[4] I John 5:7

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About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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