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Preface for Whitsunday (Pentecost)

From the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:

…according to whose most true promise, the Holy Ghost came down as at this time from heaven with a sudden great sound, as it had been a mighty wind in the likeness of fiery tongues, lighting upon the Apostles, to teach them, and to lead them to all truth; giving them both the gift of divers languages, and also boldness with fervent zeal constantly to preach the Gospel unto all nations; whereby we have been brought out of darkness and error into the clear light and true knowledge of thee, and of thy Son Jesus Christ.

It’s interesting to note that in the traditional Anglican prayer books (and especially the 1662 one) we see a God portrayed as a) one who make promises, b) one who keeps them, and c) one who moves in power (or is asked to move in power.)  We also see this contrast from more modern concepts in the whole business of Holy Baptism and the "Contract on the Episcopalians."

One cannot fail to note in this preface the allusion to Acts 1:8.

A central purpose of modern Pentecost is to restore the reality of a God who moves in a living, powerful way.  That wasn’t withdrawn by God after the Apostles (as the dispensationalists would have us believe) or forgotten by the church (as the ahistoricists would have us think.)  It’s a thread that runs through Christianity of all kinds, and runs from the first Pentecost all the way through to the present time.


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