I’ve heard through various sources that the Molt has become a Pentecostal. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but I do know that he and Pentecostals have been in dialogue. Since I’m currently in the midst of spending a lot of my academic time focused on studying issues related to Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement, I thought it’d be interesting to search for the Molt’s thoughts.
If you have Logos Bible Software, you need to become familiar with the search capabilities. Without a basic understanding of it, you are robbing yourself of one of the best features! I recommend that you learn the basics of searching. Again, one of the most important benefits of using Logos is how quickly you can search through and find what you are looking for. Work smarter, not harder, right? Efficiency is a great benefit.
At any rate, as I did some searching in Logos, I found some cool stuff from the Molt. I decided to focus my reading on the Molt’s The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life. I started with a basic search for the word “charismata” and was pleasantly surprised to find some really great stuff!
After noting the importance of understanding that the charismata is given to the corporate Body of Christ, the Molt writes,
“Once it is clear that through calling all individual potentialities and powers are charismatically quickened by being put at the service of love and God’s liberating kingdom, we can then go on to ask about the special charismata which the Holy Spirit gives to the people who enter into the discipleship of Jesus. These are especially the gifts which people receive for tasks connected with the building up of the community of Christ’s people. The community of Christ is for Paul the place where the Spirit is manifested. If we sum up these gifts, we find the charismata of the proclamation carried out by men and women apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and exhorters; but there are also individual phenomena, such as inspiration, ecstasy, speaking with tongues, and other ways of expressing faith; for there are verbal and non-verbal forms of expression. There are also the charismata of the diakonia—the charitable ministry of women and men deacons, people who nurse the sick, people who give alms, social workers, and so forth; just as there are special individual phenomena such as healing, exorcism, the healing of painful memories, reconciliations between enemies, and other forms of help. Finally there are the charismata of leadership by ‘the first in faith’, as these people were called at the beginning—the presidents, shepherds and bishops, both men and women; and also particular phenomena in the context of peacemaking and building up community.” (pp. 58–59)
Some fascinating thoughts there in relation to the different ways the Molt understands the way that the charismata functions. Food for thought, right?
I also really enjoyed how the Molt had a constructive criticism for Pentecostals/Charismatics. After acknowledging that the charismata has been a feature of God’s people throughout history, he makes this observation about the Charismatic Movement:
“Nevertheless we have to put a critical question about the neglect of charismata in the present-day charismatic movement. Where are the charismatics in the everyday life of the world, in politics, in the peace movement, and in the concern for ecology? Why didn’t they join us in protesting against Cruise missiles? If the powers of the divine Spirit are not given us so that we can flee from the conflicts of this real world into a world of religious dreams, but if they are given us so that we can testify to the liberating lordship of Christ in the very midst of these conflicts, then the charismatic movement must not turn into a non-political private religion. The criterion for life in the Holy Spirit is and remains the discipleship of Jesus.” (p. 62)
Argh! There’s that pesky “theology of hope” or “liberation theology” that critics are suspect of. Yet I like the Molt’s point here. The Holy Spirit and the corresponding charismatic gifts should not be seen as having nothing to do with society. That’s an unhealthy way of approaching the issue. The Spirit and the Spirit’s works are vitally important for both the Church and the world!
There’s much more that shows up when you search with Logos, so be sure to check out that feature and learn how to use it well!
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Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.