Ask a Pentecostal...

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Jonathan Martin—the next participant in our  interview series and a third-generation Pentecostal preacher.  

I’ve been following Jonathan’s blog for about four months now, and I’m a huge fan. Whether he’s writing about politicsPentecostal spirituality, or women in leadership, Jonathan always writes with wisdom, conviction, and grace. He is well read and passionate, and always manages to bring something new the conversation.

Jonathan is the founder of Renovatus: A Church for People Under Renovation in Charlotte, North Carolina and Fort Mill, South Carolina  He is the author of the forthcoming book Prototype from Tyndale House.  A third generation Pentecostal preacher, Martin is himself a bridge figure between seemingly conflicting Christian traditions, both the product of southern campmeeting services and Duke University.  As a 33-year old pastor, he embodies the concerns of a younger generation of leaders. But as a product of a parsonage himself, he often jokes that church life has “aged him in dog years,” giving him a deep respect and appreciation for the Church’s history and tradition.  Jonathan says he is the product of a life-long lover's quarrel with his native Pentecostal tradition, but ultimately loves his beautiful (if occasionally dysfunctional) eccliessial roots. He lives in Charlotte with his wife of 12 years Amanda and a 10-pound shih tzu named Cybil.

In a recent post, Jonathan wrote this about Pentecostalism: 

“Pentecostalism provides a very different approach to spirituality than Protestantism in any form...It is not, as popularly conceived, garden variety of evangelicalism with the addendum of speaking in tongues (and maybe divine healing), though Pentecostals have done more villainy than any of their critics ever could in feeding this reductionist approach.  Because we like sitting at the big table with other evangelicals, we have been happy to play down our differences so that we can have a seat within the Protestant conversation.... Yet even given all of this, the fact remains that on the ground, this renewal movement is sweeping the globe.  It isn’t sweeping the blogosphere or the evangelical coffee tables quite so much, and that is not really an indictment.  Those circles are predictably white, North American (and not always that interesting).  I do not think Pentecostals should be so preoccupied with what is going on in these circles as to be distracted from making their own distinct contributions to the body of Christ and set the agenda for theological conversations they are uniquely qualified to further." 

 You know the drill: If you have a question for Jonathan, leave it in the comment section. At the end of the day, I’ll pick the top seven or eight questions and send them to him. We'll post his response next week.  Be sure to take advantage of the “like” feature so that we can get a sense of what questions are of most interest to readers.  

Please remember the point of our interview series is not to debate or challenge, but to ask the sort of questions that will help us understand one another better. (You can check out the rest of the interview series—which includes an atheist, a Muslim, a Mormon, a humanitarian, a pacifist, an evolutionary creationist, a Catholic, an Orthodox Jew, a gay Christian, a Christian libertarian, a Mennonite, and more—here.) 

Ask away!

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