Globalbeliever.com: Connecting to God’s Work in Your World [Rev. ed.], by Grant McClung. Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2004.
Despite the fact that more than 75 percent of Church of God (Cleveland, TN) membership exists outside North America, Grant McClung still believes in a need to send missionaries overseas “until all have heard.” This conviction is what inspired the 2004 revised edition of Globalbeliever.com: Connecting to God’s Work in Your World, a local church missions resource written by Grant McClung, who serves as field director for the Church of God in Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Defining a Globalbeliever
The term globalbeliever comes from McClung’s concept of a follower of Jesus Christ who is active in his/her world through intercessory prayer, stewardship, evangelism and positive acts of Christian benevolence. Being a “globalbeliever” is another way of saying that one is a “world Christian”—a believer who is actively involved in ministry beyond the “four walls of the church,” both locally and internationally. Continue reading
Encountering God at the Altar: The Sacraments in Pentecostal Worship, by Daniel Tomberlin. Cleveland, TN: Center for Pentecostal Leadership and Care, 2006.
Since the beginning of the Pentecostal movement, experiencing the Spirit of God has been central to Pentecostals in both private and corporate worship. When it comes to congregational worship, Pentecostals have critiqued what they deem to be dead ritualism devoid of a personal experience of the Holy Spirit. As a result, Pentecostals have questioned many traditional practices relating to the sacraments (often viewed as theologically or historically suspect because of their relation to the Roman Catholic Church) and have opted for the term “ordinances” instead. The latter is often seen to be more of a faith-based means rather then a works-based means of experiencing the Spirit.
Daniel Tomberlin, pastor of Bainbridge Church of God (Bainbridge, GA) and chairman of Ministerial Development for the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) in South Georgia, has authored a book that will raise some eyebrows. In it, Tomberlin claims that Pentecostalism and sacramental worship are not mutually exclusive. Rather, he provides a stimulating discussion of how he believes Pentecostal worship is sacramental. This volume, which aims to provide an introduction to the subject for Pentecostal church leaders, is possibly one of the first educational resources of its kind published by a classical Pentecostal denomination.
Encountering God at the Altar touches on topics such as Pentecostal worship and spirituality. Tomberlin develops a Pentecostal theology of the sacraments and also explores the practice of the sacraments in Pentecostal worship.In following Church of God theologian Kenneth Archer, Tomberlin argues for the retrieval of the term sacrament over the term ordinance, claiming that the ordinances are sacramental — a “means of grace” where one encounters the Holy Spirit (p. 24). The author rightly points out that Pentecostal spirituality is centered on encountering the Holy Spirit. “Therefore,” Tomberlin states, “the center and focus of Pentecostal worship is the altar” (p. 19).
When addressing whether life in the church and the sacraments are essential to salvation, Tomberlin identifies the church and sacraments as “secondary salvific gifts,” compared to the Son and Spirit as “primary salvific gifts” from the Father. At the same time he ultimately admits “that participation in the sacramental life of the church may not be absolutely essential to salvation due to God’s prevenient grace” (p. 27). Continue reading
Northern Harvest: Pentecostalism in North Dakota, by Darrin J. Rodgers. Bismarck, North Dakota: North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God, 2003.
Northern Harvest documents the rise of Pentecostalism in North Dakota from a few scattered congregations at the turn of the twentieth-century to its present status as the state’s fourth largest religious group. While many historians contend that revivals in Topeka, Kansas (1901) and Los Angeles, California (1906-09) became the focal point of the emerging worldwide Pentecostal movement, Rodgers unearthed evidence that earlier revivals in Minnesota and the Dakotas provided it with precedents and leaders. North Dakotans, Pentecostals, and historians will be intrigued that a network of Scandinavian immigrant churches on the northern Great Plains practiced tongues-speech and healing before the better-known Topeka and Azusa Street revivals. This is the first significant study of Pentecostal origins in Scandinavian pietism in Minnesota and the Dakotas, exploring the movement’s roots outside the American Wesleyan and Holiness traditions. Continue reading