Pentecostal-Reformed International Dialogue
May 16-23, 2002 - San Luchesio Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam - May 23, 2002: Delegates of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches met with representatives and leaders of some classical Pentecostal churches in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, May 16-23, 2002. This meeting started what is expected to be the second cycle of dialogue to which both groups have committed themselves in order to build upon areas of common faith and witness while seeking to overcome tensions in other aspects of church life. The report of the first round was published under the title “Word and Spirit, Church and World”, the theme of this cycle is “Experience in Christian Faith and Life”.
The topic addressed in 2002 was “Experience in Worship”. Dr. Joseph Small, director of the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA) presented a paper entitled “In Spirit and Truth: Experience and Worship in the Reformed Tradition”. The focus was on Calvin’s understanding of the presence of Christ in Word and Sacrament, the constitutive role of the proclamation of the gospel in Reformed worship, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit and the difficulty in assessing experiences in worship. Dr. Jean-Daniel Plüss, chairman of the European Pentecostal Charismatic Research Association, read a paper called “Religious Experience in Worship: A Pentecostal Perspective”. He combined a theological and descriptive approach to religious experiences, illustrating their function in the community in terms of unity, diversity and reconciliation. An important focus was given to the relational nature of God and the role of testimonies. The discussion focused on the different ways of valuing a wide range of experiences in both Pentecostal and Reformed worship.
The delegates worshipped at Pinkster Gemeente in Amsterdam, one of Europe’s oldest Pentecostal churches. In accordance with the intention to relate the discussions of the dialogue to the local Christian context, Dr. Cornelis van der Laan, Professor designate of the Chair of Pentecostal Studies at the Free University in Amsterdam, addressed participants on the beginnings of the Pentecostal movement in the Netherlands. He also described the unique history of contacts between Pentecostal church leaders and representatives of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands during the past 50 years.
Participants on the Pentecostal team included: Dr. Daniela Augustine (Czech Republic), Rev. Dr. David Daniels, co-chair (USA), Rev. Dr. Harold D. Hunter (USA), Dr. Julie Ma (S. Korea/Philippines), Dr. Wonsuk Ma (S. Korea/Philippines), Dr. Jean-Daniel Plüss (Switzerland), and Dr. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. (USA). From the Reformed team were present: Rev. Dr. Paul Ara Haidostian (Lebanon), Rev. Dr. Gesine von Kloeden (Germany), Dr. Odair Pedroso Mateus (WARC staff, Brazil/Switzerland), Rev. Aureo R. de Oliveira (Brazil), Rev. Cephas Omenyo (Ghana), Rev. Dr. Joseph Small, co-chair (USA) and Mrs. Nolipher J. Moyo (Zambia) as official representative of the Reformed Ecumenical Council. The next session will take place in 2003 in Puerto Rico on the theme “Experience in Christian Faith and Life: Discipleship”.