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What does “a mandate to enact God’s will on earth” mean?

This
week’s posts on Palin and Pentecostalism are attracting a lot of interest
and comments. Today I want to address Dick H’s apt question about my
Monday post
because it pushes us to explore what is (and is not) meant
by Pentecostalism. This is a question I’m sure many Americans
have now that Palin’s candidacy put her religion in the spotlight.
   In Dick H’s words:
   
I was puzzled by this description of Pentecostal belief as having “a
mandate to enact God’s will on earth”.

   I’m
uncertain as to which distinctively Pentecostal understanding is in
view. There is certainly a sense in which every Christian and, probably,
every adherent of any faith understands it to be incumbent on them to
do God’s will.

   
Loving one’s neighbor, making disciples, caring for the needy, obeying
the government, attending church—these and many other obligations
are taught in the Scriptures. They are shared by Pentecostal believers,
but they are in no sense distinctively Pentecostal.

   Do
you have in mind some peculiarly Pentecostal understanding of what it
means to discern and do God’s will when you use this description of
them. Is so, could you clarify?

Pentecostal_group_prays_outdoors
    I
agree that adherents of many faiths believe they have an obligation
to discern and do God’s will on earth. A mandate to enact God’s
will on earth is not distinctly or peculiarly Pentecostal.
   Moreover,
not all Pentecostals are the same. For instance, one major division within Pentecostalism is between Oneness churches, which emphasize the single nature of God, and Trinitarian Pentecostalism, which has a more traditional Christian understanding of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Palin’s church in Wasilla is part of the Assemblies of God, a Trinitarian denomination. But, we should remember that Americans who describe themselves as Pentecostal vary significantly in their beliefs.

   The specific
issue I hope you’ll talk about today, though, is this idea of a “mandate”—how it is interpreted and applied,
how far it goes, how it should or could influence policy decisions. Ever since Palin’s candidacy was announced, many have tried to divine
how her Pentecostal influences shape her worldview and ultimately her
decisions in offices she has held.
   How would she interpret her mandate
with regards to Israel, Islam, Iraq, and Iran?
   What do you think? What are your assumptions about how her faith will shape her decisions?
   This is an important discussion and tomorrow I plan to raise the question:
Are Pentecostals the “ultimate conservative Christians?”

   Click on the “Comment” link above, or if you prefer to drop us a quick Email,
you can do that as well. We’re also still inviting readers to sign up
for two in-depth surveys Dr. Baker plans to conduct a little
later this fall. To take part in that effort, add your Email address to
the box in the upper left area of our Web site.

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Categories: Universalism