A while back I posted a video we watched in my liturgics class. (I ended up dropping that class but whatever.)
Today, in my Patristics class (formally titled “History of Christian Theology to 451”), we watched snippets of these two videos about the Toronto Blessing, something I had never heard of before.
It was a lead-in to our discussion about Montanism, a heresy that began in the second century, and involved prophetic figures who believed the Holy Spirit spoke directly through them.
The parallels are fascinating. One reason the church at the time rejected Montanism was because it undercut the church’s claim on authority (Apostolic succession? Who cares!) and emphasized the role of the Holy Spirit perhaps a bit too much for a church that was still struggling to figure out just what it thought about God the Father and God the Son.
It turns out the Toronto Blessing types got too much for their Vineyard leaders. Wikipedia tells us: “In 1995, the Airport church was released from affiliation with the Vineyard movement. The reasons for the disaffiliation were for growing tension over the church’s emphasis on extraordinary manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the Vineyard leadership’s inability to exercise oversight over the revival.”
I take two lessons from this: the established church never likes letting the Holy Spirit get out of hand and it turns out Patristics is relevant after all!