He Wrote What?

Anthony Scoma just told me about a book/author collision so improbable that I had to check it out for myself: Pentecostal Gifts and Ministries in a Postmodern Era by James K. Bridges.

Anthony assures me that contributors include Maurice Lednicky and Opal Reddin.

Wow. This will mean nothing to 95% of you, but the other 5% are probably rolling on the ground in laughter right now. I can think of virtually no one in our movement who speaks with less authority on doing anything in our “postmodern era.”

Don’t misunderstand me–there are many things about which they could write. This just isn’t one of them. Having these authors write about postmodern ministry is as silly as having George Bush write a history of the Democratic Party. There’s a lack of credibility.

I wonder if they knew what volume they were contributing to or if the title was a last‐minute marketing change to sell more books? If the title changed on them at the last minute then I feel sorry for them, it just made them look silly.

A message to James Bridges, Maurice Lednicky, and Opal Reddin (should they read this): please understand that I bear you no malice . I just think the idea that you and your peers were the primary contributors to this book is so funny that I actually laughed out loud when I heard it. You are many good and noble things: filled with integrity, wise, Spirit‐filled, and disciplined are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind. You are not, however, postmodern. Nor do you understand the postmodern mindset.

Of the authors Anthony named to me, the only one who I would expect to have anything illuminating to say is Joe Castleberry. I’d believe that he actually understands something about this generation and some of the underlying philosophical issues with which they wrestle.

If GPH wanted to publish something worthwhile about postmodern Pentecostal ministry some of the AG folk they should talk to are Earl Creps, Curt Harlow, Mark Batterson, Jeff Devoll, Mark Miller

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, or Ryan Delameter.

Wow. That would be a pretty good book.

I have pulled this up from the comments beneath to bring some clarity to a post that is obviously far more confusing than I thought it was when I wrote it (7/25/2006): I have great respect not only for Opal Reddin but for the other ministers I mentioned as well. No one can be an expert in every area of ministry. Some are skilled theologians and some are skilled preachers and some rare few are both. Some excel at pastoral care, others at exegeting our culture, others at translating the Biblical languages, others at church architecture, and others still at musical worship. When I say that these ministers are the wrong group to write a book on ministry in a postmodern context I am merely suggesting that there are others who would have been much better choices. No insult was intended.

14 thoughts on “He Wrote What?”

  1. WOW.
    I am one of the 5% who knows 2 of them personally (Lednicky, and Reddin). I would love to read what they contributed. Have any postmoderns out there read this book? — Peace, Anthony

  2. I personally know Maurice Lednicky, James Bridges, and Opal Reddin. I have shared food, fellowship, and ministry with all of them individually. I know them to be people of the Word of God. The Bible is relevant to all generations, whether you call it postmodern or some other name. I think you might have missed the point. The subject was not so much postmodern era as it was Pentecostal gifts. What is sad is that most postmoderns are not familiar enough with Pentecostal gifts to be trusted to write anything. There is much written about reaching postmoderns, but it requires a work of the Holy Spirit to do so. When it comes to being led by the Spirit, I trust Bridges, Lednicky, and Reddin as much as anyone.

  3. Reddin and Lednicky I think I would trust to speak to this issue more than Bridges. At least the former have been working closely with PMers at Central Bible College–though it should be noted that CBC is not exactly a hotbed of postmodernism.

    But I think the book likely has little to do with postmodernism. As the previous commenter indicated, it’s more about the timeless “spiritual gifts.” I’m confident that GPH put the “in a postmodern era” slug on it to lend it some marketability.

    I am sure there are more than a few ChiAlphans who would be uniquely qualified to write on this subject. I wonder if you guys could network and draft an outline and get a book published that would be highly relevnant. Think about it, get 30 respected XA ministers to commit to a tentative outline of 15–20 brief chapter titles, work up an outline, and submit a proposal to GPH. If they don’t want it, I’m sure IVP would be interested.

    Rich.

  4. Opal Reddin is/was my grandmother. As part of an assignment my high school son has I have googled her name along with other family members. My grandmother went home to be with our Lord on November 19th, 2005. It may have been foolish for me to do this kind of search, but in my grief I have looked further into her life than I may have wanted to. What Glen Davis has had to say about my grandmother’s thoughts, etc. may have some point somewhere, to me they are mute! I am a postmodern, and I am on staff at a most postmodern church. I have to say to you…that Opal Reddin is a BIG part of that. Can we not all just stop this absolutely stupid debate, and just know that all that matters is that God sent his one and only to give his life for us? What more matters!!! It breaks my heart to know that when my grandmothers name is googled that this is what we find…all she would really want us to find is Gos’s love, and His SALVATION! By you posting this kind of response to some book you may or may NOT have read, you are playing a game, you are not helping anyone…if you think you are, let me know how.

  5. I am very sorry to hear that your grandmother died. I am sure she is enjoying her reward. As I said, she was “filled with integrity, wise, Spirit‐filled, and disciplined.”

    I am also deeply sorry that my words have caused you pain. I meant no disrespect to her, either as a person or as a servant of Christ. Instead, I was attempting to highlight the absurdity of the title that GPH slapped on the book. Reading my words again, I didn’t make myself as clear as I could have.

    I have great respect not only for Opal Reddin but for the other ministers I mentioned as well. No one can be an expert in every area of ministry. Some are skilled theologians and some are skilled preachers and some rare few are both. Some excel at pastoral care, others at exegeting our culture, others at translating the Biblical languages, others at church architecture, and others still at musical worship. When I say that these ministers are the wrong group to write a book on ministry in a postmodern context I am merely suggesting that there are others who would have been much better choices. No insult was intended.

    May God’s grace sustain you as you continue to grieve her passing.

  6. Glenn, i find it very hard to digest your blog on to pioneer’s such as Maurice lednicky and Opal Reddin. I pastor a “post‐modern” pentecostal Church. (CrossPoint in Little Rock) We are post modern in dress, muisic, style, preaching, teaching, thoughts, outreach, service times, places of venue, you get the picture. it is I had the awesome opprotunity to sit under the leadership for 4 years. What they put in my life was the Word of God. Not religion, not just A/G doctrine, but the very relevant word of God. So, before you are quick to claim that they are not authorities on post modern, please for the love of God, thank Him for people like them.

  7. Randy — I’m always saddened when I can tell I have frustrated or upset someone. I don’t know if you had a chance to read the other comments on the post, but I think I addressed your concerns in them. May God bless your ministry in Arkansas.

  8. Wow Glen,

    I am guessing you never expected to hear from one of Opal Reddin’s granddaughters let alone two! I like my cousin would consider myself a “post modern”. I attend a non AG church that is post modern and very outreach oriented and our family is in the process of prayerfuly considering helping to plant another post modern church. While I cannot attest as to whether James Bridges should or shouldn’t have written a book on the Post Modern Era I can attest to the fact that my grandmother remained strongly involved in furthering the gospel until her very last days. She had very radical ideas for todays chuch climate for she believed in continuing to preach BIBLICAL TRUTH while being relevant, imagine that! This is something that seems to becoming lost to this generation of preachers, that the Bible alone can still be relevant. I think we as Christians have become so consumed with being “post modern” that we have forgotten that the Word of God not some series, or new book authored by a popular minister can be enough to reach a “new generation”, and this generation seems to be hungry for the meat of scripture not some watered down milk fed to us in small little sips. We can be a church with post modern music, and post modern dress and a post modern building and post modern decor and thoughts and still preach the Bible as the only Truth man needs. The Bible can never be compromised for the sake of unity and oneness and appealing to a “post modern era”. I believe individuals like my grandmother, Maurice Lednicky (who has been and remains a close personal friend)and James Bridges had/have the knowledge and authority to address the issue of the use of Pentecostal Gifts no matter what the “era”. And as a grandchild that grew up listening to Opal Reddin’s teaching and preaching I feel I certainly have the authority to speak on behalf of her when I say she was, and had she lived, would have remained for many years to come absolutly relevant in a post modern era even if you would have never found her in a pair of jeans on a Sunday morning. I want to make it clear Glen, that I am not so much offended by your words as concerned that this “post modern” generation is so quick to dismiss the words of our seasoned Saints that we end up forgeting the rich heritage they helped create not only for the AG but for Christians of many denominations.

  9. I wish there was a great emoticon for communicating shame. Of all the comments I’ve ever made on the internet this is by far the one I regret the most.

    You are 100% correct that the younger generation of ministers (and even not‐quite‐old folks like myself) is often unfairly dismissive of our elders.

    And I was unfairly dismissive of Reddin, Bridges and Lednecky in this post. Even overlooking some poor phrasing that I wish I hadn’t used, my underlying attitude was not kind.

    I still confess to a certain bemusement at the book’s title, but it’s directed at the AG hierarchy at large and not at the authors themselves.

    Yet again, I reiterate my respect for the three names I mentioned and for the countless others they represent. They are/were magnificent examples of faithfulness and fruitfulness in Pentecostal ministry.

  10. i’m glad to hear that you are sorry for your impulsive comments. i too came across this blog by a “google” accident. i went to cbc and had the good fortune to sit under the teaching of opal reddin for several classes. if anyone (known or unknown) wished to attach her name to a writing it is because her opinion (in whatever topic) would have been insightful and discerning. i remember on more than one occasion dr. reddin seemed so “lost in god” that she could barely teach her class. she wouldn’t care if she were published or not nor would she offer an opinion that was ignorant of the topic that was posed to her.

    and by the way‐ i think george bush could write and enlightening book on the democratic party‐ and that would explain why he is a republican.

    just as accidental passer‐by

  11. Glenn,

    I too went to CBC and Sister Reddin she was one my teachers. She was an inspiration to us all. Don’t try to cover things up your comments where reckless, cruel and thoughtless regardless of what your opinion and assessment was about these fine servants of the Lord. The sooner you admit it the sooner you will be healed and the other people you hurt. This will further allow you get on with the much needed ministry. I am convinced in my spirit that you are blessed in this ministry and good at it with regardless of this unfortunate mishap, Blessings.
    Bill Rosa

  12. Glenn,

    I too went to CBC and Sister Reddin she was one my teachers. She was an inspiration to us all. Don’t try to cover things up your comments where reckless, cruel and thoughtless regardless of what your opinion and assessment was about these fine servants of the Lord. The sooner you admit it the sooner you will be healed and the other people you hurt. This will further allow you to get on with the much needed ministry you perform. I am convinced in my spirit that you are blessed in this ministry and good at it with regardless of this unfortunate mishap, Blessings.
    Bill Rosa

  13. Glen,

    I will be one of the few voices that actually agree with you. I attended CBC and will agree with the positive things spoke about the character of Reddin and Lednicky. With that said, I think your point is valid. It would be like my name being put on a book as an expert on ministry to senior citizens. I am 35 years old. It would be as you said “laughable.” That is one of the problems with our denomination. You aren’t allowed to point out things like this without it being taken as a personal attack. I hope the vitriolic responses to your post haven’t keep you from speaking your mind. I actually admire you for posting this.

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