In a recent interview with the Holy Post, author and speaker Christine Caine, who is from Australia, emphasized the value of having an awareness of the global church and shared that she was stunned by what she encountered when she first visited churches in the United States.
Before coming to the U.S., “I had never seen a flag in a church,” said Caine. “Never.” The only exception was she had seen some churches that were highly focused on missions display the flag of every country. “Never did it occur to me that any church in all of my travels…would have a flag of their nation.”
Caine also mentioned that women were noticeably absent from the churches she visited. She was taken aback by encountering a theology that caused women to “shrink” and think of themselves as being of secondary importance. “It was very shocking to me,” she said. Caine did not say what theological beliefs she was referring to except that she was not referring to women preaching.
Christine Caine on the Global Church
Christine Caine made her observations about American churches in the context of a conversation with Jethani about how all church traditions are flawed and how the global church can give perspective on their strengths and weaknesses. Caine is part of the Pentecostal church in Australia and has a background in the Greek Orthodox church.
In the Pentecostal tradition, said Caine, she has seen the Holy Spirit move in ways that she cannot explain apart from a supernatural work of God. But she has also witnessed people manipulating the gifts of the Spirit or being disorderly in opposition to Paul’s instructions for worship in 1 Corinthians 14.
Evangelical churches, which have emphasized the importance of Bible teaching, often come under criticism for building their ministries around a charismatic leader. If that leader has unchecked character flaws, the results can be disastrous and highly painful for those around them. The recent podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill explores this phenomenon as it relates to Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church.
But Caine cautioned against leaving an evangelical denomination in favor of, say, a more liturgical tradition. Liturgical churches have just as many issues as evangelical churches, she said. Even in a liturgical tradition, where there is a high emphasis on the sacraments, a human being is still administering those sacraments. And while people are flawed, God has put his Holy Spirit in people, “so we can’t get around the people piece.” But there do need to be checks and balances—accountability—for those leaders.