Many of us will know by now that Fr. Peter Hocken (pictured left on the featured image) passed away in early June 2017. Peter was was a British theologian and historian of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Pentecostal movement in the twentieth century. Peter was a leader within Toward Jerusalem Council II and will be greatly missed by all of us. A number of branches of TJCII have made a statement regarding the passing of our brother in Christ and I would like to take the opportunity to mark his passing as well. Since I only met Peter once many years ago, I will not be able to say much about him personally so I thought it would be fitting to remember Peter through presenting his own words.
Fr. Peter, just like us all in TJCII have a strong yearning for Christian unity and to see the body of Messiah strengthened in accordance with the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21-23. In his book, “Pentecost and Parousia” Fr. Peter wrote the following about obeying the Lord together:
I have had the experience several times that a listening to the Lord together has led an interchurch group to change its plans, and that this obedience to the Word that was heard produced much greater fruit than could have been imagined from the original plan. I cite one instance from the initiative Toward Jerusalem Council Two (TJCII) involving messianic Jews and Christians from many backgrounds. At that time (autumn 2005), the international committee met twice each year, and was busy preparing an international pray gathering in Jerusalem for September 2006. We had earlier decided to go to Nairobi in East Africa in the spring of 2006. But we received a clear word to go to Antioch before we went to Jerusalem, because the road to Jerusalem passes through Antioch. We immediately sensed the rightness of this word, since Antioch was the first church to embody Paul’s vision of the “one new man”, in which Jew and Gentile are made one through the cross (see Eph 2:16, Acts 11:19-26). The resulting visiting to Antioch in May 2006 was very rich and powerful. During the first session, we read aloud all the passages in the New Testament that mention Antioch. After the reading, the messianic Jews recognised that three incidents damaging to the unity of the church took place in Antioch:
- The episode when brothers from Judea insisted that pagan converts should be circumcised in order to be saved (see Acts 15:1)
- The controversy between the Apostles Peter and Paul (see Gal 2:11); and
- The disagreement between the partners in mission, Paul and Barnabas concerning John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas (see Acts 15:37-39)
The messianic Jews were deeply convicted by the scandal presented to the newly-converted pagans by the Jewish believers (all involved in the squabbles were Jews), and this awareness led them to a repentance for their own lack of unity today. This heartfelt prayer made before the cave church of St. Peter.
May we never lose sight of this early revelation within TJCII and the sense of unity and joint repentance that has been so fruitful in our initiative. We thank God for the great contribution of Fr. Peter Hocken and recognise that while his passing is felt as a great loss, we must remember that to die in Christ is gain, so we rejoice as we recall the words of the Apostle Paul which Fr. Peter shared with a member of TJCII’s Now Generation:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
-2 Tim 4:7-8