People of the Spirit, worshiping Jesus in all places, at all times

Pentecostalism as a movement and as a “wing” in the Church has been identified as a brand of fundamentalism, an outgrowth of Wesleyan/Holiness denominations, a radicalized evangelicalism, and any number of things associated with a revivalist Protestantism. While understandable, this is something that theologically and historically doesn’t have any ground. The first generations of Pentecostals were no more Protestants than Luther’s children were Roman Catholics of the sort espoused by the Council of Trent. Despite several similarities and continuities in worship, doctrine, and structure, there is indeed a fundamental discontinuity that occurred with the Reformation, which resulted in Protestantantism. The same sort of disruption occurred with the birth of the Pentecostal movement.

That hasn’t changed the reality that Pentecostalism has largely turned inward on its most significant contributions and outward on its “common ground” with fundamentalism or evangelical movements. As Pentecostals, we’ve hoarded the gift we’ve been given and either denounce or quiver before fellow Christians in other traditions. I don’t know what it means to be a Pentecostal for the good of the whole Church yet, but I want to figure it out and encourage it. I want to see that happen. I want some good discussion on it. To provoke it, here is a great thought from Jonathan Martin:

I don’t believe the Holy Spirit is given merely to validate or set apart one particular part of the Church over and against another—there is a very real way that the entire church is Pentecostal.  The outpouring on the day of Pentecost is the birthday of the whole Church; the power of the Spirit is the birthright of the whole Church.  The culture of Pentecostal churches may be unique, but the substance of Pentecostal spirituality—wherein the lame are healed, and sons and daughters prophesy, and peace and justice come to the marginalized—is not for a sect.  Those aren’t the marks of a denomination; those are the marks of the kingdom, and they are available to all who call Jesus Lord.  –Jonathan Martin, ordained bishop in the Church of God

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Comments on: "Pentecostalism “for the Church”" (3)

  1. I’m curious how this doesn’t hold up historically. It’s pretty demonstrable (at least from what my professors we’re telling me) that the big leaders in Classic Pentecostalism drew influence from the revivals of the Holiness movement. Charles Parham was really into the Holiness movement at the time when Agnes Ozman first spoke in tongues at one of his services. I’m not here to prove you wrong; I just want to know what you’re getting at.

    • I’m not denying connection with the Holiness/Wesleyan movements. That’s pretty evident, but I would say that Pentecostalism came from the Holiness/Wesleyan tradition in the same way that Luther came from the Augustinian tradition (thinking here of his spirituality and scholastic training). My issue is that people want to identify Pentecostal denominations as Wesleyan denominations or Wesleyan Protestants as such.

  2. […] and theologians who have a far better grasp around the issues than I do. But if we’re to be a Pentecostalism for the Church, we have to take our practice of Baptism that seriously– we have to remember it’s about […]

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