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Particulars of Christianity:
310 Pentecostalism,
the Charismatic
and Faith Movements

The Origins of the Modern Charismatic Movement

Our Background and Objectivity
Comparing Modern Tongues to Biblical Tongues
Basic Introduction to the Charismatic Movement
Opening Remarks and Introduction to the Gifts
Survey 1 - Continuity of the Gifts in the First Few Centuries
Survey 2 - Decline of Orthodox Gifts and Rise of Counterfeit Gifts
Survey 3 - A Change in Tune Regarding the Gifts
Survey 4 - From the Renaissance to the Modern Era
An Introduction to the Gifts in Modern Times
The Origins of the Modern Charismatic Movement

Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4
| Section 5

As we turn our attention to the Wesleyan Holiness Movement and the rise of the modern Charismatic Movement, it should be said that our point here is not to malign either John Wesley or the Methodist or Wesleyan denominations. To the contrary, as freewill proponents, we have some admiration for the work John Wesley has done as an apologist against Calvinist doctrines. In fact, an article citing a large excerpt from Wesley in which he defines the distinction between Calvinists and Arminians (Freewill) appears on our home website under our section on Calvinism. And additionally, it should be stated that there is no evidence or documentation that John Wesley or any of the other early Methodists ever spoke in tongues or practiced the charismatic gifts. Our point in this section is simply to display the origins of the modern Charismatic Movement as an outgrowth of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement.

For this portion of our study, we will start with the basics and move our way up.

1.) John Wesley founded the Methodist denominations.

"Wesley, John - Anglican clergyman, evangelist, and founder, with his brother Charles, of the Methodist movement in the Church of England." (Britannica.com, "Wesley, John.")

"Methodism...the doctrines, polity, and worship of those Protestant Christian denominations that have developed from the movement started in England by the teaching of John Wesley." (Bartleby.com, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. "Methodism.")

2.) Wesleyan Churches are a branch of the Methodist denomination.

"Branches of the Methodist Church - In 1791, after Wesley's death, the English Methodists were formally separated from the Church of England and established the Wesleyan Methodist Church... Then followed the Primitive Methodists, the Bible Christians, the Protestant Methodists, the Wesleyan Methodist Association, and the Wesleyan Reformers." (Bartleby.com, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. "Methodism.")

"In 1784, Wesley executed the deed of declaration by which the Methodist societies became legally constituted; it was in essence the charter of the Wesleyan Methodists." (Bartleby.com, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. "Methodism.")

3.) The Holiness Movement traces back to the teachings of John Wesley and primarily originated in Methodist and Wesleyan Churches.

"The Wesleyan Church is considered one of the Holiness Churches. It stresses entire sanctification, a postconversion experience that allows the person to live a sinless life." (Britannica.com, "Wesleyan Church.")

"Holiness movement - a fundamentalist religious movement that arose in the 19th century among Protestant churches in the United States, characterized by a doctrine of sanctification centring on a postconversion experience. The numerous Holiness churches that arose during this period vary from quasi-Methodist sects to groups that are similar to Pentecostal churches." (Britannica.com, "Holiness Movement.")

"The movement traces back to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who issued a call to Christian "perfection." Perfection was to be the goal of all those who desired to be altogether Christian; it implied that the God who is good enough to forgive sin (justify) is obviously great enough to transform the sinner into a saint (sanctify), thus enabling him to be free from outward sin as well as from ‘evil thoughts and tempers,' in short, to attain to a measure of holiness." (Britannica.com, "Holiness Movement.")

"In 1843 about two dozen Holiness ministers withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church to found the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America, establishing a pattern of defections or looser ties. In particular, sizable numbers of Protestants from the rural areas of the Midwest and South were joining the Holiness movement." (Britannica.com, "Holiness Movement.")

"Among these are the "older" denominations-the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Free Methodist Church of North America (founded 1860)-as well as the newer ones: the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Salvation Army, and the Church of the Nazarene. The Church of the Nazarene, whose members constitute nearly a third of the total membership of the Holiness movement, is generally recognized as being its most influential representative." (Britannica.com, "Holiness Movement.")

"Having been affected by 19th-century pietism and revivalism, contemporary Holiness churches tend to stand closer, doctrinally speaking, to fundamentalism than to their Methodist antecedents." (Britannica.com, "Holiness Movement.")

From the five excerpts above we can see that the Holiness Movement began as a subset of the Wesleyan Methodist denomination, which as it gained steam began to pull other Protestants in as well. And new denominations were also spinning off along the way, which did not carry the title Methodist or Wesleyan. However, we must take note that up until this point the Holiness Movement was only characterized by its emphasis on the Wesleyan doctrine of "perfection" or "sanctification" as a second work of the Holy Spirit after salvation. In other words, these Holiness movements were not at this point Charismatic.

"In the doctrinal statements of a few churches-Church of the Nazarene and Christian and Missionary Alliance-brief allusions to divine healing and a Pentecostal experience do appear. However, these must not be construed as constituting sufficient grounds for their being identified with the Pentecostal movement, the so-called left wing of perfectionism, against which, in fact, many right-wing Holiness groups have inveighed." (Britannica.com, "Holiness Movement.")

As we will see in our next section, the Pentecostal Movement did begin inside the Holiness Churches. Nonetheless, as stated in the excerpt above, we must distinguish between Holiness Churches and the Pentecostal Churches that arose out of the Holiness Movement. The two are not the same. Not all Holiness Churches are Pentecostal. However, as even the above quote demonstrates, the first hints at divine healing and other charismatic experiences did start in the Holiness Churches.

4.) The Pentecostal Movement emerges out of the Holiness Movement.

"Although Pentecostals trace their origin to the Apostles, the modern-day Pentecostal movement has its roots in the late 19th century, a time of mounting indifference to traditional religion." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

"Protestant denomination organized in Falcon, N.C., in 1911 by the merger of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church (organized in 1898 by several Pentecostal associations) and the Pentecostal Holiness Church (organized in 1900)." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc.")

"Reflecting the Methodist Episcopal heritage of its Holiness constituents, the denomination is divided into conferences: general, annual, district, and missionary." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc.")

"What is sometimes called classical Pentecostalism grew out of the late 19th-century Holiness Movement in the United States." (Bartleby.com, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. "Pentecostalism.")

"Pentecostalism, like its precursor, the Holiness movement (based on the belief that a second work of grace following conversion would ‘sanctify' Christians and remove the desire to sin), fulfilled these needs for churchgoers and nonchurchgoers alike." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

"The college's director, Charles Fox Parham, one of many ministers who was influenced by the Holiness movement..." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

5.) The dramatic reemergence of the charismatic gifts began in the Pentecostal Holiness Movement.

"The Holiness preacher Charles Fox Parham began preaching (1901) to his Topeka congregation that speaking in tongues was objective evidence of baptism in the Spirit. After Parham's Los Angeles-based Apostolic Faith mission became the center of a great revival (1906), the movement quickly spread around the world." (Bartleby.com, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. "Pentecostalism.")

"The college's director, Charles Fox Parham, one of many ministers who was influenced by the Holiness movement, believed that the complacent, worldly, and coldly formalistic church needed to be revived by another outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He instructed his students-many of whom already were ministers-to pray, fast, study the Scriptures, and, like the Apostles, await the blessings of the Holy Spirit." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

"The college's director, Charles Fox Parham, one of many ministers who was influenced by the Holiness movement, believed that the complacent, worldly, and coldly formalistic church needed to be revived by another outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He instructed his students-many of whom already were ministers-to pray, fast, study the Scriptures, and, like the Apostles, await the blessings of the Holy Spirit." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

"Borrowed from several Holiness churches, notably the Christian and Missionary Alliance, faith healing became a hallmark of Pentecostalism." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

"Wider national and international expansion, however, resulted from the Azusa Street revival that began in 1906 at the Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Its leader, William Seymour, a one-eyed Holiness church pastor and former member of the African Methodist Episcopal church, had been exposed to Parham's teachings at a Bible school in Houston, Texas." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

"Parham, Seymour, and other early Pentecostals came from the Holiness tradition that taught Christians to seek "sanctification." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

6.) The rest of the Charismatic Movement arose out of the Pentecostal Movement.

"Parham was the first in a long line of Pentecostal evangelists (Mary B. Woodworth-Etter, Charles Price, Aimee Semple McPherson, and, more recently Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhman, and Benny Hinn) who taught that Christ's atonement provides deliverance from sickness and is, therefore, the privilege of all who have the requisite faith." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostalism.")

"The Charismatic Movement - A second form of Pentecostalism arose in the 1960s after many non-Pentecostals became aware of Pentecostalism through an earlier Pentecostal revival organized by faith-healing evangelists (notably Oral Roberts)." (Bartleby.com, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. "Pentecostalism.")

"...And Southwestern Pentecostal Holiness College in Oklahoma City, Okla., which Oral Roberts, a faith healer and evangelist, helped to establish." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc.")

Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn came from the Pentecostal Movement and out of the tradition of Pentecostal evangelists.

"The Holiness Pentecostal belief is represented by such groups as the International Pentecostal Holiness Church; among the groups that emerged from a Baptist background are the Christian Church of North America and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel...The Assemblies of God, an organization of independent Trinitarian Pentecostals, was founded in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1914 in response to the need for better relations between the churches and the government." (Britannica.com, "Pentecostal Holiness Church, Inc.")

The Assemblies of God and the Foursquare Gospel denomination (founded by Aimee Semple McPherson, a Pentecostal evangelist) also grew out of the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements.

From this survey of excerpts defined in the six points above, we can see how the modern Charismatic Movement evolved out of the Wesleyan Churches and the Wesleyan doctrine regarding "perfection" or "sanctification" by a second work of the Holy Spirit. And now that we know where the modern Charismatic Movement came from, we can move on to evaluate its legitimacy.