Spirit and Power : Foundations of Pentecostal Experience

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-08-01
  • Publisher: Zondervan

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The times have long passed when Pentecostals were viewed as Protestantism's untouchables. Today, the shock waves from Azusa Street have influenced countless Evangelicals worldwide. But if dialogue between Pentecostals and Evangelicals has awakened within the latter a thirst for the power of God's Spirit, it has challenged Pentecostals to examine their theology more deeply in the light of his Word. Just how firm is the biblical foundation on which they stand? Spirit and Power provides a cutting-edge look at Pentecostal theology. It addresses the concern expressed by its authors and echoed throughout charismatic churches today: "Although our Pentecostal forefathers intuitively grasped the correlation between the reality they experienced and the promise of Acts 1:8, they did not always articulate their theology in a manner that was convincing to other believers committed to the authority of Scripture." In response, theologians William and Robert Menzies explore Pentecostalism in a scholarly and current light. Spirit and Power is no mere paraphrase of dated approaches. It is a fresh and penetrating look at the whys and wherefores of Pentecostal doctrine that sets a new standard for Spirit-filled theology. Whatever your persuasion may be as a Christian, this book's thoughtfulness, balance, and biblical integrity will help you appreciate more fully the strengths of the Pentecostal stance. Laying the groundwork for an accurate understanding of Luke's writings in particular, the authors help you grasp the foundations of Pentecostal theology from the standpoints of history, hermeneutics, and exegesis. Then, in Part Two, they give you an in-depth look at specific Pentecostal concerns: the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a blessing subsequent to salvation, evidential tongues, signs and wonders, healing in the atonement, and more. You'll deepen your understanding of the basis for Pentecostal beliefs. And you'll gain a feel for the mutually beneficial dialogue that continues between Pentecostals and Evangelicals today.

Table of Contents

Table of Table of Contents
Part One: Theological Foundations
1.History: Understanding the New Context
2.Hermeneutics: The Quiet Revolution
3.Hermeneutics: Luke’s Distinctive Contribution
4.Hermeneutics: Jumping off the Postmodern Bandwagon
5.Exegesis: A Reply to James Dunn
6.Exegesis: A Reply to Max Turner
Part Two: Theological Affirmations
7.The Issue of Subsequence
8.Evidential Tongues
9.Tongues: Available to All
10.Signs and Wonders
11.Healing in the Atonement
12.The Providence of God
13.Spiritual Gifts: Essential Principles
14.Baptism in the Spirit and Spiritual Gifts
15.Baptism in the Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit
Select Bibliography
Subject Index


Chapter One
History: Understanding the New Context
hen sufficient time has elapsed for the twentieth century to be reviewed in perspective, the astounding growth of the modern Pentecostal movement worldwide will certainly be listed among the significant religious phenomena of the century. In 1900, the Pentecostal movement did not exist. At the end of the century, if one includes Charismatics along with Pentecostals, the collective movement embraces a larger number of people than all the Reformation bodies together and is surpassed only by the Roman Catholic Church in sheer magnitude among the church families of Christendom.1 In some parts of the world, Pentecostal missions and ministry account for a significant proportion of all the new converts to Christianity. While many of the classical Christian denominations have diminished in strength, Pentecostal bodies have grown rapidly. Although the influence of Pentecostalism has not matched its numerical growth, nonetheless, the contours of Christianity have been shaped increasingly by Pentecostal values. It should be noted at the outset, however, that the dramatic rise of Pentecostalism is not without dangers and challenges; but it also carries great opportunities. At this moment of reflection, it is appropriate to consider the stewardship of opportunity required. Pentecostals should avoid falling prey to the risk of triumphalism.
In this chapter we will endeavor to outline briefly the origins and development of the modern Pentecostal movement. In addition, we will examine the emergence of the sister revival movement, the Charismatic Renewal. We will identify some of the challenges and opportunities currently facing Pentecostals today, occasioned in part by the rapid growth of interest around the world in the work of the Holy Spirit. This background chapter is provided as a historical context for the chapters that follow. The intention is to provide a perspective for viewing the development of Pentecostal theology and for charting the challenges Pentecostals face.
1. The Emergence of the Modern Pentecostal Revival
On January 1, 1901, in Topeka, Kansas, Agnes Ozman experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit, accompanied by speaking in tongues. She was not the first to speak in tongues. Episodes of isolated outpourings of the Spirit have been chronicled as early as the 1850s, not only in the United States but also in various parts of the world. What was unique about the experience of Miss Ozman, a student at Charles F. Parham’s Bethel Bible College, is that her experience occurred within a conscious theological understanding that baptism in the Spirit, an empowering of the Spirit for ministry, an experience subsequent to new birth, is marked by the accompanying sign of speaking in other tongues. Parham’s Bible school furnished the environment in which a theological self-understanding was developed for appreciating the significance of this spiritual experience. This is the beginning of a connected history of the modern Pentecostal movement.
Students at Parham’s short-term Bible school had been studying the Bible with a view to learning what it teaches about the evidence that one has indeed been baptized in the Holy Spirit. These students concluded that the book of Acts teaches that the baptism in the Spirit is accompanied by speaking in tongues. They understood that this experience was intended to empower recipients to be effective witnesses for Christ. It is significant that this revival began in the context of Bible study and that its theological identity was given form here. People had been known to speak in tongues in a variety of places in the late nineteenth century, and many Evangelicals employed the terminology of baptism in the Spirit prior to 1901, to be sure. But it was in Topeka, under the direction of Charles F. Parham, that the connection between baptism in the Spirit as an enduement of power and the accompanying sign of tongues was established.
Following a succession of local revival campaigns in the Midwest, Charles Parham in 1905 opened a short-term Pentecostal Bible school in Houston, Texas. This became for a time the new headquarters for Parham’s ministry. A black Holiness preacher, William J. Seymour, became convinced of the truth of the Pentecostal experience during the school year of 1905-6 in Houston. In the spring of 1906, in response to the invitation of a black Holiness woman in Los Angeles, Seymour went to Los Angeles to hold meetings. At the Holiness mission, his proclamation of the Pentecostal experience was rejected by the local leaders, requiring Seymour to seek a fresh venue for his ministry.
Seymour and his followers then moved to a humble dwelling on Bonnie Brae Street, where he continued his proclamation of the Pentecostal message. The power of God fell among these earnest believers. That home on Bonnie Brae Street soon could not accommodate the crowds who came. Seymour and his cluster of followers moved to a two-story frame structure in an industrial area of Los Angeles. Once a Methodist church, the dilapidated building was later converted into a livery stable. This primitive structure on Azusa Street became the launchpad for projecting the modern Pentecostal revival around the world.
Between 1906 and 1909, meetings were conducted at the Azusa Street hall continuously. Striking during the Jim Crow era in American social history is the mixed-race character of the Azusa Street meetings. Blacks and whites worshiped together, united by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of the strategic location of Los Angeles for international travel and because of publication in the local papers about the sensational happenings at Azusa Street, travelers from various nations gravitated there. Some of the visitors were missionaries attached to various sending agencies. Many of these curious seekers received the Pentecostal experience. On fire for God, these new Pentecostals, often ostracized from parent bodies, scattered to spread the gospel, sometimes with no credentials and no visible means of support. They had little except the joy of the Lord and a great sense of God’s providential care. These were the Pentecostal pioneers.
It is noteworthy that Parham attempted to give leadership to the Azusa Street revival. He was rebuffed in Los Angeles, and his role in the formation of the Pentecostal movement diminished from this point on. In a real sense, the American Pentecostal revival can claim no single father. Beyond American shores, it appears that with the most tenuous of connections, Pentecostal revivals sprang up in various parts of Europe, Asia, and Latin America at this time. Most lines of communication point to the influence of Azusa Street, but one is hard-pressed to certify much beyond the role of the Azusa Street revival serving as a catalyst for the outpourings that occurred elsewhere. This was indeed a fullness of time around the world when people hungry for God recognized that the Pentecostal experience filled their expectations.

Excerpted from Spirit and Power: Foundations of Pentecostal Experience by William W. Menzies, Robert P. Menzies
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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