jepta 2001 21 - European Pentecostal Theological Association

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jepta 2001 21 - European Pentecostal Theological Association
THE JOURNAL OF THE
EUROPEAN PENTECOSTAL
THEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
Vol XXI
The Journal of the European Pentecostal
Theological Association
Editorial Policy
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association is published
annually by the European Pentecostal Theological Association. The views
expressed in the Journal are not necessarily those of the Association. Articles and
book reviews are welcomed. Contributions may be sent to the Editor, Keith
Warrington B.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Regents Theological College, London Road,
Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6LW, England. Tel: 01270 615405. Fax: 01270
610013. E Mail: [email protected]
Editorial'Committee
Keith Warrington B.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Consultant Editor, Neil Hudson, B.A.,
Ph.D., Regents Theological College, London Road, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5
6LW, :England; Hubert Jurgensen Dr.Theo1.; Cornelis van der Laan Ph.D. Lange
Dreef'28a, 3902 AH Veenendaal, Netherlands; Jean-Daniel Pliiss Ph.D.,
Heuelstrasse 45, 8032 Ziirich, Switzerland.
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ISSN:0774 6210
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The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
CONTENTS
ARTICLES
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue: Some Pentecostal Assumptions
Huibert Zegwaart
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation: Roman Catholic
and Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement
Walter Hollenweger
Pentecostalism, Past, Present and Future
Neil Hudson
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism
Jim Robinson
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch
Valdis Teraudkalns
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical ~ i t r o s ~ e c t i o n
Rodica Pandrea
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal
Church in Romania
BOOK REVIEWS
Foreword
This edition of JEPTA includes a collection of articles mainly relating to
historical issues concerning Pentecostalism. Each of them, in their own way,
offers comment and analysis on issues important to Pentecostals in differing
cultures and geographical contexts.
The first of these articles is a discussion between Walter Hollenweger and Neil
Hudson in which the former responds to questions offered by the latter
concerning the pilgrimage of Pentecostalism in Europe. Two further historical
articles by Valdus Teraudkalns and Rodica Pandrea are concentrated on
analytical surveys of the development of Pentecostalism within countries which
have recently rediscovered themselves after years of inclusion within the USSR,
namely the Baltic States and Romania. Neil Hudson explores the beginnings of
British Pentecostalism while Jim Robinson offers part of his PhD research
relating to one of the British Pentecostal pioneers, Arthur Booth-Clibborn.
Papers presented at the 2001 EPTA Conference concentrated on dialogues with
other Christian groups and two of these presentations are printed in this volume.
They were provided by Me1 Robeck and Huibert Zegwaart and both relate to
developing dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and Pentecostals.
I hope you find the articles stimulating. The next volume will offer papers
concentrating on the much neglected area by Pentecostals of Ethics.
Keith Warrington
Editor
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue:
Some Pentecostal Assumptions
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
It is an honor for me to have been invited to address the members of the European
Pentecostal Theological Association during the first year of the third "Christian"
millennium.' It is an honor, because I am not a citizen of Europe, though over the
past decade I have averaged about six weeks a year in Europe. It is an honor,
because I have subscribed to the EPTA Bulletin, now the Journal of the European
Pentecostal Theological Association from the time of its inception, and I have
read your papers and listened in on your conversations for two decades. I have
learned a great deal from you and I am thankful to have had that opportunity.
It is also an honor to be asked to address you on the topic of the International
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue. I have been a member of that Dialogue
since 1985, and I have served as co-chair of the Dialogue since 1992. Through
my years of involvement with the Dialogue, I have found that Pentecostals as
well as many Evangelicals have questions about it, some of which are based upon
a genuine interest in these discussions. Others are based upon ignorance of the
situation, or they arise out of personal pain, or out of fear of what might be its
outcome. It is my hope that in this short presentation I will be able to answer
some of your questions about why I am involved in this Dialogue. I also hope
that this short introduction will facilitate a fruitful discussion concerning the
Dialogue itself, and perhaps raise interest on the part of other European
Pentecostal groups becoming part of that discussion.
As we begin our time together, I want you to understand four things about me.
First, I am a committed classical Pentecostal both by experience and by tradition.
I do not make any apologies for being Pentecostal, nor will I compromise on the
core essentials of what it means for me. I believe that my Pentecostal experience
and training have contributed significantly to my ability to serve successfully in
the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue and elsewhere in the
global Church. It is Pentecostals who brought me to faith, Pentecostals who have
nurtured me in my faith my entire life, and Pentecostals who taught me that
regardless of the personal cost involved, I was to be faithful to whatever call God
gave to me. The latter part has been the most difficult to live out, especially
when Pentecostals have not always understood the call that God has given to me,
or even agreed that God could have given such a call. In any case, I have tried to
be faithful to my heritage, and 1 have allowed my leaders to discern, with me,
what God has said to me regarding my call to ecumenical ministry.
Second, I am by training, a historical-theologian. I focused my studies in the
' Paper presented at the EPTA Conference, Bucharest, Romania, April 2001.
The Journalof the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vot. XXI.2001
ASSUMPTION 2
In any discussion with the Roman Catholic Church, all concerns, both
Pentecostal and Roman Catholic, must be taken seriously.
'
,
It would be unfair to our Pentecostal sisters and brothers who hold such positions,
and it would be dishonest to any Dialogue partners, if we did not take their
understandings and concerns seriously. We cannot simply dismiss them as
irrelevant even if we do not share their concerns. We cannot simply dismiss them
as misunderstandings and fears that do not need to be addressed. They need to be
taken as seriously as we would take any of our own fears, concerns, or ideas
based upon what we believe to be the facts. We owe them that because we are
part of a community in which what one person or group of people does have an
impact upon how all the rest of them live. As Paul reminds us, "If one part
suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with
it."'
The unfortunate thing is that those who hold such positions have frequently asked
that their interests and concerns not be represented in the Dialogue. As I have
thought about the reasons behind that request I have come to two conclusions.
First, these people are not willing to have their interests represented in the
Dialogue because they do not want the Dialogue to exist. "Come ye out and be
ye separate (2 Corinthians 6:17)" is still their cry. What is missing from the
justification for using this verse, however, is the context in which the Apostle
placed it. It came in the midst of a discussion regarding idol worship and
unbelievers, not fellow believers. My question to those who defend their position
in this way, and refuse to allow others in the Body of Christ to present their larger
concerns would be, "Do you have that right?"
personally do not believe that
they do because they have not yet understood those that they choose to criticize.
The second reason why they may not wish to have their interests represented has
to do with our own integrity as Pentecostal sisters and brothers. They may
believe that we will not do justice to their concerns. They do not trust us. We
have not been persecuted and, therefore they believe, we will not be able to carry
with us the intensity of feeling, even the outrage that such a persecution deserves.
Or perhaps they believe that we will not be fair in our representations of their
concerns. We might simply dismiss them as ideas unworthy of discussion, or we
might make fun of them in their absence, or worse, they worry that we might
commit them to think or act differently than they currently do. Our commitment
to ecumenical Dialogue, regardless of who the partner is, demands that we take
all the concerns of those within our own community with complete seriousness.
' 1 Corinthians 12:26.
8
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dia1ogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
We can dismiss their concerns only when we have finally and ultimately
demonstrated to those who hold them, that they are misplaced concerns. And we
cannot afford to make light of such concerns because our sisters and brothers
genuinely hold them. Such concerns ultimately question the integrity of our
relationship with them. It is critical that internal discussions with those who are
closest to us, discussions such as this one take place, so that equally important
external discussions can also take place. It is also important to note that this
Dialogue has no binding authority. The churches would have to "receive" the
work officially in order for that to happen. That being said, I believe that those
who refuse to allow participation or representation in the Dialogue when it exists,
not only do themselves a disservice, they do the Lord and the Lord's Church a
disservice. It is also true that those of us who are involved in this Dialogue hope
that it will have some impact on our churches.
ASSUMPTION 3
There is only one Church and it is our business as members of that Church
to do our best "to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
I would like for us to keep a passage of scripture in the forefront as I address this
assumption, because I believe that this passage provides us with a model of how
we are to live as Christians. It is Ephesians 4: 1-6.
1, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life
worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all
lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another
in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were
called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one
faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above
all and through all and in all.
The New Testament is where we are first introduced to the Church. Indeed, it is
Jesus who first introduces us to the concept of the Church in His famous
announcement in Matthew 16:18, " upon this rock I will build my church, and
the gates of Hades will not overcome it." It is in the Epistles, however, where we
see the idea of the Church expanded into something that is tangible, and such
expansion takes place no more fully than in the Pauline epistles.
It is in the Epistles that the Church is introduced to us through a variety of images
and metaphors. It is described as the Body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5; 1
Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:4, 12), the Bride of Christ (Matthew 9:15; 2
Corinthians 11:2), and in the Petrine epistle, as the People of God (1 Peter 2:910). There are a host of other scriptural metaphors as well. No matter how we
describe it, no matter what language that is used in the New Testament regarding
the Church, it always comes out the same. There is only one Church. If
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
Ephesians 4:4 makes reference to the Church as I believe it does when it says that
there is "one Body," then it doesn't get any clearer than that. There is only one
Church and Christ Jesus is its head. But what kind of church is it?
There are many ways in which we could go, but as I read the New Testament I
am struck by how tangible and material are the descriptions of the Church. It is
not that the Church is not a spiritual reality -it is. But the New Testament knows
nothing of a Church that is completely invisible. The Church in the New
Testament is always represented as people with names and addresses. Thus the
Apostle writes, "To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints
(Romans 1:7)." He writes "to the church of God which is at Corinth (1
Corinthians 1:2) or "to the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints
who are in the whole of Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:lb)." He writes "to the churches
of Galatia (Galatians 1:2b)," as well as "to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at
Philippi, with the bishops and deacons (Philippians I :lb)." Likewise, he writes
"to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae (Colossians 1:2)" as well
as "to the church of the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1b and 2 Thessalonians
1:lb)." But if mention of Christians in a given geographical region or a named
city isn't sufficient to demonstrate the visible, material, tangible character of the
Church in the New Testament, we need only think of the Apostle's work
concerning Onesimus the slave. In this letter, Paul writes "to Philemon our
beloved fellow worker, and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier,
and the church in your house (Philemon 2)." Paul, it seems, did not think of the
Church in terms of any visible/invisible dichotomy. He thought of the Church in
material and tangible terms. He wrote to individuals and to groups that gathered
in real places, with published street addresses. He didn't write to the church at
Rome, and then drop the letter at the city limits and wait to see who picked it up.
He had a specific group of people in mind in each place.
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
present, and future, that is, dead, living, and yet unborn. If many of these people
are unknown to us by name, or they are known to us only in some mystical sense,
that does not in any way negate the fact that we are still speaking about real
people who have been, are, or will be known by others and who are now in a
sense, known only by God. The Church is a physical, material presence in our
reality, but it extends far beyond that.
It is precisely because the Church is not merely an invisible, spiritual reality that
the Apostle begs the Ephesians to live a life worthy of their calling. The life for
which he calls includes an eagerness "to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the
bond of peace (Ephesians 4: 1-3)." I suppose we could argue about the nature of
the genitive tou pneumatou', that is, of the Spirit, but my vote is to look at this
thing as that which the Spirit has created, the fellowship in or of the Spirit, which
is the Church, and to realize that in some sense, we are called to maintain the
unity of that thing that the Spirit has created, and to do so "in the bond of peace."
If this is what Ephesians 4:l-6 is about, then we must come to terms with two
concepts that have come down to us through history. The first is the concept that
the true Church exists within the larger church. The Montanists provide us with a
clear example of this model. Here, names could be attached to those who were
part of both groups. They were identifiable. Everyone knew where he or she fit,
and they called each other names. There were the pneumatikoi and the others
were the pseuchichoi. There were the "spiritual" ones, and there were those who
were not.' Does this not sound like there were those who held something like the
"Full Gospel" over the heads of others?
For me to argue the materiality of the Church from the New Testament is not to
deny that it can also be argued from the New Testament that Paul thought and
spoke about the Church in more "mystical" terms as well. When we read his
metaphors about the Body of Christ or the Bride of Christ or the Family of God,
we have transcended the visible reality of a simple collection of Christians who
gather at a specific street address. After all, the Body of Christ is not complete
only in the local community, though in some ways it might be. It is complete
only when all Christians are viewed as part of the Body of Christ. But a body
without a head is an incomplete picture, so the Apostle notes that the Head of the
Church is Jesus Christ.
In the second case, we are introduced to spiritual and material realities. In this
case, it is Augustine who points the way. When he looked at the postConstantinian Church around him, he realized that the Church he surveyed
looked quite different from the one about which he read in the New Testament.
There were people who claimed the name "Christian" who, in Augustine's mind,
were not "Christian" by the standards of the New Testament. As a result, to
describe the Church, he drew from Jesus' parables of the wheat and tares
(Matthew 13:24-30) on the one hand, and the good and bad fish that were caught
by the same net (Matthew 13:47-48) on the other. The wheat and the good fish
were obvious references to the righteous - remember these parables provide us
with pictures that are analogous to the Kingdom of the Heavens - or in
Augustine's mind, the Church. The field of wheat and tares, and the net with
both good fish and bad fish came to be identified as Christendom.'
As we look at the Church from another angle, we must note that whether it is the
congregation in Philemon's home or an unnamed group of people meeting in an
unspecified place in the city of Rome or Thessalonica, the metaphor of the Body
of Christ is a way of describing the Church in its universality. In a sense, the
Body of Christ is not complete unless we take into account all the "saints," past,
' Tertullian, Treatise on the Soul 9.3-4; D. Powell, "Tertullianistsand Cataphrygians," Vigiliae
Christiame 29 (1975), 33-54.
' Augustine, City of God, passim; On Baptism Ill. xix. 26.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
As in the case of the Montanists, we still have a case of ecclesiola in ecclesia.
But this time it is difficult at best, and in the end it is impossible to determine
who is a member of the "true church" from those who are merely members of
"Christendom." What was extremely difficult for Augustine, and what has been a
persistent problem for the Church ever since, is how to determine who fits into
which category. Who is the real Christian and who is not? And what criteria do
we use to determine where one sits?
While Augustine's suggestion has found some use sociologically, its usefulness
to discern spiritual realities is highly questionable. What all this says is that
while it is probably not correct for us to equate the spiritual reality that we call
the Church with the institutional reality that we call the Church, it is virtually
impossible to know where they overlap and where they are mutually exclusive.
In the end, that is a task for the unnamed reapers at the time of the harvest
(Matthew 13:30) or the angels that will ultimately be charged with separating the
evil from the righteous (Matthew 13:49-50).
Far too often, Pentecostals have tended to suggest in their rhetoric that the proper
way to view things is to realize that the Church is invisible, and the visible
institution is not the Church.' At one level this may be all well and good. But it
means ip the end that schism and division within the Church will never really be
any concern to us. In fact, it may be mistakenly viewed as a badge of true
spirituality. "I am purer than you are." It means that any efforts that human
beings make to establish better working relationships, even when they are
claimed to be at the instigation of the Holy Spirit, may be viewed as a
compromise unbecoming the Gospel. It means that all too often, our articulations
of the faith, our conceptualizations of what the Gospel means, our interpretations
of the biblical texts, will be viewed as the sine qua non for all real unity, and any
agreement to be in relationship, in spite of differences of opinion in some of these
matters, will not be tolerated. What is worse, it means that the world will not be
able to see anything tangible of the forgiveness, reconciliation, and unity being
lived out among them that is reflective of the message of the Gospel we so
proudly proclaim to them.
But if the invisible Church is the real Church and the visible Church doesn't
really matter in the end, then we Pentecostals have been tenibly inconsistent in
the way we live it out. If we are really committed to the notion that the Church is
in the end only a spiritual reality, why do we care about how many Pentecostals
' Everett R. Stenhouse, "Unity of the Spirit," in Gwen Jones, Ed, Conference on the Holy Spirit
Digest (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1983), 2:67 represents a commitment to the
invisible character of the Church quite clearly when he begins his article, "Believers in that
invisible Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, are charged by the apostle Paul to
preserve, not unanimity, nor uniformity, nor even union, but unity."
Roman Catholic-PentecostalDia1ogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
there are in the world? Why do we waste so much time counting them if only
God knows their number. The fact is, our inability to determine who is in the
kingdom and who is not in the kingdom at this moment leaves us in something of
a dilemma. Such a paradigm is far too frequently used as an excuse for not
maintaining what the Apostle has called "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace" when that unity of the Spirit has anything to do with real people.
Fortunately, there are those within the Pentecostal community who have
in recent years been raising anew the relationship between the visible
and invisible notions of the Church. French Amngton, a Church of God
New Testament scholar in the United States has noted,
"Never does the New Testament make a clear distinction
between the spiritual life and the institutional life of the church.
Its organic, spiritual life is not contrasted with its outward life
and organization. The universal church may come to outward
expression as the church at Jerusalem, the church at Corinth, or
the church,at Ephesus. By its external life and organization a
particular church (local congregation or denomination)
becomes a tangible expression of the one body of Christ."'
Dr. Fran ois P. M Iler, former President of the Apostolic Faith Mission of South
Africa, notes the differences between the concepts of invisibility and visibility of
the Church. The true church, which he describes as the Body of Christ, "is not
visible to us because it also includes the departed believers." The idea of the
Church is made more complex, however, when we recognize "the dividing line
between true and false members is not always discernible." But, instead of
suggesting that the Church need not be concerned with issues related to visible
unity, he goes on to argue, "we should at the same time emphasize that the part of
the church which can be seen, must be very visible. To be a witness to Christ in
this world, the church should not only be very visible, but it should also be heard
di~tinctly."~
He goes on to point out that "the ecumenical idea by which various
church denominations agree to accept each other regardless of differences and
show a readiness to commune and act in unison in the interests of the kingdom of
God i s highly desirable." But his commitment to genuine and visible
ecumenical expressions is also rightfully measured by the extent to which the
central place of Christ in the midst of any such visible manifestation of unity is
present.'
' French L. Anington, Christian Doctrine: A Pentecostal Perspective (Cleveland, TN:Pathway,
1994), 3:l75
F. P. M Iler, Kingdom of God, Church and Sacraments, Words of Light and Life, Volume 4
(Pretoria, South Africa: J. L. van Shaik Publishers, 1998), 55.
M Iler, Kingdom of God, Church and Sacraments, 74.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
ASSUMPTION 4
Any model of the church that, by definition, separates some people who
claim that they are Christians from other people who claim that they are
Christians is not an adequate model of the Church.
Each of us is called to live a life worthy of our calling, marked by lowliness,
meekness, patience, and forbearance in love, with a commitment to maintain the
unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:l-6). The question that
needs to be asked is, "Is the institution known as the Roman Catholic Church part
of the Church?" To this question might be added another. What does it take to
become a Christian? If you ask this question, the first response that Pentecostals
generally give is an appeal to John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish,
but have everlasting life." If you ask our pastors and most of our parishioners,
"Are you sure that is what it takes to become a Christian?' they will give you a
clear and unequivocal response. "Yes!"
The questions, then, must be asked, "Is that all it takes to become a Christian?"
What is the place of repentance in becoming a Christian? What role, if any, does
baptism play?' What does it mean when we say, "whosoeverbelieveth in Him?"
Does that really mean anyone? "What is the nature of belief in Him? Does one
need to have a detailed Christology, Theology, or doctrine of the Trinity in order
to express salvific belief? Is belief the same as "faith," or more pointedly, does it
mean the same thing as when we address ourselves to the Reformation statement
concerning "justification by faith?'And, 'Who is the 'Him' to which John 3:16
refers?"
We might even press the question a bit further and ask whether the way we live
when we claim the designation "Christian" for ourselves has any bearing upon
whether we are, in fact, Christians. That is, are we really saved if we do not "lead
a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called? Should we be asking
questions regarding how we engage in Christian ethics before we are satisfied
that one has become a Christian? If we listen carefully at most of our own altar
calls, Pentecostal altar calls, we will find that none of these questions are being
asked. We simply give the invitation. "If you want to become a Christian, come
forward, acknowledge your need, and accept Jesus." It is that simple!
' Cf. Acts 2:38. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." 1 suggest this text
simply to demonstrate the roles that repentance and baptism appear to play in the thinking o f the
Apostles. The role of Baptism among Pentecostals has been analyzed in Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
and Jerry L. Sandidge, "The Ecclesiology o f Koinonia and Baptism: A Pentecostal
Perspective," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 27:3 (summer, 1990), 504-534.
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dia1ogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M.Robeck, Jr.
When we turn our attention to Roman Catholics, then, we need to ask the
question of whether or not they are Christian, and if so, whether or not they are
part of the Church. How are we to make these judgments? Do they need to come
to our altars in order for us to be satisfied with their confession? Do they need to
leave the Roman Catholic Church for us to be satisfied with their confession? If
they have not gone to the altar in the same way that we have, but they have been
baptized, catechized, confirmed, they confess the creed, they participate in the
Eucharist, and they say they are Christian, are we satisfied with their confession?
What must their confession look like? Are we under any form of mandate to
"maintain the unity. of the Spirit in the bond of peace" with these Roman
Catholics? Or do they need to be "charismatic" Catholics since we know that
those who have been baptized in the Spirit must have also been "born again" and
maybe even "sanctified"? What is at stake here, and on what basis do we make
the decisions that we make? Why is it easy for us to accept a confessing Roman
Catholic as a Christian, but it is not easy for us to accept the Roman Catholic
Church as a genuine part of the Christian Church? Why is it relatively easy for
us to accept our Pentecostal denominations as genuine parts of the Christian
Church when we know that there are people who frequent our churches who are
not Christian, who are nominal Christians, or who are backslidden?
These questions lead us to others. Should we turn first to those who have had a
bad experience at the hands of Roman Catholics or the Roman Catholic Church,
who have been deprived of their livelihoods, stripped of their Bibles, been
imprisoned, have been persecuted, even lost their lives at the hands of Roman
Catholics in order to decide whether we should talk with the Roman Catholic
Church? Is this the appropriate place to begin and end any conversation
regarding Roman Catholics? Or do we turn to others for the answers to our
questions? Do we turn to those who understand the Roman Catholic Church and
who have had only positive relations with it? Is this the appropriate place to
begin and end any conversation regarding Roman Catholics? Is one group more
privileged than the other, and if it were, why would this be the case?
It would be unfair if I did not note that there are many Roman Catholics who look
at Pentecostals as interlopers and proselytizers in their lands. Please, try to place
yourself in their shoes. They have been present in places for 500 years or longer.
They believe they have been charged with the spiritual care of the flocks in that
region. Then along comes a Pentecostal who believes only the worst about them.
This Pentecostal enters their "turf' without any invitation and begins to
"evangelize" and "proselytize". [I want you to understand that I make a big
distinction between these two terms]. This activity has an affect on long
established churches. When the priest or bishop takes steps to stop the intrusion
because no prior conversation has taken place, the "intruder" claims persecution.
But where did the judgments begin, and how would we respond differently?
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
In such cases, it becomes easy to understand why a Pentecostal presence is not
always welcome and these Roman Catholics treat them as members of some
"sect" with all the negative connotations that term carries. Other Roman
Catholics, especially those who have entered into Charismatic Renewal have
many good things to say on behalf of Pentecostals. Whose voice is the more
valuable and why is that the case?
Most systems of justice demand not that the persecuted become the judge, for
that would result in vigilante justice, but they require that a third party, a neutral
party, be asked to step in to ensure a fair hearing. Most systems ofjustice require
that testimony be given both by the party that claims to be persecuted and the
party that has allegedly engaged in persecution. Might it not be possible to hear
testimony from both parties, allow them each to define themselves, and then
arrive at a decision? It is a position somewhat like this that the lntemational
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue has taken.
The Roman Catholic Church claims not only that it is a Christian Church, but
also that the Church subsists (subsistit) in the Catholic Church.' 1 recognize that
this language is difficult for us as Pentecostals to accept, but it is a major shift
from the pre-Vatican I1 position in which the Roman Catholic Church tended to
view itself as being the Church.'
This shifi has made possible the far-reaching recognition in Lumen Gentium 15.
The Church knows that she is joined in may ways to the
baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but who do
not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not
preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.
For there are many who hold sacred scripture in honor as a rule
of faith and of life, who have a sincere religious zeal, who
lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the
Son of God and the Saviour, who are sealed by baptism which
unites them to Christ, and who indeed recognize and receive
other sacraments in their own Churches or ecclesiastical
communities .These Christians are indeed in some real way
joined to us in the Holy Spirit for, by his gifts and graces, his
sanctifying power is also active in them and he has
strengthened some of them even to the shedding of their blood.
And so the Spirit stirs up desires and actions in all of Christ's
' Lumen Gentium [Dogmatic Constitution on the Church] f 8 reads, "The Church, constituted
and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is
governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless,
many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines."
' See the encyclical of Pius XI, Moratalium Animos.
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dia1ogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
disciples in order that all may be peaceably united as Christ
ordained, in one flock under one shepherd.
Clearly, most Pentecostals do not place the same value on baptism that the
Roman Catholic Church does,' but what is important to note is the willingness of
Rome to recognize the legitimacy of our claim to be Christian, and their openness
to recognize that there already exists a spiritual reality that joins us even as it
notes the impulse for greater cooperation that is stirred up by the Holy Spirit.
Besides, i t is no different from some of the exclusive claims that certain
Pentecostals in the United States have made.'
ASSUMPTION 5
The Roman Catholic Church is a Christian Church and, therefore, its
members should be treated as Christian brothers and sisters just as we
would treat our own.
On what basis can 1 make such a claim? I make it on the basis that the Roman
Catholic Church confesses that Jesus is Savior and Lord. It does so each time it
gathers in community when it confesses its belief in the content or reality
represented in the words of the historic Creeds.' But what does that mean? Many
' Cf. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. and Jeny L. Sandidge, "The Ecclesiology of Koinonia and Baptism:
A Pentecostal Perspective," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 273 (summer, 1990), 504-534.
' A. J. Tomlinson, General Overseer of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), and later the
founder of the Church of God of Prophecy, for instance, held to an exclusivist position on the
issue of ecclesiology. Cf. A. J. Tomlinson, Z%eLost Great Conflict (Cleveland, TN: Press of
Walter E. Rodgers, 1913), 144-172; Lillie Duggar, A. J. Tomlinson: Former General Overseer
of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN: White Wing Publishing House, 1964), 725-73 1.
' 1 think here particularly of the Nicene-ConstantinopolitanCreed, though the Apostles' Creed
and other ecumenical creeds would work equally well.
"We believe in one God, the Father, All-sovereign, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things,
visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of
the Father before all the ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one
substance with the Father. Through whom all things were made: who for us men and for our
salvation came down from the heavens; and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin
Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate: and suffered and was
buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; -and ascended into the
heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And cometh again with glory to judge
living and dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and
the Life-giver, that proceedeth from the Father. Who, with Father and Son is worshipped
together and glorified together, who spake through the prophets: In one, holy catholic &d
Apostolic Church: We acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a
resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come." Translation from Henry Bettenson,
Ed., Documents of the Christian Church (London, England: Oxford University Press, 1943,
1963, rpt. 1967), 26.
17
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
of you will know about the recent release of the document titled Dominus Iesus.
It was intended to be an internal document to provide clear boundaries that the
bishops of the Roman Catholic Church could use as they seek to provide
leadership on the important issue of interreligious dialogue. The document
created quite a stir within the broader Protestant community for various
ecumenical reasons. It also raised questions for members of other religions about
the nature of Roman Catholic interests in interreligious dialogue. While we
certainly take issue with the position adopted in the document vis- -vis the
Roman Catholic doctrine of ecclesiology -though that position is consistent with
what was adopted at the Second Vatican Council - the Christology of Dominus
Iesus is clearly consistent with our own. Listen to the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith as it speaks of Jesus.
The Church's universal mission is born from the command of
Jesus Christ and is fulfilled in the course of the centuries in the
proclamation of the mystery of God, Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit, and the mystery of the incarnation of the Son, as saving
event for all humanity.'
As a remedy for this relativistic mentality, which is becoming
ever more common, it is necessary above all to reassert the
definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus
Christ. In fact, it must be firmly believed that, in the mystery
of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, who is "the way, the
truth, and the life" (Jn. 14:6), the fill revelation of divine truth
is given: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one
knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son
wishes to reveal him" (Mt. 11:27); ''No one has ever seen God;
God the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has
revealed him" (Jn. 1:18); "For in Christ the whole fullness of
divinity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9-lo).*
Ecumenical discussion between Roman Catholics and Lutherans over the past
three decades has also led to clarifications on the issue of "justification by faith,"
by which both the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation
arrived at a consensus. While they did not lift the condemnations of earlier
centuries, they did come to the common confession that "By grace alone, in faith
in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted
by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and
I
Dominus lesus, 1 .
' Dominus lesus, 5 .
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
calling us to good works."'
It is not, therefore, surprising to find that language consistent with this confession
is used in Dominus Iesus,
The proper response to God's revelation is "the obedience of
faith" (Rom. 16:26; cf. Rom. 1:5; 2 Cor. 10:5-6) by which man
freely entrusts his entire self to God, offering "the full.
submission of intellect and will to God who reveals" and freely
assenting to the revelation given by him". Faith is a gift of
grace: "in order to have faith, the grace of God must come first
and give assistance; there must also be the interior helps of the
Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who
opens the eyes of the mind and gives "to everyone joy and ease
in assenting to and believing in the truth'."'
In light of such statements, is there any reason to argue that the Roman Catholic
Church is any less "Christian" than are our Pentecostal churches? It may be the
case that there are people who claim to be Roman Catholic who do not adhere to
such statements. But how does that differ from the Pentecostal situation? In each
case, the individual needs once again to be confronted with what our churches
understand to be the Gospel. But in no case are we at liberty to argue that our
Pentecostal churches are Christian and the Roman Catholic Church is not. To do
so is to raise grave questions regarding what constitutes Christianity.
ASSUMPTION 6
Dialogue between Christians is something that can enable us to "maintain
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
The International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue came into being when
David du Plessis contacted John Cardinal Willebrands in 1970 and asked that
such a dialogue be established under the auspices of the then Secretariat (now the
Pontifical Council) for Promoting Christian Unity, of which Cardinal
Willebrands was President. A small, exploratory discussion was held in
September 1970, a second one was held in June 1971 and a third one was
convened in October later that year. The first series of discussions began in
I "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification," IS, in Jeffrey Gros, Harding Meyer, and
William G. Rusch, Eds, Growth in Agreement II: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical
Conversations on a World Level, 1982-1998, Faith and Order Paper No. 187 (Geneva,
Switzerland: WCC Publications I Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 2000), 568-569.
Dominus lesus, 7 . Cf. Verbum Dei [Dogmatic Constitution on the Word of God], 5.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association. Vol. XXI, 2001
1972, and ran through 1976.'
Because of political considerations within classical Pentecostal circles
surrounding the status of David du Plessis at the time, the Dialogue was begun in
an unequal way. The team convened by the Secretariat was formally selected and
answerable to the Roman Catholic Church. No Pentecostal body selected the
team that represented Pentecostal and Charismatic interests, nor was it
answerable to any such body. They were not interested in doing so. The
Dialogue came into being with a team of interested individuals that David du
Plessis personally chose, a team that included a few classical Pentecostals such as
Russell P. Spittler (Assemblies of God), F. A. H lscher and F. P. M ller
(Apostolic Faith Mission, South Africa), John McTernan (International
Evangelical Church), and John Meares (Evangel Temple) and several prominent
leaders in the charismatic renewal. In this latter category were such people as Fr.
Michael Harper (at that time an Anglican, now Orthodox), J. Rodrnan Williams
(Presbyterian), Larry Christenson (Lutheran), Fr. Athanasios Emmert (Orthodox),
and Jean-Daniel Fischer (French Ref~rmed).~
From the beginning, the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue has
had a unique place among the dialogues into which the Roman Catholic Church
has entered. In 1977, members of the Dialogue announced together,
The clialogue has a special character. The bilateral
conversations which the Roman Catholic Church undertakes
with many world communions (e.g., the Anglican Communion,
the Lutheran World Federation, etc.) are prepared to consider
' All four reports of the Dialogue have been published in Jeffiey Gros, FSC, Harding Meyer,
and William G. Rusch, Eds, Growth in Agreement 11: Reports and Agreed Statements of
Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982-1998, Faith and Order Paper No. 187
(Geneva, Switzerland: WCC Publications / Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 2000), 713-779. For major historical and theological assessments of the Dialogue,
see Arnold Bittlinger, Papst und Pfingstler: Der r misch Katholische-pflingstlicheDialog und
seine kumenische Relevaru (SIHC 16, Frankhrt am Main: Peter Lang, 1978) 484 pp; Jerry L.
Sandidge, Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue [1977-19821: A Study in Developing
Ecumenism Studies in the intercultural History of Christianity 16 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter
Lang, 1987) 2 volumes, 933 pp; Paul D. Lee, Pneumatological Ecclesiology in the Roman
Catholic-PentecostalDialogue: A Catholic Reading of the Third Quinquennium (1985-1989)
(Rome: Pontifica Studiorum Universitas A.S. Thoma Ag. in Urbe, 1994), 364 pp.; Veli-Matti
K rkk inen, Spiritus ubi vult spirat: Pneumatology in Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue
(1972-1989) (SLAG 42, Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Society, 1998), 509 pp. and Veli-Matti
K rkk inen, Ad ultin~umterrae: Evangelization, Proselytism and Common Witness in the
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue (1990-1997). (SIHC 117, Frankfurt am Main, Peter
Lang, 1999), 28 1 pp.
' Jerry L. Sandidge, Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue [l977-1982]: A Study in Developing
Ecumenism Studies in the Intercultural History of Christianity 44 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter
Lang, 1987), 78-79.
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dia1ogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
problems concerning church structures and ecclesiology and
have organic unity as a goal or at least envisage some kind of
eventual structural unity. This dialogue has not. Its purpose
has been that "prayer, spirituality and theological reflection be
a shared concern at the international level in the form of a
dialogue .
The dialogue has sought "to explore the life and spiritual
experience of Christians and the churches", "to give special
attention to the meaning of the church of fullness of life in the
Holy Spirit", attending to "both the experiential and theological
dimensions of that life. "Through such dialogue" those who
participate "hope to share in the reality of the mystery of Christ
and the church, to build a united testimony, to indicate in what
manner the sharing of truth makes it possible to grow
together.
Certain areas of doctrinal agreement have been looked at with a
view to eliminating mutual misunderstandings. At the same
time, there has been no attempt to minimize points of real
divergence .'
Since that time, the character of the International Dialogue has not changed.' In
the most recent report issued by the Dialogue, participants made much the same
point:
The unity of the church is a concern for Pentecostals and
~atholics-alike. The particular purpose of these discussions is
to develop a climate of mutual respect and understanding in
matters of faith and practice, to find points of genuine
agreement as well as indicate areas in which further dialogue is
required.
' "Final Report, 1972-1976," 4-6, in Jeffrey Gros, FSC, Harding Meyer, and William G. Rusch,
Eds, Growth in Agreement 11: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on
a World Level, 1982-1998, Faith and Order Paper No. 187 (Geneva, Switzerland: WCC
Publications / Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 713.
"Final Report, 1977-1982,2-3, in " Jeffrey Gros, FSC, Harding Meyer, and William G. Rusch,
Eds, Growth in Agreement 11: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on
a World Level, 1982-1998, Faith and Order Paper No. 187 (Geneva, Switzerland: WCC
Publications / Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 721, and
"Perspectives on Koinonia 1985-1989," 5, in Jeffrey Gros, FSC, Harding Meyer, and William
G. Rusch, Eds, Growth in Agreement 11: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical
Conversations on a World Level, 1982-1998, Faith and Order Paper No. 187 (Geneva,
Switzerland: WCC Publications 1 Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 2000), 735.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
The goal is not structural unity, but rather the fostering of this
respect and mutual understanding between the Catholic church
and classical Pentecostal groups.'
What has changed through the years is the list of participants. Following its
initial round of discussions, the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity spoke
with the Pentecostal Steering Committee and asked that the Pentecostal team be
reconfigured. The Roman Catholic Church was not interested in speaking to
Charismatic Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Orthodox, or French Reformed
believers apart from their own specific contexts. And the Pontifical Council
made it clear that it entered into dialogue with Pentecostals because it wanted to
speak with classical Pentecostals. Beginning in 1978, therefore, the Pentecostal
team invited only members of classical Pentecostal churches and did not include
members of the charismatic renewal within the historic churches. Since that time,
a small leadership core has attempted to draw paties from throughout the world
that are able to enter into theological discussion. On the whole, this method has
worked well, though there are some major problems yet to be resolved, such as
better representation from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and women as well as
men.
It should be recognized that this Dialogue has always received official support
and representation from the Roman Catholic Church. This is still not the case
among the Pentecostals. A few Pentecostal groups, however, have embraced this
Dialogue and its work in recent years. Among them are the Apostolic Faith
Mission (South Africa), the International Evangelical Church, the International
Church of the Foursquare Gospel, the Open Bible Standard Churches, the
Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the Church of God of Prophecy, the Mission
lglesia Pentecostal in Chile, and at the level of official observers, the
Broederschap van Pinkstergemeenten of the Netherlands.
Others have sent official participants from time to time (e.g. Church of God
(Cleveland, TN), Pentecostal Holiness, Church of God in Christ), but have not
done so in recent years. Still others have asked not to be identified because of
concerns they have about how some of their people might respond. Some have
chosen to treat the Dialogue with benign neglect. Still others, such as some of
my sisters and brothers in the Assemblies of God, continue to work tirelessly to
put an end to the Dialogue by calling for the discipline of its participants or
suppressing news of its work among their constituents. As a result, some
' "Evangelization, Proselytism and Common Witness, 1990-1997," 2, in Jefftey Gros, FSC,
Harding Meyer, and William G. Rusch, Eds, Growth in Agreement 11: Reports and Agreed
Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982-1998, Faith and Order Paper
No. 187 (Geneva, Switzerland: WCC Publications 1 Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdrnans
Publishing Company, 20001,753.
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dia1ogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
Pentecostals and even some Roman Catholics have questioned the value of the
Dialogue.
If this is to change, it is essential that Pentecostals approach dialogue with a
thorough understanding of the Roman Catholic Church from a post-Vatican II
perspective, and not merely from the stereotypes of Rome that are rooted in the
16th Century or our own personal pain. The Roman Catholic Church entered the
modem world substantially through Vatican Council 11, and the Vatican deserves
credit for the growth that the Roman Catholic Church has made. But all the
changes that are necessary to make the Dialogue more fruitful do not belong to
the Pentecostal side. Roman Catholics need to reassess how they view
Pentecostals. Some lump all Pentecostals together, place them in the larger
phenomenon of Fundamentalism, and simply write them off as members of a
"religious right." They view them as fanatics, with no theological ground on
which to stand. But are they willing to explore the beliefs and practices that
Pentecostals hold as dear?
Only this past week, I received an email from ZENIT, a daily dispatch from the
Vatican offering, according to its heading, "The World Seen from Rome." I was
disappointed to read an article titled "Sects Aiming to Influence Latin American
Politics." The dateline was Munich, Germany, April 9, 2001. It explained that
Bishop Jorge Jim nez Carvajal, President of the Latin American Bishops'
Council (CELAM), was attending meetings in Germany where he complained
that these "sects" were worrisome because they were (a) entering into Latin
American politics in large numbers and (b) they were being well financed
through a "large economic patrimony" from unnamed "U.S. -based groups."
Furthermore, it named the "Universal Church of the Kingdom of God [Sic.],"
headed by the Brazilian Edir Macedo as especially dangerous because it has
allegedly "created an astounding network of compulsory contributions from his
followers, resulting in the establishment of a veritable empire of communications
and banks in Brazil."' Bishop Carvajal went on to complain that the funding of
this Pentecostal denomination, as well as those of other so-called "sects", was
large because it was augmented by a "compulsory" tithe of lo%.'
' I know that the Church of the Universal Reign of the Kingdom of God is in many ways a
problematic representative of Pentecostalism, and as a result there are Pentecostals who would
like to distance themselves from this church. But on what basis can this legitimately be done? I
believe that so long as they claim to be Pentecostals, and they are by whatever definition we
might use these days, we cannot treat them as though they are not Pentecostal. If we believe
them to be problematic, then it is incumbent upon us to find ways to talk with them and to share
our concerns with them in order to change their behavior. But that action presumes that we will
also be open to hear their criticisms of us.
The ZENIT web page is at h t m ; l / w w w ~ The
. date and number of the article "Sects
Aiming to Influence Latin American Politics," is ZE01040921.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
A number of these claims are based in past claims, in stereotypes, and in fear and
frustration. Yet here they are once again in print! How are they best
discouraged? Is it by ignoring them? Is it by redoubling efforts to overthrow
Roman Catholic hegemony in the region? Is it by pointing out that Catholics
have too long influenced the politics in Latin America, and have veritable
communications and banking empires throughout the world? Or could both
parties be better served if the levels of rhetoric were lowered and genuine
discussions were to take place between the various parties at hand?
ASSUMPTION 7
The International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue has opened up the
possibility that Pentecostals and Roman Catholics can work through some of
their differences.
lf the Roman Catholic Church and our particular Pentecostal bodies are each
genuinely Christian bodies, it is incumbent upon us to do our best "to maintain
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." The fact that Pentecostals have not
yet learned how to talk peacefully and for the most part publicly among
themselves on such controversial topics is a sign that greater Christian love is
needed on all sides.
Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dia1ogue:Some Pentecostal Assumptions:
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.
The fruit of this Dialogue must not be expected immediately in terms of the unity
of the Church. Great patience is needed. Each side is growing in acceptance,
understanding, and respect for the other. In spite of this slow growth, recent
events in which Roman Catholic leaders have intervened on behalf of
Pentecostals, and there are several of which I have first-hand knowledge, may be
attributed in part to the foundation laid by this Dialogue. This Dialogue has led
the recently retired President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian
Unity to condemn the use of sectarian language when speaking about
Pentecostals.' Pentecostals were even invited to participate in the service opening
the great doors on the Roman basilicas (January 18, 2000), the service that
commemorated all 2oth Century Christian martyrs (May 7, 2000) on the grounds
of the Roman Coliseum, and in a service in January 2001 when prayers were
offered that God would enable the churches to manifest more examples of visible
unity. These invitations were reserved only for members of churches and
ecclesial communions not for members of "sects."
One thing is sure: the encounters provided by this Dialogue have been lessons in
spiritual growth for participants on both sides, and the fruit of their labor is only
just emerging as the Church begins her third century in the world.
Roman Catholics come to the Dialogue with more experience in theological and
ecumenical dialogue than do Pentecostals. For Pentecostals, this is a relatively
new experience, and the pool from which we can draw is fairly small. Unless we
can raise substantial funds, all participants must be fluent in English, they must
be able to finance their own travel or have access to funds from their
denomination or other sources, and they must be sufficiently knowledgeable of
the current theological position of their Dialogue partners, Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal, to be able to do the task. Most of our Pentecostal groups are, after
all, unfamiliar even with what most other Pentecostal groups believe andlor
practice.
Our pastors and denominational executives are ofien not the best people to enter
directly into such a discussion though they must be included on the team. The
reason is simple. They ofien lack the theological training that is necessary to
make headway on troublesome issues. On the whole, the cumcula of Pentecostal
schools, even Pentecostal seminaries, are lacking in basic courses in history, in
theology outside their own, and none of them offers a course designed to develop
ecumenical sensitivity. On the other hand, our pastors and leaders bring an
invaluable witness to what God has done in their lives and they bring a voice that
is representative of where their people actually live. Thus, while they may not be
well equipped to lead the way, they are well equipped to participate in substantial
ways.
'Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy, "Prolusio," Information Service 84 (19931111-IV), 122. His
Eminence wrote, "We must be careful, however, not to confuse the issue [of sects and new
religious movements] by lumping together under the term 'sect' groups that do not deserve that
title. I am not speaking here, for instance, about the evangelical movement among Protestants,
nor about Pentecostalism as such. The Pontifical Council has had fruitful dialogue and
significant contact with certain evangelical groups and with Pentecostals. Indeed, one can
speak of a mutual enrichment as a result of these contacts."
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation.
Roman Catholic and Pentecostal Perspectives:
Room for Rapprochement?
Huibert Zegwaart
INTRODUCTION'
It is common knowledge that the views of the Roman Catholic Church on
ecclesiology and those current within the Pentecostal movement are widely at
~ariance.~
Indeed, a mixture of the Presbyterian and Congregationalist models of
the Church, which are in vogue in large sections of the Pentecostal Movement,
may be regarded as the very antipode of the Episcopal model of Roman
Catholicism. The focus of this paper will not be on ecclesiology as such, but on
the relationship between ecclesiology and ~oteriology,~
as may be inferred from
the title. Before getting into the topic, a word needs to be said about the
derivation of the thesis and my own vantage point.
During the 4th phase of the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal ~ i a l o p e , '
' Paper presented at the EPTA Conference, Bucharest, Romania, April 2001.
On terminology: The term 'Pentecostal movement' is used in its narrower sense, excluding the
so-called Neo-Pentecostals, or Charismatics-within-the-historical-churches. That is to say, the
term denotes the same group as is indicated by the expression 'Classical Pentecostal Churches'
in the nomenclature of the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue.
' It hardly needs pointing out that also in this respect the Pentecostal Movement is far from
being homogenous. Pentecostals of various kinds differ over virtually every aspect of the faith,
save the belief that the biblical promise of the Baptism in the Spirit and charismatic gifts still
constitute a living reality in the life of believers. Concerning models of church-organization,
several are in use: many denominations that go under the name 'apostolic' veer towards the
Episcopalian model, while the Assemblies of God-type are mostly Presbyterian with strong
Congregationalist features.
' Or in the terminology used by Kilian McDonnell, "The Pros and Cons of Dialogue with
Roman Catholics", JPT 16 (2000), 90-101,9 1-92.
' I consider myself a staunch supporter of this type of Dialogue with other Christian
communities. Not only is it a way of working out the Lord's prayer "that all shall be one", but it
may also help alleviate mounting tensions in those regions of the world where the growth of
Pentecostal churches - as long as it still lasts is easily perceived as a threat to those Christian
bodies which are well established in that region. Thus, the strategic significance of these talks
(removal of false stereotypes and misunderstandings) should not be underestimated. Moreover,
both parties involved in these talks could benefit from the challenge that is posed by the
different theological stance that is formulated 'from the other side of the table'. Especially
Pentecostals - who do not have a long-standing tradition of sustained theological reflection could benefit from the stimulus provided by these talks.
-
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation. Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement? Huibert Zegwaart
I was an 'involved observer' at six of the eight venues.' In the first session I
attended (in Rocca di Papa [Italy] in 1992), two paradigms of evangelization
were discussed. One related to the Pentecostal Evangelization of Latin America,
the other the Roman Catholic (re-)evangelization of Europe. Of the Pentecostal
Dialogue team, only one member was European (Miroslav Volf). Though
officially an observer, I was graciously allowed to participate in the plenary
discussions as if I were a full member of the Pentecostal team. In the years
following, it occurred to me that the theological differences between the two
parties in the area of ecclesioJogy were more profound than simply two opposing
organizational models. In fact, they were more profound than simply two
alternative views of what the Church is. At several points, it occurred to me that
the difference touches the basic theological outlook of both partners in the
Dialogue.
While the theological outlook on many issues was stamped by ecclesiological
convictions on the side of the Roman Catholics, on the side of the Pentecostals it
was stamped by soteriology. In other words, ecclesiology and soteriology
function as theological prisms; the one for Catholics and the other for
Pentecostals.
This became abundantly clear whenever the issue of proselytism was on the table.
In the discussions about this thorny issue, Pentecostals were prone to consider
first of all the spiritual well-being of the individual, while Catholics were prone
to consider first of all the spiritual well-being of the community. To be sure, the
delegates of both parties would immediately claim that they do not lose sight of
the other concern; and that their purview is in fact inclusive. Granted, but the
initial concern indicates where the emphasis really lies. If the parties at the table
insufficiently recognize the prismatic significance of their respective points of
departure, and that this point of departure affects the entire theological construct,
they will inevitably misunderstand each other. If this analysis holds water, we
would do well to engage in serious theological reflection on the relationship
between Ecclesiology and Soteriology.
' Due to serious difficulties which arose over 'proselytism', two years had to be added to the six
years planned for this phase. The 4th phase, the topic of which was "Evangelization,
Proselytism and Common Witness" lasted from 1990 to 1997. To my knowledge, this had not
happened before. Also a novum of this phase was the fact that the report could not be written in
a single venue, because the delegations could not agree on the wording of some passages
(mostly dealing with - again - proselytism). And so another venue had to be added (Rome 1997)
in which the process was finally completed.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE
.
Catholic Theology is marked by a tendency towards coherence. In part, this is to
be attributed to the deductive mode of thinking that characterizes Roman Catholic
Theology; a way of thinking that goes well with the hierarchical structure of
teaching authority within Catholicism, the Magisterium.
Among the advantages of the deductive mode of thinking, which moves from the
general to the particular, is the strength of coherence. The resulting system is
harmonious and possesses beauty. A drawback is the sometimes difficult
connection with empirical reality (and with the findings of the Human Sciences,
the method of which usually proceeds according to the inductive manner of
reasoning).
Theologizing, then, is firmly embedded within the organization of the Roman
Catholic Church.' The Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church (which is
concretized in the Congregation for the Faith in Rome), oversees the whole area
of doing theology and theological education within the Roman Catholic Church.'
The importance of the Church for Catholics is hard to overstate. The Church has
been called "[...I the universal sacrament of salvation."' What follows is a brief
survey of two areas where the Church plays a major role in the economy of
salvation &ere broadly conceived as the plan of redemption: the acts of God and
the institutions He gave in order to save humanity, and indeed the whole of
creation):
The Bible: For Catholics, the Bible is the Church's book. This does not mean that
the Roman Catholic Church wants to lord over it (as was suggested in the
century), but that the community of faith forms the proper context for listening to
its message as the Word of God, and obeying the biblical injunctions. There is a
strong sense that the Bible is the product of the Church. Historically speaking, the
Bible is, of course, a literary production of the young community of faith. At the
same time, however, the NT community may be seen as the product of the
Hebrew Scriptures. The fact is that the community of faith throughout the
' This is not to suggest, that the Magisterium has tight reigns on each and every theologian, and
that they curb all room to explore new ways of theologizing. Nevertheless, the teaching
authority of the Church is sometimes experienced by thinkers as a hindrance for intellectual
freedom.
' See the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation [Dei Verbum],/ 23; and the Decree on
Ecumenism [UnitatisRedintegration], / 2 1
SO the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) / 48; and the Decree of the
Church's missionary activity (Ad Gentus Divinitus) / I. See also // 17-28 (esp. 20 and 2 I) of
"Perspectives on Koinonia", Final Report of the International Roman Catholic/Pentecostal
Dialogue (1985-1989), Pneuma 12:2 (1990): 117-142.
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation. Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement? Huibert Zegwaart
centuries was and continues to be nourished by the Scriptures.' It is the Church
(as the fellowship of believers) that interprets the Scriptures and carries its
message into the world. The conclusion is inescapable, Bible and Church belong
together - almost in a symbiotic way.' If the Bible and Church were to be set up
as two poles of a continuum, Catholics will probably lean towards stressing the
importance of the Church, while Protestants and Pentecostals are prone to stress
the importance of the Bible.
Another area where the importance of the community of faith clearly comes to
the fore is the area of the Sacraments. Pentecostals tend to forget how important
the celebration of the Sacraments - and especially the Eucharist is for Roman
Catholic spirituality. On the one hand, it is the Church that administers the
Sacraments. On the other hand, the Sacraments constitute the Church, if only
because it is through the sacraments of initiation that new members are
incorporated into the body of Christ.' Where the sacraments are administered,
there the Church is, for there the grace of the Lord is offered. In this conception,
the celebration of the sacraments and especially the Eucharist, may be regarded
as a form of evangelisation, of establishing the presence of the body of Christ in a
given place.
-
Finally, Sacramentalism is firmly embedded in the hierarchical structure of the
people of God. Only ordained priests are allowed to administer the sacraments. It
is through the partaking of the sacraments (which always presupposes faith in
Jesus Christ, and his salvific work) that salvation comes to believers.
As stated, for Catholics, the importance of the Church is hard to overstate. This
follows from the fact that the Roman Catholic Church still regards herself as
'Church' in the full sense of the word.4 For Roman Catholicism, the people of
God are the Roman Catholic Church plus other ecclesial bodies that embody
' The Bible is the source of the many traditions of the church and functions as the norm for these
traditions as they develop through the centuries within the community of faith under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit.
a See the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activify [Ad Gentus Divinitus],/ 6 .
There are three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. Formally,
this is the proper order, as the partaking in the Eucharist completes the process of initiation. In
all cases, the life of faith is the proper context for the sacraments. But the 'life of faith' is
broadly taken: the community of faith may vicariously have faith for those who cannot yet have
faith themselves, such as infants at Baptism. Also, the order of the sacraments does not translate
into a chronological order: the Eucharist is usually administered prior to Confirmation.
' The triumphalistic terminology of the 'true church' is avoided since Vaticanum II. Instead the
documents of Vaticanum II recognize the legitimacy of other (separated) churches and
communities (see Lumen Gentium, // 8 , 15; and Unitatis Redintegration,// 1,2,3, 22 23.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation. Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement? Huibert Zegwaart
elements of the reality which is the Church.' In this way, the Roman Catholic
Church, while recognizing the existence of other Churches (and thereby their
legitimacy), is able to maintain its place of primacy in her understanding herself.'
?
'Primacy' is a notion that belongs to the texture of hierarchical thinking. Within
this type of thinking, it is important that the bond with the primus the source of
authority - is maintained. Within the context of the Catholic Church, this means
that the communion with Rome is maintained and the primacy of the Pope is
recognized and honoured.' Within the logic of this hierarchical conception of the
Church, these conditions are not trivial; they are part and parcel of the Catholic
conception of what the fullness of the Church is.
-
I am well aware of the fact that the way these things are formulated here is
perhaps somewhat crude. The language in Roman Catholic documents usually
exhibits a high degree of intellectual sophistication and theological refinement,
expressing many shades of nuance. But underneath all the sophistication and
refinement, there is a deep-seated conviction: After all is said, the Roman
Catholic Church is still the mother-Church, and the other ecclesiastical
communities - at least in the West - are regarded as ~ffspring.~
That conviction is
authenticJ and commands our respect, even when we di~agree!~
When we enter
Unitatis Redintegration, / 3 .
Lumen Gentium,/ 8 and Unitatis Redintegration,/3. The word used here in Latin is subsistio
['subsists'] rather than esse ['is'], which is much stronger.
The 'primacy' of the Pope seems to be of greater importance to the operation of the Catholic
Church than the doctrine of infallibility. Is it too farfetched to suggest that this doctrine was
promulgated at the lSt Vatican Council to buttress the primacy of the Pope after the bleak years
for the papacy in the late lath century and the immense popularity since the time of the
Restoration subsequent to Napoleon's final defeat? Note that the fathers of the Second Vatican
Council recognize that ecumenism is not a veiled way of 'bringing schismatics back into the
fold': "[...I it is evident that the work of preparing and reconciling those individuals who wish
for full Catholic communion is of its nature distinct from ecumenical action" (Unitatis
Fedintegration,/ 4 ) .
See "Perspectives on KoinoniaW,/34.For this conviction, a number of reasons can be adduced
by Catholics. These include the historical continuity of the Church to the Apostles of Jesus; the
appointment of Peter as the first 'primate' o f the Church; the historical fact that the
ecclesiastical communities of Western Christianity can be shown to have branched off fiom
either the Roman Catholic Church itself or from the original break-away churches, etc.
Moreover, it is the largest religious organization on Earth.
' Pentecostals and other communities of faith in fact hold similar self-conceptions, albeit on
other grounds. The fact that in Dialogue these sorts of deep-seated convictions are confronted
and called into question fiom the other end of the table makes this endeavour dangerous in the
eyes of many.
TO be sure, this awareness is not equally strong everywhere. In the Netherlands, this
conviction is largely confined to ultra-conservative circles within the Roman Catholic Church.
As always, there is a correlation between the degree of exposure and fellowship across church
boundaries and the strength or weakness of convictions that tend to exclude 'others'.
I
upon Dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, we do well to recognize that
this conviction does play a role, if only somewhere in the background.
One more point I would like to make in this connection relates to the selfunderstanding of the Church in the fill sense of the word which does not lead to
extreme claims for herself on the part of the Roman Catholic Church.' It rather
functions as a positive affirmation, without any intention to draw negative
consequences from it. For instance, this affirmation does not lead to a denial of
the legitimacy of other Christian Churches; nor does it lead to denying that
outside of the Roman Catholic Church, people can be saved for eternit~.~
The
conclusion seems unavoidable:
Ecclesiology plays an important part in Catholic spirituality, and in Roman
Catholic theological reflection, it is prismatic, adding a marked ecclesiological
colouring to other areas of theology.
SOME PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC
PERSPECTIVE FOR THE DIALOGUE
Within the previous phase of the Dialogue, the place of the Church in the
economy of salvation cropped up in relation to several topics: evangelization and
proselytism.
In some of the discussions, the topic of evangelization turned out to be directly
linked to the issue of temtory, that is to say in relation to the presence of the
Roman Catholic Church in certain areas where Pentecostalism is growing rapidly.
In fact, in some of these areas, notably, Latin America, the Roman Catholic
Church has formed the religious establishment for centuries. To Roman
Catholics, the mere visibility of the Church in those regions, and the influence
she exercises upon culture and public life, are seen as a form of evangelization in
its own right,' to say nothing of the fact that the (daily) celebration of the
I For instance, one is careful not to draw the conclusion that "therefore the Roman Catholic
Church is the church in its fullness." Such an inference would entail the exclusion of all others;
and would entail the identification of the visible church with the invisible church on Earth.
Alternatively stated, it would entail the identification of the Roman Catholic Church with the
Kingdom of God as it exists within history. These consequences, would of course be
outrageous, and at loggerheads with the decrees of Vaticanurn I1 ("Decree on Ecumenism", and
Lumen Gentium).
' "Outside the Church there is no salvation", as the medieval adagio ran. Two terms in this
statement are the subjects of discussion:
- 'salvation': what does it mean; what is its scope?
- 'outside': this begs the question as to the boundaries of the church. Even in
medieval times, this question was discussed in relation to the realm in which the Holy Spirit
works.
' Cf. "Perspectives on Koinonia", // 9 1-93..
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
,
Eucharist in those places constitutes the presence, not only of the Church, but of
Christ Himself.' At any rate, for Catholics it is evident that people living in such
areas who do not profess to be nonCatholics or adherents of another religion are
nevertheless regarded as Catholics, irrespective of non-attendance, and lack of
commitment. In principle (if not in practice), the Roman Catholic Church accepts
pastoral responsibility for such people. At the root of this thinking lies a
conception of the Church as a people's Church. The organizational form that goes
with it would be the territorial division into parishes, dioceses and archdioceses.
Again, this type of conception coheres well with hierarchical thinking.
Another context in which the place of the Church in the economy of salvation
came to the fore is the question of proselytism. When Catholics change their
affiliation from one denomination to another (such typically Protestant language
would be repulsive to a devout Catholic), and it is the result of an evangelistic
effort by another Church, such a move will always smack of proselytism.
Irrespective of the prior level of commitment of the person involved, whether he
or she is a devout Catholic, or - as we would say - a nominal Catholic, the official
line is clear: changing Church affiliation to a Christian community other than the
Roman Catholic Church is wrong. Of course, this verdict is in line with the
Roman Catholic position on the Church. However, for Catholics, such a
conclusion would not be final, for beside the official line, there is the pastoral
approach. This is also the case here. As one of the Catholic participants to the
Dialogue said, using somewhat outdated philosophical jargon: "Objectively, such
a deed is wrong, but subjectively, it may be right."' Apparently, what he meant
was that when looking at the spiritual growth of the person changing Church
affiliation, such a step might actually constitute an act of greater commitment to
the Lord, entering upon a new phase in the life of faith, bringing further initiation
into Christian spirituality, etc. But when the eye is turned away from the person,
and turned toward matters of doctrine, Christian (here: Catholic) truth, such a
step cannot be right. With their soteriological framework, Pentecostals would
simply rejoice with the angels over the step of faith (thefides qua) taken by the
individual and they would look upon the matter of the truth of content of faith
(thejdes quae) - provided they do profess the essentials of the Christian faith rather pragmatically. This once more brings the difference between Catholics and
Pentecostal conceptions of the Church into sharp focus.
' But Kilian McDonnell, "Dialogue", 95, brings to mind the words of Archbishop Flores, who
said, that "[...I if you sacramentalize before you evangelize you are going nowhere."
' In that line, Cardinal Cassidy said: "Every church [...I should have the right to accept into its
membership those who in conscience decided that they belong there [...I. It is, after all, much
more important that a person find salvation in Christ than that he or she belongs without
conviction to any particular community" (quoted by McDonnell, "Dialogue", 99).
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation. Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement? Huibert Zegwaart
PENTECOSTAL PERSPECTIVES
Emil Brunner - not a Pentecostal of course, but a Protestant - once said that the
Church is the problem of Protestantism. Indeed, Protestantism orbits towards
ascribing salvation to the faith of the believer without mediation by the Church.'
The Protestant principles (sola gratia, sola fide, and sola scriptura) would seem
to make the Church somewhat superfluous within the economy of salvation. We
may add that this tendency is buttressed by modern individualism. Both
tendencies strongly affect Pentecostals in their attitude toward the Church. This is
revealed in their ecclesiology. "An area of Christian Theology often minimized
and taken for granted is the doctrine of the Church."' The author is right. In fact, I
know of only a few more or less integrated ecclesiologies written from a
Pentecostal perspective.' Sadly, ecclesiology is often hardly more than a more or
less systematically ordered collection of biblical passages.' More often than not,
it was developed in connection to practical concerns over leadership, or in
' Of course, this statement presupposes that this faith is faith in Christ and the atonement on the
cross.
' Michael L. Dusing, "The New Testament Church", in: Stanley M. Horton (ed.), Systematic
Theology, Springfield: Logion Press (revised edition) 1998, 525-566, 525. The Roman Catholic
Charismatic theologian Peter D. Hocken (who wrote the article on "Church, Theology of the",
in: Stanley M. Burgess, Gary B. McGee, and Patrick H. Alexander (eds.), Dictionary of
Penrecostal and Charismatic Movemena, Grand Rapids: Regency, 1988, 21 1-218) does not fail
to note the peripheral position of ecclesiology within Pentecostal confessions of faith (21 1-212).
' According to David D. Bundy (EPTA BulIetin IVl2 (1985), 56-58) probably the best the
treatment of ecclesiology from a Pentecostal point of view is Pave1 Bochian's Biserica lui
Dumnezeu "i aspecte din via a ei (Bucaresti: Cultural Penticostal, ad.). According to the
reviewer, the author of this work does not just take into account the New Testament data, but
also what he finds in his own tradition; the faith of the community and the liturgy he sees in a
pneumatological context which legitimized them as sources for theological reflection. Bochian
has an eye for the eschatological dimension of the Pentecostal faith. Finally, he manages to
avoid the individualism that often marks Pentecostal expos s on the Church. In Klaas van
Balen, Geboren uir de Geest (Ridderkerk: Van Meurs, 1995 (l1991), 11-62) an ecclesiology is
developed from the perspective of Jesus' announcement of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
This ensures a link with eschatology. Van Balen's ecclesiology revolves around diakonia (3839). Here too, the author does not fully develop his views. Moreover, church-practice and
cultural contexts are not taken up in his considerations nor is there any real dialogue with other
theological views. Thus, the book remains within what could be called a biblicistic framework.
More promising is the recent work by F.R.Moller, Kingdom of God, Church and Sacraments
(Words of Light and Life, vol. 4), Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik Publishers, 1998). Some of the most
penetrating thinking about the church was developed within the context of the International
Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue. An example would be the paper on, '"The Ecclesiology
of Koinonia and Baptism: A Pentecostal Perspective", by Cecil M. Robeck, jr. and Jeny L.
Sandidge, (59 pages) for the 1988 venue. Cf: "Perspectives on Koinonia".
' An example: In a book published by my own denomination in 1992, the chapter on
ecclesiology opens with the question "Why is the Church so imporlant?However, the whole
chapter consists of a meagre 7 pages, of which at least 60% are bible verses printed in full. J.W.
Embregts, Geloof om op te bouwen, Houten, Doom: Ezra, BPG, 1992 (pages 99-105).
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
connection with Church-growth theories, or to missiology.' Ironically, the sizable
entry on the "Theology of the Church" in the Dictionary of Pentecostal and
Churismatic Movements was written by a Catholic!' To me the situation is crystal
clear:
The development of a solid ecclesiology from a Pentecostal perspective is a
theological desideratum. But that does not exhaust the necessity. It is important
for the sustenance and further development of existing Pentecostal Churches (i.e.,
for the life of Pentecostal Churches) that they develop a keen spiritual awareness
of what the Church actually is, and spell it out in theological statements.'
Pentecostal perspectives on the Church are diverse. Hocken, too, notes that much
ecclesiological reflection has been completed within the framework of the
question of authority in the Church. Apparently, this reflection has not led to the
development of a Pentecostal position on the subject, since all traditional forms
of Church government can be found among Pentec~stals.~
Because of the strong
restorationist' stance, there is an immediate reference back to the New Testament
passages. As in so many official Catholic documents, proof-texting seems to be
the favoured method of interpreting scripture in Pentecostal documents. It can
only be hoped that the authors who do this are sufficiently aware of the danger of
reading back modem Church practices and convictions into texts stemming from
another period that were written for purposes other than formulating a body of
doctrines.
Traditionally, ecclesiological reflection has been far removed from the
theological centre of Pentecostalism. The overriding theological categories of
Pentecostal Theology rather stem from soteriology and not from eccle~iology.~
The salvation of (individual) believers is the central concern for Pentecostals. In
this line, the Church is typically seen as an assembly of 'born-again' (and
preferably 'Spirit-filled') believers. The reasons for organizing local assemblies
were more often than not pragmatic: since the experience of the baptism with the
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation. Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement? Huibert Zegwaart
Holy Spirit was not embraced by the existing denominations' and Early
Pentecostals were often expelled from the churches they loved and sought to
revive, Pentecostal congregations were formed for pastoral and practical reasons.'
This pattern is also in evidence when it comes to the formation of national
denominations. Practical concerns, rather than theological ones dominate here.
Within the Pentecostal tradition, theological reflection does not typically stand on
its own. It is often a response to practical issues that arise. Thus, ecclesiological
reflection largely takes place in the context of problems over Church leadership.
Hence, theological reflection largely focuses on questions of Church government.
The positions adopted are usually those current in Evangeli~alism.~
That means
that the views of the Church current within Pentecostalism are mostly inherited,
and not "h~megrown".~
PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES OF PENTECOSTAL VIEWS ON THE
CHURCH
Having established the peripheral nature of theological reflection upon the
Church within Pentecostalism and that its content is by and large inherited from
elsewhere, we need not concern ourselves here with specific contents. Instead, we
can turn to issues connected to ecclesiology, such as evangelization and missions;
proselytism; the invisible Church; and the priesthood of all believers.
The question of evangelization and missions have from the earliest times onward
ranked high on the priority list of Pentecostals.' Unlike Catholics, who for a
sizable part of their history of missions, came on the bandwagon of conquerors
and victors, often building Churches and establishing some form of official
presence of the Church before there were actual ~onverts,~
Pentecostals often
' The exception would be the Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy both of which
have their headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Thus, in Amsterdam, Genit Polman postponed the introduction of church membership until
1925; that is some twenty years after the formation of the congregation. See Cees van der Laan,
' Melvin L. Hodges, A Theology of the Church and its Mission; A Pentecostal Perspective,
Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1977.
' Hocken, "Church", 21 1-215,217-218.
If only to avoid falling prey to management theories borrowed from secular business-science.
' See Hocken, "Church",213.
"his characterization is also used by Harold D. Hunter, "'Wij zijn de kerk': nieuw congregationalisme. De visie van de Pinksterbeweging", Concilum W t e r b e w a ) 1996-3: 21-26
(American Edition: J rgen Moltman, Karl Josef Kuschel (eds.), Pentecostal Movements as an
Ecumenical Challenge, Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1996), 22. Also noted by Hocken, "Church",
212-213.
AS far as I can see, pneumatology in this connection does not occupy this prismatic place.
Pneumatology is rather built upon a soteriological basis.
De Spade Regen, Geboorte en groei van de Pinsterbeweging in Nederland, 1907-1930.
Kampen: Kok, 1989, 158-159.
' Thus, Dusing, "New Testament Church"(whocannot be accused of being original in any way)
refers most often to Millard J. Erickson's Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book
House, 1985).
' Hocken, "Church" 2 12, notes that it is in situations of oppression that Pentecostalism produced
its most original ecclesiological reflections.
Charles Parham saw the gift of tongues as a way for missionaries to circumvent the period of
arduous language-training. See Cees van der Laan, "Honderd jaar Pinksteren?', Parakleet 77
(2001), 3-9.
We may never forget, however, that the Catholic missionary effort was rich and varied in its
strategies. Next to practices of conversion by coercion, there is true sacrificial heroism. See
Stephen Neill's A History of Christian Missions (Pelican History of the Church, 6),
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964, 176-209,397-449.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
focused on the simple folk, working with individuals. Pentecostal missionary
strategies often centered on individuals, or on a single family in what usually
were hostile environments. These individuals or this family was typically
regarded as the nucleus of a potential Church, a 'congregation-in-becoming' in a
given town or village. Whether such strategies were (and are) wholly in keeping
with Pentecostal soteriology, which lays so much worth on the invisible Church
of which the local congregation is the visible manifestation or with the initial
vision of the founding fathers at the Azusa Street Mission, which saw
Pentecostalism as a blessing for the existing denominations, is one of those
questions that a critical theological reflection must answer.
Generally speaking, Pentecostals see evangelization not so much in the
establishment of a local congregation, but rather the reverse: Church planting is
seen in the development of evangelisation.' The same orientation shows up in
relation to the vexed question of proselytism. It is beyond question that for
Pentecostals, nominal Christians are (just like unbelievers) 'fair play' for
evangelistic outreach. In this respect, Pentecostals and Catholics were
diametrically opposed to each other in the Dialogue. The fact that they could
come up with a common document on the issue at all is a testimony to the good
will of both Dialogue partners. In my opinion, the fact that this document shows a
road that both communities can traverse in this matter only adds weight to that
testimopy.
The soteriological framework of Pentecostal ecclesiology coheres with the
Pentecostal predilection for the invisible Church. This stress on the invisible
Church can serve as a safeguard against sectarianism for it enables Pentecostals
to affirm the presence of true believers in other denominations. On the other
hand, it facilitates the easy acceptance of denominationalism.' And this is an
ambiguous factor when it comes to theological reflection on the Church. On the
one hand, it leads to a positive attitude toward Christians belonging to other
Churches. But it also lends a false aura of legitimacy to the many schisms and
splits that exist within Pentecostalism. A pertinent question arises in that
connection: What could the correlation be between the apparent lack of a
' This is evident in the statement of purpose of D.A.W.N. (discipling a whole nation). Through'
Youth with a Mission, this organization has its roots in Pentecostalism.
I once witnessed a crass example of what denominationalism leads to. In the wake of the John
Wimber campaigns in the Netherlands, some ten years ago, despite disclaimers, 'Vineyard' was
introduced in the Netherlands as a denomination. I was present when this was done. The main
speaker at the installation of the national leader managed to present the introduction of yet
another Christian group in the Netherlands as an opportunity to celebrate the many facets of
God's love. He admonished the existing denominations to welcome the newcomer, and he
added that if they would not, they would actually limit God in the many ways he wants to
manifest his love toward people.
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation. Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement? Huibert Zegwaart
formulated doctrine of the Church and the many splits within ~entecostalism?'
Denominationalism is unhealthy as it leads to an unduly relativistic attitude
toward the divisions that tear up the Church of Jesus Christ, who in a moving
passage is portrayed by the Fourth Evangelist as praying to the Father "that they
all may be one", just as He Himself is one with his Heavenly Father (John 17).2
Denominationalism smoothes over our many (non-theological) differences, and
perpetuates the existing situation of division within the ranks of Christianity.' As
one representative of the Vatican poignantly remarked in one of the sessions:
"Pentecostals do share in the Protestant culture of division." Note that expression:
a culture of division. I fear, that we have become accustomed to a serious ailment
of the Church!
A step in the right direction is the wholehearted participation of a growing
number of Pentecostal leaders in various interdenominational councils and
organizations. Although this is a step in the right direction, it should not blind us
to the existing division. For if it does, what it will add up to is the illusion of
unity.
In Holland, there now is a trend to speak about 'an ecumenism of the heart' in
contradistinction to the ecumenical movement, which aspires to visible, structural
unity. But one has to ask here: Can the desire for Christian unity be content with
a form of ecumenism that perpetuates division within the one Body of Christ?
Must an 'ecumenism of the heart', which is sensitive to the heartbeat of Christ, in
the end not lead to a form of ecumenism that does not stop before some kind of
visible unity is achieved?
Will the Pentecostals be able to realize the original vision of the founding fathers
of the movement, who dreamed of the unification of all believers through the
bond of the Spirit in the salvific work of Christ, according to the expressed
purpose of the Father, whose eternal intention it was to gather a people for
Himself? In the Azusa Street Mission, impossible barriers were taken down:
' "Perspectives on Koinonia",/35 notes the same connection.
' Cecil M. Robeck ("Pentecostals and Ecumenism in a Pluralistic World (original typescript -
1997), 5) puts it this way: " [...I the Pentecostal Movement has managed, in just less than a
century to produce nearly as many different splits as it took the rest of the Church a millennium
to produce." Cited by Zegwaart in the comments from a Pentecostal Perspective to the papers
presented at a congress around the theme " One Lord, one Spirit, one body" at the Free
University of Amsterdam (3 march 1998) Bulletin voor Charismatische Theologie, 38-45, note
1.
' The Pauline body-imagery and the later image of the militia Christi (among others employed
by Desiderius Erasmus) put the problem of the divisions in the Church into sharp focus.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
those between the races.' Perhaps it was the reality of American society of the
second decade of the last Century that suggested to the pragmatic policy-makers
that founded the first Pentecostal denominations that these bamers should for
purely practical reasons be reinstated.' The fact is that the formation of the
Pentecostal denominations that were formed in that period were all organized
along racial lines. No doubt this did not happen out of some sinful principle (the
supposed superiority of the white race), but because they felt that interracial ties
hampered the purpose of spreading the Gospel in an American society which was
dominated by white people. Whatever the motivation, it led to the reinstatement
of a huge dividing wall, and it constituted a break with the original vision of the
Azusa Street Mission revival. This barrier - like all other such bamers - resisted
demolition for many decades.
A last aspect to be considered at is the stress on the priesthood of all believers,
which is dear to all Protestants. This notion harmonizes well with the Pentecostal
stress on individual salvation and with the conception of the Church as an
assembly of true believers. This in turn squares well with the egalitarian note of
the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an equipping of the saints for living a Christian
life in the present world.
A curious antithesis may be observed here. The egalitarian character of so many
aspects of the Pentecostal conception of the Church stands in stark contrast to the
rather high degree of clericalization of many Pentecostal denominations. To be
eligible for many functions in Pentecostal denominations, recognition as a (lay)
minister is required. In that sense, many Pentecostal denominations are closer to
the authority structure of the Roman Catholic Church.' This tension between
theory and practice, I believe, should set Pentecostal theologians to thinking
about what the Church is.
CONCLUDING REMARKS: ROOM FOR CONVERGENCE?
Catholics and Pentecostals differ radically in their conception of the Church, so
much so that one Catholic delegate once confided to me outside of the plenary
' See D.T. Irvin, "'Drawing all Together in One Bond of Love': The Ecumenical Vision o f
William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival", in Journal ofPentecostal Theology 6 April
1995,25-53.
' Robeck, "Pentecostals and Ecumenism", 7. From the text of the "Preamble and Resolution of
Constitution" in the Minutes of the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United
States ofAmerica, Canado and Foreign Lank held at Hot Springs, Arkansas, April 2-12, 1914
(in: W.W. Menzies, Anointed to Serve, Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1971, 99-loo), it
is clear that pragmatic consideration played a major role in the formation of the Assemblies of
God.
This is also noted by Hunter, "'Wij zijn de kerk"', 22-23.
The Place of the Church in the Economy of Salvation. Roman Catholic and
Pentecostal Perspectives: Room for Rapprochement? Huibert Zegwaart
Dialogue session that Pentecostals really have no idea as to what the Church
really is. If this judgment is correct, it would be a sad comment. Hocken, in his
article on the "Theology of the Church is much milder in his assessment. He
notes developments that indicate an increasing readiness among Pentecostals to
work out an authentic doctrine of the Church.' This, it would seem, is imperative
also for the consolidation of the growth of the past decades. The CatholicPentecostal Dialogue, as well as the Dialogue with the World Alliance of
Reformed Churches (WARC) that started in 1995, provides ample opportunity to
do so.
-
But is there - in view of the enormous differences any room for rapprochement?
It would seem so! Serious theological reflection on the Church in relation to other
areas of Pentecostal theological reflection is still in its infancy. This means that
Pentecostals will have to put up a sustained effort to develop an ecclesiology
which is faithful to the biblical record, to the various theological traditions within
Christianity, to the experience of the Spirit in the lives of individual believers and
in the people of God, and - not least - to the original vision of the Founding
Fathers of the Movement. It may be clear that this calls for a concerted effort, not
of one or two ecclesiologists, but of a whole group of Pentecostal theologians in
various denominations, who interact with each other intensively.
Harold Hunter lays down what he feels should be the basic tenets of such a
Pentecostal ecclesiology. These sound surprisingly Catholic. A reliable
ecclesiology, he thinks, must be in line with the characteristics laid down by the
councils of Nicea and Chalcedon, which saw the Church as One, Catholic, Holy
and ~postolic.'
This brings the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue within view
once more.' Precisely because the Roman Catholic Church is so strong in the area
of ecclesiology, Pentecostals,despite the fact that the overriding theological
categories stem from soteriology, can listen critically to what Catholics have to
say about this matter and learn from them. Not that I would want Pentecostals to
swallow the whole of Catholic ecclesiology. On the contrary, they have to have
their own theological criteria for what is worth incorporating and what may better
be left aside. However, these criteria, I am convinced, will turn out to be
primarily shaped by soteriological categories in conjunction with categories that
' One of the developments, he singles out, that contributes to a raised consciousness of the need
to reflect on the theology of the Church is the Catholic Pentecostal Dialogue.
' Hunter, "'Wij zijn de kerk"', 26.
It would seem to me that the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue would benefit
from a separate round on the place of the Church in the economy of salvation, as it will provide
a good context for articulating some of our most fundamental differences.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association,Vol. XXI, 2001
have their proper locus in pneumatology.'
On that theological basis, Pentecostals will be able to formulate an ecclesiology
that will not remain alien to Pentecostal spirituality but that may actually
contribute to the spiritual well-being of Pentecostal Churches.
Pentecostalism, Past, Present and Future
Interview with Walter Hollenweger by Neil Hudson
Professor Walter Hollenweger needs no introduction to any within Pentecostal
scholarship. For years, his was one of the very few voices within academic
circles demonstrating the vitality and significance of Pentecostalism - both in
terms of its spirituality and its potential contribution to the wider Christian
Church and its theology. We approached Professor Hollenweger with a series of
questions for him to answer. He did so in his usual courteous manner, providing
some provocative comments that reflect his fifty years of study and observation.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF HIS LIFE AND CAREER
Walter Hollenweger was born in Antwerp in 1927. Although his first
employment was as a bank clerk in the Stock Exchange in Zurich, in time he
became a Pentecostal pastor. After engaging in theological studies in Zurich and
Basel, he received his Dr. Theol. in 1966 for his investigations into
Pentecostalism. Between 1965-71, he was the Executive Secretary for the World
Council of Churches in Geneva; in 1971, he was appointed Professor of Mission
at the University of Birmingham. During his 18 years in that post, he became a
focal point for Pentecostals wanting to engage in academic research. Since 1989,
he has lived in Switzerland, writing and engaged in education. He has been
married to Erica (nee Buslinger) since 1951. At present, Lynne Pierce is working
on a theological biography that will be published by Sheffield Academic Press.
After a lifetime of studying Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, what are the
characteristics of the movement that have impressed you the most?
With many other observers I am impressed by the vitality of Pentecostalism, its
theological, ethical and cultural pluralism. In the last years, the beginning of a
rigorous theological reflection and revision of their own theology and
historiography have forced me to revisit Pentecostalism and to correct some of
my early judgements. In my opinion, self-critical reflection is always a mark of
spirituality. However, so far I have not noticed many echoes to this revised
evaluation.
'It goes without saying, that these criteria must fully accord with what the New Testament has
to say about the Church.
At present, the West is facing changes in the type of spirituality on offer and
having to contend with the rapid diminution of the established church. Do you
feel that Pentecostalism will be able to survive within this context, and more
particularly are there key elements within Pentecostalism that will enable the
churches to not only survive but thrive in this culture ofpostmodernism?
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
Pentecostalism, Past, Present and Future
Interview with Walter Hollenweger by Neil Hudson
In a sense, Pentecostalism is a postmodern movement. It has democratised
theology and liturgy. By doing so, it has contributed to an erosion of the so-called
Christian West. This Christian West was mainly based on a feudal structure, both
in the Catholic and the Protestant church. When this feudal structure collapsed,
the established churches were in trouble. They tried to replace the feudal structure
by a structure of theological propositions. That was always certain to fail.
it is not a timetable drawn from Revelation and Daniel. Such an eschatology ends
in a sterile time-table eschatology with no spiritual content. This can be clearly
shown by the eschatologies of Seventh Day Adventists or of the Jehovah's
Witnesses. Reading many of the interpretations of Revelation produced during
the last war or during the Stalin era makes one realise that they were not only
slightly mistaken but were actually fbndamentally wrong.
If Pentecostalism is to survive in Western Europe, it should stop aping the
established churches by seeking refuge in a so-called kernel of propositional
faith. On the contrary, it should strengthen its own means of coherence, that is the
story of Jesus in its many forms and shapes, since the New Testament has at least
five stories of Jesus (the Gospels and Paul). All attempts at systematising these
different stories, without the help of authoritarian church structures, have so far
failed.
The alternative is not to dismiss eschatology. We need an eschatology which
believes that God will not give up on his creation or his church. We need to
believe that, in his time, God will put right what men and women have put
wrong; that he will not allow creation and his plan of salvation to go bust with, or
without, our co-operation.
Early Pentecostals were characterised by an overwhelming emphasis upon an
imminent eschatology. This has now diminished. I s this significant for the
ongoing development of Pentecostalism or will it be able to recapture this early
Adventist enthusiasm?
Early Pent,ecostals published periodicals for twenty or thirty years with titles such
as "The Bridal Call", "I am Coming Soon", "The Last Trumpet".
Understandably, these titles have disappeared together with the underlying
emphasis upon an imminent eschatology. We find a similar development in the
New Testament. Jesus himself expected the kingdom of God during his lifetime
or shortly thereafter. He was disappointed and had to face the cross. Paul and his
friends also expected the parousia to be "around the corner" during their lifetime.
When these hopes proved to be wrong, the synoptic gospels postponed the
kingdom of God but did not give it up. John, the evangelist, changed the
emphasis. For him, the kingdom of God was not mainly in the future but in the
present time. Those who believe already have "life eternal". Those who do not
believe are missing not only "life eternal" but life altogether. However, during a
cruel persecution, Revelation rekindled the hope of an imminent kingdom of God
that would put an end to the brutal regime of the Romans.
What can we learn from this? It is my conviction that no church and no theology
can survive without eschatology. Early Pentecostal eschatology was based on the
naive understanding that the biblical texts, in particular, Revelation were written
for us. Even a casual reading of the biblical texts shows us that this is not the
case. Revelation, for instance, was written for seven congregations in distress in
Asia Minor, as the address of the book clearly shows. Also, the other biblical
texts were not written for us. None of the biblical authors ever expected their
writings to be read by an English speaking readership. English did not even exist
at that time. So the question remains: what is the eschatology of middle-class
Western European Pentecostals? I believe that there is such an eschatology. But
Many Classical Pentecostals are attempting to reassess Pentecostal doctrine
and its potential benefit for future generations. To what extent do you think
that this is significant? I n your writings, you seem to place more emphasis
upon Pentecostal spiritualiw. Is Pentecostal spirituality likely to be sufficiently
robust to survive without the "protection" of doctrinal formulation?
Doctrinal formulations have never protected spirituality from withering. If that be
the case, the Roman Catholic Church or even Jehovah's Witnesses would be the
most spiritual churches. The contrary is the case. Doctrine is emphasised when
spirituality begins to die. All churches have experienced that and it has never
worked. It was because of this approach that the Pentecostal revival at the
beginning of last century was thrown out of the churches. Another example
would be the fact that as more Catholic believers depart from Vatican theological
positions, the Pope emphasises doctrine to an even greater extent.
Theological statements must be rooted in lived spirituality. If that is not the case,
theology becomes idle. I have always believed that Pentecostals could develop a
kind of theological thinking which is not mainly based on the propositions of the
past but on the life experience of the church universal (not just my own
individual experience).
Propositional formulations within a logical system were an invention of Thomas
of Aquinas. He used the methodology of a pagan philosopher (Aristotle) to
articulate the Christian faith. That was a form of syncretism and a stroke of
genius at that time. However, it only works within a philosophical framework
that is acceptable to all. Since that time is now over and since the bible is not of a
logical nature, we have to do systematic or doctrinal theology in another form, for
example, by showing the varieties of possible articulations of Christian faith.
Perhaps the doctrinal questions of the future will be more of a series of intelligent
questions. The doctrinal debate will perhaps no longer be fixated on the possible
answers but on what are the central and vital questions. The propositions of the
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
Pentecostalism, Past, Present and Future
Interview with Walter Hollenweger by Neil Hudson
past could not even protect the spirituality of the past. How could we expect them
to protect contemporary spirituality?
that a worship event is not dominated by one person. It is rather an adventure in
fellowship with the Holy Spirit and each other.
One of the criteria of good Pentecostal theology is its focus on prayer. Can it be
prayed and sung? Can it be part of our liturgy and of our testimonies? Theologies
that do not hlfil these criteria are simply bad copies of evangelical or reformed
theology. Pentecostals believe, in order to be different. They believe, in order to
have a unique experience and mission. This must also be incarnated in the way
they do theology.
Pentecostalism and the wider Charismatic Movement could be characterized by
"waves of renewal" each with their specific emphases (one of the latest would
be the 'Toronto Blessing' and its associated phenomena). At times, this seems
to indicate a desire for constant novelty- and a fear of becoming dependent
upon tradition. I s this inevitable in movements noted for their spiritual
enthusiasm and what should one expect in the near future?
I think this is best illustrated by a prayer which was prayed during a theological
training week for Reformed and Lutheran pastors in Germany. I suggested the
need to rediscover together spontaneous prayer. That was a horror to them
because they feared the trap of religious gibberish, which is the hallmark of many
pietistic prayer meetings. Hesitatingly, they accepted and started by singing a
chorus from Taize: Adoramus te Dornine. The opening prayer went like this: 'We
worship you, 0 Lord, Adoramus, te Domine. Lord, Domine, Kyrie, Adonai, is
that the right name to address you? (there were many women pastors in the
group). Who are you? We want to know you. Are you Yahweh, a name that the
Jews dare not to pronounce? Or are you the God of Sarah and Abraham, of
Rebecca and Isaac, of Hagar and Ishmael, of Leah, Rachel and Jacob? Are you
also theAGodof Mary, the mother of Jesus, of that Jesus who was crucified and
whom you raised from the dead? Are you also the God of that strange bunch of
people, called the early disciples, who hardly ever understood their master and
quarrelled continuously? And yet, you used them to build your church. Are you
also our God? Are you also the God of atheists like Friedrich Nietzsche and
Berthold Brecht? (we had had a long discussion on Nietzsche in the previous
session). Are you also the God of the Muslim and the God of the
fundamentalists? Who are you? Can we know you and worship you?'
The phenomena associated with the 'Toronto Blessing' were well known in early
Pentecostalism, although the name is quite new. It is nothing new in
Pentecostalism, nor in any revival movement. What is new, and what is perhaps
also its snag, is the attempt to give it theological dignity. In early Pentecostalism,
falling down, laughing and weeping were acceptable side experiences. In the new
Toronto Blessing movement, these side experiences are integrated into an order
salutis.
That prayer opened the door for the pastors to express their longing for worship,
to reveal their doubts and fears, their hopes and visions. At another session, these
same pastors (men and women) had to learn how to give a personal testimony
(something almost unthinkable for a German theologian). I showed them how to
enter the room, how to make contact with the public, how to sit down, tell their
name and start the testimony with the phrase: 'I am a pastor, because,.....'.
Knowing these stiff clergy and their rejection of any spontaneous testimony, the
result was remarkable. They honestly spoke about their personal lives. They also
learned how to pray for each other. I gave them oil with which they anointed each
other in a liturgical framework and prayed for each other. In another session, they
sang in many parts, without words, in German or Latin, and without written
music. It sounded to me like Pentecostal singing in tongues.
That experience occurred, not by giving clear-cut statements, but raising hesitant
questions. To me this was a Pentecostal experience, if by "Pentecostal" we mean
Nobody can live all their life in a state of high-tension religion. If that is tried, it
becomes routinized. But the opposite is also true. Nobody can live without these
highlights in their life; one attempt at liturgically expressing this human need was
the church year. My question is: Why can't we see that spirituality has its phases
also in personal life and that not everyone must experience spirituality in exactly
the same way? I am sure that the Toronto Blessing is for many people a
break-through experience. Perhaps it loosens them and helps them to find new
resources in their life. But that is no reason for establishing a Toronto-theology
and for founding a new church. Because of its rationalism, Pentecostalism feels it
must encase contingent religious experiences in a way of salvation and thus make
them normative for everybody. There is no need for this. In fact, it is harmful,
because it strengthens what one could call Disneyland-fun-religion.
I fear the future will bring us more short-lived so-called revivals. Since we live in
a time of fast-food, immediate communication, immediate love, immediate
religion, we feel that the Holy Spirit must, according to this pattern, operate
immediately. We no longer have to wait on him (or her). If s h e does not move,
we have to move himher. Smith Wigglesworth has already said this. That comes
pretty near to manipulating the Spirit and this is the essence of paganism.
What do you believe to be the three main challengesfacing Pentecostals today,
and how optimistic are you that they can be tackled successfully?
The main challenges for Pentecostals in Western Europe and in the USA are
those which face our world, namely ecological destruction. If Hamburg, or
Amsterdam or London are flooded because of the rise in global temperature, it
does not matter very much whether the Pentecostals living there perish believing
The Journalof the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
in the initial evidence or not. However, it could make a difference whether they
practise dealing with Creation in a more spiritual manner as part of their active
sanctification.
The second challenge is the imbalance in world trade. This trade produces too
many refugees and victims. The police will not be able to hold these people
outside the frontiers of Europe. This will create worldwide social unrest. Since
Pentecostals are now in leading positions in the chemical and pharmaceutical
industries, in the military, in industry, in the banks and in the universities, their
voices will begin to count in the future. Why should they belong to those who
destroy God's creation?
The third challenge that I see is of a theological nature. What type of theological
method, what manner of doing theology corresponds to Pentecostal spirituality.
How Pentecostalism will respond to these challenges is at the moment wide open.
On a personal level, although you began your life as a Pentecostal, you left the
denomination; what do you feel is your relationship to mainstream
Pentecostalism?
I do not know anybody who could convincingly define what "mainstream Pentecostalism" i9. Is it French Pentecostalism with its co-operation within the French
Federation of churches or is it Dutch Pentecostalism with its attempts to move its
Bible College not only into geographical vicinity of one of the universities, but
also by integrating it partly into the university? Is it Finnish Pentecostalism with
its director of the Bible College being paid by the state and his involvement in the
Roman Catholic/Pentecostal dialogue? Is it British Pentecostalism with its rather
loose definition of "Spirit baptism" or is it Swiss Pentecostalism that shies away
from all contacts with Catholics, universities and anything which smells of
ecumenism? Of course, most Pentecostal denominations believe themselves to be
mainstream, but that is sheer propaganda. The Pentecostal policeman who
tortured Frank Chikane in South Africa thought that he was mainstream because
he was in line with the dominant apartheid regime in South Africa. Nowadays,
probably most Pentecostals will not see Frank Chikane as being representative of
mainline Pentecostalism. Since Pentecostals do not have a central authority to
decide on who is "mainstream" and who is not, the question seems unanswerable.
As to my personal relationship, 1 always wanted to be a theologian for and with
Pentecostals. Since that was not possible within Swiss Pentecostalism (although
that is changing too), the Lord provided a platform for me within the WCC and
within certain European universities, where 1 trained a considerable number of
Pentecostal theologians. 1 helped them to be taken serious in the universities and
within the WCC. With time, this has also been recognised by Pentecostals who
invite me to address them regularly. I even received "A Life Time Achievement
Award" for my research from the US Society for Pentecostal Studies. The
Pentecostalism, Past, Present and Future
Interview with Walter Hollenweger by Neil Hudson
ceremony took place at the headquarters of the US Assemblies of God, Springfield, of all places. As to my personal convictions, it is by now probably clear that
together with many Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal scholars, I feel that many of
their propositional statements are to be found wanting. However, Pentecostal
theology is changing so rapidly now, at least on the academic level, that I do not
want to stress this point.
As in all churches, the denominational hierarchies are way behind their scholars.
But that is not only a problem within Pentecostalism.
Globally, Pentecostalism has become a southern-hemisphere religion. What
does that mean for the development of Pentecostal scholarship in the future?
What do you feel will be the emphases that this shift will introduce into
mainstream European Pentecostalism?
Firstly, the times of European Pentecostal missionaries in the Third World are
over. Third World Pentecostals are better missionaries and evangelists in their
own culture than any European. The sooner Pentecostal mission societies realise
this, the better. Secondly, Pentecostal missionaries must concentrate on Europe,
on the masses of people who know nothing of Christ. But they must also
evangelise the institutions in Europe such as our big commercial enterprises and
our universities that act as if there was no God, even if some of their leading
managers are believing Christians.
Thirdly, in Paris, there are hundreds of African Pentecostal congregations. The
same is true for Belgium, England, Germany, Holland and even Switzerland.
Many of these immigrants are not Muslim but Pentecostal Christians. So far, the
relationships between these "exotic" Pentecostals and European native
Pentecostals are very weak; practically non-existent. The historical churches in
Europe seem to be much better in establishing contacts. Perhaps a Pentecostal
mission society or a Pentecostal missiologist can explain why that should be so?
The second generation of these immigrant Pentecostals will appear in our
universities. They will become leaders not only in their immigration communities
(and evangelise them); they will also become partners of the State, the
educational institutions and the media. That will shake European Pentecostals!
All of a sudden, black and brown Christians will represent European
Pentecostalism in public, because white European Pentecostals in general choose
to remain 'invisible'. Already, the only Pentecostal member church of the
Conference of European Churches is a black British Pentecostal Church. With a
few exceptions, Pentecostal member churches in the WCC are Third World
Churches; many of them African. It is therefore not astonishing that the public in
general will identify Pentecostalism with non-white Christianity.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
If European Pentecostals want to enter the public debate, they have to associate
themselves with these immigrant churches. They also have to revise their
theological programmes. They will have to rediscover their own oral theology.
That oral theology has no academic dignity is a superstition of our European
institutions for higher education. Our Lord has proved that oral culture can
become transparent for seminal theology. Why do we not follow his example and
thus help our educational institutions to become theologically and socially
relevant?
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism
Neil Hudson
When Alexander Boddy (1854-1930), vicar of All Saints, Monkwearmouth was
50 years old, he heard of the outbreak of the Welsh Revival. He visited
Tonypandy and spent time with Evan Roberts. He was so impressed with all that
he saw that on his return to Sunderland, he circulated all the local churches and
mission halls with the news of what was happening in Wales. A group of lay
people in his parish began to meet together to pray for revival to break out in their
town. Boddy was convinced that there was more to experience in the Christian
life than he had as yet encountered and was determined to seek until he found it.
BODDY'S QUEST FOR SPIRITUAL FULFILMENT
Boddy had entered into the ministry after initially having trained as a solicitor.
According to his daughter, his call to the ministry came in 1875 when he attended
the Keswick Convention. He was ordained by Bishop Lightfoot to a curacy,
assisting his father in Elwick Hall, Durham. In 1884, Lightfoot appointed him as
curate to an alcoholic vicar in a church that was on the verge of extinction. This
church was All Saints, Monkwearmouth. After the vicar died, Boddy became
vicar and began to rebuild the congregation. According to his daughter, although
he was not a brilliant preacher, his sermons were simple and helpful' and his
pastoral ministry was appreciated by the parish. In particular, he earned the
respect of the parish when he supported the miners during skirmishes with the pit
owners around the time of the strikes of 1892.'
However, Boddy was far from being a parochially minded minister during this
time. In the midst of his ministry in the parish, Boddy committed himself to
travelling, publishing his travel writings on his return.' His first extensive travels
took place after the vicar in Monkwearmouth, Rev B. Kennicott, died in 1886.
Kennicott had been an alcoholic for a long time, and although incapable of being
involved in pastoral ministry and barred by the bishop from preaching, had
refused to resign the living. Lavin suggested that Boddy's travelling occurred
whenever he felt under emotional pressure.' Whether travelling to North Africa's
Muslim shrines, or to Moscow where he met the Tsar, or cycling alone around
Palestine, he seems to have taken enormous risks, being equipped with only a
:M.V. Boddy, Alexander Boddy, 1854-1930, unpublished manuscript.
M. Taylor, Publish and be blessed, PhD Thesis, University of Birmingham, 1994,115.
' Taylor, 1 16.
' P. Lavin, Alexander Boddy. Pastor and Prophet, Sunderland: Wearside Historic Churches
Group for All Saints' PCC, 1986, 18.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
;
,
minimal grasp of foreign languages and superficial awareness of local
knowledge. However, on his return to Britain, he began to be feted as a famous
explorer. He would later reminisce, 'the world became attractive and I undertook
adventures in Africa, Russia, British Columbia, etc.'.'
Spiritually, he began to align himself openly with elements of the Holiness
Movement during this time. In 1888, he joined the Pentecostal League of Prayer
and took an active role in its development in Sunderland. On 21 September
1892, he was leading a communion service when 'the Holy Spirit in infinite love
came'. Boddy, with 'tears in eyes, [and] voice broke' felt assured that 'he had
come and that I was 'fi~lfilled' with his grace and heavenly benediction .... The
longing of my heart was satisfied; my constant prayer was answered'.' Resulting
in an overwhelming sense of being loved and being able to love, he understood
this experience to be the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as understood in Holiness
circles. However, by 1896 he had left Sunderland again to take a locum tenancy
at All Saints, Ramleh, Egypt. Lavin's view is that this placement was accepted
due to emotional pressure upon him in Sunderland. Lavin believed that 'the
indications imply that he had had a nervous breakdown. He wrote about the
'black night' he had been through'.' Boddy later testified to the difficult period
h e experienced around this time. Referring to his Baptism in the Holy Spirit, he
write, 'I have never been again on the former plane of my experience...though I
was soonled into the wilderness to be sorely tempted of the d e ~ i l ' . ~
Taylor is much more positive about Boddy's travels, indicating the value they
were to provide in the light of later developments. He suggests that his travelling
resulted in a wide ecumenical vision, the development of his literary aspirations
which found a focus in Confidence and the simple fact that he had become wellknown.' Although Taylor may be correct about the result of his travels, Lavin
may be more perceptive in providing the motivation behind the constant
travelling. In the Latter Rain Evangel, Boddy later confessed that he had been
motivated to travel 'not in order to preach Christ, but to write books of travel and
to be somewhat of an expert on the people he then s t ~ d i e d ' . ~
Boddy, before the period of overseeing the development of British
Pentecostalism, can be viewed as a restless man, struggling with periods of
depression, who, when under emotional pressure, would be likely to completely
' 'Interview with AA Boddy, Pentecostal Convention at Sunderland' (Reprinted from North
Star, Darlington, May 24, 1915), Confidence, June 1915, 107.
' A.A. Boddy, 'The Writer's Testimony', Confdence, April 1909,98.
Lavin, 34.
' A.A. Boddy, 'Some Sacred Memories', Confidence, February 1914,24.
'Taylor, 116.
Lavin, 36.
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
withdraw from his responsibilities. The emergence of the Pentecostal groups
gave him both a spiritually satisfying experience, but also, maybe, a legitimate
reason to continue his travelling.
Although he had visited Wales during the time of the Revival there, his ongoing
desire for spiritual awakening in his own life and ministry caused him to visit
Christiana (Oslo) in 1906 to meet T.B. Barratt. Boddy had heard of Pentecostal
phenomena breaking out in other parts of the world and went to Norway 'to
enquire into the Movement of the Blessed Holy Spirit' ' This visit seems to have
been the first occasion during which he heard people speaking in tongues. He
was impressed by the spirituality of the Norwegians and began to desire to speak
in tongues himself, believing that the anointing of the Spirit would cause him to
be a more effective pastor. Later he wrote, 'I stood with Evan Roberts in Paul-ofPandy (sic) [Tonypandy], but have never witnessed such scenes as those in
Norway' The meetings emphasised the place of tongues and healing in the
believer's life, particularly in light of the fact that Christ's imminent return was
expected. He wrote, 'Hands were stretched towards heaven accompanied by
enthusiastic shouts as the cry went up, 'Jesus is coming again"? Initially, Boddy
claimed to have received the Pentecostal Baptism in the Spirit on 5 March 1907,
although he was not to speak in tongues for another nine rnonth~.~
During the
summer of that year, he visited the Keswick Convention, having prepared a
special pamphlet, 'Pentecost for England', urging those attending to accept the
Pentecostal understanding of glossolalia being an authentic evidence of having
received the Spirit. This was a bold move since he himself had not yet received
the gift of tongues. In fact, at that time he only knew of six people in Britain who
had spoken in tongues; these were connected with a group meeting in Brixton.'
EARLY BRITISH PENTECOSTALS
There is an almost total paucity of information on this group meeting in Brixton.
Boddy referred to the group in the first issue of Confidence, giving them credit
for being the first Pentecostal centre in England, commenting that the 'Lord
keeps his work here pure'.6
' Boddy, 'Some sacred memories', 24.
Boddy quoted in T.B. Barratt, 'How Pentecost came to Great Britain in 1907', Redemption
Tidings, October 1933,3.
'1bid:
'A.A. Boddy, 'The Pentecostal Movement', Confidence, August 1910,194.
'Boddy was in contact with various independent groups throughout Britain due to the popularity
of his booklets on healing and Christian experience. In particular, the booklets Identification
and Health in Christ were widely read (A.A. Boddy, 'The Pentecostal Movement', Confidence,
August 1910, 194).
Confidence, April 1908, 7. There was a sermon given by Catherine Price published in the 17
October 1909 issue, 235-238, entitled 'Behold the Lamb of God'. However, no fiuther personal
information was given.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI. 2001
The group met in the home of Mr. Price, a Bank manager, who was also the
secretary of the Brixton YMCA and regularly led Bible classes.' It was in his
home that a prayer meeting for revival was initiated where the members were
encouraged to receive the fullness of the Spirit.' It was at one of these meetings
that Catherine Price began to speak in tongues.' As the first of the Brixton group
to speak in tongues, she was credited as the first in Britain in the twentieth
century to speak in tongues. She had read of people speaking in tongues overseas
when she attended a meeting in January 1907. During the prayer meeting, she
felt that she had been 'carried in the Spirit into the presence of Jesus and filled
with such unutterable joy that I could scarcely contain it, having to gasp for
breath, with tears running down my face'.' Later that evening, after the prayer
meeting had finished, she felt content, 'lying in His almighty arms like a weary
little child'. She then had a vision of Jesus on the cross; he invited her to come
towards him. As she approached him, all the darkness turned to light and she
raised her arms to praise him. At that point, she praised God in tongues,
understanding the meaning to be, 'Glory to Jesus the bleeding Lamb'. The next
morning, she was overcome with laughter and spoke in tongues again for 90
minutes.'
-
THE VISIT OF T.B. BARRATT TO SUNDERLAND
By Auguft 1908, Boddy claimed that 500 had spoken in tongues. His own
influence amongst this growing number of people can be traced to the invitation
he issued to T.B. Barratt to visit his parish in Autumn 1907. The visit lasted from
Saturday 31 August to Friday 18 October. Barratt's time was spent encouraging
the believers and holding services, at which the ovemding expectation was that
people would be filled with the Spirit and begin to speak in tongues. These
services were reminiscent of the Welsh Revival, in that they often ran on into the
early hours of the morning. After 11 days, Mary Boddy, Alexander's wife, begqn
to speak in tongues, accompanied with an exclamation of 'the blood, the blood'.
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
This emphasis on the blood of Christ, which would become contentious in later
days, was repeated when Mary's brother-in-law, James Pollock, received the gift
of tongues the following night. At that time, he prophesied, 'The prophets of the
Lord have gone astray, they have spurned the Holy Blood'.' Boddy himself,
although faithful in praying for others and encouraging them to receive the gifts
of the Spirit, did not speak in tongues until Monday, 2 December 1907. The
message in tongues was interpreted as being a potion of Psalm 103:1-31.' This
experience needed to be explained in a theological framework. Therefore, in an
attempt to hold a neat theological package, and possibly under pressure from
Barratt who had linked the reception of tongues as being the sign of having been
baptised in the Holy Spirit, he described this experience as being his Baptism in
the Holy Spirit. His previous experience in Copenhagen was described as 'a
blessed and wonderful 'baptism' of the Holy Ghost': the use of quotation marks
around 'baptism' were to indicate that it was not the baptism. Similarly, the
events of 1892 which he had previously referred to as the baptism in the Holy
Spirit were reinterpreted as being the awareness of cleansing by Jesus, his
assurance of salvation.' However, by 1916, he had again changed his views on
these earlier experiences. The epiphany in 1892 was referred to as 'my real
baptism', which was later 'corroborated by the wonderful sign of tongues, when
the Holy Ghost took control of my vocal powers'.' This lack of clarity
concerning the theology undergirding the experience was common amongst many
of the early Pentecostals.
The publication of Confidence and the hosting of the later Sunderland
Conventions charted the changing expressions of Pentecostalism in these early
days. Boddy played a pivotal role in co-ordinating British Pentecostalism from
the time Barratt first visited Sunderland to the outbreak of World War 1. His
significance cannot be overestimated.
EARLY PENTECOSTAL PUBLISHING
D. Cartwright, 'Your daughters shall prophesy. The contribution of women in early
Pentecostalism', Paper presented at Society of Pentecostal Studies, 15 November 1985,9.
' Victoty, 1, April 1908,s.
l 9 H. Sampson Wills, 'A London Chemist gives his testimony', Redemption Tidings, 1 January
1937,3.
' A Pentecost at Home (Tongues as a Sign), Testimony by a busy mother (Np, nd). This was
Price's testimony vublished as a tract. Although there is no exact date. there is internal
evidence to indicate that it was produced in ~urnmer1907.
' Her testimony was included in A.A. Boddy, 'The Pentecostal Movement', Confidence, August
1910,195.
' T.B. Barran, 'How Pentecost came to Great Britain in 1907', Redemption Tidings, October
1933,4.
Conjidence was the premier agency of news for British Pentecostals but also
allowed British Pentecostals to stay in contact with a bewildering range of newssources from overseas. The number of Confidence readers is not easy to
estimate. However, in May 1908, there were 3000 printed. By January 1910,
this had increased to 4000.$ By the following year, the numbers being printed
' Ibid.
' A.A. Boddy, 'Some sacred memories', Confidence,February 1914,25.
' A.A. Boddy, The Pentecostal Movement, Confidence,August 1910, 195.
' A.A. Boddy, 'Some sacred memories', Confidence,February 1914,24.
' A.A. Boddy, 'The Power of Prayer', Confidence,October 1916, 170.
A.A. Boddy, 'The Third Volume of Confidence', Confidence,January 1910,12.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
:
had increased to 6000.' This is a significant number of magazines in circulation.
However, Confidence was not the only publication. From 1910, a number of
smaller magazines began to circulate. For example, Moncur Niblock produced
Omega from January 1910, in response to a command from God to include
'articles pertaining to last things in these latter days'.' The articles were
surprisingly mystical in nature; selections were included from writers such as
Gerhard Tersteegen,' Jacob Behrnan,' Pascal,' Thomas a K e m p i ~ as
, ~ well as the
more expected contributions from Asa Mahon and A.J. Gordon.' There were also
a number of selections from Early Church writings, notably the First Epistle of
Clement, the Shepherd of Hermass and Chryso~tom.~Although Boddy was
clearly concerned about the potential damage that these new magazines could do
to Confidence,'' few of them proved to be as durable. Frodsham's Victory, the
closest to Confidence in nature since it majored on the dissemination of news,
was published between 1909-1916, closing in debt. Others, such as The
Abundance of Grace and the Spirit of Truth, were short-lived. Cantel, one of the
early Pentecostal leaders in London, published the Overcoming Life, which then
became the Overcomer, both of which contained selections from Madame Guyon,
Fenelon and contemporary articles from America. A very long running magazine
was the missionary based Fragments of Flame, published by Cecil Polhill, which
ran from 1908-25. It survived so long because of its missionary emphasis; it was
not in direct competition with Conjidence. Taylor suggested that this was the
only other magazine that was not a 'publishing fiasco'." In 1925, the magazine
became a part of Redemption Tidings when the Pentecostal Missionary Union,
the organisation that the magazine operated for, became part of the Assemblies of
God. The other magazine that survived from 1910-26 was Showers of Blessing.
In this case, it managed to outlast many of the other publications because it was a
denominational paper, supporting the Apostolic Faith Movement.
In attempting to understand the early British Pentecostals, the magazines,
however short-lived, are invaluable. They illustrate the tremendous willingness to
be enterprising. The magazines were all supported on 'faith' principles and there
was a naive expectation that God would sustain and provide for all their
I 'Ready for the Post Office Van', Confidence, August 1911,192.
'Editorial, Omega, Jan-Feb. 1910, 1.
' Omega, July 1910.
' Omega, Jan -Feb 1910.
'Omega, August 1911.
'Omega, July 1910.
' Omega, April-May 1910.
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
publishing needs. This spirit of risk and belief in both self and God was
demonstrated throughout the story of early Pentecostals. Buoyed by their belief
that they were living in the last days and that the experience of receiving the
Spirit had marked them out as the restored church meant that they were
undaunted by the financial constraints that others may have felt. They were the
ones ready to take all sorts of risks to publicise their message. Characterised by
hope and courage, their willingness to establish magazines, new churches and
mission activity whose influence would lie far beyond their numerical strength
was to be demonstrated continuously during this early period of the twentieth
century. For Pentecostals, meeting in small house-groups of perhaps a dozen
people, to read of events in America, Russia and China encouraged them to keep
their eyes on a much wider horizon.
The other significant information that is revealed by these magazines is the extent
to which they were prepared to engage with historical sources in an attempt to
explain their own spiritual experiences and to encourage others to grow. The
sources were the mystical writers, more at home in a Catholic setting than in the
Protestant roots of the Reformers and Puritans. This willingness to use a wide
range of sources would suggest that the early Pentecostals were happy to explain
their experiences in terms of an encounter with the Spirit and were less able to
explain it in theologically consistent terms. This was very evident, in particular,
with Boddy himself. Having had various Pentecostal experiences before he
spoke in tongues in 1907, he had difficulty in holding the integrity of them all
together and changed his explanation of them over time. It would only be with
the growth of Pentecostal denominationalism from 1915 onwards that the
doctrinal explanations of the reception of the Spirit and the ordo salutis would be
agreed upon by the various groups. Until that time, individuals held to their
views, often tenaciously, and there was a plethora of opinions and explanations.
This attempt to determine a common Pentecostal theology would occupy the time
of those attending the Sunderland Conventions, the annual convocations hosted
by Boddy.
EARLY OPPOSITION TO PENTECOSTALISM
Between the Autumn of 1907 and the first Whitsuntide Convention held in
Sunderland, 6-1 1 June, 1908, Boddy had been occupied writing short tracts,
guidelines and articles defending and maintaining the Pentecostal position.
Amongst his most trenchant critics would be Jessie Penn-Lewis. Even before
Barratt's visit, Boddy had written to her after she had sounded warnings in The
Christian and the Life of Faith against those who were seeking after the gift of
tongues. Fearing that it was 'almost hopeless to expect that the subject should
' Omega, Jan-Feb 1910.
- May 1911.
A.A. Boddy, 'Other Pentecostal papers in Great Britain', Confidence, March 1910,61.
" Taylor, 126.
Omega, April
lo
I
Letter, A.A. Boddy to J. Penn-Lewis, 17 June 1907.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
receive fair treatment at the hands of those concerned with the r>ar>en
' he urged
'
her not to forbid speaking in tongues, fearing that if the British were successful in
keeping 'this sign' out of Britain, God would 'pass by'.'
Tongues' reveals it to be wrong ... In addition to wrong doctrine, the present
'Tongues Movement' has been followed by results not only confusing but
threatening to morality and the sacred bounds of morality'.'
Penn-Lewis replied after Barratt's visit. She expressed her concern for Boddy,
who, because he was so closely linked with all the spiritual activity, was unable
to recognise that 'there are "other spirits" at ~ o r k ' .She
~ claimed that the effects
of Barratt's ministry were caused not by the Holy Spirit, but by 'a strong force of
animal magnetism, making him almost like a galvanic battery". Through this
combination of factors, evil spirits were able to enter other Christians and cause
false spiritual manifestations. In the copy of a draft letter to Boddy, there is a
section that was subsequently deleted. In this, she invited Boddy to meet with
Evan Roberts, 'who has a very clear light on the whole matter. He is greatly
burdened on the whole matter. He is greatly burdened about
As far as we
know, this proposed meeting never took place.
Penn-Lewis' criticisms followed these general areas of concern, and although she
can be characterised as a trenchant critic of Pentecostalism, Jones suggests that
she was not an uncompromising enemy of all forms of Pentecostal fervour, but
was fearful of breaches that had been caused between missionaries. In certain
cases, criticism had led to coldness amongst previously united workers, even, in
some cases, resulting in meals being taken separately.2 In particular, Jones
pointed to the effect of the Garrs' testifying to the Pentecostal experience in India
as being a key reason behind Penn-Lewis' opposition.'
1
' 9
Her information regarding the Pentecostal manifestations were gleaned from
acquaintances who visited Sunderland and from the reports in the Christian press.
One of her acquaintances sent her the reports made by Mr Polgraham produced
after he returned from meetings led by Barratt. He claimed that although he had
attendefi with an open mind, he 'was speedily convinced that a wrong cause was
being pursued'. He attributed Barratt's ministry to the 'hypnotic' powers to
produce certain results that he was convinced were being exaggerated.'
Amongst her private papers that have recently come to public notice were her
copies of the Christian Herald and Tongues ofFire which she had marked
copiously. In particular, were her marks against the following quotes. Reporting
the meetings held by Barratt in Sunderland, an article by Barratt had claimed that
people had been 'worshipping, shaking and speaking in tongues'. Barratt's
comment was also noted, 'tongues of fire have been seen over our heads by
Christians and worldly people alike, the sound of a rushing, mighty wind (no
delusion) has been heard by numbers, visions and trances have also been enjoyed
by many'.6 The following week, the magazine printed Boddy's assertion that
'This is not hypnotism or mesmerism. It is the power of the Holy Ghost'.'
Oswald Chambers, writing in Tongues of Fire, had caused Penn-Lewis to mark
his assertions that 'Everywhere the teaching, based on the 'signs and wonders of
Ibid.
Letter, J. Penn-Lewis to A.A. Boddy, 8 November 1907.
' Ibid.
' Ibid.
Letter, J. Dixon Johnson to J. Findlater, 21 November 1907.
'Worldwide Revival' in Christian Herald and Signs of our Times, 24 October 1907,387.
' 'Worldwide Revival' in Christian Herald and Signs of our Times, 31 October 1907,41 I.
I
Reader Harris had been equally concerned about the elevation of the gift of
tongues to a position of unnecessary significance and the carnality that 'seemed
to haunt movements of that kind'.4 Barratt had reacted to Harris' criticisms by
defending the necessity and validity of tongues on the grounds that whatever the
Spirit gave in terms of gifts could not be devalued, and for the participant,
tongues brought them near to heaven. As for the carnality that had been
witnessed, Barratt denied that this was a greater problem in Pentecostalism than
in any other church or spiritual movement.'
GIVlNG DIRECTION TO THE MOVEMENT
It was clear that in light of the criticisms, someone needed to give some guidance
to the enthusiasm of the new Movement. It was to this task that Boddy directed
himself in publishing 'The "Pentecostal Baptism": Counsel to Leaders and
others'. This was a series of guidelines for leaders. There can be no doubt that
this was needed. In 1908, Arthur Booth-Clibborn's son, William, was baptised in
the Holy Spirit. This family had a notable past. Arthur had married La
Marechale, William Booth's daughter, and together had been given senior roles
in the Salvation Army in France and Switzerland. However, in 1902, they had
resigned their posts and become itinerant, independent evangelists. William
Booth-Clibborn would later describe them as 'independent, free from all sectarian
bias and influences, not affiliated with any particular part of organised
' 0. Chambers, 'Test gifts by fruit in doctrine', Tongues of Fire, January 1908,3.
' B.P. Jones, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs Jessie Penn-Lewis, (North Brunswick: BridgeLogos, 1997) 143.
' Ibid., 194.
' Quoted in 'Speaking in Tongues: Rival Pentecostals',
Sunderland Echo, Wed. 2 October,
1907.
' Ibid.
W. Booth-Clibborn, The Baptism in the Holy Spirif (Ryder Printing: Portland, Oregon, 1936~),
13.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
Chri~tianity'.~With his father, William visited the Cantel's Mission Hall in
Islington and there experienced early Pentecostal worship. People sang with their
hands raised, singing in an abandoned, fervent and rapturous manner, 'which
reminded me of the Welsh Revival'.' Choruses were sung repeatedly,
interspersed with spontaneous, improvised singing. No one led the service;
everyone was free to make a contribution. People knelt or sat, cried or laughed,
shouted or sang as they felt the Sprit move them.' His experience of the Baptism
in the Holy Spirit was accompanied by tongues, laughter and shaking. He wrote,
'drunk with the Spirit, I rose and tried to ascend the stairs but could not proceed
until I was assisted up and into the room assigned unto us, ... Laughing
irrepressibly, praising God with abandon."
need to safeguard their reputation. Therefore, late meetings, in particular, needed
careful handling. He suggested that young people should not be allowed to stay
to these late meetings, but rather leave earlier with their parents. Marriages
needed to be built up, especially if the marriage was between a Christian and a
nonbeliever. Criticisms needed to be met with strong love. The need of all was
for sanctification so that the scriptural promise would be safeguarded.
Sanctification was deemed to be protection against any misuse of the gifts. In
particular, he felt that it was important not to push young believers into positions
that they would not be able to sustain.'
It was clear to see how this spontaneity could become abused and a cause for
dishonour. As a result, Boddy wrote his series of guidelines for leaders of
Pentecostal gatherings. He suggested that I Corinthians 14 must be taken
literally - only 3 people were to beallowed to present messages in tongues at any
one meeting. Caution was given concerning the use of prophecy, in the light of
the disgrace that had been brought upon Pentecostal meetings following the
unfulfilled prophecy given in 1907 that declared that Colombo would be
destroyed. He recognised that the 'workings of the unconscious are very, very
deep' aqd that consequently, it was possible for people to present erroneous
words of prophecy.' Similarly, the use of 'The Lord says' was not to be used to
place spoken prophecy on the same canonical level as Scripture. He also felt that
prayers that included too many references to the devil did-more harm than good
by diverting Christians' attention away from the Lord. Because there had been
charges of immorality made against the Pentecostals, Boddy was aware of the
This advice was borne out of the meetings held in All Saints. Each Thursday,
there was a prayer meeting where 'full salvation for body, soul and Spirit is
proclaimed'.' Alongside these meetings were other gatherings where people
would be prayed for. During the period October-May 1908, numerous visitors
had made their way to the Vicarage to investigate and ultimately receive the
blessing of Pentecostalism. One such early visitor was Smith Wigglesworth, a
man who was to become a colossal Pentecostal legend. In 1907, Wigglesworth
was 4 8 years old. His Christian life reflected most of the evangelical
developments that had dominated in the late nineteenth century. Born into a
strong Methodist family, with a grandmother who had been one of the earliest
Methodists in Yorkshire, he was, unaccountably, confirmed into the Church of
England in 1872. During his early teenage years, he came under the influence of
the Plymouth Brethren, the climax of this relationship being his rebaptism at the
age of 17. The emergence of the Salvation Army attracted him with its sense of
activism and at the age of 20, he joined a Salvation Army corps in Liverpool. He
was the product of the evangelistic fervour of Methodism, Anglican Puritanism,
Brethren holiness and restorationist emphases and the revival activism of the
Salvation ~ r m y . ~
' Ibid, 21.
' Ibid, 21-23.
' Ibid, 51-52.
His description of reactions to the presence of the Spirit are reminiscent of
general revivalism, whether the experiences of the early Quakers, those attending the Cane
Ridge Revivals, or those receiving the eponymous Toronto Blessing. It had also been the
experience of the Salvation Army in their early days. Brengle wrote, 'shouting and praising
God is to salvation what flame is to fire' (S.L. Brengle, Helps to Holiness, London: Salvationist
Publishing and Supplies, 1 9 2 7 ~[1896], 121. Horridge points to the War Cry reports of
'Revelling on the floor in the Spirit's love' and 'jumping for Jesus' (War Cry, 27 November
1880,3; 'shouting, leaping and lying prostrate' (War Cry, 11 May 1882, 3). They were,
Honidge points out, unashamedly charismatic' (C.K. Horridge, Salvation Army: Origins and
Early Days, 1865-1900,Godalming, Surrey: Ammonite Books, 1993,99-100).
' A.A. Boddy, "The Pentecostal Baptism", 2. Undated, but probably written between JanuaryMarch 1908. There is a reference to more than 4 months of the Pentecostal outpouring in
Britain. This refers to the period September-December 1907; he also refers to more than 60
who are speaking in tongues at the time of publication. We know that Boddy was the 50th
British person to speak in tongues on 4 December 1907, and by April 7, had been recorded as
doing so (Confidence,April 1908,5).
AN EXAMPLE OF AN EARLY VISITOR TO SUNDERLAND
Whilst attending the Army, he met and married one of the officers, Mary Jane
(Polly) Featherstone. In line with Army custom, she resigned her commission.
Together they established an independent Mission Hall in Bowland Street,
Manningham, Bradford, complete with a brass band and vigorously engaged in
open-air work.' Regular visitors to Keswick, they were also active supporters of
Reader Harris' work. In his magazine Tongues of Fire, their meeting hall in
Bradford is listed as one of the venues for a Pentecostal League of Prayer group.
' Ibid. 2
' A.A. Boddy, These signs shall follow, Leaflet on tongues, no 3, (np, nd), 4.
' J. Hywel Davies, Baptised by Fire: The History of Smith Wigglesworth, (London: Hodder &
Stoughton, 1987,24-34.
' Confidence, February 1910,35.
The Journal of the Europan Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
Wigglesworth claimed Spirit Baptism in 1893. This gave him confidence in
praying for the sick with healing resulting and a renewed desire to evangelise. It
was this emphasis on healing that would characterize Wigglesworth's Pentecostal
ministry in later years. Unashamedly and uncompromisingly averse to doctors
and drugs, his methods of dealing with the sick could be disconcertingly
eccentric. Wigglesworth came to see prayer for the sick as a contest between
God and the devil. He said, '1 have no word for rheumatism, only 'demon
possessed'. Rheumatism, cancerous tumours, lumbago, neuralgia; all these
things I give only one name, the power of the devil working in humanity. When I
see consumption, 1 see the demon power working there. All these things can be
removed.'' This dualism explained his roughness in dealing with people. When
he hit the person with the tumour, he was not attacking the person, but the devil
who had given the turnour.
This attitude stemmed back to the 1880s and to a Healing Home in Leeds that
was a part of Alexander Dowie's network.' The leaders of the Home wanted to
attend the Keswick Convention and invited Wigglesworth to lead the services in
their absence. Although he was unsure of his ability to take on this ministry, he
led the services, prayed for people and saw them healed. That gave him the
confidence to minister in a similar style in Bradford. His relationship with the
Healing Homes continued. In October 1900, Dowie held a series of meetings in
~aledoniafiRoad, London. Wigglesworth's wife was baptised during this series
of services.
All these disparate elements came to a climax in October 1907 when he visited
Sunderland. He was prayed for by Mary Boddy and received a revelation of an
empty cross, the glorification of Jesus and felt that he was 'bathed in the power of
God... I was conscious of the cleansing of the precious blood and 1 cried out in a
new found ecstasy, "Clean, Clean, Clean"'.) He then spoke in tonguese4For the
next 40 years, Wigglesworth was to be one of the most formidable influences
within Pentecostalism.
' G.B. McGee, 'Only believe, All things are possible.' The Revival Legacy of Smith
Wigglesworth'. Http://enrichmentjoumal.ag.org/e~ichmentwin98/features/mcgee.htm ,p3
Accessed 13 November 1999.
D.W.Faupel, The Everlasting Gospel, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996, 131.
Dowie's vision was for a 'worldwide network of theocratic communities seeking to extend the
Kingdom of God on earth'.
'Hywel-Davies, 68.
' An Evangelist's Testimony, Leaflet on Tongues 12 (np, nd) 4. See also S.H.Frodsham, With
Signs Following, (Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1941), 59.
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SUNDERLAND CONVENTION
In one year, according to Boddy's estimation, the number of people speaking in
tongues had risen from 5-6 to 'probably more than 500'.' In July 1908, a list of
35 Pentecostal centres was published.' Taking these two figures together, it is
clear that these groups were on average likely to have been small home groups.
Boddy's eagerness to host a national Convention provided the earliest
Pentecostals with a sense of strength, a network that ensured them that they were
a part of something larger than their own small group of fellow-believers. An
examination of those attending this first Pentecostal Convention provides us with
a picture of the backgrounds of these earliest Pentecostals.
From the English contingent present in the Convention were some individuals
who would have an ongoing influence within British Pentecostalism. The
Walshaws from Halifax were a couple whose links with the Holiness Movement
were clear. In 1885, Joseph Walshaw, a solicitor, together with his wife, Lydia,
commenced a Sunday prayer meeting that met in a home in a well-to-do
residential area of Halifax, West Yorkshire.' Although the meeting was never
advertised, apart from the Mission's name, Ernmaus, being engraved on the front
gates, it became renowned for its commitment to missionary causes. The group
was small, around 30, and met for prayer on Sunday mornings with occasional
short words of encouragement being given by Lydia Walshaw. Known to all as
Granny Walshaw and always dressed in black with a Faith-Mission type bonnet,
she was quick-witted and a capable leader in her own right. Although her
husband was the theoretical leader of the Mission, her leadership was de facto.
The signal for the close of the service was given when she prayed for 'the
aborigines and the lunatics'.* It was from Ernmaus, one of the 'semi-private
gatherings', that future Pentecostal missionaries, Marjorie Hepden, Harold
Womersley and Josephine Turner were sent between 1923-25.
Another visitor to Sunderland was T.H. Mundell, a solicitor from London. He
was to become the secretary of the Pentecostal Missionary Union and later of the
Assemblies of God Home Missionary Reference Council. His background
included a well-connected family; his godfather was Dean Tait, the Archbishop
of Canterbury. Although speaking in tongues came later for him, h m this visit
to Sunderland he was in full sympathy with Penteco~talism.~
' A.A. Boddy, Confidence, April 1908,3.
' A.A. Boddy, Confidence, July 1908,2.
Commemorative Brochure for the Opening of the Elim Pentecostal Church, Hal*,
October
17, 1970 (Cheltenham: Grenehurst Press, 1970), n.p.
' Telephone Conversation, R. Cloke to author, 1 November 1999. Ruth Cloke attended the
Emmaus Mission with her mother up to 1930, when Emmaus became part of the Elim
Pentecostal Church.
' 'Homecall of T.H. Mundell', Redemption Tidings, 1 December 1934, 1-2.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
Henry Mogridge (1 854- 193 1) was another businessman who became a future
Pentecostal leader. A class leader in the Methodist Church in Lytham,
Lancashire, he had previously visited Sunderland during Barratt's stay in
November 1907.' Fully committed to Pentecostalism, he became an avid
defender of Pentecostal doctrine and practice in his local newspaper.' His group
met in a house whose partition walls had been removed to provide seating on the
ground floor for 100 people, with room for 70 on the first floor. In 1914, within
two years of the Pentecostal mission being in existence, they had grown to the
extent that they had to move into a building seating 220 ~eople.' This hall was
known as Elim, the name that George Jeffreys would later use to designate his
new denomination.*
Three others who were present, William Hutchinson, Frank Hodges and Andrew
Turnbull, would become the basis for the Apostolic denominational stream within
Pentecostalism. In 1908, Hutchinson was at a personal cross-roads. Aged 44, he
had been invalided out of the Boer war in 1902 after having served in the
Grenadier Guards and had then worked as an inspector for the Society of the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children in London. During this time he had
worshipped in a Baptist church. By 1907, he had resigned from the Society,
believing that he would be invited to lead evangelistic services by local churches.
However, this did not happen and he had to be content to host small cottage
meetings in his own home. He was invited to the Sunderland Convention and
testified of having been healed of a heart condition and being baptised with the
Spirit. The services provided the renewal for his faith that he had felt had been
needed and he returned to Bournemouth to establish a church in Muscliffe Road,
Winton which opened on 5 November 1908 as Ernmanuel Mission Hall. This
was the first purpose-built Pentecostal-church in Britain. Although his ministry
would quickly become sidelined from the mainstream of Pentecostalism,
Hutchinson was the leader of the first Pentecostal denomination, the Apostolic
Faith Church.' Hodges, who testified of being healed of a heart condition
established a small church in Hereford which would become part of the A.F.C.
Andrew Turnbull would be drawn into the Apostolic Church in later years.
The Scottish representation at the Convention, although small, would become
very instrumental in the development of Scottish Pentecostal doctrine and
practice. The Beruldsens came to Sunderland from Edinburgh. In years to come,
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
they would see their three children engaged in overseas Pentecostal missions.
Eilel Beruldsen had been a Norwegian sea-captain before becoming a prosperous
ship-chandler in Leith. Members of Charlotte Street Baptist Church, Edinburgh,
on their return from Sunderland, they publicly testified to having received the
Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the gift of tongues. It was the last activity they
were allowed to perform in the Baptist church. Therefore, they set out to
establish their own Pentecostal mission which became known as Bonnington
Toll, becoming famous for being Donald Gee's first pastorate ' An 'unattractive
low-roofed, double-fronted shop in the poorest part of Leith, converted into a
mission hall,'' it found its place in a town 'overstocked with little Mission Halls
of that type1.' Beruldsen was accustomed to employing workers and took the
same attitude in his oversight of the Mission Hall. Gee remembered, 'Mr
Beruldsen employed (the right word) workers to run the Mission for a salary. He
had little discernment and soon tired of a new voice'.* Gee saw the Beruldsens as
'typical of an era now passed. It consisted of semi-private little meetings often
financed by devoted Christians with a zeal for God. They usually had strong but
ill-directed missionary interests. The inescapable element of patronage between
employers and employees where local pastors were concerned caused a chafing
where men felt they were called by the ~ord.''
John Martin came to Sunderland from Motherwell, along with John Miller of
Glasgow, both of whom had been directly influenced by Andrew Murdoch from
Kilsyth. Murdoch had received the gift of tongues after Hutchinson had prayed
for him during their first visit to Sunderland. Murdoch subsequently prayed for
Martin to be baptised in the Spirk6 Miller's wife had received the baptism at
Murdoch's home in February 1908.' Miller then opened a Pentecostal 'upper
room' which met in Water Street, a particularly needy part of the city.'
Murdoch was one of the leaders of Westport Hall, Kilsyth. On 7 February 1908,
the Kilsyth Chronicle reported that exactly one week previously, eleven people
had spoken in tongues during a prayer meeting9 Westport Hall had been
established in 1896 as the Kilsyth United Evangelistic Association, an initiative
' D. Gee, Bonnington Toll. The Story of afirstpastorate, (London: Victory Press, 1943).
' Ibid, 6.
' D. Gee, These Men I knew, 18
' lbid, 18.
G. Weeks, Histoty of the Apostolic Church, Unpublished ms.
For example, Lytham Times, 3 June 1910, 7 October 1910, 16 June 191 1, 18 April 1913, 16
January 1914,27 March 1914.
' 'Opening of Elim Gospel Mission', Lytham Times, 16 January 1914.
' D. Cartwright, The Great Evangelists, Basingstoke: Marshall Pickering, 1986,45-46.
Weeks.
I
"bid, 19.
Confidence, April 1908,12.
' Confidence, September 1908,210.
' Confidence, November 1909, 255. Water Street had hosted a Faith Mission in 1885. There is
no indication whether it was the same building. E. Govan, Spirit of Revival, 25.
Quoted in J. Wiseman, 'Interpreting the Tongues: The Experience of the Pentecostal Baptism
in the formative years of a Scoaish Pentecostal Assembly', MA thesis, Regents Theological
College, 1997.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Thsological Association, Vol. XXl, 2001
of three of the ministers in the town who were attempting to reach the masses
with the gospel. Never designed to be an. established church, the intention had
been that it should be a missionary outreach centre, it nonetheless began to
mutate into a settled church. By 1902, it had changed its name to Kilsyth Church
of God. By 1907, it was clear that a furore was being caused by one of its
members, Charles Donnelly. He accused the elders and church members of not
being filled with the Spirit since no one in the church was able to use any of the
gifts of the Spirit. Although the leaders were adamant in holding to Holiness
teaching, there was evidently sufficient support for Donnelly's criticisms for one
of the leaders, Bill Hutchison, to attend the Sunderland in October 1907 to hear
Barratt speak.
In January 1908, Boddy and his wife were invited to speak at the Edinburgh Faith
Mission.' Andrew Bell and Victor Wilson of Motherwell had both been present at
the services and persuaded by their teaching. Wilson was then invited to speak in
Kilsyth about the Baptism in the Spirit. He prayed with Murdoch who spoke in
tongues. Two days later, at the prayer meeting reported by the Kilsyth Times,
Donnelly reported, 'When I had extricated myself from my two young men
companions, Alex Clelland and James Macrae, who were still prostrate, I beheld
the greatest sight of my life right there. Lying over Alex Clelland was his
companion, J. Macrae, speaking in an unknown tongue and protecting Alex with
his hand, pleading the precious blood, which was our custom for months
previously in times of danger or fear'.' By May 1908, Murdoch had been invited
to speak in more than 30 towns and villages and 600 were reported as having
received the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit.) Donnelly's reference to
'pleading the blood' referred to the repetition the word 'blood' which was
deemed to have some spiritual value.
Mary Boddy's article in the first edition of Confidence was a sustained reflection
on the benefits of Christ's blood and the need to publicly and specifically
recollect one's need for an experiential awareness of the blood.' Initially, Boddy
seemed at ease with this practice of 'pleading the blood', explaining it to his
readers as being a reference to 'His finished work through the blood, the Victory
obtained through the Blood. All this they cover and mean when they just rapidly
repeat, 'Blood, Blood, Blood"'.' This practice would become controversial and
the cause of broken relationships in the future.
' Confidence, April 1908,lO.
' Wiseman.
' Minutes: Special Minutes May
1908, in Wiseman. In Confidence (April 1908), Biddy had
suggested that in March 1907 only five had spoken in tongues, whereas by March 1908 there
had been as many as 500. Scotland must have accounted for many of these people.
' M. Boddy, 'His own blood', Confidence, April 1908,4.
' A.A. Boddy, 'A Visit to Kilsyth', Confidence, April 1908, 10.
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
The Welsh contingent was led by Rev. T.M. Jeffreys; he would become the
father-figure amongst Welsh Pentecostals. No relation to the revivalists, Stephen
and George Jeffreys, as part of his ministry at the English Congregational Church
at Waunllwyd, near Ebbw Vale, Jeffreys had attempted to encourage his
members to expect a further move of the Spirit, even though the Welsh revival
had, to all intents and purposes, fizzled out by then. In 1907, Moncur Niblock,
from London, led a mission in Jeffreys' church. As a result, the church was
persuaded of the need for an experiential Pentecostal Baptism in the Holy Spirit,
even though none of them, including Niblock himself, had ever experienced or
witnessed such a thing. However, after Niblock's visit to Sunderland, he returned,
to Waunllwyd whereupon members began to receive the baptism.' Waunllwyd,
along with Gorseinon, became one of the centres for Welsh Penteco~talism.~
The
Welsh would be significant to the development of British Pentecostalism as they
made their alliances and developed their own form of spirituality. In particular,
the extremes of some of their emotional excesses became an ongoing challenge to
mainstream denominational Pentecostalism.
The final group represented at this first Convention comprised overseas visitors.
Boddy was freely pan-European in his expectations of the work of the Spirit and
those present at this first gathering would become regular visitors to the annual
meetings. T.B. Barratt's wife was present along with Dagmar Gregson and
Agnes Thelle from Norway' Gerrit Polman and Brother Kok from Holland
attended. Polman had been a Salvation Army officer, working under Arthur
Booth-Clibbom's command in Switzerland. When the Booth-Clibboms resigned
from the Army and made contact with Alexander Dowie, Polman followed them,
establishing a Dowie Zionist centre in Amsterdam. After being influenced by the
Welsh Revival, this centre became a Pentecostal mission church.* The other two
foreign visitors of note were the German pastor Martin Genischen and Elizabeth
Sisson. Genischen was to be a frequent visitor to the Sunderland Conventions
before the outbreak of war in 1914. Gee contrasted his effusive personality with
the other more 'stolid' German pastors. Although he dismissed his ministry as 'of
a limited nature', he declared that he was unrepresentative of German
Pentecostalism in general.' Elizabeth Sisson had been influenced by Boardman's
teaching in her earlier life and after a period working on the mission field in
' D. Gee, The Pentecostal Movement, London: Elim Publishing Co., 1941,37-38.
' Gee, The Pentecostal , 39.
' Barratt's absence was due to him being in India at the time of the Convention (Supplement,
Confidence, June 1908,l).
' D. Bundy, 'Genit Roelof Polman (1868-1922)', in S.M. Burgess, G. McGee, P. Alexander,
Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988,718.
Gee, These men, 43.
C.M. Robeck, 'Elizabeth Sisson (1843-1934)', DPCM, 788.
:
The Journal of the Europan Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
India, became the co-editor with Carrie Judd Montgomery of Triumphs of F ~ i t h . ~
In 1908, having received the baptism in the Spirit, she came to England on a fourmonth evangelistic tour, during which time she visited Sunderland.'
This international group was significant in that it signalled Boddy's intention to
host a truly international Convention that would work towards an international
Pentecostal consensus. In the debates during the foilowing years, the Western
European emphasis presented British Pentecostalism with distinctives that
differed from their American counterparts. However, in the earliest days, it was
to America that they continued ro look for guidance. In 1908, after a series of
meetings held by Smith Wigglesworth in Pontesby, Shrewsbury had resulted in
Pentecostal manifestations, the local leader, W. Rowson, wrote to Boddy for
advice. His secretaries wrote back with the following points:
They needed to ensure that they claimed the precious blood in their meetings to
shelter them from the desires of the devil; all that claimed to have received the
Baptism in the Holy Spirit should be expected to speak in tongues; it was advised
that anybody who became overcome by emotionalism during the services should
be encouraged to go home to rest; the rules that the Sunderland Church were
using for those seeking the Baptism in the Holy Spirit had been given to them by
a lady in A k r ~ n : ~
I
Get the scriptural witness of a clean heart.
Having received that, stand on the promise.
Ask God for the promised Holy Ghost
Ask him for the scriptural witness of that until it leads to
tongues.
5. Go on with your usual work until the blessing comes.
6. Plead the shelter of the blood for each meeting
7. Ask the Lord to control any undue excitement.'
1.
2.
3.
4.
CONCLUSION
Those gathering at the first Sunderland Convention were, by and large, those who
were to fashion the future of British Pentecostalism in the following years. Most
had come from a Holiness background and had sought to integrate their
Pentecostal experience with their previous theological convictions. Many of
' Ibid., 789.
Weeks suggest that this lady was Ivey Glenshaw Campbell on the grounds that it was she that
had first taken the Pentecostal message to Akron in late 1906. Cf G.B.McGee, 'hey Glenshaw
Campbell (I 874-1 918), DPCM,106-107.
' Letter, All Saints' Secretaries, to W. Rowson, 18 January 1908. Apostolic Church archives.
The Earliest Days of British Pentecostalism: Neil Hudson
them were successful self-made men and women, therefore prepared and able to
initiate new mission halls. In Britain, at the turn of the century, there was still a
confidence that new groups could be established and would be successful. The
early Pentecostals came from these groups led by spiritual entrepreneurs, willing
and able to fund new Pentecostal ventures, even if they needed to employ others
to lead them. Courageous, ambitious and willing to take risks for God, they were
to fashion Pentecostal doctrine and practice as they continued to make their
annual pilgrimages to Sunderland.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association,Vol. XXI,2001
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch
James Robinson
Arthur Stanley Booth-Clibborn (1855-1939) was one of the most influential
people of Irish extraction and with a strong Ulster background to make a marked
impact on the wider Pentecostal movement in its earliest days. He combined the
Quaker commitment to pacifism with the Salvationist search for the Holy Grail of
"entire sanctification" and the Zionist emphasis on divine healing in all of
which movements he played a leading part before taking up the Pentecostal cause
in the mid 1900s. Donald Gee recalled Booth-Clibbom being present when he
made his first attempt at preaching at the home of Margaret Cantel in London in
1913; "I can remember old A. S. Booth-Clibborn beaming at me in his patriarchal
way".' At the Sunderland Whitsun Conference in June 191 1, he was described
as "a grey-haired gentleman of patriarchal appearance, with (the) leonine though
kindly countenance of a veritable modem Moses. He frames his translations (of
the German speakers) in beautiful language, delivered with soulful
impressiveness".'
-
According to his son, William, his father first came into contact with
Pentecostalism at the home of Mrs Catherine Price who, on 10 January 1907, was
the first person in post-Azusa England to receive the Pentecostal experience of
speaking in tongues.' The previous evening, she had attended a meeting, one of a
series of New Year meetings conducted by four Welsh ministers, "who had been
greatly blessed during the revival in Wales".' A report sent to The Apostolic
Faith gave a little more background. It was addressed from Camberwell,
London, by C. H. Hook:
A little band of Christians have been waiting here
about nine months for their Pentecost and am
glad to say that one sister has received her
Pentecost with tongues. Will you continue to
pray that all may receive, the writer included. 1
feel very h ~ n g r y . ~
' D. Gee, These men I knew; Personal memoirs of our pioneers. (AOG Publishing House,
Nottingham (1980) 32.
' Confidence, June 1911, 127.
' The Apostolic Faith, April 1907, I.
' S. H. Frodsham , With Signs Following, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield (1926) 67.
The Apostolic Faith, February-March 1907, 1. Hook received his Pentecostal experience on
Christmas Day, 1907 in Sunderland (The Apostolic Faith, Jan. 1908, 4). He had an American
Baptist background and later became a Pentecostal missionary.
This letter was sent some six months before the arrival of T. B. Barratt in
Sunderland in September 1907.
Catherine Price and her husband, a bank manager, and three small children lived
in Brixton, London and it was at her home that a sick Booth-Clibborn, depressed
over the events surrounding his dismissal from Dowie's Zion movement, first
arrived from Paris where he had been appointed its representative.' During the
summer of 1907, the Prices opened her home for the prayer meetings which can
fairly be described as the first distinctly Pentecostal meetings in the British Isles.
The intensity of such gatherings can be gauged from Mrs Price's description of
one meeting:
At another time of prayer, the rooms were packed
with longing, hungry hearts, broken with a sense
of their own helplessness...the Spirit of God came
as a burning, scorching flame of love, and yet of
judgement. One sister, whom God had previously healed of a tumour, felt (that) she and her
works were judged, and although an earnest
Christian worker, these works of hers were all as
filthy rags. All who were ailing or sick in that
meeting testified afterwards that God's love as a
burning stream healed them. No man touched
them or even prayed for them.2
Within a short time, Booth-Clibborn had established himself as a prominent
figure in the movement. At a convention meeting in Sion College in London in
May, 1909, he shared the platform with Boddy, Polhill and ~arratt.'
EARLY LIFE
Arthur Clibborn was born at Moate, Co Westmeath but spent his formative years
in Bessbrook, Co. Armagh. The village was the creation of the Richardsons, a
Quaker family who chose Bessbrook as the site of their new linen mill in 1845.
John Grubb Richardson, a cousin of Arthur Clibborn, was an enlightened idealist
who sought to form an exemplary community through the creation of a model
industrial village.' In this enterprise, he was greatly influenced by the ideas on
' Comelis van der Laan, Sectarian Against His Will: Gerrit Roelof Polman and the Birth of
Pentecostalism in the Netherlands, The Scarecrow Press, Metuchen (1991) 65.
' S. H. Frodsham, op. cit., 72.
' A. F. Missen, The Sound of a Going, AOG Publishing House, Nottingham, (1973)4.
' Gilbert Camblin, The Town in Ulster, Wm. Mullan & Son, Belfast (1951) 99-101.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
urban planning as advocated by William Penn, the founding father of American
Quakerism.' As a mark of Richardson's Quaker and Temperance sensibilities,
the proud boast of the village was for many years, "No pubs, No pawnbrokers,
No Police". What it did have were a dispensary available at nominal cost to
workers, a community hall with library1 lecture room facilities, a newsroom well
stocked with papers and periodicals and a school where evening adult classes
were held. Richardson was offered a baronetcy by Gladstone as an
acknowledgement of the philanthropic intent behind his social experiment at
Bessbrook, but turned it down. The experiment spurred another Quaker, George
Cadbury, to build the garden village of Bourneville, near Birmingham. These
Quaker and other model settlements provided much of the stimulus for the New
Town movement of post-war Britain.
Arthur's father, John Clibborn, was the co-founder of the linen mills at
Bessbr~ok.~The Irish roots of the family lay with Colonel John Clibborn, an
officer in Cromwell's army, who became an active Quaker after being impressed
by the message and demeanour of the Friends whose meeting house he was called
upon to raze by fire at Moate, Co.Westmeath in 1657.' Another ancestor was
Robert Barclay (1648-90) whose Apology for the True Christian Divinity (1678)
made him the classic apologist of Quakerism. Coming from a financially
comfortable, background, Arthur was sent at the age of thirteen to France and
Switzerland for a private education and his formal education ended with the
award of an honours degree from Lausanne University. He had a marked
proficiency in languages, mastering five, and he was particularly fluent in French
and German. On his return to Bessbrook, he trained for a period of six years in
the family business. In the course of his training, he learnt the basic skills of
spinning and weaving on the shop floor. On completing his apprenticeship, he
became the manager of the spinning department, employing 800 people, with a
view to his taking up a directorship in due course.
His experiences in the linen mill reinforced his Quaker stance on pacifism as the
following recollection showed:
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
spindles and ten thousand rollers gradually
ceased, the shrieks grew louder against the
growing stillness, and had you gone down, as the
responsible manager, to find a poor boy lying in a
huge heckling machine with his arm caught in up
to the shoulder, the flesh tom off by the countless
revolving needles ...- then you would like to do
just a little to unbolt some of the machinery of
war and set free.. some of the poor mothers' sons
who have been caught in it.'
Through his later association with Dowie, Arthur would have found a certain
resonance between Bessbrook and Zion City, Illinois. Zion City too was a model
settlement, founded on temperance principle^,^ with a strong agenda of religiosocial experimentation. Both aimed to provide the prototype for a humanely
ordered industrial gemeinschaft. Dowie pursued a broader vision than most other
innovators; it was nothing less than the creation of a theocratic c~rnmunity.~
Zion
was conceived as the perfect Christian city, the forerunner of many Zions actively
engaged in preparing for Christ's return. Both settlements, though differing
considerably in size, presented major innovations in physical planning and each
evoked wide interest among those concerned with schemes for solving societal
ills by physical and social experimentation.
In reviewing his past, Arthur acknowledged that through "living in Bessbrook...I
had many spiritual advantages", not least because "as a member of the Society of
Friends, I was carefully and religiously brought up, (though) eighteen years of
my life passed without anyone definitely speaking to me about my soul".' He
owed his conversion to a friend inviting him to a mission at Moyallon, near
Portadown and fourteen miles from Bessbrook, where his Richardson relatives
lived and at whose manor the meetings were held. This was in 1874, the year of
D. L. Moody's visit to Ireland, and was a direct outcome of the evangelistic thrust
he brought to the province, a quickening that came closest to the spirit of the
Had you ever heard, as I have, an unearthly
shriek ring up through five storeys of a huge
factory an eighth of a mile in length, and then
seen the countless revolving wheels slowing
down while, as the hum of thirty thousand
' Carolyn Scott, op cit., 48.
' Philip. L. Cook, Zion City, Illinois: Twentieth Century Utopia, Syracuse University Press, New
' James Walvin, The Quakers; Money and Morals, John Murray, London (1997) 90.
' Carolyn Scott, The Heavenly Witch: the Stov ofthe Marechale, Hamish Hamilton, London
(1981)47.
M. J. Wigham, The Jrish Quakers, Historical Committee of the Religious Society of Friends,
Dublin (1 992) 23.
York (1 996) 40-42.
' At a dedication of the site of the home for lacemakers in Zion, a deacon declared:" Here we
shall establish a city in which God shall rule Selfishness shall know no place here. All men
shall fear God and love one another" (Cook, 41).
' Carolyn Scon, op. cit., 50.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
1859 Revival in the remaining years of the nineteenth century.' A year later, in
1875, he received "the life call of God" at the same time as "an excellent prospect
so far as this world was concerned opened up for him in the linen mill, though no
clear direction came to him for another four year^".^ During those years "of
cloudy Christian experience", he conducted meetings on board ships in dock,
possibly in the nearby port of Newry, and in the surrounding villages. He
became a recognised minister in the Society of Friends, teaching two different
Sunday School classes and visiting the sick. He obtained no real sense of
fulfilment in these activities until he came to the point where he took a stand for
"out and out work and, in doing so, go counter to the ideas of some older
Christians".'
LIFE IN THE SALVATION ARMY
The period of hesitancy came to an end with the anival of the Salvation Army in
Bessbrook around 1881 when he was aged twenty-six.*
'
About that time 1 heard of the Salvation Army,
and the rumours of its daring, desperate warfare
and thc glorious results made me feel that the
mighty power of the Holy Ghost was
there...When I saw the first War Cry, the daring
flee-and -easiness of its language took my breath
away and its direct, simple, definiteness seemed
to open a new world ...I read Mrs Booth's books
and longed for the full deliverance they spoke
of...(W)hen one day Captain Edmonds came and
held a meeting in Bessbrook, I saw and felt that
he had got that something after which I was
pining, and in an All-Night of prayer, with three
others, he showed us how the blessing was
received, and I entered by faith.'
A week later, he took about 30 young male converts to A m y Holiness meetings
Joseph Thompson, "D.L.Moody: a Centennial Study of the first (sic!) American evangelist to
this country and his influence on Irish Presbyterianism", Bulletin of the Presbyterian Historical
Sociey in Ireland, 5 (May, 1975) 14.
' Carolyn Scott, up. cit., 51.
' Ibid, 52.
' The first Salvation Army hall opened in Ireland was in Felt Street in 1880 in the Sandy Row
district of inner Belfast. Felt Street cuts across Hunter Street in which Elim was to establish its
first assembly in Belfast about 35 years later.
' Carolyn Scott, op. cit., 52-53.
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
in Moyallon and was so deeply impressed by the occasion that his reaction was,
"Here is primitive Quakerism, primitive Methodism, primitive ~hristianity!".'
When Arthur Clibborn first encountered the Salvation Army, it was in its phase
of enthusiastic mobili~ation,~
the period between 1878 and 1890, when it saw its
most rapid and sustained growth. The Army was to prove the most forceful of all
the groups to bring the holiness message to the province in the latter part of the
century. While fiercely conversionist, the A m y was primarily the child of the
mid-nineteenth century Holiness Revival in Britain. William Booth's brand of
Holiness revivalism had its own logic because he knew his volunteers, many
drawn from the lowest social class, could be neither recruited nor kept from
conspicuous sin unless they were hlly consecrated and so changed as to be living
demonstrations of the grace and power of God? It was this side that impressed
Clibborn on his first visit to the Moyallon meetings. He was deeply moved as he
"looked upon the rows of officers, all dressed so simply, with faces that spoke of
the deep restfulness, the peace and the power of 'the life hid with Christ in
God"'.4 One of the books by Catherine Booth (1829-1890) that Clibbom read
was, in all probability, Aggressive Christianity (1880), published in America as
Godliness (1 881), which was to become widely circulated with the blessing of the
presses associated with the American Holiness mo~ement.~
In 1881, Arthur Clibborn was faced with a difficult decision about the direction
his life should take. From Captain Edmonds, he learned that the A m y was
seeking helpers for its newly opened work in France. With his facility in the
language and sense of call "to go to work for souls upon the continent...and a
conviction God would send me there ~ltirnately",~
he offered his services to
General Booth. This apparently occurred during a visit by William Booth to the
province when, in Booth-Clibborn's words, the General "asked me to meet him,
and as 1 knew French and German fluently, asked me to go out to the continent to
take over the headquarters in Paris".' From 1881, he assisted Catherine (Kate)
' Ibid, 53.
' The phrase is suggested by Roland Robertson in Ch. 2,
The Salvation Army: The Persistence
of Sectarianism in B. R. Wilson, Pattern of Sectarianism, Heinemann, London (1967) 50. It
was preceded by the incipient phase (1865-1878) and succeeded by the period of organisation
(early 1890s--early 1930s).
' Timothy L. Smith, Called Unto Holiness: The Story of the Nazarenes, Nazarene Publishing
House, Kansas City (1962) 50.
' Carolyn Scott, up. cif., 53.
' Timothy L. Smith, Called , 25.
Carolyn Scott, up. cit., 53.
' This is taken From a scribbled note on a certificate he was awarded for saving a man from
drowning in France in the Booth-Clibborn Collection held by Mrs. Ann Booth-Clibborn in
Edinburgh whose husband, Stanley Booth-Clibbom, was formerly Bishop of Manchester and a
grandson of Arthur Booth-Clibbom.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
Booth (1858-1955), the eldest and most naturally gifted daughter of her family, in
consolidating the work of the Army in both France and Switzerland where she
was known affectionately as La Mar chale (the Field-Marshall). William Booth
soon conferred on Clibborn the rank of Colonel and one of Arthur's main
responsibilities was to work on the production of the first French edition of War
Cry. The two were married in 1887 and the freshly styled Booth-Clibborns'
continued their work which often involved them travelling apart. They were a
well matched couple though their relationship was not without its tensions,
inherent in the fact that "Colonel" Arthur, with "the fierce pride of an Irish
ari~tocrat",~
was not the type of man to play second fiddle to his wife, La
Mar chale or not.' Both were strong-willed, single-minded and zealous soulwinners.
In a final tribute to her father, one daughter (Evangeline or Evelyn) described him
as "finely built and endowed with much physical strength...(H)e for many years
gloried in the early struggles of the Salvation Army, welcoming pain,
persecution, and even physical injury, for the furtherance of Christ's Kingd~m".~
He was tall, handsome with a pleasant baritone singing voice that blended well in
duets with Kate's clear soprano singing voice. He was a poet, writer, composer
of hymns in French and translator of John Henry Newman into German. To his
wife he was "a mighty man of God, especially called and remarkably qualified'
with an the disturbing intensity implied in that description, overwhelming in his
enthusiasms and inflexible in matters of principle. Physically courageous, he
wore for years on his army uniform the silver medal awarded to him by the
President of France for saving, while on holiday, a man from drowning in the sea
off Boulogne. Such was the impact of their work in France that when they
transferred to the Netherlands, they were welcomed by Queen Wilhelmina;
occasionally Dutch cabinet ministers were seen at their meetings.
By the mid-1890s, the Salvation Army had left behind the first enthusiastic flush
I General Booth insisted that his daughters on marriage retain the Booth name as part of their
new name.
From Some Notes on the life of Stanley Booth-Clibborn, p. 2, wrinen by himself and found in
the Booth-Clibborn Collection. The Clibborns were more Anglo-Irish gentry than aristocracy.
When Arthur joined the Salvation Army, "he gave to the General a considerable fortune, made
out of the Clibborn family's linen factories at Bessbrook" (p. 1).
' Ibid, 2, "We have come across many papers showing his hesitations before marriage on what
his status would be, and his literalist clinging to Pauline texts on the man as the head of the
woman. Catherine apparently dismissed these saying 'Paul got it wrong, and when we get to
heaven, I'll tell him"'!
' Catherine Booth-Clibborn, A Poet ofpraise: a Tribute to Arthur Booth-Clibborn, Marshall,
Morgan and Scott: London (1939) 33.
Tarolyn Scott, op. cit., 197. This parenthetic statement was written in her letter of resignation
from the Salvation Anny and addressed to her father.
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
of its incipient phase and had entered its period of organisation when the
processes of routinisation and formalisation became more evident. Kate was to
say later, "I was Territorial Commander of France, and I couldn't make a
corporal a sergeant without permission from London".' Routinisation, as
deadening as it was inevitable, was a process that was to lead three of the Booth
children out of the Army forever.' As early as 1891, Booth-Clibbom had written
to the General requesting liberty to preach what he called the full, plain Gospel of
the Sermon on the Mount, a plea that carried within it three themes that
challenged the Army's official stance - pacifism, divine healing and
premillennialism. The General refused any such freedom and frustration was
compounded in 1896 when the Booth-Clibboms were told to leave France, for
which Kate had an abiding vision and passion, and take command in the
Netherlands, a country with which she felt no particular bond. It was a testing
time for an avowed pacifist like Booth-Clibborn to be in the Netherlands in the
period between the two Anglo-South African (Boer) Wars. In 1898, conscription
was introduced in the Netherlands and with rumours of war rampant, Arthur took
to writing on pacifist themes but was prevented from publishing by .headquarters
in London. The Booth-Clibboms' disillusionment with the Army finally reached
a point when they ceased to dedicate their later-born children into the ranks. In
1900, defying the will of headquarters, they made representations to the Dutch
government on behalf of pacifists in prison. The influence of his Quaker background continued to run deep. The "Hallelujah Quaker", as he was dubbed on his
first anival in France, stuck with his vow of 1881: "I stated that I could never
forgo any of the essential truths of Quakerism, and I entered the work on that
understanding".'
THE INFLUENCE OF DOWIE
If pacifism owed much to Booth-Clibborn's Quaker background, his interest in
divine healing and premillennialism was further stimulated by contact with John
Alexander Dowie, through the latter's magazine Leaves of Healing and then by
meeting him in London and Paris in 1900. Dowie arrived in England primarily to
recruit lace workers as key personnel for his new factory in Zion City. In a series
of well advertised meetings in London, riots and disorder, instigated in many
cases by medical students, followed his preaching and the laying of hands on
those seeking healing. The London press was largely unimpressed and the
Financial News considered his healings fake: "there is no more fruitful ground
I
Carolyn Scott, op. cit., 198.
' Ibid, 179. The three were Catherine, Herbert and Ballington.
The last set up the Volunteers in
America in 1896. It was organised on lines similar to that of the Salvation Army. Ballington
and his wife, Maud, resigned from the Army in a disagreement over the General's autocratic
leadership.
'Carolyn Scott, op. cit.. 54.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association. Vol. XXI, 2001
for the projector of new and bizarre faiths than the United States of America, with
its wicked and teeming populations, largely leavened with neuresthenes".'
Boddy, for one, recognised that Dowie "never minced matters, or watered down
his language. At times it was coarsely pungent, but always commanded
attention".' Dowie seemed to invite antagonism. His characterisation of the
Archbishop of Canterbury as incompetent, his denunciation of the Prince of
Wales' immoral life style, his own wife's taste for expensive clothes and their
partiality for staying at the most expensive hotels, all combined to repel his
natural support among the Evangelical constituency. It was, therefore, no
surprise that churches refused him the facility of their baptistries, forcing him to
use public baths instead. One of those he baptised was Polly Wigglesworth,
eighteen years into her marriage to Smith Wigglesworth.' During the Boer War,
when jingoism was rampant, Dowie spoke out against the war and urged Zion
men to choose prison rather than fire a gun.4
Disillusioned and frustrated, Booth-Clibborn found in Dowie some of the
qualities of William Booth - vision, boldness, strength of character, personal
charisma - and at this moment of stress, sick of heart, he was ready to follow
another though not blindly and not for long. It was, however, long enough to
leave its mark on him and cast a blight on the ministry of his wife. One thing was
certain, he was not the type to bc put off by bitter opposition, having proved his
mettle as a Salvationist in facing down the NihilistsSin Paris on whose death list
he appeared. He described in a scribbled note in 1933 of "having lain under
sentence of death from the anarchists of five continental lands for over 10 ears".^
He had endured the hardship ofjail in Geneva and expulsion by officialdom from
Neuchatel for disturbing the peace by street preaching. There was good cause for
his being dubbed "the apostle of abandonment."' He said later in life of Dowie:
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
I looked upon (him) as a mighty man raised up.
The fact that he never preached healing apart
from conversion, and put the latter first, also
impressed me. But I looked upon his declaration
as the Elijah of Malachi, the Baptist of the Lord's
Second Coming, as a woeful error and fanaticism.
But (in Paris) I was deeply impressed by the
spiritual experiences he related to me, and by the
utter absence, of any pressure or effort to win me
to his cause.
In November 1901, he detected a series of Biblical coincidences that appeared to
him to substantiate Dowie's claims and spent the next month in intense prayer
and discussion with Kate about the direction of their future ministry. She had a
particular distrust of Dowie and his m e t h ~ d sbut,
, ~ despite her reservations, at the
end of the month he wrote to Dowie:
I have decided to offer myself to you, dear
Doctor, for Zion, and do so, firmly believing it to
be the will of God, and his Great Gift to me in
answer to years of prayer. I had thoughts of
starting a separate Mission till I got light about
the Elijah matter, as that was the great obstacle. It
could only be either a gigantic error or a gigantic
truth I take it you are in the spirit and power of
Elijah as the Herald of the Second Coming, the
John the Baptist of the Millennia1 Dawn.'
Their resignation from the Salvation Army was announced in the War Cry at the
end of January 1902 under the heading "Our Loss in Holland".'
' Philip
L. Cook, op. cit., (1996) 36.
' Confidence, February 1913,36.
' Jack Hywel-Davies, The Life of Smith Wigglesworth, Hodder and Stoughton, London (1987)
38. Polly was invited to become a Salvation A n y officer without the customary training on the
strength of her personal interview with General Booth.
' Philip L. Cook, op. cit., 99. Dowie speaking of the Boer war declared ' I t is painful to think
that instead of missionaries canying the Gospel from England, England is sending out hundreds
of thousands of men to murder. It is horrible England has not the grace of God any more than
America has".
' The Nihilists were Russian emigres who fled to Paris. They rejected all traditional values
including those of religion and the family: "What must be smashed, must be smashed" was one
of their slogans.
Hand-written note in the Booth-Clibborn Collection.
' Carolyn Scott , op. cit., 47. His grandson said of him that "he took up various causes with
fanatical zeal" (Notes on the life ofstanley Booth-Clibborn, 1 .)
In July 1902, they amved in Zion City and stayed for four months. It was the
beginning of a wretched experience for Kate. Twice within the first month, she
defied Dowie publicly. She alone remained seated when the congregation rose to
affirm Dowie as Elijah, the prophet and forerunner of Christ. When Dowie
' Carolyn Scoa, op. cit., 193.
' Carolyn Scott , op. cit., 20 1 .
' The War Cry, 25 January 1902.
' Ibid. The resignation was announced in
The War Cry by printing the letter from Bramwell
Booth, Chief of the Staff, to "our comrades and friends in Holland". The reason for their
resignation of the Booth-Clibborns was stated as their desire "to obtain liberty to preach what
they speak of as 'a full Gospel' and a painful explanation of what they mean by a full Gospel is
afforded by the announcement that the Commissioner has accepted the teaching of a person
named Dowie, who is the leader of a small American Society called Zionites".
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
condemned William Booth for not reproving the rich, she rose and shouted that
the allegation was a lie. The last sermon she was permitted to preach in Zion was
to a congregation of five thousand on the theme of David as a man "after God's
own heart", a riposte to Dowie's castigation of him as "that dirty dog David".'
Yet, when she asked Dowie why he had not ordained her husband, he replied "It
But, as she wrote to her
is you 1 want and I will not ordain him without
close friend, the noted social reformer, Josephine Butler (1828-1906), "1 cannot
give my ten beautiful children to this man".' To another friend she wrote "so
much in him revolts me and violates the highest spiritual instincts I have".4 In a
recently uncovered letter marked "Private", written to a friend in England and
addressed from Moody Bible Institute, Chicago in 1913, she confided "that no
one has heard of the Dowie episode in the States. The Dowie community is very
small and dying now and I am
going to have jt published over M or in
Canada"' (her emphases). The reference seems to be to the biography of her
written at the time by James Strachan, advance copies of which she had just
received. Earlier in the letter she had given a stem warning to her friend to whom
she had entrusted all her private papers:
,
Now listen, supposing James Strachan or Mr.
Booth-Clibborn wishes to get anything out of the
(-?) room, please kindly refuse both! - those
papers I have entrusted to your care and I forbid
vou to allow anvone to touch them - remember
this!' (her emphases).
Clearly, even a decade later, the whole Zion City experience still rankled. In
1966, Strachan's biography was re-issued and contained a new final chapter
written by her son Theodore. In it, there is no mention of the Dowie episode,
only hints that this period was for his mother "a veritable Via Dolorosa". '
The Booth-Clibborns spent four months in Zion City before Catherine persuaded
Arthur, against his will, to leave Zion City, though not the Zion movement. He
was appointed its representative in the Netherlands. They lived in Amsterdam
and Brussels for about two years and then moved to Paris for Arthur to take
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
charge of the Zion work there in 1904. However, there is considerable
uncertainty about their movements at this time and the exact status of Kate. The
Schweizer Evangelist of 7 February 1902 reported that the Booth-Clibborns had
returned to Europe to start an independent evangelistic mission in Holland and
France.' On the other hand, in Leaves of Healing (9 July 1904) both Arthur and
Kate were described as Elders of the Zion church and in the 24 September issue,
Elder A. S. Booth-Clibborn was still recorded as the representative of Zion living
in Amsterdam. The accuracy of the Schweizer Evangelist report is extremely
doubtful. Circumstances at that time were hardly propitious for her to engage in
an independent ministry. Hurt by the fact that Salvation Army halls were closed
to her and that her former comrades proved stiff in their dealings with both of
them, she had resigned herself to never preaching again, fearing it would be
interpreted as her setting up in opposition to the Army. In any case, she was
hardly in a fit state, either mentally or physically, to engage in public ministry:
she confided in her diary, "depression, timidity, fear, and sadness, mark my
character today"' (her emphasis).
EUROPEAN PENTECOSTALISM
It was during this period that Arthur, unbeknown to himself, was to make one of
his most marked contributions to the Pentecostal cause in Europe. Gemt Roelof
Polman (1868-1932) began his ministry in the Dutch Salvation Army under the
direction of Booth-Clibborn. With the cadets in the Army's training school,
Polman raised questions about divine healing and the Second Coming that were
sparked by Dowie's visit to Europe in 1900. The resignation of the BoothClibborns from the Salvation Army in January 1902 precipitated the departure of
some key officers from the Salvation Army in the Netherlands, among them
Polman. Two years later, through Booth-Clibborn, he made contact with Dowie
in Zion City and stayed there until 1906 when he and his wife were sent back, as
ordained messengers, to the Netherlands "to make known the glorious
Everlasting Gospel of Salvation, Healing and Holy Living"' Stirred by reports of
the Welsh Revival and Azusa Street, and particularly by news of Pentecostal
manifestations in Zurich as witnessed by one of their number, the group formed
round Polman became Pentecostal in 1907. His wife received her Spirit-baptism
on the 29 October 1907, the date identified by Polman as their break with the
Zion movement and the start of the Pentecostal work in the Netherlands. Polman
' Carolyn Scott, op. cic, 202.
C. van der Laan, op. cit., 65.
' Carolyn Scon, op. cit., 203.
' Carolyn Scott ,op. cit., 203
900th-Clibborn Collection. The letter is dated 1 December 1913 and was sent to a Mr.
Callow.
Ibid., The biography of Catherine Booth-Clibborn first appeared in 1914. (James Strachan (c.
1921 ed.): The Marechale: The Founder of the Salvation Army in France and Switzerland,
James Clarke & Co., London.
James Strachan (1966 edition) op. cit., 201.
' C. van der Laan,
op. cit., 70,n.62
Carolyn Scon, op. cit., 205. This from one normally the most feisty of women. Her grandson
described her as "a woman of enormous practical ability and energy and sheer nerve" (Notes on
the life of Stanley Booth-Clibborn, 1). Richard Collier, writing of their Salvation Army days in
Switzerland when they were forbidden by the government to hold public meetings, commented
that Kate's reaction was predictable; "She would test the power of the decree by disobeying it"
(Quoted in C. van der Laan, op. cit., 63).
' C. van der Laan, op, cit., 86.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
received his Spirit-baptism the following year at the first Sunderland Convention.
The Polmans soon established themselves as leaders of the Dutch Pentecostal
movement which in its earliest years established close links with the British
movement. The first Dutch missionaries served with Polhill's Pentecostal
Missionary Union. The Polmans hosted the International Pentecostal Conference
in Amsterdam in 1920, the first occasion after the Great War for European
leaders to meet together again. Booth-Clibborn was able to meet again his old
Salvation Army prot g and former Dowieite colleague.
During their year in Paris, Arthur, dauntless as ever, preached in his usual
provocative style on the streets, drawing the ire of inflamed mobs. In 1905, he
was attacked with an iron bar which pierced his skin. Blood poisoning set in and
the leg became gangrenous. At first, he refused medical help but was eventually
saved from death by undergoing four operations. In submitting to surgery, he
violated a cardinal principle of Zion and his discharge as "Overseer Clibborn"'
ensued when two emissaries from Chicago arrived to announce his dismissal.
For the rest of his life, he was crippled in his right leg and was subject to phlebitis
in the same leg if he walked much; at times he needed the use of a bath chair. He
was never to be quite the same man again, more content to remain at home,
writing poetry, composing over 300 hymns, playing his auto-harp and engaging
in Bible study mainly on the more esoteric aspects of eschatology. His son
William +rote of his father at this time after his father came to accept the
Pentecostal position:
In his studies he had come to the conclusion that
God would in the last days of this age send a
great revival that would restore the gifts of the
Spirit in greater use in the Church, and whose
main characteristics would be the Baptism in the
Holy Ghost as received on the day of Pentecost.'
Yet, as late as 1927, Kate was to write, "for the first time in long, long years, I
notice how bravely he is ceasing to talk of the past and of the negative".' The
dark cloud of his disillusionment with Dowie is revealed in a letter he wrote in
April 1908:
I see where I went astride (from the personal
call to go alone with Him, which God had given
me) by joining Dr. Dowie and believing in his
special mission. I was led into a labyrinth in that
way which was not of God, and nearly killed by
I
Carolyn Scott, op. cil., 210.
' C . van der Laan, op. cit., 65.
' Carolyn Scott, op. cit., 212
80
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
the devil, 1 lay in bed a year in Paris and barely
escaped with my life.'
When Booth-Clibborn arrived back in England in 1906, he was a sick man. He
stayed first at the home of Catherine Price and her solicitor husband in Brixton
and this probably afforded him the first opportunity he had to assess at first hand
Pentecostal spirituality. While boarding at the Prices' home, he gave a further
insight into the nature of the earliest Pentecostal home meetings in Britain:
God is doing a blessed work here in London.
Seekers quietly slip in here for prayer in the
evening in these consecrated Christians' sitting
and drawing rooms, and some are receiving. The
current here runs deep and pure and strong, the
intense holy silence before Him into which He
draws souls alone or together, reminds me of the
days of early Quakerism, and of what one has
known of the days of closest fellowship with the
Crucified One.2
Meanwhile, Kate regained her confidence and became an independent evangelist
drawing periodically on the assistance of her children as they matured. She never
felt her divine vocation was revoked; "to the masses I was sent, and my greatest
blessings have come from that calling".'
Kate never identified herself directly with the Pentecostal cause though
occasionally she appeared with her husband on the platform at Pentecostal
conventions. At a Pentecostal conference convened, in January 1912, by Cecil
Polhill at the Holborn Hall, London, Kate, whose family had "all received the
blessing", was among those who gave "helpful addre~ses".~
But by this stage,
Pohill, in his inclusivist way, was inviting to the platform clergymen such as
E.W. Moore who "while not 'in the Movement', takes the deepest interest in
every work of God, and has deep spiritual experiences".' This, in all likelihood,
mirrored something of the attitude of Kate herself towards the Pentecostal
movement. She accepted elements of its spirituality more than its doctrinal
singularities. But she could never again trust herself to any organised body.
Having survived her years of hell, as she called the period after their resignation
from the Salvation Army, years marred by the irreconcilable split with her
widowed father and the repercussions of the Dowie episode with all the strain it
I Letter (dated 7 April 1908 From Brixton) published in the magazine Cloud of Witnesses to
Pentecost in India, (No. 6, 1908) edited by Max Moorhead.
' Ibid.
' Carolyn Scott, op. cit., 227.
' Confidence, February 1912,37
' Ibid.
The Journalof the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
put on their mamage as well as the trauma of a recent miscarriage, she was chary
of engaging with any cause outside her own personal control. On her ninetieth
birthday, she confessed to her son Theo, "I am still a Salvationist at heart."'
HIS CONTRIBUTION TO PENTECOSTALISM
Arthur Booth-Clibborn made a major contribution to the early Pentecostal
movement by openly identifying himself with it. Of all the early leaders, he was
the one with the highest public profile in British religious circles. His periods of
illness meant that never again would he be the preaching force of his former days
but, by his august and benevolent presence at public meetings and conferences,
he encouraged the younger leaders and was a persuasive force in bringing a wider
European dimension to the leadership of British Pentecostalism. The Booth name
lent some degree of respectability to a sorely pressed movement living with the
obloquy of charges of fanaticism and Satanic deception. The high profile of the
name was demonstrated in press opinion at the time of his dismissal from Zion.
When Arthur's salary ceased and the financial burden of ten children and doctors'
bills had to be faced2, the nationally circulated satirical magazine, John Bull,
printed a cartoon showing a beefy John Bull character and an animated General
Booth, with a football labelled "Mar chale" being vigorously booted by the
General.' The cartoon had the effect at least of making the General and his eldest
son, Bramwell, when on tour in France, anxious to avoid adverse publicity by
refusing to visit the sorely pressed Booth-Clibboms, Such was the degree of
family rupture that this was the last time Kate was to see of her father until she
attended his deathbed seven years later. During the General's lying-in-state,
150,000 filed past the coffin. On the day of the funeral, offices in the City closed
and 40,000 lined the streets. Queen Mary was among those who attended the
funeral service.
It was through his influence on his own children and then in turn through their
work in the movement that Arthur Booth-Clibborn made his most telling
contribution to Pentecostal advance. With Kate frequently campaigning away
from home, a situation made all the more necessary by the need to provide financial support for the family, he played a major role in the parenting of the
children in their teenage years. In November 1908, while preparing for exams to
enter Cambridge University, William, the fifth born of their ten children, was
pressed by his father to attend a weekend of meetings in London which, as it
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
turned out, stretched till the following Wednesday.' On the Saturday evening,
father and son attended the small mission run by a young American couple, Harry
and Margaret Cantel (1878-1926). Margaret Cantel's father was one of Dowie's
elders at Zion City and her husband was overseer of Dowie's work in Britain
from 1900 till his death from peritonitis in 1910. This paved the way for BoothClibbom to link up with the American couple. The Cantels' mission, which according to William, "looked very much like one of these small stores you see in
some American towns": was his first experience of a Pentecostal meeting in a
public hall. The following evening, at a home in Plumstead with fifty people
present, William received his Spirit-baptism.
The relish and the ecstasy of that blessing have
never left me, and the only sorrow was when they
helped me to my feet and I realised, oh! with such
pain, that 1 could not be with my Beloved, that I
must walk this vale of tears and sorrow ...Oh! I
did want so to be with Jesus, I thought suffering
and death would be nothing if only I could stay
continually under the smile of his face forever,
raptured to the throne of His Glory and never see
this sinful earth any more.'
This experience is expressed in tones of sensuous intimacy, or in Percy's phrase
"sublimated eroti~ism",~
evocative more of a contemplative in the Catholic
quietist tradition than in the gritty language of much evangelical discourse. In that
tradition, sexuality provided imagery for communicating the sublime nature of a
spiritual climax, a task that drove writers to the outer margins of metaphor: in St.
Teresa's words, "one makes these comparisons because there are no (other)
suitable ones".'
I Edward Booth-Clibborn said of his father: "I am persuaded that if my dear father had not
boldly taken me out of (boarding) school at this time, my experience would not have proved
such an overwhelming initiation into the sphere and power of a Spirit-filled life" (Redemption
Tidings, 5.6 (June 1929) 3).
' Redemption Tidings, 5.4 (April 1929) 2.
' Ibid.
' Martyn Percy, Power and the Church: Ecclesiology in an Age of Transition, Cassell: London
(1998) 141.
' Filipe Fernandez-Amesto & Derek Wilson, Reformation: Christianiq and the
I
Carolyn Scott, op. cit.. 246
' Catherine wrote in a memorial tribute of her late husband that he "never cared for money;
indeed, not enough, for material burdens are very real when obligations are ever increasing.
They must be carried by someone, and yet - and yet - if he was extreme on the one side, are not
many of God's children extreme on the other"? In their case, she was that "someone".
(Catherine Booth-Clibborn, op. cit., viii)
' Ibid., opposite page 150.
World 15002000, Bantam Press: London (1996) 51. Any hint of effeteness concerning William is disabused
by the picture drawn of him by Pastor Philip Duncan, leader of a sizeable Pentecostal church in
Sydney when Booth-Clibborn visited Australia in 1930 (See Barry Chant, Heart of Fire; The
Story of Australian Pentecostalism, Luke Publications: South Australia (1973) 109-112.)
William Booth-Clibborn urged the Sydney Pentecostal assemblies to combine under his
leadership and thus present a united front. They proved not averse to the principle, just his
high-handed approach to implementing it. Duncan was one of his protagonists, in every sense
when Booth-Clibborn resorted to physically wrestling with him to assert his will!
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
It is to William as a teenager that the most intimate picture of family life in the
Booth-Clibborn household is owed. He revealed the impact of the Pentecostal
experience on the family in the earliest days when "all, except one, of my
brothers and sisters had received their Pentecost":'
The news had spread that strange meetings were
being held in our home. There was talk of
countenancing spiritism. You can well imagine
with what consternation the report that we were
speaking with tongues was received among our
friends. Father stood like a rock. He refused to
be moved, and if it had not been of his standing
resolutely in the breach at the critical time, I do
not believe we would not have been able to break
through to victory in the whole family.2
The family must have been a puzzle to their neighbours at Westcliff-on-Sea,
Essex. Their family worship sometimes continued till 2 a.m. Complaints from
neighbours when the whole family came together for praise and worship in
Pentecostal fashion were stemmed when Arthur fastened quilts and blankets over
the doors and windows: "now we had a sound-proof room from which very little
of the heavenly music could get through, so we sang yet more lustily and
happily:'.'
William recalled the first meeting in their home after his mother
returned from campaigning:
Humbly she knelt with us, Ustening attentively to
the heavenly choir, the speaking in tongues, and
interpretations and watching us as we wept and
prayed ...She folded her hands, the tears were in
hcr eyes. 'Willie', she said, 'pray with me
too' ...(This) revealed to me at once that she was
hungry, that shc wanted to share the general
chrism of power that had fallen upon us all ...She
saw the change in me and the blessed effect in the
whole home, and she pronounced this a work of
the Holy Ghost.'
Besides William, two other of the Booth-Clibborn brothers were to identify with
the Pentecostal movement: Eric ( I 895-1924) and Herbert became affiliated to the
I
Redemption Tidings, 5 . 6 (June 1929) 3 .
' Ibid.
' Ibid.
' Ibid.
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
American Assemblies of God. Before becoming a missionary to Africa, Eric did
pioneer work in Colorado. In 1924, he and his wife Lucille and baby daughter
travelled as missionaries of the A.O.G. to French West Africa (Burkina Faso).
Within nineteen days of their amval, he died of dysentery leaving a young widow
expecting their second child, a son named Stanley, who was later to become the
Bishop of Manchester (1979-92). In 1917, Herbert published his book Should a
Christian Fight?: An Appeal to Christian Young Men of All Nations in which he
argued that for Christians there was no alternative to pacifism. In this, he was
embracing his parents' anti-war stance, most notably articulated in Arthur's
Blood Against Blood.' His mother was equally opposed to bearing arms and one
of Kate's nieces recalls her trying "to convince us that you couldn't be a Christian
- be saved as we say in the Army - if you were involved in war".'
PACIFISM AND PENTECOSTALS
While based in the Netherlands, Arthur with the opportunity to read the war
propaganda from both sides, wrote Blood against Blood as a remonstrance
against the Anglo-South African (Boer) War (1899-1902). The first edition was
published somewhere between mid-1900 and early 1902; The theme of the book
was captured in its title. The book considers two kinds of bloodshed: one
affected by the use of weapons of warfare contrasted with the other spilled in
fighting for the cause of Christ with spiritual weapons. The church, in the defence of its narrow sectoral interests, had confused the two in mixing the two
kinds of blood. True Christianity was the only antidote to war: it was the blood
of Christ against the blood of the bayonet, Christ's Christianity against cannon
Chri~tianity.~When the book was republished during the first World War, the
American Pentecostal Weekly Evangel reviewed it in glowing terms:
I In the Booth-Clibborn Collection is a sworn affadavit drafted by Booth-Clibborn and
witnessed by T. H. Mundell, solicitor and Hon. Secretary of the P. M. U. It was prepared on
behalf of his son Theodore for consideration by a tribunal giving the reasons why Theo. refused
on grounds of conscience to enrol in the school cadet force.
'Carolyn Scott, op. cir., 190. Words recalled by Catherine, daughter of Bramwell and Flome
Booth, aged 1 3 at the time they were uttered. She recollected, "It was a curious mental
disturbance to me to find that she thought so differently (from me)".
' Jay Beaman, Pentecostal Pacifism; The Origin, Development and Rejection of Pacific Belief
among the Pentecostals, Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies: Kansas (1989) 67, n. 19.
Beaman bases the dating of the first edition of Blood Against Blood on internal evidence within
the book. On the other hand, Peter Brook, Professor of History, University of Toronto, stated in
a letter to Stanley Booth-Clibborn that it was published "around 1907". (Booth-Clibborn
Collection). Brook produced a paper entitled Nineteenth-Centuty British Pacifism.
' Ibid, 42 which summarises the thrust of the book
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
The Gospel Publishing House is now in
possession of a powerful book, entitled Blood
Against Blood, written by Arthur BoothClibborn, an English (sic) Pentecostal brother
who has been the means of a glorious ministry in
Germany (sic) before the opening of the war ...We
recommend that you purchase it and become
imbued with the spirit of its contents.'
In Britain, by contrast, where conscription was introduced in 1916, the book was
banned and all copies were withdrawn from circulation2 - a reflection of the
jingoistic fervour with which the war was pursued in its earlier stages. The
Established Church was solidly supportive of the war. The Presbyterian
theologian, John Oman, obscrved that, in cultivated circles, "the religious official
is the most belligerent person present".' The Bishop of London went overboard
on the issue and called in the Guardian for the Church, as the headline
proclaimed, to "MOBILISE THE NATION FOR A HOLY WAR.' The great
majority of the 16,500 conscientious objectors were committed Christians and it
was only from Free Church sources that some defence was mustered against their
appalling mistreatment.
~ h whole
g
pacifist issue became a particularly searching one for Pentecostals in
Britain and though there was no official line on conscientious objection among
the various assemblies, nevertheless, in Donald Gee's words, conscription
"precipitated a personal issue of deep gravity for many young men among
Pentecostal believers".' While Boddy and Polhill "manifested a strongly
favourable attitude towards active participation in the conflict ...BoothClibborn ...p resented his own view in no half-hearted manner, and probably
helped to influence many".6 The personal cost involved was commented on by
I Ibid, 51. The quotation was taken from Weekly Evangel, (10 July 1915) 1. The Gospel
Publishing House is the publishing arm of the American A. 0.G. That Booth-Clibbom regarded
himself as Irish comes out in an article he wrote for ConJidence in 1910 when in a piece of mild
whimsy he asked "if an Irishman may coin an Irishism". (Confidence, June 1910, 145)
Information obtained from Desmond Cartwright. He has a copy of the book inscribed by its
owner stating, doubtless as an _expression of his displeasure, that the book was to be confiscated
' Adrian Hastings, A History of English Christianiry 1920-1990, SCM: London (1991) 46.
'Ibid, 45.
9.
Gee, Wind and Flame, Heath Press: Croydon (1 967) 101.
Ibid, 101-2. Frank Banleman was the primary chronicler of Pentecostal origins in Los Angles
in his How Pentecosf Came to Los Angeles (1925), Between 1912 and 1914, he visited Europe,
including England, when it is almost certain he met with Booth-Clibborn. Some of his semons
were directed against the "the war spirit in Christians". At a central meeting in London, he met
resistance from the Chairman [almost certainly Polhill]. The latter said "if he were a young
man he would enlist himself. ..But some thanked me (Bartleman) for (the address) later,
especially some of the missionary student young men, members of the P. M. U". (Jay Beaman,
op. cif.,56).
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
Gee years later when he spoke of a young married couple who had been
conscientious objectors visjting Margaret Cantel ''to seek counsel and comfort in
their problems and trials". In his own case, he could recollect "the months and
years of continual obloquy and petty persecution (which for him) meant a growth
in character and convigtion that would have come much more slowly under
peaceful circumstances". Later in life he was to observe
as a solemn fact that those who took a strongly
patriotic stance in the last War, among our
Pentecostal brethren, have mostly gone
backwards in spiritual power and influence ever
since; while those who put Christ and his Word
before all have advanced by divine grace to
positions of spiritual leadership. It could hardly
be otherwise.'
When that was written, the names of Boddy and Polhill must have been in mind.
If so, it was not the most judicious of his judgements since their diminishing
influence within the British movement does not lend itself to such simplistic
analysis.
CONCLUSION
The one intriguing question surrounding his Pentecostal involvement was
whether or not he ever spoke in tongues. In Confidence (June 1911), it was
reported that he said he had not yet spoken in tongues, "and would not be
satisfied till he did".* In most of the early Pentecostal assemblies in Britain, the
absence of glossolalia would have been taken as an indication of his not having
received Spirit baptism. For van der Laan this might account for his absence
from the International Pentecostal Council that met in the years between 1912
and 1914.' However that question is answered, there is no doubting the salient
part Booth-Clibborn played in the early Pentecostal movement. The high public
profile of his wife and the contribution of three of their sons to the wider
international movement kept the Booth-Clibbom name to the fore in Pentecostal
circles and beyond. His family background gave him a cachet unrivalled in the
RedentpfionTidings (2 January 1939) 6.
Jay Beaman, op. cit., 62.
' Ibid, 63-4. In the second group he would no doubt have placed Howard and John Carter,
Stanley Frodsham and Margaret Cantel. Bartleman spoke at the Cantel meeting and also at A.
E. Saxby's church, "where the leader thanked me warmly" (56). Saxby was the youthful Gee's
pastor and was a strong influence on him but later was sidelined in the movement once he
started to promulgate the teaching of "ultimate reconciliation".
' Confidence,June 1911,128.
' C. van der Laan ,op. cit., 66.
I
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
Arthur Booth-Clibborn: Pentecostal Patriarch: James Robinson
movement. In a note scratched round the certificate awarded with the life-saving
medal by the President of France, he wrote that it had come through the British
ambassador to the French government, Lord Dufferin. Frederick Blackwood, 1st
Marquis of Dufferin and Ava (1826-1902), was one of the most distinguished
diplomats of Victorian Britain whose roots lay in the family estates at
Clandeboye, North Down. Booth-Clibborn in his note remarked, "Lord Dufferin,
by the way, knew my standing and that of my family and its various groups
throughout all Ireland in some 15 centres".' Above all, he was a benevolent presence at Pentecostal forums and a source of encouragement especially to young
leaders. He had wider and more varied experience than any of the other British
leaders. As he stated in the original preface of Blood Against Blood, at the time
of its publication he was "living at the heart of things".'
harsh attacks than any other Pentecostal church in the world".' Booth-Clibbom
penned a lengthy article, published in Confidnce, that set out to answer in broad
terms the charges made against the movement. The aticle was written while he
was visiting the Continent where he had just made contact with ten different
centres which afforded him the opportunity to sound out opinion on the
Declaration: "From personal enquiry 1 know some of the signatories of that
declaration have not ... examined it with the thoroughness which such a
declaration req~ired".~He was the foremost among British Pentecostals to
maintain a long-term involvement with the European scene. That made him
familiar with events there and, in this case, drew from him a robust, if not an
intellectually satisfying, defence of the movement.'
His pacifism influenced many young men, notably Dowie, but not the Salvation
Army which was a source of regret to him. It was his strong belief that
acceptance of the pacifist and Pentecostal message by the Army would have
returned it to its roots, to the time when it was a spiritual force in the nation
before its growing involvement in social work. During the First World War, he
was an inspiration for the young conscientious objectors in their personal turmoil
and by his advocacy of an ethic with elements of social radicalism was a foil to
the instinctive conservatism of the more acknowledged leadership? That such an
ethic in any expanded version did not transfer to the post-war years left the
movement disengaged from the larger affairs of society and unimpressive to the
many young men radicalised and disenchanted by their experience in the
trenches.
There can, on the other hand, be little doubt that the Pentecostal movement did
not get the best years of Booth-Clibbom. Those years belonged to his service in
the Salvation Army. The culmination of circumstances surrounding the Dowie
years threatened to leave him a broken man. A. E. Saxby, an early leader and
fellow pacifist in the Pentecostal movement, recalled, ''when I first met him he
was a scarred veteran, halting on his thigh...He was no longer the warrior in the
sense that he was in the forefront of the battle but he was still the man who had
made the ~ a r r i o r . "One
~ of his daughters observed that as the years passed, her
father "seemed to retire more deeply into God and a very rare and lovely spiritual
refinement began to take place which was felt by all who came near him. He
became strangely removed from the earth, although he still followed with keen
interest all the events of the day".' He retreated increasingly to his study,
devoting his time to Biblical research and writing, little of which entered
mainstream Pentecostal literature.
Booth-Clibborn's internationalism contrasted with the essentially isolationist
posture of the Pentecostal movement in the post-war period. It was he who
responded for British Pentecostals to the Berlin Declaration of 1909 that issued
from a conference of German evangelical Pietists and damned the Pentecostal
movement as demonically infiltrated. It declared that the spirit of Pentecostalism
is "not from above but from be lo^".^ It represented an hostility towards the
nascent German movement that Hollenweger holds made it "the target of more
Having weathered two authoritarian regimes, neither Booth-Clibborn parent
cared to place themselves in a similar position again. Arthur could never again
be an organisation man, cast in a founder or leadership role and, therefore, never
able to exercise the authority and power which accrue to such roles. He was
content to state in the third edition of Blood Against Blood that "the writer
belongs to no particular Denomination of Christians, therefore none shares the
' In the Booth-Clibborn Collection.
A. S. Booth-Clibbom, Blood Against Blood, Charles Cook: New York (1914) 3. The title page
of the 1914 edition stated: "A second volume, entitled THE MAILED FIST OR THE
PIERCED HAND is appearing". According to Professor Peter Brook there is no evidence that
this book was ever printed.
He expressed his disappointment at the stance of Salvation Army against the pacifist position
in no uncertain terms: "I have realised that the more the Army comes into favour with the
unconverted wealthy, and with statesmen and politicians, the conservatism which this entails
makes it very difficult if not impossible for it to preach the whole Gospel".
' Walter J. Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide, Hendrickson
Publishers: Peabody (1 997) 337.
' Ibid, 337.
Confidence, August 1910,183. The word ordering in the sentence has been changed.
' His line of defence was to make play with the charge that the Pentecostal movement was
"from below". The following catches his drift: "Brethren, is it not time something did come
from below, from the dust, from the nothing; from our uttermost repentance and humiliation,
from the midst of an absolute acceptance of despisal and death at the hands of the world"?
(Confidence,August 1910, 184.)
' Catherine Booth-Clibbom, A Poet of Praise: a Tribute to Arthur Booth-Clibborn, Marshall,
Morgan and Scott: London (1939) 30.
"bid. The writer was his daughter Evangeline.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
responsibility of the views expressed".' He was too focused on the single issue of
anti-militarism to gain widespread popular support. He was no longer interested
in exercising his personal charisma in the interests of building up of a power
base. As a freelance, he had freedom of action but it was a dilettantism that had
neither the energy nor vision to structure a future that would ensure the
permanence of Pentecostal witness. That had to wait the next generation of the
men of the stamp of George Jeffreys who saw the need to establish a revivalist
denominational network as the basis for solid future growth.
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical ~etrospection'
Valdus Teraudkalns
PENTECOSTALISM IN THE BALTICS BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD
WAR
Pentecostal ideas reached the Baltics together with news from Azusa Street
Church. Latvian Baptist pastor William Fetler (known also as Basil Maloo' in
February, 1907, published in the Baptist magazine Avots an article about the
work of the American Pentecostal pioneers Parham and Seymour. The magazine
Apostolic Faith is mentioned as the source of the informgtion and quotes from
one of its editorials called Pentecost with Following Signs' During his studies at
Spurgeon's College (UK) from which he graduated in 1907, Fetler was
influenced by the Welsh revival and Holiness movement. Therefore it is not
surprising that he was sympathetic to renewal movements like Pentecostalism
even if he never left the Baptists. His sermon delivered in 1914 in Liepaja is one
of examples of his passionate claim that "those gifts which God through the Holy
Spirit gave to the first Christian church the Lord at the end times wants to give to
his church...When the church of God will move ahead it will receive more gifts of
the Holy Spirit."'
At the beginning of the 2oth century, the English woman, Eleanor Patrick,
developed mission work in the Baltic region mainly amongst Baltic Germans.
According to her own testimony, the first time she personally used glossolalia
was during meeting with A.A.Boddy in Hamburg in December, 1908.' She had
worked at a mission in Frankfurt and visited Russia in 1909, spending time in
Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia), Riga and Dwinsk (now Daugavpils, Latvia) and
Witebsk (Belarus). She reported her mission to the pioneer of British
Pentecostalism, Alexander A. Boddy. She claimed that 200 people were
converted within two months of her ministry6 and was invited to preach in Dorpat
(Tartu) in the meetings organised by Baroness Von Brasch whom she had met
' A. S. Booth-Clibbom, op. cit.. title page. Booth-Clibbom expressed himself strongly against
any centralisation of the movement. He rejoiced that the new movement was exactly that and
not "a world-wide organisation. Every assembly is independent ...Each group profits by the
experiences which others have made through full and free development. Excesses and abuses
are thus more easily detected and corrected...Were this revival to be organised or centralised, it
would quickly go wrong, because carnal unity soon becomes a dead uniformity". (Confidence,
June 1910, 145) The bitter experience surrounding his resignation from the Salvation Army
must have reinforced his views on institutional structures combined with a certain idealization
of the Quakerism of his formative years.
' The author has tried to examine Pentecostalism of all three Baltic states; however, in the
process of research he had to concentrate more on Latvia. Written sources about Lithuania and
Estonia are only available mainly in local languages and are therefore not accessible to author.
In this article, Russian words are used in Latin transliteration; specific Latin characters used in
local Baltic languages are not used.
Cf. V. Teraudkalns, "William Fetler - Friend of Pentecostalism in Latvia", The Journal of the
European Pentecostal Theological Asociation, XIX (1999) 8 1-88.
V. Fetlers, "Kristigas draudzes pamosanas", Avots, 8 (1907) 85-87.
' V. Fetlers, "Jaiet talak", Kristigais Vestnesis, 10 (1924) 139.
' "Russia. Letter from Miss Patrick", Confidence,7.12 (December, 1914) 229.
"Russia: Miss E.Patrick's Visit to the Baltic Provinces", Confidence, 2.12 (December, 1909)
282.
The Joumal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus ~eraudkalns
earlier in the Conference in Sunderland.' It was the beginning of Pentecostalism
in Estonia.' Later, Pentecostal believers in Reval were visited by such prominent
preachers as Pastor Jonathan Paul from Germany.'
Von Brasch, from 191 1 to 1916, published the monthly periodical To Heaven;
she also sponsored building a hall for Pentecostal meetings.' Her written
meditations appeared also in Con$dence.' Her life is one of the examples of how
upper class Balt Germans, influenced by Pietism, contributed to the rise of new
religious ideas. Some of them had a tradition of inviting foreign preachers to their
homes. Some of these evangelists were connected with the dominant church (in
Latvia and Estonia - Lutheran)while others were not. A similar pattern can be
seen in Russia where in the lYh century, part of the Russian upper social class
became dissatisfied with Orthodoxy and turned to Western Evangelical religious
currents advocating religious freedom and personal relations with God. There
was a constant exchange of ideas between the upper and lower c l a ~ s e s In
. ~ the
case of Pentecostalism, in spite of the fact most early Pentecostals were socially
deprived, we cannot link the rise of the whole of the movement with social
deprivation.
Compared with Latvia and Lithuania, Pentecostalism in Estonia was more
influential. This fact was mentioned by the Latvian Baptist pastor, Janis lnkis
who reported on speaking in tongues during the worship service of the local
Baptist church in Tallinn as well as the glossolalia practised in other free
churches in Estonia.' However, Pentecostal mission work expanded also in
Latvia. Patrick informed Boddy that she had recruited a German deaconess to
take on some of the ministry in Riga although G. Rabe is mentioned as a leader of
the work. Patrick moved to Libau (now Liepaja) where the Town Council
allowed her to use a hall with 700 seats, free of charge. She also noted that a
German evangelist Eugen Edel had preached in Riga and Libau.' Later, Patrick
moved further to Dwinsk, and Witebsk, settling in Saratov, Russia.
I
"An English Lady Visits Russia", Confidence.2.9 (September, 1909) 209.
' History book of Evangelical-Christians Baptists in USSR (Isrorijajevangeljskih hristian hapristov (Moskva: VSEHB, 1989) 328) states that E. Patrick came to Tartu in 1907 but it
contradicts other sources.
M. Von Glehn, "Revel, Rusia", flridegroom's Messenger, 5.96 (191 1) 3.
' lstorijajevangeljskih hrisliun, 328.
"on Brasch, "God's Thoughts", [email protected], 6.5 (May, 1913 ) 97-100.
" E. Heier, Religious Schism in the Russian Aristocracy 1860-1900. Radstockism and
Pashkovism (Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1970) 19.
' J. Inkis, "Karla Andermana izstiepsanas prieks "Vasarsvetku kustibas"", Avots, 43 (1913)
511.
"News fiom Miss Patrick", Conjidence, 5.1 (January, 1912) 16-17
'
These events did not happen in a vacuum but should be viewed in the context of a
mingling of continental Pietism with the British-American Holiness movement.
For example, in 1907 some Lutherans and Baptists in Latvia co~espondedwith
evangelist Reuben Torrey inviting him to preach in Riga. Torrey responded that
"right now his plans do not lead to Europe."' Torrey's writings and sermons,
including those that teach about the Spirit baptism, were published in Latvian.
Some independent Holiness groups were established in the Baltics at the
beginning of the 2oth century: Vilhelm Ebel who belonged to the Church of God
(Anderson, Indiana) travelled in 1902 through Russia and stayed briefly in Riga
where he established a mission station and a publishing house. His teaching
mainly spread amongst the Germans living in different parts of Russian ~mpire.'
The interdenominational character of the Holiness movement made it possible for
the doctrine of the baptism of Holy Spirit promoted by the movement to reach
people not only through independent Holiness denominations but also through
those belonging to the Holiness tradition who maintained membership in
established denominations. For example, amongst lecturers in the Baptist Bible
course held in 1906 in Liepaja were Russian Evangelical Pastor Ivan Kargel from
St.Peterburg, Mennonite pastor and publisher Jacob Kreker and Latvian pastor
Adams Podins from Estonia. The main topic of their presentations was
sanctification. In 1907, a similar course with the same lecturers was held in
Ventspils and again discussed a distinct crisis experience called the Spirit
baptism. Different metaphors were used to describe it - J. Kreker in one of his
speeches in Ventspils talked about spiritual and fire baptism.' New teaching
spread around and, as admitted by believers of that time, quickly become the
subject of discussions after the worship services.' There is no surprise that
Mennonites preached such a doctrine - some of the Mennonite communities
scattered in the Russian Empire came into contact with German Lutheran Pietists,
for example, with Eduard Wurst who stressed holy living. Their meetings were
characterised by a high level of emoti~nalism.~
The beginnings of Pentecostalism in Lithuania was different because of another
social-religious context - its basis was a group fiom a Reformed church in Birzai.
Petras Viederis from Birzai was baptised in the Spirit during his trip to the USA.
He returned to Lithuania in 1912 and revitalised the activities of this group. The
church at Birzai was registered in 1913 with the name Congregation of
Evangelical Chri~tians.~
New religious trends appear as part of a larger complex
"Dr. R.A.Torreja vestule ridziniekiem", Avots, 17 (1908) 199.
J. Smith, The Quest For Holiness and Unity (Anderson: Warner Press, 1980) 1 16-1 17.
' J. Kreker. "Sastapsanas ar to Kungu uguni", Draugs 9 (1907) [(pages are not numbered].
' R. 0zols; "No \ientspilsw, ~ v o t s13, (1907) 152.
C.J.Dvck. An Introduction to Mennonite Histov (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1993) 277-278.
The &tob of the Union of Pentecostal Churches of Lithuania and the Pentecostal Movement
by David Millsaps, 1999) 1.
in ~ i t h u a n i(~ocument
~
I
,
I
,
i
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association,Vol. XXI,2001
of changes in society. Therefore, it is important to point not only to a certain
religious context but also to other factors which prepared the ground for
Pentecostalism.
Urbanisation
Urbanisation does not always stimulate religious decline.' The search for a new
identity for many former peasants living with the broken symbols of the past
included also looking for a new spiritual home. They often found it in the free
church tradition. Pentecostalism, which is considered a urban phenomenon, fitted
very well into this picture. With this in mind, we can turn to the situation in
Baltics: In 1863, 14.8 % of all population of Latvia lived in cities; in 1914, this
figure was already 40.3 %. It was more than in Sweden where in 1910,24.8% of
the population lived in cities. In this sense, Latvia was no different from France
where in 1911, more than 44.2 % of all the population lived in towm2
Consequences of political changes caused by the Revolution of 1905
The Revolution of 1905 had tragic consequences for all sides because not only
were almost half of the German manors in Kurzeme and Vidzeme (parts of
Latvia) in ruins, but also hundreds of peasant farms. Many people were killed and
exiled. However, the Revolution opened the gates for religious plurality. At the
same time, dissident voices were raised, threatening the economic foundations of
the ruling churches. The Deputy of the First State Duma (Council) of Russia,
Janis Cakste (after the First World War, he became the first State President of
Latvia), worked on the project leading to the law on the confiscation of church
lands in the Baltics.' Although this was not passed, it served as one of the
examples of changes that the majority of churches werefto face.
The crisis of Lutheranism in Latvia and Estonia
In Estonia and Latvia, since the Reformation, the main organised form of
Christianity has been Lutheranism. Catholics remained the dominant religious
group in some parts of Latvia (mainly in Latgale) and in most parts of Lithuania.
In Lithuania, the Catholic church penetrated and transformed the cultural
environment while Lutheranism had less impact on countries where it dominated
because it was often considered foreign by local people because of the strong
Balt-German presence in the church. Even in 1919, a year after Estonia
proclaimed independence, more than half the Lutheran clergy in this Nordic part
See, for example, research done in the States: R. Finke, R. Stark, The Churching ofAmerica,
1776-1990 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1997)203-207.
A. Svabe, Latvijas vesture 1800-1914 (Stokholma: Daugava, 1958) 543.
F. Cielens, Laihetu mai?? 1. gr. (Riga: Memento, 1997)225.
I
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus Teraudkalns
~fBaltics were Balt-Germans.' The historian, A. Svabe, mentions the fact that
!ntil 1905, of 103 Lutheran pastors serving in Kurzeme and Zemgale (parts of
.atvia), only 35 were Latvians; in Vidzeme (another part of Latvia), in 1892,
mong 104 pastors serving rural parishes, only 16 were Latvians. All the rest had
Balt-German background. The Church historian, L. Adamovics, admits that
.ven the independence of Latvia did not stop this crisis and the "Latvian
ivangelical people's church remains more an ideal then reality."'
IEVELOPMENT OF PENTECOSTALISM DURING THE
NDEPENDENCE OF THE BALTIC COUNTRIES (1918-1940)
rhere are two connected streams in the development of Latvian Pentecostalism in
he twenties - one linked with James Grevins who came to Latvia as an
4ssemblies of God missionary and another linked with the proto-Pentecostal
novement within Baptist churches.
The organised Pentecostal movement in Latvia was started by James Grevins,
who at the age of 20, went to the USA and became a Pentecostal. Before that, he
was a member of St. Matthew Baptist Church at Riga and earned a living as a
;hoemaker.' After graduation from the Elim Bible Training School (USA), he,
:ogether with his wife, on June 4th, 1926, amved in Latvia from New York. His
rather was an elder in the Baptist church in Dobele and wanted his son to take
wer the pastoral work as the congregation had no pastor. However, theological
jisagreement made it impossible and James Grevins started his own church. In
1927, he established the Latvian -American Mission Society with sections all
wer Latvia and started to publish the journal Misionars. In the same year, the
first Pentecostal hymnal Shibboleth4 was printed, with 63 songs. Grevins'
activities met with the opposition of the state authorities in 1925, the Department
of Religious Affairs stated that his ministry was not needed in Latvia and his stay
in the country was unnecessary ' However, he managed to stay for some years.
He was ordered to leave the country in 1930, leaving behind nine preaching
stations with about four hundred members6
' M.
Ketola, "Some Aspects of the Nationality Question in the Lutheran Church of Estonia,
1918-39",Religion, State & Society 27:2 (1999) 239.
' E. Kiploks, sast., Prof: Dr. L.Adamovics.Rakstipar LatvQm baznicas vesturi (ASV: LELBA,
1978) 51.
Kristigais Vestnesis 17/18 (1 924) 252.
' Title & from the Bible: Judges 12:6.
' Lotvijas Valsts Vestures Arhivs (LVVA).- 1370.f. - 1.a. - 680.1. - 23. (Latvian State Archive of
ist tor), further in the text LVVA)
' J. Grevin, "From Circus Bandsman to Pentecostal Missionary", The Pentecostal Evangel
(January 19, 1931) 6f.
The Journalof the European Pmtecost~lTheological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
Another wave which was Pentecostal in character rose in the midst of the Baptist
movement. Economic depression in Latvia and political uncertainties created a
background for intensive religious enthusiasm. Another factor to be taken into
account is the social changes taking place among Latvian Baptists: the social
status of many Baptists was gradually raised and with that their involvement in
wider society (For example, in 1920, Arturs Dinbergs founded a factory Vadonis;
Pastor Evalds Rimbenieks had been deputy of Parliament, Mayor of Liepaja and
Minister of Finance while J?nis Jirgensons was Mayor of Aizpute'). More
members of Baptist clergy received academic education and with that came the
influences of liberal theology. What was acceptable to one segment of Baptists
turned out to be unsatisfactory to others looking for more spontaneous worship
and who embodied Holiness principles.
Traditionally, the beginning of the wave of religious enthusiasm in Latvia is
linked with meetings held by a small group of believers in Lidere (district of
Madona) in 1918. They started daily prayers for renewal. Soon the group had
more than one hundred members and influenced neighbouring distri~ts.~
Like
others, this revival occurred not without influences from outside - for example, its
activist Emilija Hercmane (later instrumental in the establishing of the
Pentecostal church in Jelgava) was a refugee during the First World War and met
revivalists in Russia and, as she remembers, "prayed with them for the power
from heaven" .'
In 1926, the Baptist Union finally split (to be reunited in 1934). The older union
opposed Pentecostalism, but congregations of the Second Union with their
emotional style of worship and revivalist recruitment techniques were quite open
to glossolalia and the Pentecostal teaching in general. However, tensions
gradually developed between the Second Union and the Pentecostals. They were
charged with proselytism and extremism. Controversy developed in the Riga
Agenskalna Baptist Church pastored by Janis Bormanis. He moved beyond the
revivalist lines and became enthusiastic about the Pentecostal message. In June,
1927, he was elected as a Board's Secretary of the Latvian-American Mission
Society (later he resigned from this p~sition).~
Bormanis had to leave his Baptist
congregation in 1930 because he put too much emphasis on glossolalia and the
healing of the sick.' It seems that Bormanis had an extreme view regarding the
cause of sickness believing that "diseases are not from God. Believers who have
' J. Tervits, "Baptisti valsts, pasvaldibas un sabiedriskas institucijas. Izdales materials LBDS
kongresa "Baptisti un sabiedriba" (12.03.99.) laika. [pages are not numbered]
A. B N V ~ ~Baptistu
S,
draudnr izcelsanas Latvija (Minstere: autora izdevums, 1986) 136.
' E. Hercmane, "Ka Latvija sakas atmoda", Misionars, 5 (1928) 73.
' LVVA. - 2263.f. - 1.a. - 2.1. - 1.
' A. Korps, E. Lejasmeijers, red., Rigas Agenskolna baptistu draudzes 50 gadi (Riga:
Agenskalna draudze, 1934) 24-26.
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus Teraudkalns
received the Holy Spirit cannot be sick."' One can see here similarity with
teaching of some early Pentecostals in the United States - F.M. Britton refused
medical aid for one of his sons believing in the possibility of "entire cleansing
from disease."*
Bormanis, after leaving the Baptists, organised the Pentecostal church
Vasarsvetku Blazma (Pentecostal Dawn) in Riga and published a journal under
the same name. Services were held in Russian and German. Vasarsvetku Blazma
was legally registered as a religious society with mission stations in different
parts of Latvia and, in 1933, had in total about 1000 members.' However, it did
not last long. In 1933, the District court of Riga stopped the work of Vasarsvetku
B l ~ z m aBefore
.~
that (in 1932), the same fate had already occurred to the LatvianAmerican Mission Society ' Pentecostals found ways out of such restrictions by
creating small religious associations. Authorities often closed them but
Pentecostals managed to re-establish them under different names. According to
the data provided by the Director of the Department of Churches and Confessions
up to 1934, in Latvia, there existed 10-15 Pentecostal ~hurches.~
The authoritarian
regime of Karlis Ulmanis (1934-1940) introduced restrictions on religious
minorities. The new Law on Religious Associations and Their Unions (1934)
stated that a religious association needed at least fifty people to be registered
(instead of five as stated in the law of 1923).' It became more difficult for
Pentecostals to continue their ministry but it did not stop. For example, ministry
continued via the association of Betele based in Jelgava. It functioned not only as
the church but also supported an orphanage.' Sometimes, Pentecostals found
support in mainline denominations. For example, in 1939 the Lutheran
Archbishop Grinbergs approved the establishment of a prayer group called
Getzemanes pulcins (Gethsemane group) formed by Baptists, Pentecostals and
others in the Riga Evangelical Lutheran Mission's C h ~ r c hThere
. ~ is no surprise
that this parish became the shelter for some Pentecostally-minded Christians
because until 1935, it existed as a free Lutheran congregation.1°
Pentecostals in Latvia maintained links with missions abroad, especially with the
' A. Errlitis. sast., Otras baptistu savienibas rokasgramata 1929/1930. kongresa gadam (Riga:
~ ~ ~ < a ~ &1929)
i d s 17.
,
V. Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1971) 189.
' vas&vetku Bluma 8 (1 933) 1 37.
'LVVA-4651.f.-1.a.-2.1.-4.
' LVVA - 2263.f. - 1.a. - 2.1 - 5.
LVVA - 1370.f. - 1.a. - 2554.1. - 1 1 1.
' "Likums par religiskam apvienibam un to savienibam", Valdibas Vestnesis, 290 (1934) 1.
From 1931 to 1934, Culia Henry worked in the orphanage; he was an Assemblies of God
missionary and a graduate of the Bible Institute in Springfield (K. Henri, "Aizbraucot no
Latvijas", Jaunais Misionars, 4 (1 934) 61 -62.)
Misiones Vestnesis,7 (1939) 110f.
loE. Kiploks, Dzimtenes draudzes un bunicas (ASV: LELBA Apgads, 1987) 55.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI. 2001
Russian and Eastern European Mission connected with the Department of
Foreign Missions of the Assemblies of God. It published the journal, Primiritelj
which contained reports about missionary trips to the Baltics (including the fact
that Donald Gee was guest lecturer of the Bible courses in Danzig when he
visited Latvia in 1933.' These courses were also attended by Latvians; a
Pentecostal preacher from Liepaja, Arvids Kurnins, was there for two months. In
1939, he took part in the European conference of Pentecostals in Sto~kholm.~
In Estonia, the Pentecostal message was rekindled by Swedish evangelists
Voldemar Ellingson and Nils Kastberg who amved in Estonia in 1922. In 1925,
Ellingson established the Pentecostal church in Tallinn and started to unite
Pentecostals scattered around Estonia. He organized a publishing house, The
Light, and published the hymnal, Songs of Victory.' Heigo Ritsbeck points out the
different estimates of Pentecostal membership; for example, Michael Viise states
that before 1940, it did not exceed 200 but this is doubtful because according to
the pastor Evald Kiil, there were already 1,350 members at the Tallinn
Pentecostal Church Elim in 1937.' The Russian Baptist leader, Alexander Karev,
after visiting Estonia in 1945, mentioned in his report5 that before the war in
Estonia, there were 8 Pentecostal churches with 2000 members.
After Independence in 1918, the Lithuanian authorities proclaimed that all
religious groups were to be recognized as legal, thus providing the basis for the
free existence of minority groups. In 1923, the first Pentecostal church was
organized in Vilnius by Liuba Kobiako, Olga Lemenshuk, Anastasija Klimionok,
missionaries from the Eastern European Mission. In 1928, 0. Mazolo became
pastor of the church; from 1934-1940, the pastor was 1. Panko, then A.Skobei. In
1940, it decided to affiliate with the similar church in Birzai mentioned earlier.
Therefore, the year of 1940 is the most appropriate time to date the birth of the
Union of Pentecostal Churches in Lith~ania.~
PERIOD OF OCCUPATION: 1940-1990
Soviet occupation in 1940 ended independence of the three Baltic states. From
1941-1944, the Baltic region was occupied by the Germans and then again by the
' "Iz puteshestvij po nive Bozjei brata redaktora Primiritelja G. Shmita", Primiritelj, 1-2
(1934) 11.
L.at$s Valsts Arhivs (LVA) - 1986.f. - 2.a. -P-9234-1.I. - 161-1 62 [Latvian State Archive,
further in'the text LVA].
' Istorijajevangeljskih hristian, 341.
' H . Ritsbeck, The Mission of Methodism in Estonia (Boston: Boston University School of
Theology, 1996)4748,205 [unpublished dissertation].
' LVA - 1448.f. - 1.a. - 230.1. - 35-40.
Isforijajevangeljskih hristian, 377; The Histoty of the Union of Pentecostal Churches of
'
Lithuania and the Pentecosts[ Movement in Lithuania. 1.
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus Teraudkalns
Soviets. Thus, the post-war history of the Latvian Pentecostalism is inseparable
from what happened in the whole of the USSR. Pentecostals in the Soviet Union
were forced to unite with the All-Union Council of the Evangelical-christiansBaptists (hereafter AUCECB); Baptists in the Baltic countries also had to join
this association which was used by the State as a means of control. The
democratic congregational structure of leadership characteristic to the Baptists
was replaced by a hierarchical model with the Council and its Presidium at the
top. In August 1945, in Moscow, 27 leaders of Pentecostal and Baptist churches
took part in the meeting to discuss the question of uniting together. The outcome
of this meeting, known as the 'August agreement', served as the formal basis for
the incorporation of the Pentecostals in the AUCECB. The Document states that
both sides agreed to refrain from glossolalia at public meetings as well as on the
issue that 'filling with the power from above' can happen also without glossolalia
(a doctrinal statement which was and still is not acceptable for many
Pentecostals).'
After the Second World War, Baltic Pentecostals were gradually incorporated in
the AUCECB. At the beginning, they tried to keep their autonomy, formally
joining the Baptist Union. In the report about the Baptists in Latvia in 1946, ten
member churches (with a total membership of 686) belonging to the Pentecostal
tradition, were listed separately.' In the report of 1947, the list included 13
Pentecostal congregations.' Pastor Fricis Grietens organized the Riga Cion
Pentecostal Church that used a church building shared also by Baptists and
Lutherans. Soon, the fact that in the same building existed another congregation
which belonged to the same Union was used as an argument for closing the
Pentecostal congregation down - in 1947, the senior presbyter, Nikolay
Levindanto' wrote that the request of the church to be registered was turned down
because it was able to unite with the Baptist congregation worshipping in the
same building.'
Autonomy was possible only for a short time as terms of the August agreement
were increasingly imposed. Pentecostal congregations ceased to exist as entities
and the name 'Pentecostal' was not mentioned in the titles of congregations.
Sometimes, as a reason for closing down congregations, it was stated that there
were too many church buildings in one town and that they should be used more
rationally. This was stated by the Latvian Baptist Andrejs Redlihs in 1949,
' Istorijajevangeljskih hristian, 404-405.
' LVA - 1448.f. - 1.a. - 246.1. - 15.
' LVA - 1448.f.- 1.a. -230.1. - 143.
' He arrived in Baltic region in 1945 as the representative of AUCECB and until his death in
1966, he served as the senior presbyter of the Baptist churches in Baltics in spite of the fact that
he had no knowledge of the local languages.
' LVA - 1448.f.- 1.a. 230.1. - 138.
-
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus Teraudkalns
speaking in the meeting of the Liepaja Pentecostal church Elim.' The State
increasingly realized its plans. Local Baptist pastors in the conferences of
ministers supported the continuation of the Pentecostal churches as separate
entities or at least as holding separate worship services but the dictates of State
politics made it impossible. Unification happened all over the Baltic region - for
example, in Tallinn, a new congregation united four groups: Baptists, Evangelical
Christians, Pentecostals, Free Christians. The State gave them the historic St.
Olav's Church which, until 1944, was used by German Lutherans.' In 1948, the
Government forced Pentecostals and Baptists in Vilnius to unify but persecution
did not end with that and in 1950, the church was closed.'
Not all Pentecostals joined with the Baptists. When asked about the Pentecostal
groups in Latvia which had not joined the Baptists, the Latvian pastor Bormanis
mentioned groups in Talsi, Riga, and Ventspils.' In 1949, Soviet authorities
arrested and later deported the Pentecostal activists Janis Bormanis, Janis
Rozenbergs, Janis Kadegis, Arvids Kumins, Pavels Jefimovs, Juris Dreimanis,
Adolfs Ginters, Ilarions Puskarevs, Voldemars Sneiders and Marija Grevina.
Rozenbergs, Kadegis, Jefimovs and Kumins were charged with leading illegal
Pentecostal groups but the 'crime' of Dreimanis and Bormanis was that "while
formally joining with Baptists, in practice they developed underground antiSoviet Pentecostal activities."' It is striking that some of the people persecuted
becayse of their beliefs had already faced restrictions during the First Republic of
Latvia. According to the police report of March 1940, the Pentecostal preacher in
Liepaja, A. Kumins, had been punished six times for organizing Pentecostal
meetings6
The Soviet policy of promoting the migration of the Russian-speaking population
to the Baltic region unintentionally stimulated the emergence of new Pentecostal
groups. In 1948, Riga visited the leader of Russian Oneness Pentecostals, Nikoly
Smorodin, who met with Bormanis and preached in his service.' He also visited
Ventspils (Latvia) where according to the report given by Levindanto, after his
preaching, local Oneness Pentecostals belonging to the Russian group of the
Baptist congregation started to be more active.' The result was that under the
leadership of Timofej Semenov, a separate group of 20 Oneness Pentecostals
' LVA - 1448.f.- 1.a. - 102.1.- 66.
Istorijajevangeljskih hristian, 347.
The History of the Union of Pentecostal Churches of Lithuania and the Pentecostal Movement
in Lithuania 1-2.; Istorija jevangeljskih hristian, 377-378.
'LVA- 1986.f. -2.a. -P-9234-1.1. -28.
' LVA - 1986.f. - 2.a. - P-9234-2.1. - 109.
' LVVA - 1370.f. - 1.a. - 2605.1. - 7.
' LVA. - 1986.f. - 2.a. - P-9234-2.1. - 3-6.
'LVA. - 1448.f. - 1.a. -230.1. - 188.
started to gather for meetings.' In order to keep these people within the Baptist
church, the Baptist bishop F. Huns suggested to the local pastor that he accept
baptisms performed by them.' In Riga, there emerged a group of Russian
Pentecostals who joined Eastern Pentecostals. In the beginning, it was led mainly
by women - for a short time by Marija Zidkova (according to the files of the
Ministry of State Security, she started to play a leading role in the group in 1951
but was arrested and sentenced in 1952').
After the death of Stalin, Pentecostals in the USSR began to return back from
their places of deportation and tried to renew Pentecostal activities. Bormanis
returned to Latvia in 1955. It was reported to the state authorities by the Baptist
Bishop Fricis Huns that he had started to organize meetings in flats and was also
preaching in some Baptist c h ~ r c h e s In
. ~ 1957, believers in Vilnius were again
able to worship openly and, in 1967, they registered as the Congregation of
Evangelical Christians-Baptists. Soon, they purchased a building for worship
se~ices.~
The very end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties was marked by the
intensification of persecution in the churches. In 1961, the Council of Religious
Affairs of the Council of Ministers of the USSR passed instructions which
prohibited the registration of groups having 'distorted teachings and character'.
Pentecostals were included in this list. In spite of persecution, Pentecostals
continued their life of silent resistance. Latvian Karlis Zvirzgdins, who was
already known in Pentecostal circles from 1940 when he published a hymnal,
using his own money, actively took part in underground Bible printing and his
house was used as a storage base for these books.'
There were a number of developments between 1970 and 1990. The Baptists
were influenced by Pentecostally oriented preachers coming abroad (Finland,
USA). Foreigners were able to travel more freely around the USSR and because,
officially, Pentecostals were part of the AUCECB, amongst members of Christian
delegations were also to be found Pentecostal leaders. Some Christians came
privately as tourists and, in meetings with local believers, shared their
convictions. Thus, several times, Laimonis Tiluks viosited Latvia; he was leading
a Charismatic prayer group in Australia. He taught faith healing and Baptism in
the Spirit. The Bishop's Council of the Latvian Baptist churches discussed his
' Formally part of Oneness Pentecostals (called in USSR Christians of Apostolic Spirit) in 1947
united with AUCECB).
' LVA - 101.f. - 20.a. - 75.1. - 196-197.
LVA - 1986.f.- 2.a. - P-5221-3.1. - 278; 374-376.
' LVA - 101.f. - 19.a. - 74.1. - 128.-131.
' The History of the Union of Pentecostal Churches of Lithuania and the Pentecostal Movement
in Lithuania. - 2.; lstorija jevangeljskih hristian, 378.
Svetdienas Rits. 22 (1990) 7.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
teaching and its influence on some Baptist congregations like the Riga Golgata
Baptist Church. Later, in the period 1984-1990, when this church was pastured by
Amis Silis, it came under strong Pentecostal influence. Silis, together with 150
members, left the church, establishing a new independent church, Prieka Vests.'
Another source of influence were Samizdat literature prepared on a typewriter
and then copied. For example, in Latvia material about the activities of the
American evangelist Kathryn Kuhlmann was copied and distributed. St.Olav's
Church in Tallinn, used by a Baptist congregation, became a centre for a wave of
neo-pentecostal renewal and a place of pilgrimage for many believers from the
whole USSR. After worship services, prayers for healing of the sick were
practiced. The Estonian Baptist Union established a commission for the
investigation of this new trend (sometimes, especially by its opponents, called
the 'movement of falling down'). In July 1978, a meeting of this commission
was attended also by official representatives of Latvian Baptist churches. Later
(November 1978), the Bishop's Council of the Latvian Baptist churches
formulated its view in line with the Evangelical perspective - "for Christians, the
apostolic teaching is most important, not events linked with the activity of the
Holy Spirit described in the Acts."' The Commission, established by Estonian
Baptists trying to keep neo-pentecostals within the churches, was more positive
than the Latvian Baptist leadership. Classical Pentecostals in different parts of
USSRwere divided in their attitude towards the new movement.
Pentecostals eventually gained the status of an autonomous church. The Council
of Religious Affairs started to allow registration of Pentecostal congregations
outside the AUCECB. Pentecostals in Riga received permission to have worship
services in St. Paul's Lutheran church in 1973. A group in Jelgava received
permission to hold meetings in St. John's Lutheran church in Jelgava in 1975. In
1979, for the first time in the Soviet period, two Pentecostal churches were
officially registered - one in Riga, another in Jelgava. At that time, a bilingual
(Latvian and Russian) church in Riga had 100 to 110 members while a church in
Jelgava in 1983 had 150 to 160 members.' Later, because of different cultural and
religious traditions, Russian speaking believers from both churches split and
organized their own congregations. There was clearly a defined reason behind
providing Pentecostals with freedom to worship; in 1974, a staff member of the
Latvian office of Delegate of the Council of Religious Affairs, J. Kokins, wrote,
"now there is a chance to control their prayer meetings and to learn more about
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus Teraudkalns
preachers of this group - Lackaja and Kostans."' The church in Jelgava was
growing slowly involving all age groups. In the information on the situation in
1976, given to the Department of Propaganda and Agitation of the Communist
Party of Latvia, we find that number of the registered Pentecostals in Jelgava are
from 100 to 150.20 % of Pentecostal weekly worshippers are young people, aged
up to 30 years which is higher than in the local Baptist (10%) and Seventh Day
Adventist churches (6%).'
BALTIC PENTECOSTALS AFTER THE COLLAPSE THE USSR
After regaining independence, Pentecostal groups in Latvia can be classified in
the following way:
Classical Pentecostals linked with Western churches
Classical Pentecostals can be as classified churches belonging to the Association
of Pentecostal Churches of Latvia (APCL) which is a part of the International
Church of God, the Centre of the Pentecostal Churches of Latvia which is
connected with the Assemblies of God and the Apostolic Church. Choice of
affiliation was mainly pragmatic and was not based on dogmatics. The APCL,
after signing an agreement with the International Church of God, continues its
historical tradition of not practicing foot washing.
In 1999, the APCL had 16 churches.) The Association has organized larger events
like Song Festivals (the first one was in 1997) which resemble national singing
festivals celebrated in Latvia since the 1 9 century.
~ ~ It is interesting to note that
the APCL has one woman pastor, Gunta Matjuhova, who was elected to this
position by the church in Jelgava in 1994. She explains that this is partially due to
the lack of male minister^.^
In 1988, a meeting of Latvian and Russian Pentecostals took place where the
question of establishing one union was raised.' However, because of differences
in traditions, it did not happen. A predominately Russian-speaking Pentecostal
Centre of Latvia with Bishop Emanuel Prokopenko as the head, was established
I
J. Tervits, [email protected] Baptistu draudzu savienibas draudzes pasreiz (Riga: Latvijas Baptistu
draudzu savieniba, 1995) 84.
Latvijas Baptistu draudru savienibas Vestures arhivs. - Latvijas baptistu draudzu Biskapa
padomes sezu protokolu gramata (27.10.77.-08.08.80.). - 79-80. [Archive of the Union of
Baptist Churches of Latvia]
LVA - 1419.f. 3.a. 202.1. 49-50.
I
-
-
-
LVA- 1419.f. -3.a. - 10.1.- 119.
' LVA - 101.f. - 41.a. - 105.1. - 95.
' See the list of addresses and names of ministers in: "Latvijas Vasarsvetku draudzu apvienibas
(LVDA) draudzes" Dzivibas Avots 4 (1999) 15.
' Author's Interview with Gunta Matjuhova. 24 September, 1997.
In other written source E.Prokopenko dates beginnings of the Pentecostal Centre with year
1988. He does not mention in his report the Latvian Association at all. (World Pentecost 53
(1997) 19-20.)
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
I
I
in 1989.' Russian Pentecostals established a Bible College with a two-year course
in 1994. In the 1997/98 academic year, the school had 33 students - 18 Russians,
15 Latvians. Of them, 20 were women.2 Traditionally, there are many links
between Russian Pentecostals and Slavonic countries. For example, the Riga
Church, Patiesibas Vards (Word of Truth), has developed active missionary work
outside Latvia coordinated by the mission, Effata. In 1992, they sent 14 to the
district of Volovsk. In 1997, there were 18 established congregations and two
Bible schools in this area. '
In October 1988, pastors of the Apostolic Church, E.H. Williams and Ken Rees
visited Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad. It was the beginning of direct contact by
the Apostolic Church with this region after the collapse of the Soviet regime. In
1989, they visited Latvia and met with the former Baptist pastor, Arnis Silis and
his wife Ruta SiIe who both attended the 1990 convention of the Apostolic
Church. After further visits to Latvia, Ken Rees met missionaries Jerry and
Vanessa Broderick who took charge of a small group of believers in Ogre. This
group came under the cover of the Apostolic Church. Later, churches were
planted also in Platone and Liepaja.' Similar to other countries, the Latvian
Apostolic Church has a strictly hierarchical system. According to the by-laws,
the denominational leadership in United Kingdom appoints pastor and other
congregational leaders. An annual meeting is led and called by the local pastor.
He is in charge of the admittance of new members.'
Eastern Pentecostals
This division of Pentecostalism has come to Latvia from Russia and its
beginnings can be traced back to the Twenties when I. Voronajev, who himself
was converted into Pentecostalism while living in the USA, spread
Pentecostalism throughout Russia and the Ukraine.6 The Eastern Pentecostals
differ from other Pentecostal groups mainly in their practice of using unleavened
bread and the rite of foot-washing during communion, a stricter dress code and
moral conduct as well as a more reserved attitude towards Western influences.
Their church in Riga traces its history back to 1949. At the end of 1998, Eastern
Pentecostals in Latvia had in total 15 churches with 700-800 members - mainly
Russian-speaking. The congregation gathering in Valmiera is predominantly
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus Teraudkalns
Latvian. So far, only one congregation is registered, the church, Atklasme
(Revelation), in ~ i g a . '
'
Independent neo-Pentecostal churches
The largest independent neo-Pentecostal2 groups are the predominantly Latvian
I church Prieka Vests (Message of Joy) and the predominantly Russian church
Jauna Paaudze (New Generation). Jauna Paaudze has experienced considerable
growth in numbers - at the beginning of 1997 its church in Riga had about 3000
members, in 1998, 3500 members but in the whole of Latvia, it had about 6000
supporters.' Its first worship service occurred on November 11, 1989 in one of
the culture clubs of Riga. It was a period when AIeksej Ledjajev was in the
process of starting an independent church (before that he was a Baptist who had
joined the Pentecostals) in Riga. New churches were established in different
laces in Latvia and the result of this work is such that by the end of 1992,
several satellite churches were established.
Small unregistered groups
Besides the groups mentioned, there are small groups of Pentecostals who meet
for worship in private flats and avoid registration as well as associating with
larger Pentecostal groups. There are Oneness Pentecostals in the district of
Ventspils as well as followers of the American preacher William Branham.'They
have been introduced to his teaching through reading Russian translation of his
books.
In Lithuania, Classical Pentecostals are united in the Union of Pentecostal
Churches of Lithuania (headquarters in Vilnius) officially registered in 1991 after
the decision made in 1989 by churches in Vilnius, Panevezys and Birzai. In 1999,
the Union consisted of about 1000 believers united in 21 congregation and 8
mission stations, led by 13 ordained pastors and 12 other ministers. In 1998,
Rimantas Kupstys was elected as new bishop. In 1995, the Union with the help of
Assemblies of God (USA) missionary Richard Lang, established Vilnius
' Author's Interview with Vjacheslav Altuhov. 30 December, 1998.
' Author's Interview with Emmanuel Prokopenko. 1 April, 1998.
S. Dorlons, "Latvijas Bibeles koledza - vasarsvetku skola ikvienam kristietim", Dz?v?bas
Avots, 3 (1998) 24.
' Author's Interview with Nikolay Grib. 15 July, 1997.
' K. Rees, "Why Latvia?',
Vision, (special souvenir issue) (1997) 6-7.
Religiskas organizacijas "Platones kristiesu centrs" darbibas statuti, Tieslietu ministrijas
Sabiedrisko un religisko lietu departamenta registra lieta "Platones kristiesu centrs". [File of the
Department o f Social and Religious Affairs]
Istorija jevangeljskih hristian, 402.
Sometimes, the term 'charismatic' is used to designate these churches which unlike Classical
Pentecostals are not direct historical continuations of early Pentecostalism.
' This data is from the research done by the Academic Centre for the Study of Religions
(Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia). See S. Krumina-Konkova,
"Bibele harismatiskas Vinkalna baznicas interpretacija" in J. Vejs (ed.), Bibele: Raksti, teksts,
kulturvide (Riga: Latvijas Bibeles biedriba, 1999) 226-237.
' Branham insisted that believers should be rebaptized in the name of Jesus only, he considered
denominationalism a mask of the apocalyptic beast and prophesied that all denominations
would be consumed by the World Council of Churches (D.J.Wilson, "Branham, William
Marion" in S.M. Burgess and others (eds.), Dictionaty of Pentecostal and Charismatic
Movements (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988) 95-96.)
The Journalof the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
Theological College. It has graduated 35 students, most of whom are in some
kind of church ministry. The Union of Pentecostal Churches of Lithuania
belongs to the Pentecostal European Fellowship, International Pentecostal
Assembly of Christians of Evangelical Faith and is an associate member of the
World Pentecostal Assemblies of God Fellowship. In 1988, the Word of Faith
church was born in Vilnius- an independent neo-Pentecostal community which
now has over 50 communities and several Bible schools. The Church is led by
pastor Giedrius Saulytis. In 1996, the Word of Faith publishing house published
the first Bible in the Lithuanian language in one volume in post-war Lithuania.'
The Word of Faith is the result of active missions work done by Word of Life
(Uppsala, Sweden) missionaries. Swedish Pastor Ulf Ekman mentions in his
autobiography, I Found My Destiny, his trip to Vilnius during the historical coup
of 1991. He had an audience with President Landsbergis.'
In Estonia, the Pentecostal story had its continuation when, in 1991, Pastors Mart
Vahi and Allan Laur from Canada came to Estonia. They established the
Pentecostal Church in Estonia. According to its own statistics, in 1994, the
Church had 67 congregations. Other sources mention 35 congregations with
2,500 members.' The fact sheet4of the Estonian Institute mentions that in 1996,
this Church had 34 congregation with 2500 members. There were 56 ministers of
whom 15 were female. The Church publishes the magazine Valgus. It cooperates
with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the Assemblies of God- Australia
and the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada. In 1994, the Church opened
the Bible College which in 1994-95, enrolled 35 students. There are also other
Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal Churches united in the Estonian Evangelical
Union of Charismatic Congregations (1996, 26 congregations, 1000 members),
Union of Estonian Christian Free Congregations (1996, 6 congregations, 1000
members), Union of Estonian Full Gospel Congregations (1 996, 5 congregations,
1000 members), Gospel Christians in Apostolic Spirit (1996, one congregation,
60 members). Neo-Pentecostal groups were started in the late 1980s and one of
the first ones was a movement linked with the Swedish Word of Life. It started
among youth in Methodist and Baptist circle^.^ The Charismatic Episcopal
Church is a lively witness to the possibility of convergence between the
charismatic, liturgical and evangelical wings of Christianity. This denomination
began in USA in June 1992 with three churches and already in 1994 had about
The History of the Union of Pentecostal Churches of Lithuania and the Pentecostal Movement
in Lithuania, 2-3. Union of Pentecostal Churches of Lithuania (booklet).
' U . Ekman, Ja nashol svoju sudjbu (Moskva: Slovo Zimji, 1999) 134-137.
' H.Ritsbeck, The Mission ofMethodism in Estonia, 48.
' Estonia in Facts. Religion in Estonia. (1997)
R. Ringvee, "Religions in Estonia" in J. Kaplan (ed.), Beyond the Mainstream: The Emergence
of Religious P/uralism in Finland, Estonia, and Russia (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society,
2000) 112.
Pentecostalism in the Baltics: Historical Retrospection:Valdus Teraudkalns
100 congregations worldwide.' In Estonia, in 1999, it had 10 churches led by Dr.
Heigo Ristbeck, a former ~ethodist.'
Looking into the future of Pentecostalism in the Baltics, one can say that it is
going through the stage of institutionalization and accommodation to the changes
in the wider society. New opportunities to study abroad are bringing new levels
iI of theological and historical self-awareness. So far, theological perspectives of
, ~ a l t i cPentecostals have been in line with traditional perspectives of their fellow/ believers in other countries. Glossolalia as an initial sign is still the predominant
: view, thus continuing the line expressed already in 1935 in the Latvian
Pentecostal magazine Jaunais Misionars - "Spirit's Baptism can be heard and
can be seen."' Here, stress on the gift of the Spirit is balanced by fruit of the
Spirit.
I
i
i
Most Classical Pentecostals still live and worship in the context of painful
memories of being ridiculed and persecuted. It has left a lasting impact on the
ways in which people tend to act. Marginalization by force, in some cases, has
turned into the process of marginalizing by choice. Public image and the social
role of Pentecostals is also a problem - they are often ridiculed by the mass
media, sometimes restricted by State authorities which view them as nontraditional and in many cases their ministers do not have regular ecumenical
contacts with their colleagues in older denominations. However, there are
positive signs of change. The Latvian Pentecostal representative (Bishop J.
Ozolinkevics) is a member of the Board of the Latvian Bible Society (actively
involved in the work of Bible Societies are also Pentecostals in two other Baltic
countries). Latvian Pentecostals were involved (not without opposition amongst
some circles in the Lutheran church concerned with keeping a Lutheran identity)
in the evangelism week led by Luis Palau in 1999. Publication of the Latvian
Christian Radio Tiksanas regularly includes, besides news from Catholic,
Lutheran, Baptist and Seventh Day Adventist churches, also an informative
Pentecostal page - an interview with one of the church activists. Representatives
of Lithuanian and Estonian Pentecostals took part in the conference organized by
the World Council of Churches in Tallinn (22-23 September 2000). The Estonian
Christian Pentecostal Church (ECPC) is member of the Estonian Council of
Churches (ECC) which is a voluntary association of Christian churches
established in 16 February 1989. In 1 September 2000, the ECC had 7 member
churches and one observer (Seventh Day Adventists).' ECPC is represented also
' A. Banks, "New Denomination Attracting Members", The Orlando Sentinel (March 5, 1994)
C-5.
http://www.i~~e~.~rg/rrasfedtcec~estonia.h
[08.22.99]
' "Vasarsvetki",Jaunais Misionars, 6 (1935) 83.
' Estonian Council of Churches [booklet received in 2000).
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
on the board of the Estonian Christian Television which is the first private TV
station in Estonia (launched in 1991)'
For many local congregations, prosperity theology is controversial ; it is
especially promoted by independent churches. Leadership of Classical
Pentecostals are opposed to the prosperity teaching but in fact, prosperity
theology has come as a reaction against the cultural pessimism of early
Pentecostals who cultivated strict perfectionism. Missionary Steve Bradkovich
(works in Latvia) comments on that: "Attending any Pentecostal church, you can
see that after a leader has said 'let's pray' people suddenly start weeping. Why?
Because they have been taught to pray in this way. In the Twenties, a great
movement of the confession of sins took place which truthfully was Spirit's work
but with time it turned into a form of religion."*
This will remain an issue of debate for the near future. It is very much linked with
questions of identity - identity is not something established firmly once for ail but
it is an open space which should be filled with content again and again.
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal
Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
SECTION I. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH OF
PENTECOSTALISM'
EARLY PENTECOSTALISM (1922-1950)
Origins
Romanians are a Latin people, but they are generally Greek-Orthodox. The
Romanian Evangelical Revival started by the late 1 9 century
~
with Romanian
Baptists and Brethren. Some non-Evangelical writers suggest that Pentecostalism
reached Romania around 1910, coming from the USA.' The Pentecostal, T.
Sandru informs us that in 1919, a German Baptist woman in Darlos (near
Medias-Transylvania) was the first person in Romania to have experienced the
baptism of the Holy Spirit with the sign of tongues, also through American
influence.' In the USA, the first Romanian Pentecostal churches existed in 19211922, in Michigan and Ohio.'
In 1921, seven Romanians who had participated in the American meetings of
Aimee Semple McPherson were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Amongst them were
the Baptists Constantin Sida (who, in 1921, sent a letter about it to his friend
Petru Pernevan, from Paulis, near Lipova) and Theodor Andra, who in 1922 sent
a letter and a booklet to his brother Petru in Paulis, called "Biblical Truths",
printed in Romanian. Petru Andra\ was a distant relative of Persida, George
Bradin's wife (1895-1962), who had been ordained in 1922 as a Baptist preacher
for the village, Cuvin. George was a friend of Petru Pernevan; so George and
Persida read the letters and the booklet. In June 1922, George prayed for the
healing of his wife from tuberculosis and hydropsy; she was healed by the Lord.
Bradin sent a letter to Cleveland (Ohio) to an address found on that booklet. In
' Paper presented at the EPTA Conference, Bucharest, Romania, April 2001.
' C. Cuciuc, Atlas; Atlasul religiilor din Romania (The Religious Atlas of Romania), Gnosis:
' http://home.delfi.ee/-niinemagi/ektv/[08.01 .01.]
' Author's interview with Steve Bradkovich, 21 August 1998.
Bucuresti (1996) 66; 1. Ramureanu, M. Sesan, T. Bodogae, Church H. 11, Istoria bisericeasca
universala, vol. 2 (10544444-1982) (World Church History) Editura IBM a1 BOR: Bucuresti
(1993) 410
' T. Sandru, Pentecostal Church; Biserica Penticostala in istoria crestinismului (The
Pentecostal Church in the Histoty of Christianiryl with an English summary by Rodney Friend,
Editura BDAPR: Bucuresti (1992) 130.
' I.J. Buia, Pentecostal Church of God :Detroit ;Biserica lui Dumnezeu Penticostala Romana
Detroit, 1937-1987, Semicentenar (Romanian Pentecostal Church of God, Detroit, 1937-1987,
Half-centenary) Detriot (1987) 27
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI. 2001
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
September 1922, he received an answer from the USA written by Pavel Budean.
George and Persida decided to start the first Pentecostal church in Romania on
loth September 1922 in Paulis. Persida was healed soon afterwards from
hyperthyroidism during prayer.'
THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH O F GOD (1922-1927)
The first Spirit and Water baptisms
In February 1923, a new Pentecostal church was founded in Cuvin in the house of
Vasile and Persida Semenascu. by that time, Persida Semenascu was baptized
with the Holy Spirit. On the 3r6 June 1923, Persida and George Bradin received
the baptism in the Holy S ~ i r i tIn
. ~1923, local authorities forbade the Pentecostal
Religious Association. The Minister of Religion from Bucharest repeated the ban
in 1924.' Pavel Budean (1886-1958), who had spread Pentecostal ideas in the
USA before 1918 in a journal printed in Romanian, was ordained in 1923,
possibly by the Pentecostal Church of God in Detroit that printed a Romanian '
book of hymns in 1924. Budean brought this book when he came on a mission to
Romania in 1924 and officiated at the first Pentecostal water baptism in
Romania.' "On this occasion the first photograph of the church in Paulis was
taken. The date and the name of the church were written on this photograph:
'Church of God'."6
The Declaration of Faith
~ u d e a n ' h e l ~ ehis
d brothers to send a petition for recognition to the Minister of
Religion in 1924. The Baptist background of the movement is illustrated by the
name of "Baptist Pentecostals" from that petition.' Unfortunately, Baptist writers
have provided inaccurate information about Pentecostal beginningsRThe
Minister of Religion answered indirectly through Decision no. 5734 ofthe 29th
January 1925 "The sect of Pentecostals... is led by George Bradin. The doctrine
is published in a fourteen-page booklet called "The Declaration of the True
Foundation". It is forbidden because their doctrine is not shared by all its
members...".I The Decision was published in newspapers and Bradin received
many letters and visits, the Pentecostal message being spread among the general
public.' While the Pentecostal work had its beginning in the county of Arad, as
noted by two Greek Orthodox Guides of Sects,' there was also another small
Pentecostal movement among Transylvanian Germans round the city of Medias.'
Church Organization
1. Conferences
In the autumn of 1928, fifty leaders convened at the conference of Paulis and
decided to organize their activity into a new centre with a new name, avoiding the
name of "Pentecostal Church of God", to confuse the authorities and achieve
recognition.' The Pentecostal journal The Voice of Truth was issued by Ioan
Bododea in January 1929; in the third edition, (1929) its name was changed to
The Word of T r ~ t h"On
. ~ the 22nd of February 1929, the Pentecostal association
reorganized its structure and changed its name to "The Apostolic Church of God"
with headquarters at Braila."'
In keeping with the secular writer I.M. Popescu, the new chairman I. Bododea
introduced a new organization system on the basis of the local church or
community subordinated to the branch as a religious and administrative body
uniting the communities of a county or from several ones, and finally the
Executive Board - like a religious administrative and representative body; a
system which continues.'
Several branches of the Church were founded: the Suceava branch for Bucovina
and Northern Moldavia was founded by the Conference of Burdujeni (26 April
1930) with Cristian Gavrila as leader of the branch. At first, the State authorities
seemed favourable towards it but in 1930-31, they became aware that the
Apostolic Church was Pentecostal and forbade it.'
' T. Sandru, Pentecostal Apostolic
' T. Sandru, Christian Church ;Biserica Crestina : Evolutie si Spiritualite (The Christian
Church : Development and Spirituality) ITP : Bucuresti (1995) 262; Revival : Trezirrea
Spirituala Penticostala dill Romania (The Pentecostal Revival in Romania) ITP : Bucuresti
(1997) 72; G. Bradin, Manuscript Journal, 72
Word of Truth (Word), (1 Mai 193 I), 1
' Sandru, Revival, 74
' Sandru, Revival, 74
"andru, Pentecostal Church, 127 with n. 50, 166; Revival, 75.
Sandru, Pentecostal Church, 206-207 (summary by Rodney Friend)
' Bradin, op.cit, 32
a Alexa Popovici, Baptist History, [I, lstoria baptistilor din Romania (The History of the
Baptists in Romania) Chicago (1989) 397-398
COG ofRomania, Bucuresti (1982) 29
' Bradin, Pentecostal. Movement, in Herald of the Gospel, 1 1 ( 1 June 1946), 5
' XXX, New Guide for knowing andfighting the sects, Bucharest-Cernica, 1925, 74-77; second
edition, Arad, 1927, 107-107
' Sandru, Pentecostal Apostolic COG, 3 1
' P. Bochian, Penrecostal Church 1925-1930 in Bulletin of the Pentecostal Denomination, 6
(Nov.-Dec. 1989), 8
C.V.Roske, "70 de ani de la aparita revistei Cuvantul Adevarului" in Word of Truth (March
1999), 2
' Sandru, Pentecostal Apostolic COG, 3 1
' I.M. Popescu, Christianity; Istoria si sociologia religiilor. Crestinismul (The History and
Sociology of Religions, Christianity) Editura Fundatiei "Romania de Maine: Bucuresti (1996)
231.
G. Bradin, "Pentecostal Movement", The Herald of the Gospel (1 June 1946), 6
The Journalof the Europcan Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI, 2001
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
2. Church split
I
Decision of recognition No. 39.25311946; The AGCP (Arad) received the
Decision of recognition No. 64.803123 Dec. 1946; and a small association, "The
Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ" (DLJC - Bucharest) received the Decision of
recognition No. 1060511948. All three Pentecostal religious associations had
together about 15,000 members in 1945.' Their numbers doubled until 1950,
I
when the ACGP (Arad) had 25,910 members (adults and under age); the BHSC , 4500; the DLJC - 1500; in all, 3 1,900 Pentecostals (including children). In order
to recognize the Pentecostal Denomination (PD), the Communist authorities
asked for the unification of the three associations. In February 1950, the BHSC
/ unified with the ACGP; in March 1950, the DLJC also joined. The PD received
I full and final recognition under the official name: The Pentecostal Denomination;
The Apostolic Church of God of Romania on 14 November 1950, by the Decree
No. 1203, signed by the President of the Parliament, C.I. Parhon, who played the
part of the State head at that time.2
i
!
According to a neutral observer, C. Cuciuc, some Baptist preachers recently
converted to Pentecostalism (I. Bododea, V. Gaspar), had manifested a dissident
spirit since 1930. From 1931, Romanian Pentecostals divided: divisions had
arisen in relation to modemising practices attempted by some leaders including
modem clothes, marital relations, permission to give up the footwashing ritual
and various contacts with the World Pentecostal movement.' The mainstream
Church, led by G. Bradin was conservative and preserved the name "Apostolic
Church of God" to which they added the phrase "named Pentecostal" (AGCP) in
order to distinguish it from the other group (close to the East European Mission
of Danzig led by Gustar Schmidt) with the same name (ACG) to which they
added "Baptized with the Holy Spirit Christians" (BHSC). In 1932, the ACGP
center was established in Lipova (east of Arad) and the editorial office of the
journal The Word of Truth (the main source of information on the split's story)
moved from Brila to Lipova, then to Bucharest (1936); the joumal was forbidden
in 1937. It seems that Bradin could not control the AGCP during 1937-38 any
longer, persecution being one of the reasons. So he entered the Baptist Union of
Romania with the branches from Paulis and Lipova in 1938.'
The BHSC ceased its activity during World War 11. There were 7400 Pentecostal
believers in 1938.'
3. Reorganization and Unification
Much \persecutions came especially during the World War 11. Church meetings
were held in secret places at night or in the forest. In these places, religious
services, baptisms, dedications of children and the Lord's Supper took place.
Believers had to walk a long way in order to reach the meeting places, hidden in
the woods. The gatherings usually concluded with a meal or love feast as in the
Early Church. Many believers were sentenced by courts to many years in prison
and were obliged to pay fines. There were cases of martyrs who gave their lives
for the faith, like Partenie Pera in 1927 and Voicu Rusin in 1944.4
On 20 May 1945, the ACGP was reorganized by Bradin at the Conference in
Arad. Its journal The Herald of Evangel was published from September 1945 to
February 1948. The BHSC (1948) received from the Minister of Religion the
:
I
I
PENTECOSTALISM IN EXPANSION (since 1950 up to the present)
PD ORCANISINC ACTIVITY (1950-1962)
i PD Position in the New Establishment
'
I
I
,
I
The Communist regime officially recognized 14 Cults (Denominations). There
were no religious associations any longer and all sects were forbidden. The small
new-Protestant denominations were officially accepted in the religious
establishment of Romania in order to undermine the Orthodox Church.
Theoretically, Pentecostals enjoyed a more privileged position in Communist
Romania than in West European countries, but practically "the Pentecostal
emphasis on the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit "made the Apostolic
Church of God a special target of the Department of Denominations."'
First Congress, Headquarters, Publications and Courses
The first PD Congress (held on 21 St of July, 195 1, in Arad) elected a new
leadership. Bradin was the first PD chairman (1950-1962). A. Vamvu (from
Craiova-Oltenia) and D. Zamfir (from Bucovina) were vice-chairmen, T. Sandru
' secretary, P. Ardeu - cashier. PD headquarters were in Arad (1950-1954). A.
Vamvu and T. Sandru opened a PD representative office in Bucharest (1951).
,
The Communist censorship eliminated Christian songs from the PD Hymnal
printed in 1952. Since September 1953, the Bulletin of the PD has regularly been
:
I
' Cuciuc, Atlas, 67
'T. Sandru, Revival, 88-89; S.M. Burgess; G.B. McGee, P.H.Alexander (eds) Dictionary of
Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (DPCM) Grand Rapids: Zondervan (1998 2nd ed.)
763-764,770.
'Popescu, Christiani~,23 1
' Sandru, Pentecostal Church, 134-138; Mihail Sevastos, Truth, 44/21 (Nov. 1931); Sandru,
Revival, 85-88.
I
: ' Ardeu, Romanian
,
I
Church (manuscript), 93; Herald (15 Jan. 1946); Sandru, Pentecostal
Apostolic COG, 35.
'I Sandru, Revival, 104
J.F.Tipei, ACG, in DPCM, sub voce.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
printed up to December 1989.' Since 1953, a PD Wall Calendar has annually
been printed, containing subjects of daily meditation and Sunday School Bible
les~ons.~
In 1954 the PD headquarters moved to Bucharest. Pantelimon Cojocar
(former BHSC chairman) became PD cashier.'
The three months training courses for PD leaders from 1954ll955 and I955ll956
were remarkable because for the first time Maria Manea, a woman, was accepted
amongst the four teachers by such a conservative denomination.' The Federation
of the Evangelical Denominations (F.E.D.) (including Pentecostals, Baptists,
Brethren and Adventists) had been officially recognized with the respective
denominations but it did not last long because of its opposition to the Communist
restrictions.'
Restrictions and Pressures
From 1955, the Communist regime began to impose various restrictions. The PD
was required to reduce the religious programmes in churches. Many churches
were closed and many pastors lost their positions. The Department of Cults
forbade any musical instruments, including the choir. Water baptisms for new
converts were forbidden and pastors were obliged to ask special permission from
the authorities in order to baptize the sons and daughters of Pentecostals. Some
were arrested and placed in prison for evangelizing and distributing Bibles and
Christian literature. New church building was forbidden as well as additions to
existing struct~res.~
The Communist authorities interfered in the affairs of the Church by approving
preachers and officials' visits and by recruiting collaborationists from among the
pastors who were required to regularly present reports of activity. Professional
jobs were denied to Pentecostals in some areas like management, education and
the media.'
The most famous Romanian Pentecostal who was persecuted was Constantin
Caraman, who performed a sentence of forced labours at the "Death Channel"
Danube-Black Sea between 1951-1952. He became a spokesman of all the
persecuted Christians and was again imprisoned (1963- 1964; 1977).' The oldtimer Vasile Gaspaar received (together with C. Caraman) a sentence of three
years and six months in prison in 1963.~Thefirst Romanian Pentecostal
theologian, pastor Eugen Bodor was imprisoned for three months for religious
propaganda; Alexandru Iacob, the conductor of Sibiu Philarmonic Orchestra and
composer of Pentecostal hymns (e.g. the famous hymn '"Today the Holy Spirit is
like the morning dew") was imprisoned in the sixties.'
The second PD Congress (Bucharest 1-2 June, 1956) was compelled to remove
the leaders who had fallen into disfavour with the Communist authorities: A.
Vamvu, T. Sandru, P. Cojocar and D. Zamfir. In Autumn 1956, Sandru, who was
already in disfavour, was visited by the septuagenarian Pavel Budean, who was
going to prepare the international relations of PD (first through Donald Gee and
David DuPlessis).'
In 1958, Vamvu and Sandru were dismissed from their ministries as pastors and
were expelled from the PD together with the boards of their churches in Popa
Nan Street and Crangasi Road.' The state authorities did not allow a new PD
Congress until 1986. When Bradin died (1962), the vice-chairman Pavel Bochian
(19 18-1996) succeeded as PD chairman (1962- 1969) without being regularly
ele~ted.~
POLITICAL, ADMINISTRATIVE AND SPIRITUAL CHANGES (19621989)
New Communist Politics
When the Romanian communist leader Gheorghiu-Dej wanted to be more
accepted by the West, he weakened relations with the USSR and little by little,
the Communist position towards the churches improved to a certain extent. In
1968, when Dubcek led his reform effort in Czechoslovakia, the new Communist
leader Ceaucescu (1964-1989) also adopted some positive attitudes. This new
' S. Grossu, Le Calvaire de la Roumanie Chretienne (Calvary) Editions France-Empire (1987,
' Sandru, Pentecostal Apostolic COG,
37; Pentecostal Church, 150.
' P. Bochian, (Life) Viata unui pastor din Romania (The Life of a Pastor in Romania) Editura
Privilegiu: Bucuresti ( 1 997) 8 1.
Sandru, Pentecostal Church, 147.
Sandru, Revival, 106.
,Bochian, Life, 89.
Sandru, Pentecostal Church, (Summary by Rodney Friend), 208.
' J.F. Tipei, ACG in DPCM, sub voce.
:
Romanian version 1992)106-154; P. Caravia, V . Constantinescu, F. Stanescu, Biserica
intemnifata Romania 1944-1989 (Imprisoned Church) Institul National pentru Studiul
Totalarismului: Bucuresti (1998) 1 1 1 ;Ton, ConfrontationsCartea Crestina: Oradea (1999) 126127; C. Caraman, Written Testimony (recorded by A. Ivan).
' Grossu, Calvary, 154.
'Roske's verbal witness.
' Sandru, Revival, 107- 1 1 1.
' Roske's verbal witness.
Bochian, Life. 103.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XXI,2001
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
development helped the Church situation in Romania. It then became possible for
Romanian Pentecostals to participate in different conferences abroad and to
receive foreign visitors in Romania. These new relations abroad helped the PD to
build church buildings and open new churches.
Central and Provincial PD Leaders
In 1968, the PD leadership was reorganized with P. Bochian as chairman, D.
Matache as vice-chairman and treasurer, A. Vamvu as secretary and T. Sandru as
editor-in-chief. The third PD Congress (1986) elected Bochian as chairman, C.
Leontiuc and L. Gog as vice-chairmen; Sandru-secretary; Vamvu-treasurer; Chr.
V. Roske -editor in chief.'
With the exception of the branches of Arad, Oradea and Suceava, all the PD
branches (even the Bucharest one) were dissolved by the Communist regime in
1962. The Arad branch was the largest, being extended from Arad to Bucharest
and Constanta. It was led by P. Ardeu, Al. Mari\ and I. Berar (later
superintendent of the Oradea branch). The Suceava branch was led by the
superintendant, C. Grossu and the secretary, D. Udi~teanu.~
Church Growth and Communist attempts to stop it
PD intemational relationships provided an important pressure on the Romanian
government in favour of the PD religious freedom. It was necessary because, in
the sixties, a new stage of Pentecostal expansion started in Romania and the
Communist authorities tried to stop it. From a countryside expansion in the most
part (due-in large measure-to the high birth rate of the Pentecostal peasant
families), Romanian Pentecostalism developed to a faster expansion in the city
and town areas, so that from 1956 up to 1976, Pentecostals increased in Romania
from 54,000 to 100,000.3 That was a result of the Communist politics which
planned to force a (unreasonable) growth of industry and city areas. In those
circumstances, many Pentecostals were compelled to move to towns, which
became the centres from where the Pentecostal faith spread.'
Pentecostal evangelism and Communist reprisals can be illustrated by many
instances. C. Tarnavski (1971), V. Rascol (1971; 1974-1976) and C. Mihai
(1 971-1972) were imprisoned for receiving and distributing Bibles.".
Lacatus,
1. Samu and F. Paris were sentenced in 1978 for "parasitism" and "anarchistic
' Sandru, Revival, 1 1 1; 120- 121.
' Bochian, Life, 104; 187.
' 1.M. Popescu, Christianity, 23 1
' Sandru, Pentecostal Church, 154
' Caravia, Imprisoned church, sub voce
activity" (that is for religious activity) to six months of prison; and P. Gagea and
S. Holbura - to four months of prison (both charged within 1979 for "parasitism")
.' I. Toader, a licensed engineer in Ploiesti, served more than five years in prison
(1981-1986) for Bible distrib~tion.~
In 1986, the Pentecostal pastor in Satu Mare,
Victor Opris, was sentenced to nine years in prison.-'
Pentecostal church buildings were demolished, including in Bucharest, the church
of Crangasi Road (1980), pastored by P. Bochian, the PD hair man.^
Notwithstanding, real Pentecostal "cathedrals" were built: Phi.ladelphia in
Bucharest (1976)5and "Elim" in ~irnisoara.~
PENTECOSTAL ADAPTATION TO FREEDOM (1990-2000)
The Fourth Congress 1990
After the 1989 Revolution, Sandru spoke about the "psychological crisis that
affected ...some Pentecostal believers, especially the youth, by bringing about
some regrettable incidents"; he mentioned "Pave1 Bochian's heart, hurt by the
January 1990 events when he was compelled to dismiss" and to "disregard to the
old-timers... who had assumed all the risks for many years, to organize and exalt
the prestige of the Church". He was happy that the 4IhCongress (Cluj, 15Ihof May
1990), "despite some deficiencies had the merit to keep brotherly unity and to
steady the situation in the Denomination".'
At the 4Ih Congress, the following were elected:- Emil Bulgar as chairman, M.
Mesaros and P. Rivis-Tipei as vice chairmen, T. Sandru as secretary, Chr. V.
Roske as editor-in-chief of The Word of Truth (new series). There were five
branches: Suceava, Arad, Oradea, Cluj, Brasov.' Pentecostals entered the
"Romanian Evangelical Alliance" (REA) together with Baptists, Brethren, Lord's
Army and the Romanian Lutheran Church-Bucharest. In February 1992, there
was a government census that registered 219,151 Pentecostals; the registered
Baptists were 109,000.9
I
S. Grossu, Calvary, 157-159; 166-167.
' Caravia, Imprisoned Church, sub voce
' Verbal witnesses From V. Opris and Free Europe Radio.
' Bochian, Life.I 10-1 11
' T. Sandru, Paagini din istoria unei biserici (Pages from
Bucuresti (1994).
The E/im Church, in Elim, no. 36-37 (1998), 15.
' Sandru, Revival, 122, 13 1 .
' Sandru, Pentecostal Church, 164.
X X X , I992 Census, in Elim, no. 16 (1995).
the history of a church) ITP:
The Journdof the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
The Fifth Congress 1994
At the 5"' Congress, Pavel Rivis-Tipei was elected as chairman; Emil Bulgar and
Marinel Mesaros - vice chairmen; Ioan Gurau-secretary; Chr. V. Roske Treasurer. The former PD Branches changed into Regional Communities (RC)
and new RCs were set up: Bucharest RC; Oltenia-Arges RC. The Declaration of
Faith was printed in 1994. The General Assembly that convened in Felix
(Oradea) on 23-25 of May 1996 adopted the Statute of the Pentecostal Union.
Actually, this essential act has not been officially registered yet but it voices a
concern for decentralization in circumstances that make it necessary for
Pentecostal unity. The Statute of 1996 stipulates that the Pentecostal Union (P.U.)
also includes Romanian churches from abroad which adopt the P.U. Declaration
of Faith and the Statute.
The Sixth Congress 1998
At the 6" Congress (Arad, 26-17 Nov. 1998), Pavel Rivis-Tipei was re-elected as
chairman of the Pentecostal Union. Marinel Mesaros was re-elected as general
secretary; Emil Bulgar and Mircea Demean were elected as vice chairmen and
Ioan Gur[u as treasurer. A new Regional Community-Maramures-Satmar- had
been set up. The proportion of the representation in the Church Council was one
counsellor for 7,500 Pentecostals; we can infer that for 31 counsellors there were
accounted 232,500 Pentecostals. There was a total of 2,142 churches, 325
pastors, 55 1 presbyters, 1,004 deacons.'
SECTIONII.
THEOLOGY
AND
PRAXIS:
CHARACTERISTICS/DISTINCTIVES
WESTERN AND ROMANIAN BACKGROUND
Doctrines and Praxis
1. A Pentecostal Creed in the Baptist Free Will Tradition
They transmitted to the Pentecostals in Romania the belief in the Trinity, in
Jesus' expiating sacrifice for the mankind, in the repentance of sins and new
birth, in the Apostolic Church and full-aged water baptism. To the Baptist
teaching of the Holy Spirit fruit, they added the teaching concerning the gifts of
the Holy Spirit for the present time (especially healing and prophecy). They did
not distinguish between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism idwith the
Holy Spirit with the sign of the speaking in tongues. The rapture of the Church
was associated with the secret coming of the Lord Jesus Christ differing from his
second coming to found the Millennium. The first resurrection from the dead was
believed to occur.at the rapture of the Church, and the second resurrection at the
great judgment that would provide eternal life for the righteous and everlasting
punishment for the wicked. The Pentecostal acts of worship are: water baptism,
the Lord's Supper, footwashing, prayer and anointing the sick with oil, the laying
on of hands, ordination and infant dedication. The first written and printed entire
Creed used is the one from 1947.
2. Conservative Praxis
Petru Lascau, pastor of "Philadelphia" Romanian Church of God in Chicago,
wrote in his book Church under Siege that the American Pentecostal movement
did not begin only as an experience of the Holy Spirit overflowing but also as a
reform movement within the traditional faith, as a reply to its cold and dry form.
Instead of the "modernism", which had been introduced by the civilization
advance, Pentecostals preached simplicity and a return to humility and modesty.
If in the American culture such a movement had its reasons, in Romania such
practices - imported through Pavel Budean - emphasized too much the modest
and humble condition of Romanian peasants. Indstead of the social and economic
emancipation experienced by the Romanian Baptists, many Pentecostals
regressed.' This phenomenon seems to have been typical in the past for the major
areas of Romanian Pentecostalism: the counties of Arad and Bihor and the
province of Bucovina. Other eye-witnesses deny this situation to be a general
distinctive of Romanian Penteco~talism.~
American Pentecostal conservatism
could be attractive for Romanian Pentecostal peasants with a Greek-Orthodox
background because of the influence of the mystical rigorous tradition of the
Orthodox monks.
The Baptist American Romanians who had embraced Pentecostalism in 1921
were not in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition but in the Free-Will Baptist tradition
of the Pentecostal Church of God.2 So they did not convey to Romania the threestage pattern of the full Gospel with its successive and separate works
(regeneration, sanctification and Spirit baptism).
G. Mocan, D. Purdel, The 61h Congress; Word of Truth 1 (Jan. 1999) 3-4; XXX Reporr, Word
of Truth 1 (Jan. 1 989), 3-10.
'Burgess, DPCM,700-70 1.
I
' P. Lascau, Biserica in Asediu (Church under Siege) White Wings: Streamwood, Illinois (1 992)
162-163.
' Em. Bulgar's observations at the Scientifical Research Session of the Pentecostal Theological
Institute of Bucharest on the 1 5 of~October
~
1999.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association. Vol. XIX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
Controversies
1. The Rule of Suceava (26 April 1930)
The oldest document used, relating to Romanian Pentecostal practices, are the
Regulations, which were adopted by the Suceava Branch at the meeting they had
on the 261hof April 1930.' These regulations are generally rigorous. For instance,
the believer must have first the Holy Spirit's fruits before receiving water
baptism. Likewise, conjugal intercourse was forbidden for three days before the
Lord's Supper (Ex. 19:15; 1 Sam. 21:5). These exigencies and the references to
the "holy life" before water baptism and the "hallowed bread" (1 Sam. 21:4 -in
reference to the Lord's Supper) point to a sacramental conceiving of the two
ordinances which have been more or less regarded as "church mysteries" after the
Greek-Orthodox expressions. Most of the Pentecostal churches in Romania
practice the Lord's Supper in accordance with the stipulation of the 7th article of
the mentioned Rule: with "unleavened bread and grape juice and after each
Lord's Supper ... the footwashing." Nevertheless, the churches in Bucovina
(Suceava Branch) changed during the great disputes before 1934 this practice by
adopting communion with leavened bread and fermented wine and by giving up
the footwashing ritual.
Romanian Pentecostals have generally viewed footwashing as an ordinance and
have insisted that it should always follow the observance of the Lord's Supper.
The U.S. Assemblies of God have never practiced footwashing. The Church of
God (Cleveland, TN) practices it just once a year. It seems that Romanian
Pentecostals took footwashing as a monthly practice (at each Lord's Supper)
from other USA Pentecostal groups.
2. The Disputes with the School of Danzig (1931-1937)
The question of the footwashing ordinance was the most striking aspect of
division since 1931. Foreign Pentecostal missionaries of a more modem tendency
started a new work in Romania. These missionaries were emigres to the USA
who later returned to their homelands. Such were the German from Russia,
Gustav Herbert Schmidt (1891-1958) and the Bulgarian, Nicholas Nikoloff
(1900-1964) who worked together from 1927 in the East European Mission. The
official publication of the E.E.M. was The Gospel Call. Schmidt opened, on 2nd
of March 1930, the first Pentecostal Bible Institute in Eastern Europe, in the Free
City of Danzig (today Gdansk in Poland). As dean of the Danzig Bible Institute
(D.B.I.), Schmidt was followed by N. Nikoloff from 1935 to 1938, when the
D.B.I. was closed. The famous British Bible teacher, Donald Gee (198 1-1966),
assisted in the D.B.I. in the training of young evangelists who went back to
I
The Word of Truth (1 Jan. 193 l), 1.
various East European countries to evangelize and teach. E.E.M. worked in close
collaboration with U.S. Assemblies of God until 1940.'
In 1929, the E.E.M. sent missionaries to Hungary, from where they were expelled
by the fascist regime of Horthy. One of them settled in Czechoslovakia and the
other, Janos Lerch - in Timisoara (Romania). In 1930, Gustav Schimdt came to
Timisoara to visit J. Lerch. E.E.M. did not practice the ordinance of footwashing
and accepted the moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages, unlike Romanian
Pentecostals. Some Romanian Pentecostal ministers accepted those practices and
other E.E.M. teachings and were financially supported by the E.E.M. According
to Sandru, "some young people were invited to follow the Danzig school courses.
The recklessness in their selection was seen when two of them were eliminated
from the school for reasons of morality. The Danzig school was a good school,
having Donald Gee [...I as one of its teachers, with whom, after World War 11, "I
had good links."'
The major point of the Danzig doctrine was that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit
was assumed to occur accompanied by the sign of speaking in tongues, but that
believers who do not speak in tongues have however received the baptism of the
Holy Spirit, according to 1 Corinthians 12:13. Bradin denied a spiritual baptism
without the speaking in tongues and continued to maintain against the Danzig
school that the modesty in dress and abstinence from alcoholic beverages were
necessary for salvation. He defended footwashing as an act of worship and
rejected its Adventist interpretation that considered it an act of humility.' These
doctrines are still included in the Declaration of Faith of the Pentecostal
Apostolic Church of Romania (1994).
It is noticeable that the relationship between the U.S. Assemblies of God and the
E.E.M. ended in 1940 because of the dissatisfaction of the Assemblies of God
regarding the financial policies of the E.E.M.: "its move away from a distinctly
Pentecostal posture theologically, and related problem^."^
3. Initial Romanian Pentecostal Doctrinal Formulations
A concern to assure the doctrinal training of Romanian Pentecostals is illustrated
by the doctrinal papers published by the first series of the journal The Word of
Truth (1929-1937). Bochian remembers how much he was helped in receiving
the Spirit baptism in 1934 by Bradin's paper "The Acts of the Sinful Nature and
'DPCM, 176-277 (s.v. European Pentecostalism. D. Eastern Europe); 330-331 (s.v. Gee); 637
(s.v. Nikoloff); 763-764 (s.v. Russian and East European Mission); 770 (s.v. Schmidt).
' Sandru, Revival, 89.
'The Herald of the Gospel, (Oct. 1946), 6.
'DPCM, 764
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX. 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
the Fruit of the Spirit", which Bochian reprints in his book. At the end of the
book, Bochian reprinted other papers from The Word of Truth, with a simple and
clear Evangelical content.' The first collections of Pentecostal Bible lessons were
published in the periodical The Science of the Saints, which changed its name
after the World War I1 to The Science of the Saints for Sunday Schools.
Moreover, in his papers, Bradin published a modest book on Revelation and the
booklets "The Way to Heaven", "Soul and Eternity", "Prepare to meet thy God."
In 1932, the other Pentecostal association, "Baptized with the Holy Spirit
Christians" (B.H.S.C.) published for a short time the journal The Apostolic Faith.
The Holy Spirit's work in Romania
1. Spirit Baptism and Divine Healing
The spreading of the Pentecostal movement in Romania was accompanied by
baptisms in the Spirit and divine healings. In this regard, the main sources are the
Pentecostal journals that published testimonies about them. The Word of Truth
states, "In 1923, eight people were baptized in the Holy Spirit. In 1924, ten
people from Paulis received the baptism with the Holy Spirit. In 1925, there were
no baptisms in the Holy Spirit. In 1926, forty-two people received the baptism
with the Holy Spirit and in 1927, 117 people received this baptism. Afterwards it
was difficult to keep note of the numbers of baptisms."'
In his memoirs, Pavel Bochian speaks about divine healings acomplished in the
village of Mocrea (Arad county) in 1929, by Dumitru Buda, the minister in
Pancota and also records the first baptism in the Spirit in Mocrea in 1930.
Furthermore, he provides a touching account of his own baptism in the Spirit that
took place in 1934 and was accompanied by his mother's divine healing.
'
In March 1930, Ioan Urlea was reading the journal when he was suddenly
baptized in the Spirit.' Maria Berc from Reia-Hateg (Hunedoara county)
experienced divine healing after suffering for seven years; at the same time, she
was baptized in the Spirit and spoke in tongues in Russian. Her husband, an
unbeliever, spoke Russian, since he had fought in the World War I in the
Austrian-Hungarian army and had been a prisoner of war in Russia. He cried out
in the street that his wife was speaking Russian - a language she did not learn.'
Mihai Starhentz from Brusturi (Bihor county) had the gift of healing. Many
' Bochian, Lif, 29-32; 21 5-222.
' Word of Truth, (1 May 193I), 1
' Bochian, Life, 18-23; 35.
' Word of Truth, (April 1930).
' Wordof Truth, (Jan. 1931, 8).
divine healings occurred that were related through spoken or written testimonies.'
2. Preaching with Spiritual Power
Bradin wrote down in his diary that false teachers had started to teach if someone
was speaking in tongues, hisher personal life was not important. These people
used to go on missions around the country, pretending to be men of God, but they
were living in immorality.' Nevertheless, the holy love and the healthy spiritual
guidance of some peasant ministers like the brothers from Bihor: Pavel Ciuci of
Piclau, Ioan Toader of Salajeni, Vasile Cutz of Cil, Mihai Sharentz of Brusturi
and others kept Romanian Pentecostalism at the feet of the crucified Christ and
close to the Bible. Sandru remembers, "I shall never forget the sermon brother
Ciuci preached in Arad in 1946, entitled "Our God is a God who hides Himself."
Likewise, 1 shall never forget my two missions with another brother from Bihor
in 1947 and 1948 in the Valley of the Somes river. The Holy Spirit's presence
was so strong that the listeners of that brother's sermons were crying from the
beginning to the end of each sermon. I have never seen something similar either
before or after that, anywhere in the world on the four continents where I have
travelled. Then nobody laughed, as some people laugh today ... but they cried with
tears of joy when touched by the Holy Spirit."'
The Pentecostal preacher Aron Magda ("brother Aronutz") of Mihaiesti was not
very different in his message to the Baptist preacher Simion Curea. They
preached at a Pentecostal prayer service in Ulies (north of Gurasada - Hunedoara
county) in 1949, but when the Communist authorities broke the service and
arrested both of them, the witness of "brother Aronutz" was very different. The
authorities considered him the main "enemy"; he received a severe beating and
his four torturers canied him by car to a bridge over the large river Mures which
had whirlpools. Nevertheless, he awakened in the night on the border of Mures
and moved slowly and with difficulty to a house. Next day, it was a market day
and he evangelized at the market where he was seen by his torturers. After a time,
two of the torturers died in accidents, the third lost one of his legs and the fourth
asked to be baptized.'
When the pastor Pavel Bochian at the beginning of his pastoral work was
discouraged because of the Pentecostal confusion and ready to renounce it, he
visited Vasile Cutz of Cil to ask for advice and prayed for hours with him and his
family. During the night, he had a great vision of Christ which was a source of
encouragement for the rest of his life. Bochian recounts also impressive spiritual
' See word of
ruth, (Apr. 1933), 11-12; (Dec. 1935), 12).
Bradin, Manuscript Journals., 17
Sandm, Revival, 129-130.
Unwritten witness from Emil Bulgar.
:
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
experiences from the period 1945-1951: speaking in tongues (in German and
Slovakian), divine healings, exorcism. He records that after the Soviet invasion of
Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968, when a Soviet invasion also threatened
Romania, a prophecy in the Pentecostal church of Vicovu-de-Sus (with 3,000
believers), near the Soviet border, foretold that the angels were defending the
borders and nothing evil would happen. The Inspector of the denominations
communicated this to the dictator Ceaucescu. The prophecy was right.' In 1973,
Sandru experienced the divine healing of his incurable disease.'
~entecostalStatutes (1950-2000)
Characteristics of the PD Government (1950-1989)
The statute for the Organization and Function of the Pentecostal Denomination
was approved by the Decree No. 1203 of the Presidium of the Grand National
Assembly from the 14IhNovember 1950, and was published in The Law for the
General Organization of the Denominations, Ministry of the Denominations
(Bucharest 1951,437-444). The Rules have 10 chapters, divided into 51 articles.
This Law of the Denominations and implicitly the PD Statute of 1950 are at
present obsolete but paradoxically still valid. The project of the new Law of the
Denominations was sent by the Government to the Parliament not earlier than the
autumn of 1999 and it is worse than the Communist law; it is to be revised
because of internal and external protests. In fact, the new Pentecostal Union
(P.U.) replaced the old Statute with a new one.
The Statute of 1950 stipulated the following structure: a central church council,
branches and local churches. The central organization of the PD was formed by
the following: The General Assembly, composed of 45 members designated by
the General Assemblies of the branches which in turn were formed by one
delegate of 200 baptized members elected by the General Assemblies of the local
churches; The Church Council was formed of 15 members elected by the General
Assembly. This body played a central leading part; The Executive Board elected
by the Church Council consisted of: chairman, two vice-chairmen, general
secretary, general treasurer, and editor-in-chief of publications. This was the
permanent leading body of the PD.
leader had to lead the activity of the church. Each branch was led by a board,
elected by the Branch General Assembly and an overseer, elected by the
Denominational General Assembly. This Statute follows the pattern of the
Organic Statute of the Union of the Baptist Communities in Greater Romania
adopted by the Baptist Congress of Buteni (15 February 1920) that has organized
the Baptist Union on the basis of the congregation (local church), community
(Pentecostal branch) and Union of all communities.' The nostalgia of a
Pentecostal Union with various branches can be seen in the PD Statute, Article
54: "The Pentecostal Denomination has the possibility to organize itself as a
federation."
The PD was centralized, in order to be controlled easier by the Communist
authorities that had to approve every act of leadership (Art. 9;16;18;36;38;40;55)
and used the State laws to control the religious activity (Art. 30;46). A new
Statute of the PD was approved by the General Assembly of the Pastors on the
1 9 ' ~October 1992 and printed in 1993. There are no more stipulations regarding
the relations between the Denomination and the State authorities. The "Regional
Communities" replaced the PD branches. Instead of the PD chairman, there was
the chairman of the Executive Board of the Denomination.
The Pentecostal Denomination turned its name into "Pentecostal Union" at the
General Assembly in Felix (Oradea) on the 22nd-25th of May 1996, by a new
statute of the Pentecostal Union, printed in 1997. This Statute gives the largest
place to the local church (Art. 7-60) which has the status of a legal entity. Local
churches have significant levels of autonomy under the control of the regional
and national headquarters. The General Assembly meets every four years as the
"Congress of the P.U." and convenes annually (in the years in between) as the
"National Conference of the P.U.". There may also be extraordinary meetings of
the General Assembly. The Church Council is presided over by the chairman of
the Pentecostal Union, assisted by the general secretary. They are members of the
Executive Board elected -as the Church Council- by the General Assembly
constituted in the P.U. Congress. The Chairman of the P.U. represents the
Pentecostal Union. There are also commissions, departments and special offices
subordinated to the Church Council.
PENTECOSTAL PRINCIPLES O F FAITH
From the spiritual point of view, no difference was proclaimed between the
members of the Church; but from an administrative point of view, they were
divided into ordained ministers (pastors, presbyters, deacons) and un-ordained
members. If there were no ordained ministers in a local church, an un-ordained
I
The First substantial Pentecostal Declaration of Faith
The first complete Declaration of Faith of Romanian Pentecostalism was issued
by Gospel Herald Publishing House in Arad (1947) and reprinted by Sandru as an
Bochian, Lve, 98-101; 116-129; 138-139.
' T. Sandru,Pagini din istoria unei biserici (Pagesfron~the history ofa church) ITP :Bucuresti
(1994) 29
124
I
Popovici, Baptist's History, 11, 33-34.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
appendix of his Dogmatics in 1993. Actually it sketched Romanian Pentecostal
theology, developed later in Sandru's theological books.' The first nine principles
refer to God and his revelation through the Bible and creation. The following
twelve principles (10-21) refer to man, sin and salvation. The following twenty
principles (22-41) concern the Church and the Holy Spirit's work. After seven
eschatological principles (42-48) follow three principles (49-51) about the
Pentecostal position on the issue of State and denominations. We cannot find a
foreign model for this remarkable Declaration of Faith, except the 24th principle
("The insisting search of the Spirit baptism"), which translates into Romanian
almost wholly the 7th fundamental article of the U.S. Assemblies of God ("The
Promise of the Fatherw).*As in other Declarations of Faith - e.g. that of the
Church of God (Cleveland, TN), there is no reference to two spirit baptisms ("of
the Holy Spirit" and "idwith the Holy Spirit"). The 50thRomanian Pentecostal
Faith principle accepts the oaths that are requested by the State and the 49th one
accepts military servicc. In the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) teachings,' there
is no reference to permission to swear legal oaths and military service is not
forbidden.' There are many conservative interdictions in the C.O.G. teachings
about haircut, jewelry, ungodly amusements, swimming, which are not included
in the Romanian Declaration of Faith, though it is very comprehensive.
Notwithstanding, the 49Ihprinciple stipulates the "simplicity in clothes", a request
which is still valid.
The Declaration of Faith on the Basis of which the Pentecostal Denomination
was recognized by the State (1950)
This was the first Declaration of Faith of the PD, because the previous one was
made by the Pentecostal Association in Arad. The creation of Heaven and Earth
is not mentioned any more, because the Communist authorities did not like the
insistence on God's creative work. The word "salvation" is barely mentioned in
the 3rd article (Angels) and the doctrine of salvation is dispersed, unlike in the 5 1
Principles (1947). Sandru notices, "regarding the question of the Faith Principles,
when he (Bradin) saw that the regime did not approve the doctrine of speaking in
tongues, he hid this doctrine behind Bible verses such as Acts 2:l-4 and 1 Cor.
12:l-3 1.' The references to the Great Tribulation, Antichrist and the Lake of Fire
are omitted, for the Communists did not like such things.'
' XXX,Short Exposition of the Faith Principles of the Apostolic Church of God (Pentecostal),
The Herald of the Gospel, 1947
The Declaration of Faith of the Assemblies of God U.S.A., in W. Hollenweger, The
Pentecostals, Hendrickson: Peabody (1988) Appendix, 515.
' XXX, Declaration of Faith of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), in C.W. Conn, Like a
Mighty Army, Pathway Press: Cleveland (1977) Appendices, 400.
' XXX, Church of God Teachings, no. 33; 35 in Conn, op. cit., 402.
' Sandru,Reviva/, 104
XXX, The Declaration of Faith ofthe Pentecostal Denomination, in T . Sandru (editor),
Pastor's Guide, Editura Cultului Penticostal: Bucuresti (1 994) 1 1-18.
Other Declarations of Faith and Creeds (1982,1989,1992)
The above PD Declarations of Faith in 30 Articles was reprinted in 1989 in 33
Articles with the same contents.' An abbreviated Declaration of Faith in 27
Articles was published in 1982 in Romanian and English. In the 22nd Article, the
English word "tithing" interprets the Romanian phrase "generous giving".
Tithing is not stipulated in the Romanian Pentecostal Declarations of Faith.'
;
The PD printed a Creed in 1992. After two years of freedom, speaking in other
tongues is finally mentioned. The financial support of the servants of the Church
is also very much emphasized. Smoking, drugs and alcohol are explicitly
forbidden.'
The Revised Declaration of Faith (1994)
,
The revised Declaration of Faith in 3 1 Articles (1994) pretended to be a reprint of
the 1947 Declaration, stylistically and grammatically revi~ed.~
It is not a revision
of the form, but is a revision of the contents. The titles of the 31 Articles are
expressed in sentences that form a Creed. One can notice the following: the idea
of the authority of the Word of God is not clearly expressed; the mode of
inspiration is not clearly specified. Unlike the 5 1 principles, the 3 1 Articles
explicitly forbid drugs, alcoholic beverages, homosexuality and euthanasia. The
21 st Article states that "the priesthood of the Old Covenant was replaced in the
New Covenant by the spiritual services in the Church". Unlike the 51 Principles,
the 3 1 Articles do not mention oaths, military service nor the "lake of fire".
The Pentecostal Union (set up in 1996) seems to still consider the Revised
Declaration (1994) as its actual Declaration of Faith, even though the 31 Articles
were not reprinted until 1994, which indicates the intention to revise them again.
PENTECOSTAL THEOLOGY AND ITS PRACTICAL APPLICATION
The Start of Romanian Pentecostal Theology
We can aquire a false image of Romanian Pentecostalism if we give too much
importance either to conservative teachings and the social behaviour of Romanian
Pentecostals or to their resistance to modern Western influence. A typical
' XXX,
' XXX, The Declaration of Faith of the Pentecostal Denomination, in T . Sandru, Biblical
Church Doctrines 1989, Editura Cultului Penticostal: Bucuresti (1989, 2nd ed. 1994)360-367.
' Sandru, Pentecostal Apostolic COG, 9-15.
' Sandru, Pentecostal Church, 187-190.
' XXX, The Declaration ofFaith of the COG of Romania, Bucharest, 1994, 30 pp.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XlX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
instance in this respect is given by a Baptist book published in 1993, that says,
"The Pentecostal churches (in Romania) are in a theological crisis: 80 % of their
number have had no formal training. The result is often petty legalism, despising
sermon preparation and placing the prophetic word higher than the Scriptures."'
Such criticism has always been expressed against Pentecostals in all countries,
but Pentecostalism is going on, while Baptists have receded in Romania from
109,000 in 1992 to 83,000 in 1998.
In fact, Romanian Pentecostals have always been interested in Bible courses and
theological training but it was not easy to satisfy this need under the Communist
regime. After Bible courses for the training of pastors (1974-1976), the Church
Council decided to start the "Pentecostal Theological Seminary" (PTS) in
Bucharest. Sandru was appointed PTS director. In the beginning, the Seminary
enrolled 15 students on a four year course. There was a shortage of teachers and
of Romanian theological textbooks. The PTS improvised teachers became the
pioneers of Romanian Pentecostal theology and published the first Romanian
Pentecostal textbooks. The Pastor's Guide (1976) contained Sandru's courses
from 1974-1976. Furthermore, Sandru issued the Life and teachings of the
Apostle Paul (1977), Pneumatology (1979), Pentecostal Apostolic Church of God
of Romania (1982), The Life, activity and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, The
Bible Doctrines of the Church (1989), The Pentecostal Church in the History of
the Chfistianity (1992), The Dogmatics of the Pentecostal Church (1993), The
Christian Church: development and spirituality (1995) and The Pentecostal
Revival in Romania (1997). Pave1 Bochian published The Church of God. Aspects
from its life (1980), The Life of Apostle Peter and (in collaboration with Christian
Vasile Roske) Faith and deeds (1988). Emil Bulgar published The Holy Land.
Biblical Geography and Archaeology (in collaboration with A. Negoi from the
Orthodox Theological Institute). Alecsie Vamvu published the Acts of worship in
the church of God (1981). Christian Vasile Roske published The Preacher's
Book. A course in homiletic" (1994).
The most remarkable of Sandru's writings was his Pneumatology (1979),
reprinted in 1991 under the title The Work of the Holy Spirit. Sandm knew of the
teaching about the two spirit baptisms, but he agreed with Ryrie, who considered
the differentiation between the baptism "with" the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:15) and the
baptism "by" the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) as artificial, since the same greek
preposition en is employed in both v e r ~ e s However,
.~
the book that was most
appreciated abroad from Sandru's writings was The Bible Doctrines of the
Church (1989;1994). David Bundy wrote about this book: "What one finds here
is one of the first attempts by a Pentecostal theologian to wrestle seriously with
' P. Johnstone, Operation World, Carlisle: OM (1993) 464.
Charles Caidwell Ryrie, Biblical Theology of the N.T.,114; T. Sandru, Lucrarea Duhului Sfant
(Pneurnatooglie) STP: Bucuresti (199 1) note 1, 117.
the classical Christian heritage of East and West, early and modem, patristic and
Romanian Orthodox, Charismatic and Reformed Evangelical."'
Sandru summarizes some of his previous books about Church history in his work
The Christian Church. Development and Spirituality (1995, 286 pp.). This book
has also enjoyed a review by Bundy.' Sandru's last book was dedicated to
Romanian Pentecostalism: The Pentecostal Revival in Romania (1997, 140 pp.).
He brings his research up to 1996. Without his effort to collect verbal and written
information and to establish correct chronology, it would be impossible to write a
Romanian Pentecostal history, whose father he is."
Acts of Worship and Divine Services
Romanian Pentecostals utterly reject the term "church mystery", corresponding to
"sacrament" in the Greek-Orthodox tradition. In Romanian, the word
"asezamamt" (institution, establishment) is the closest term to the English
"ordinance" (as spiritual ceremony) but the term "act of worship" is generally
preferred. Sandru tried to classify the "acts of worship". He divided them into
three categories: (1) acts which were made and ordered by Jesus Christ and the
Apostles - water baptism; the Lord's Supper; footwashing; the anointing of the
sick with oil; the setting apart of the pastors and deacons; (2) acts which were
made by Jesus Christ or were dedicated by His presence - infant dedication and
the religious wedding; (3) acts which were stipulated by the Old Testament and
were not rejected by the New Testament - the dedication of houses of prayer.
Sandru notes that water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the main acts of
worship for Protestants, but he does not express a clear approval of this position.
He thinks that a believer with a clean heart and with faith will be blessed by every
act of worship, no matter how important it is.'
The official "Declarations of Faith", Creeds and Statutes of the PD (P.U.) do not
classify the acts of worship and do not mention all the acts that Sandru lists. The
Declaration of Faith (1994) specifies that the pastor and the presbyter may
officiate at all the acts of worship, but the deacon may officiate only at the Lord's
Supper, infant dedication and funerals (Art. 22). The same Declaration mentions
' David Bundy's review in EPTA Bulletin 9/3+4, 1989, 79; also in Pneuma, 1211 1990, 56-57.
Bundy's interest in Romanian Pentecostalism is seen in D.D. Bundy, The Romanian Pentecostal
Church in Recent Literature, in Pneuma 711, Spring 1985, 19-20.
D.D. Bundy, Trandafir Sandru, Biserica Crestina: Evolutie si Spiritualitate, in Pneuma, 18
(1996), 151-153.
' See Sandru, Rumanien, in W. Hollenweger, D i e Pfingskirchen, Selbstdarstellungen,
Dokumente, Kommentare Ev. Verlagswerk: Stuttgart (1971), 82-90. The first sketch of the
Romanian Pentecostal history.
' T.Sandru, Dogmatics Bisericii lui Dumnezeu Apostolice Penticostale ITP : Bucuresti (1993)
138-139; Doctrines, 1994, 210.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association. Vol. XIX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
ordination as an act (Art. 22) and footwashing also (Art. 15). The 14th article
mentions the Lord's Supper as the second "asezamant" so that water baptism
(Art. 13) would be the first. The 24th article does not clarify the form of marriage
referred to. The dedication of the houses of prayer is not mentioned in the oficial
Romanian Pentecostal documents.
correspondence theological studies for 5 years. At Graduation, the students
receive a theology licence with a pastoral special subject (for men) or with a
didactic special subject (for men and women). They are accredited by the
government to teach religion for Pentecostal students in the public high-schools.
The PTIB edits the Pentecostal journal of theology Pleroma and theological
books. It also organizes symposia for theological dissertations and essays.
Alecsie Vamvu deals with the subject of prayer, at the end of his book about the
acts of worship.' He uses the term "ceremony" when speaking of ordination,
laying on of hands, funeral; the term "randuiala" (order, custom) for a marriage
and the term "ritual" for a funeral; he considers the betrothal as an "asezamant".
It is hard to distinguish precise rules for classification and terminology. The
divine services could be also considered as acts of worship; these services vary
according to the day (working days or rest days, celebrations such as Christmas,
Easter, Pentecost); according to the hour (morning services, usually between 9
and 12 a.m. and afternoon hours, usually between 6 and 8 p.m.) or according to
the nature of the service (Sunday service, Thursday evening service, Bible study,
evangelistic service, the Lord's Supper, ordinations, inaugurations).
Pentecostal mass media coverage
The official publication of the Pentecostal Union is the monthly periodical The
Word of Truth. Currently, the journal is published in 20,000 copies and is
distributed in 15 countries. The Pentecostal Society for Christian Mission in
Romania (SPMCR) from Oradea edits the periodical Mesaj Evanghelic
(Evangelical Message). The Regional Community of Arad edits the journal
Flacara Rusaliilor (The Flume of Pentecost). The Pentecostal churches from
Bucovina edit the publication Lumina vechilor carari (The Light of the Old
Ways). The best journal of a Pentecostal local church in Romania is Elim in
Timisoara. Pentecostals participate in the broadcasts of the boradcasting station
"Vocea Evangheliei" (The Voice of the Gospel) that transmits from Bucharest,
Oradea, Timisoara, Sibiu, Cluj, Suceava.
Concerted prayer is typical in Pentecostal divine services. Though it is striking
for a visitor, it has a biblical basis (Ps. 34:3; Acts 1:14; 4:24) and it was practiced
by the early Church.'
L
The Pentecostal Theological Institute of Bucharest (PTIB)
SECTION 111. CHALLENGES AND POTENTIAL FOR FUTURE
PENTECOSTALISM
"In 1992 the Pentecostal Theological Seminary was upgraded to a university
level institution and changed its name to "Pentecostal Theological Institute Bucharest". In the Autumn of 1997, the Institute had 63 full-time students
enrolled and 310 correspondence students. Through the double major degree
offered... the students are adequately prepared to serve as pastors and teachers of
religion in public schools.'"
POTENTIAL FOR THE FUTURE
The Pentecostal Local Church
On the 4th October 1996, at the 20th anniversary of the Pentecostal theological
education in Romania was inaugurated the first building of the PTIB. The new
PTIB President, John F. Tipei, obtained in 1998 new credentials for the PTIB
from the Government. The whole PTIB campus (whose construction was
financed by the Church of God - Cleveland, TN) was inaugurated on the 5th and
6th of October, 1999. In its new framework, the PTIB admits each year 20 fulltime students (from whom 5 are girls) and 20 correspondence students (with no
limitation for girls). The full-time theological studies last for four years and the
:
' A. Vamvu, Actele de cult in Biserica h i Durnneteu (The Acts of Worship in rhe Church of
God) Cultul Penticostal ;Bucuresti (1981) 304-3 11.
' Sandru, Pentecostal Apostolic COG, 19.
' J.F.Tipei, ACG in DPCM, s.v.
There are eight Regional Communities of the Pentecostal Union (P.U.): (1) Arad
(chairman Moise Ardelean) with 538 churches (and affiliated communities) that
are divided in 80 sectors; (2) Cluj (chairman Aurel Moldovan) with 492 churches
(affiliated communities included) which are divided in 70 sectors; (3) Suceava
(chairman Costache Jerban) with 313 churches (and affiliated congregations)
which are divided in 66 sectors; (4) Oradea (chairman Ioan Moldovan) with 213
churches (affiliated congregations included) that are divided in 44 sectors; (5)
Bucharest (chairman Ioan Bochian) with 204 churches (and affiliated
communities) divided in 31 sectors; (6) Maramures-Satmar (chairman Victor
Opris) with 56 churches (affiliated communities included) - divided in 23
sectors; (7) Brasov (chairman Ioan Gurau) with 112 churches (and affiliated
congregations) - divided in 26 sectors; (8) Oltenia - Arges (chairman Luca
Cretan) with 114 churches (affiliated congregations included) - divided in 22
sectors.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church
Rodica
in Romania
Pandrea
There were in total, 2142 churches (and affiliated communities) by the time of the
6"' Congress of the Pentecostal Union (November 1998). A higher number of
churches in one Regional Community does not implicitly mean a higher number
of members than in another. The number of members vary from several
thousands, e.g. in the city of Timisoara or in the village of Vicovu-de-Sus
(Suceava county) to one hundred or less (e.g. in the South of Romania). The
exact numbers of the Pentecostals in Romania was not communicated by the P.U.
Sixth Congress. Some P.U. statistics of November 1999 indicate a growth in
comparison to 1992; for instance, in the South of Romania with a small
Pentecostal population: in the county of Braila from 479 to 576 Pentecostals and
in the county of Valcea from 247 up to 51 1 Pentecostals. We expect the total
numbers of Pentecostals in Romania to be communicated at the P.U. National
Conference in May 2000.
Pentecostal Ministers
.
There were 325 Pentecostal pastors, 551 presbyters and 1004 deacons in
Romania in November 1998. They are considered the clerical staff of the P.U. In
the period, November 1994 - Nov. 1998, 82 pastors, 179 presbyters and 295
deacons were ordained.
Pastors mett in pastoral conferences at national or regional level. They visit one
another on the occasion of special services and evangelistic meetings and keep in
touch with regional and national Pentecostal leaders. In this way, division is best
avoided. Division was a danger by the year 1994, as the chairman P. Rivis-Tipei
noted. The observance of correct doctrine and order is observed by the
Department for Doctrine, the Rule and Discipline of the P.U. Church Council.
Pentecostal Prayer Houses
The Department for Construction and Capital Repairs of Prayer House
encouraged local churches to build their own prayer houses. Out of 2,142 prayer
houses in 1998, 1,088 were the properties of the properties of the Pentecostal
churches and 1,954 fimctioned in rented houses. In the 1994-1998 period, the
Regional Community of Arad built 71 prayer houses and 39 were under
construction; the Regional Community (RC) of Oradea built 40 and 65 were in
construction; the RC Cluj built 48 and 20 were in the process of construction; the
RC Oltenia-Arges built 13 and 19 were in the course of being built; the RC
Maramures-Satmar built 14 and 8 were in the process of construction; the RC
Brasov built 14 and 4 were in the process of construction; the RC Bucharest built
7 and 4 were in the course of being built. A total of 238 prayer houses were built
and 167 were in the course of being built in Romania between 1994-1998 by the
Pentecostal local churches. The P.U. national headquarters and three RC
headquarters possess their own buildings.
Pentecostal Social and Humanitarian Assistance
Romanian Pentecostals set up some centres for the assistance of old people and
children: (1) The Center for Aged Persons "Bethesda" in Arad; (2) The Center for
old persons and children "Tabitha" in Arad (with the support of the "Bethany"
church in Arad and of the Pentecostal church in Pforzheim-Germany) which has a
capacity of 25 places for the aged and 25 for children; (3) The Orphanage in
Neudorf (Arad county) - fitted out and supported by the Pentecostal youth; (4)
The Orphanage in Fantanele (Arad county); (5) The Orphanage in Gherla (Cluj
county); (6) The Orphanage in Campia Turzii (Cluj county); (7) The Home for
the Handicapped in Jucu (Cluj county). Teams of Pentecostal young people were
involved in the development of these social-humanitarian centres. In Itcani
(Suceava county), Mennonites from the USA opened a modem orphanage (that
has also a primary school) in cooperation with local Pentecostals. Many
Pentecostal pastors and evangelists partake in the Mission for the Calling and
Recovery of Detainees in the Prisons. Some of the prisoners have asked to be
baptized in water.
Pentecostal Publishing Houses and Journals
The P.U. Church Council Department for Publishing Houses and Mass Media
have encouraged the Pentecostal publishing houses and journals. The P.U.
National Publishing House printed in the period 1994-1998 twelve books and
booklets in cooperation with the journal The Word of Truth and the PTIB. Other
Pentecostal Publishing Houses function in Sebis (Arad county), Timisoara,
Bucharest and have printed many translated books and some Romanian authors
(especially poets). Other Pentecostal journals that we have not mentioned yet are:
Harul (The Grace) - Huedin (Cluj county); Resurse Spirituale (Spiritual
Resources) - Oradea; Jurnalul Meu (My Journal) - Timisoara. In total, the
circulation of the eight Pentecostal journals in Romania is more than 30,000
copies. The Pentecostal large calendar was printed every year in more than
40,000 copies; the small one - in 25,000 copies and the agendum calendar in
7,000 copies. The large calendar is also printed in a Hungarian translation by the
P.U. Church Council Department for National Minorities.
The Pentecostal Contribution to the Religious Education of the Youth
A two-year training program is offered by each of the eight P.U. Regional Offices
for Sunday School teachers and youth workers. In Timisoara, the Bible
Seminaries Elim and Veritas with a schooling of four years function like evening
schools. In the period 1994-1998, The Pentecostal Sanitary School of Pharmacy
was founded in Arad and The Pentecostal Sanitary School of General Medicine
in Timisoara. The courses last for two years.
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association,Vol. XIX, 1999
A Historical and Theological Analysis of the Pentecostal Church in Romania
Rodica Pandrea
In 1997, Bethany School of Theology and Letters was established in Arad, with
credentials from the P.U. Church Council, which decided on the 3oth of October
1998 to unite the Bethany School of Theology with The Pentecostal Theological
Institute of Bucharest (PTIB) in order to function as its afiliated branch in Arad.
ROMANIAN PENTECOSTAL PERSPECTIVES
Church Expansion
The old simplicity of the older Pentecostal church services has ended in Romania.
The spiritual quality of the services is much higher, but they continue to last two
or three hours. The Sunday morning service consists of an hour of prayer,
dominated by concerted prayer; then musical praise and worship time (hymns,
poems, instrumental music) for about 40 minutes; then follows a Bible lesson
taken from the P.U. Calendar or an evangelistic exhortation for the unsaved
guests for 30-40 minutes. The next part of the service contains a sermon for the
spiritual edification of the believers (the same length of time). In total, it lasts for
three hours, from 9 to 12am. Of course, this liturgical programme may vary. For
instance, the Pentecostals pcasants from Heria and Farau, close to Ocna Mures,
Alba county (pastor Ionel Popa) meet in the week nights (for in the day time they
work) from 9 p.m. to midnight and more; every night the meeting finishes as in
the time of the Early Church, with a love meal. The author of this text has
attended these meetings which include prophecies, visions and healings. In such a
congregation, he saw a preacher dancing at the pulpit under the power of the
Holy Spirit. Conservative Romanian Pentecostals reject the Western modem
perfunctory worship but whcn they recognize the power of the Holy Spirit they
accept every kind of worship. Thus the ones who prophesy sometimes clap their
hands (Ezek. 21:14) or fall face downwards on the ground though these
phenomena are rare.
Romanian Pentecostals sing hymns of various musical styles, either folk or
classical. They like the hymns of Nicolae Moldoveanu, "the little Bach", the most
educated composer o f Romanian hymns. The most important Romanian
Pentecostal poet is Costache loanid; his poems are often recited or sung in the
services. There are still popular preachers such as the peasant Simion Nuc who
amazed the leaders of all the Christian Churches in Romania. However, there are
now many hundreds of theologically trained preachers whose sermons are much
appreciated. All the leaders of the Pentecostal Union are famous preachers. A
famous preacher is the Italian pastor of Bistrita, Gaetano Amato, who speaks
rather poor Romanian!
Church services for the healing of the sick take place at least once a week in the
Pentecostal churches. There are pastors through whom the gift of healing works,
such as loan Caba (Oradea) or Nelu Veres (Cluj). Caba and Veres unite monthly
their spiritual power services for anointing with oil which occurs every month in
other city. To conclude, church services are alive and provide spiritual food for
future Pentecostalism. The prospects are good.
Evangelism and Mission
There are 90 Romanian Pentecostal evangelists under the guidance of the P.U.
Missions Department: most of them evangelize the South of Romania. They are
financially supported by the Romanian Pentecostal churches from USA
(especially by the churches pastored by John Buia, Nicy Pop, Gabriel Fazecas),
by the Pentecostal churches from Germany and by a few large Pentecostal
churches in Romania. Good results have been obtained especially in the province
of Oltenia.
Romanian Pentecostalism has its own vision, but it is open to dialogue with all
Christian Churches in Romania, for mutual knowledge disperses
misunderstandings. We agree with Hollenweger that "the church consists of the
interplay between different charismata... In all churches there are testimonies, in
all there is healing and there are other gifts."' The former chairman of the
Pentecostal Denomination, Pavel Bochian, had the deepest understanding of the
tremendous Pentecostal potential to exceed Christian divisions toward a spiritual
unification by faith, love and power - all three focused around God, the atoning
sacrifice of Christ and the works of the Holy Spirit.
The Pentecostal hope is a spiritual Revival. This also could save the Romanian
Orthodox Church, since the real danger for all Romanian Churches is secularism.
After two generations, without a Revival, most of the Orthodox churches may be
closed. Pentecostals are better placed that the Revival starts among them.
The P.U.chairman, P. Rivis Tipei and the P.U. General Secretary Marine1
Mesaros are partners in the Committees of the European Pentecostal Conference
and World Pentecostal Conference. In Western Europe, the P.U. has the best
relations with the Pentecostal churches from Germany. The P.U. has the closest
relations with the Church of God, Cleveland, TN. The P.U. is a national
autonomous Church. Before 1950, the relation between Bradin and Budean did
not seem to be one of subordination but of brotherly partnership. This is the
model and the perspective for the future.
' W. Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide, Peabody:
Hendrickson (1 997) 309400
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
REVIEWS
Dale M. Schlitt, Theology a n d the Experience of God, American Liberal
Religious Thought 8 (New York: Peter Lang, 2001). xi +287 pp. Cloth,
US61.95; ISBN 0-82045 197-5.
Pentecostals should be the first to recognize that tongues needs to be followed by
interpretation in order to edify the congregation. Analogously, Peter's sermon on
the Day of Pentecost was an explication of a strange phenomenon for the benefit
of sojourners from around the world gathered in Jerusalem that day. In this case,
interpretation was not addressed to a pre-established ekklesia, but to a large
crowd of which 3,000 were to constitute the initial ekklesia. What Peter did was
witness to the experience he and others in the upper room had. In effect, this was
the translation of something particular strange tongues into a fully public
language, a "universal" language, as it were, capable of inducing a response from
those who had come from the "ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The coming of age of Pentecostal theology will also require that we open
ourselves up to the Holy Spirit to allow translations to occur such that our
experience of God is interpreted in such a way that all interested in the subject
matter can fully engage the conversation in order to a) receive (perhaps) a similar
experience and to b) criticize our claims. This kind of theological translation has
traditionally gone by the name of fundamental or foundational theology.
("Foundational" my term is not epistemic, but refers instead to the capacity to
engage a broad, perhaps universal, audience.) Specifically with regard to the
experience of the Holy Spirit pneumatology individuals such as Donald Gelpi
and myself have attempted to translate the particularity of the Pentecostal
experience from its testimonial genres into discourses that will interest, engage
and challenge wider theological publics (in Gelpi's case, working with the North
American pragmatist and neo-Thomist traditions, among others, and in my case
with existentialist and world and indigenous religious traditions).
Dale Schlitt's Theology and the Experience of God extends this conversation to
include, among others, those interested in Hegelian idealism and AngloAmerican experientialist theology. Specifically, Schlitt's discussion of the
charismatic experience is located within his larger project that shifts the focus of
the Augustinian-Anselmian "faith seeking understanding" to what might arguably
be understood as its Hegelian-Anglo-American analogue of "experience of God
seeking understanding" (Schlitt's phrase). The argument in a nutshell is that
theology is the attempt to articulate the human experience of God. Discerning
Pentecostals will certainly not disagree with that, and would even rejoin that all
theology is "experience of the Spirit of God seeking understanding"! And, in fact,
that is precisely Schlitt's thesis: that Christian experience is by and through the
Spirit, of the risen Christ, and toward the mystery of the triune God. Thus Schlitt
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elaborates on "fundamental theology and the experience of God" in Part One, and
goes from there to practical reflections on charismatic discernment vis- -vis
pneumatology, ecumenism within a christological framework, and the experience
of aging as teleologically directed to the reign of God in the three chapters of Part
Two. The third and last part is a constructive, systematic, and yet provisional
exposition of central Christian doctrines: of faith, hope, and love as
characterizing the Christian journey in its phenomenological sequentiality
(Chapter 5); of sin as impoverishing experiences that hinder and block Christian
growth (Chapter 6); and of the Trinity as the experiential framework and goal of
Christian experience (the concluding Chapter 7). The book's trinitarian structure
reflects an unforced convergence of biblical, theological, experiential, and
Hegelian motifs. Experientialist categories such as dynamic, liberative,
empowering, otherness, communal, intersubjective, and relational permeate the
discussion and therefore justify the title of this volume.
Of particular interest to readers of this journal will be Chapter 2's "Discerning a
Charismatic Experience of the Spirit." We find here Schlitt's theology of
discernment that arises out of a deep sensitivity to and awareness of the
Pentecostal and (especially Catholic) charismatic renewal movements. (For the
record, Schlitt is a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, one of the largest
missionary congregations of the Roman Catholic Church, and currently rector of
St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada.) To cut to the quick, a "holistic criterion" is
developed that takes into the account the "totality of the charismatic situation"
(loo), including the situation of the individual through whom the charism is
expressed, the phenomenology of the charismatic manifestation itself, and the
ecclesial or communal context including the needs of the congregation, their
recognition of such needs, their anticipation of responses to those needs, and so
on, all of which, Schlitt insightfully notes, are also part and parcel of the work of
the Spirit, and hence of our capacity to discern the charism as being of that same
Spirit within which the charism occurs. Central to this holistic criterion is the
resulting relationship between individual and community (having to do with the
reception or rejection of the charism), and between community members
themselves (what kind of fruit the charism bears, how reconciliation is effected,
what kind of relationships ensue, etc.).
The nuance, sophistication, and pastoral sensitivity of Schlitt's discussion
concerning the charisms needs to be appreciated within the larger argument of the
book as a whole. Insights regarding discerning the Spirit carry over into
ecumenical relationships between churches and interpersonal relationships
between members of the body of Christ. What emerges is an insightful
experiential theology that is capable of crossing confessional and even religious
lines exactly what a fundamental or foundational theology should do.
Pentecostal readers will certainly come away from this book with an increased
awareness of the experiential processes that undergird Christian reflection in
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Thcological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
general and Pentecostal reflection in particular. They will also, however, gain a
better sense both of how to do Pentecostal theology that engages other (nonPentecostal) publics and of the extensive work that lies ahead with regard to
communicating the "pentecostal experience" to and for "outsiders." My hope is
that readers inspired by Schlitt's work will turn next to Gelpi's oeuvre, which this
volume does not engage, in order to further understand the Christian task of
"experience of God seeking understanding" from specifically Pentecostal
perspectives.
Amos Yong
K.Runia, Op zoek naar de Geest, (Kampen: J.H. Kok, 2000) 237 pps, lSBN
9043502723.
Klaas Runia, emeritus Professor of Practical Theology for the Reformed
Churches (Kampen), calls attention to the charismata. Alluding to J.H. Bavinck's
contribution in the collection De Heilige Geest (The Holy Spirit, 1949), Runia
challenges the reader to do some inward research: 'What are my obstructions and
defences that hinder the work of the Sprit in my life?' (12). It is a practical book
looking for ways to integrate the charismata in the life of the Church and of the
individual.
Runia treats the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements with openness and
respect. He acknowledges the mistakes his Church has made towards these
movements, but also notices the shortcomings on the other side. It is not
surprising that Runia is more in sympathy with the Charismatic Renewal, that
remained within the Church, than with the Pentecostals.
Of particular interest is his investigation into the search for the Spirit within his
own Reformed tradition. Starting with Calvin, he speaks of a charismatic
shortage (37). Calvin limits the work of the Holy Spirit to rebirth and justification
and does not deal with the gifts. The Reformed confessions continue along this
line. All emphasis of the work of the Holy Spirit is on justification and
sanctification (39-41). Even in the circles of the 'Nadere Reformatie' (a kind of
reformed Pietism), where subjectivism is strong, there is no interest in the
charismata.
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) in his Het werk van den Heiligen Geest (The work
of the Holy Spirit, 1888) does pay attention to the charismata. But Kuyper
purposely leaves out all that bears a slight likeness to the exceptional and limits
this to the first period of the Church (45). Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), though
not denying the possibility of the charismata in the present, ascertains that the
period of miracles as described in the New Testament has finished with the
establishment of the Church (46). Followers of Kuyper and Bavinck like F.W.
Grosheide, A.B.W.M. Kok, A. Ringnalda, G.Y. Vellenga and A.J. Kret
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consciously draw a line after the first period and by definition, limit the
charismata to this period. With a call to 1 Corinthians 13:11 they state: 'In the
childhood of the church God acts differently than in the years of maturity' (49).
Slowly the tide changes in the Reformed tradition. G.C. Berkhouwer, J.L. Koole
and H.N. Ridderbos have turned against this line-theology. Ridderbos says: 'It is
very well possible, that the Spirit also in our time wants to bring the church alive
by means of certain breakthroughs and outpourings of gifts. I think we should
rather pray for it, than turn against it' (51). In 1961, D.G. Molenaar wrote his
book De doop met de Heilige Geest (The baptism with the Holy Spirit), while in
1960, the Nederlands Hervormde Kerk (Netherlands Reformed Church) issued
the Pastoral Letter, De Kerk en de Pinkstergroepen (The Church and the
Pentecostal groups). Here too, the line-theology is definitely repudiated. The
Synodical report of the Reformed Churches Het werk van de Heilige Geest in de
gemeente (The work of the Holy Spirit in the Assembly, 1968) is still very
cautious.
In a chapter on this shift in theology, Runia pays attention to H. Berkhof, H.
Ridderbos, J. Veenhof, J.P. Versteeg, C. Graafland and B. Wentsel. All
(Ridderbos the least) leave room for the functioning of the charismata in the
present. Remarkable is the statement of Graafland (Orthodox Reformed): 'For a
long time I have earnestly prayed to receive the gift of tongues, but the Lord has
not given it to me. ... Lately, I increasingly experience it as a loss, especially in
prayer' (70).
In the meantime, the Reformed Churches have established a deputation for the
conversation with the Charismatic Renewal, that also meets with the
Pentecostals. Runia concludes that Reformed Theology has moved away from its
earlier stand, that charismata only occurred in the apostolic age and has by and
large adopted the views of the Charismatic Renewal (122). With the Pentecostals
and Charismatics, Runia is able to speak of a third work of the Holy Spirit:
besides justification and sanctification, also filling. But Runia repudiates the
teaching of a 'second blessing' (105). For Runia, the filling or baptism with the
Holy Spirit is not a second experience, but something simultaneous with rebirth.
The Pentecostal teaching of the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a distinct
experience is mainly based on the book of Acts. I find Runia's opinion, that Luke
primarily wrote as historian and therefore his writing cannot be normative for the
ongoing life of the church, debatable. Herewith, Runia underestimates the
theological value of Acts. Pentecostals generally believe that in Acts Spirit
Baptism follows conversion. Runia, in his treatment of the relevant passages in
Acts, rejects this position, but I feel he does not disprove it (96-98). Runia claims
he is not able to find a fixed pattern, but this is only because he includes more
than conversion and Spirit Baptism (like water baptism that occurs both before
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
and after Spirit Baptism, or the laying on of hands that both does and does not
occur). Limited to conversion and Spirit Baptism there does seem to be a fixed
pattern in sequence and this is the core of the matter. This core of the Pentecostal
teaching about Spirit Baptism can indeed, as Runia ascertains, not be deduced
from the Letters.
Runia's reproach that for Pentecostals, all that matters is the experience with the
Spirit, and therefore Jesus and His work of salvation moves to the background, is
not justified (223). The only argument he brings forward is the limited number of
pages that G.P. Duffield and N.M. van Cleave in their theology dedicate to the
person of Jesus Christ. Here, I suspect insufficient knowledge of the Pentecostal
movement. Runia treats of all his sources fair, but they are only few and some are
outdated. He does not seem to be aware of the scholarly Pentecostal journals and
conferences of EPTA, EPCRA and SPS.
Runia adds valuable chapters on the gifts of prophecy, glossolalia and healings;
and on the relation between charisma and office. His book is pleasant to read and
provides interesting insights in how the Dutch Reformed tradition is opening up
for the charismatic experience. In the end, Runia pleads for a new and refreshing
work of the Holy Spirit in the church, starting with ourselves. Somebody say
Amen!
Cornelis va6 der Laan
Antonio C. Barata, Fernando Martinez, Joao T. Parreira, Samuel R.
Pinheiro and Torcato Lopes, Linguas de fogo: Historia da Assembleia de
Deus em Lisboa (Lisboa: Casa Publicadora da Convencao das Assembleias de
Deus em Portugal, 1999). 152 pps. ISBN: 972-580-092-3.
This beautifully produced book, enhanced by dozens of carefully selected and
finely reproduced photographs, examines the history of Pentecostalism in Lisbon,
and by extension, with implications for the rest of Portugal. The book
accomplishes many things. It presents a historiographcial analysis of Portuguese
.Pentecostalism and its place in the Pentecostal world, it presents the theological
and sociological profiles of the tradition, describes the multi-faceted ministries of
the churches and points toward the future. The method of the review is to
summarise the arguments of the volume and proffer an evaluation.
A significant historiographical statement is made on the cover of the book: on the
front cover is a portrait of the Swedish missionary Jack Hardstadt (1895-1973)
and family, and on the back cover is a photograph of the Swedish missionaries
Tage (1902-1980) and Ingrid (1902-1998) Stahlberg. There is, throughout the
volume, a careful recognition of the origins of Pentecostalism in Lisbon in the
ministries of Swedish Pentecostal missionaries. There is also a celebration of the
Brazilian connection. The contributions of other Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian,
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and British missionaries are celebrated and the influence of Korean evangelists
and American "Faith Healing" evangelists, in the development of the Pentecostal
congregations of Lisbon, is acknowledged. The first Pentecostal church in
Lisbon was founded by Jack Hardstedt. Other Swedish missionaries included the
Samuel Bustrom (1 936- 1938) and Samuel Nystrom (1891-1960) families. Tage
and Ingrid Stahlberg served as missionaries in Lisbon from 1938-1976.
The roots of Portuguese Pentecostalism go back to Swedish Pentecostal
missionaries and their converts. Daniel Berg and Gunnar Vingren, arrived in
Brazil in 1911. When these brought the Pentecostal message to Belem do Para,
Brazil, among the first converts was the family of Jose Placido da Costa (18691965). In April 1913, the Placido family left Brazil to become evangelists in
Portugal. They began work in Porto. There they served as interim pastors of a
Baptist congregation before moving to the interior. They were followed by Jose
de Mattos (1888-1958). He had been converted in 1913 in Brazil, and in 1921 he
returned to Portugal. There he developed a literature distribution ministry in the
provinces of Beira Alta and Biera Litoral. He then settled in the Algame where
the first Portuguese Pentecostal congregation was established. He pastored this
congregation until 1938 when he shifted his focus to founding congregations
across the country. The church in Porto was finally organized in 1934 by Daniel
Berg, the Swedish missionary to Brazil.
Infrastructure crucial to Portuguese Pentecostalism is located in Lisbon and
closely connected to the history of the congregations. Primary among these is the
Casa Publicadora das Assembleias de Deut (CPAD) founded in Lisbon in 1943.
It has produced a continuous flow of books and periodicals. The periodicals
include: Novas de Alegria, Revista Avivamento, Expositor Dominica1 (biblical
education), Boa Semente (children). The national hymnbook is Cantos de
Alegria Supplemented by the gospel song book Coros de Alegria. A yearbook,
Prontuario das Assembleias de Deus is published with addresses and
organizational information.
The Lisbon congregations have produced a number of prolific scholars, many of
whom show up in the pages of this volume. These include Alfredo Rosendo
Machado who has written numerous and extensive biblical commentaries,
including a volume on Galatians [A Magna Carta da Liberdade (Epistola aos
Galatas (n.d.)] and on the twelve minor prophets [Os Doze Profetas Imortais (2
vols., 1970)l as well as volumes on spirituality: Como Jesus ve as lgrejas (1975),
Vem Ofim, Ofim Vem (1976), and Entregues ao Espiritu (1976). Among the
other many contributions to Pentecostal theology and scholarship are the books of
Jorge Pinheiro on Messianism [0Messiaismo (1976)l and the commentary on the
biblical Book of Tobit by Antonio de Costa Barata [0Apocrijb Tobias (1981)l.
In addition, there have been missiological studies, including that written by MajLis Johanson [0Nosso Mundo Clama (1983)], a study of the life and ministry of
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
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the Indian Holiness leader Sadhu Sundar Singh by Boanerges Ribeiro [0
Apostolo dos Pes Sangrentos (n.d.), and novels such as Elvira Lopes, Urn
Romance a Bordo ( 1 983).
eventual reprint might include an index! The sources of the information
contained in the book are clearly indicated, but a bibliography would have been
helpful.
Education has long been a central concern of the tradition. The initial paradigm
was to encourage youth to profit from the public education system in Portugal
and to supplement that with three or four week "Bible School" sessions on the
Scandinavian model. In 1965, at the Seventeenth Annual Convention of
Workers, in Portimao, approved the development of a Bible Institute, which
opened in Lisbon in 1966. Among the faculty were Dr. Jorge Pinheiro and Dr.
Fernando Martinez. Since 1972, this institution has been controlled by North
American interests and has been perceived to be less than responsive to the
churches and so a pastoral training centre has been developed in Lisbon on the
earlier model.
As it is, this passionate volume provides the first reliable generally available
history of a vital part of the European Pentecostal tradition. It proudly,
justifiably, presents the Portuguese Pentecostal church. The focus on an
important city adds clarity to the narrative and allows for important illuminative
detail to be present in the text. The historiographical argument summarized
above is accurate and lacks only access to the Swedish and other Scandinavian
sources. These would not change the story, but would provide important clues
for more fully understanding the patterns of Portuguese ecclesial life, mission
strategy and spirituality. The authors and publisher are to be congratulated on an
important achievement.
David Bundy
The Lisbon Pentecostal churches were born of mission and have been involved in
various aspects of mission. Foreign mission has been undertaken in the Azores,
Angola, Mozambique, Madeira, Guinea-Bissau, Timor and Macau, as well as
Spain. Pentecostal clergy also accompanied or followed the emigrants to South
Africa, Europe and North America. Other mission involves social services, a
retirement centre and evangelistic work.
Life has not atways been easy for the Pentecostal churches in Lisbon. From the
beginning, they incurred the wrath of the Catholic clergy. During World War 11,
the Catholic church attempted to make a concordat with the Portuguese state
(which often sympathised with the Nazis in Italy and Germany) to remove
Pentecostals. However, since the late 1 9 6 0 there
~ ~ has been relative freedom and
a growing Catholic Charismatic movement. This freedom, combined with the
disciplined spirituality and ecclesiology of the Lisbon congregations leads the
authors to express optimism with regard to the future of the church.
No book can do everything, especially one clearly intended for laity as well as
scholars. This reviewer wishes that in the volume (or somewhere else) an effort
might be made to deal more fully with the arrival in Portugal of the "Universal
Church of the Reign of God" from Brazil that has established a visible presence
in Lisbon. Also, the oblique references to the Catholic Charismatic movement
nearly begs for more attention as do the references to the North American "Faith
Healing" movements. Other issues relating to Lisbon/Portuguese Pentecostal
history are worth more words. This is especially the case with regard to the
foreign mission programme of the Portuguese Assembleia de Deus. It is a
significant part of the story of global twentieth century Pentecostal development.
The expression of a desire to have a careful analysis of these issues is not
intended as a criticism of thc volume. To the contrary, the book is an incredibly
fertile piece that will certainly inspire additional research. It is hoped that an
Hans D. Pedersen, 2000 ar med Den Hellige And till Norsk ved Lars-Toralf
Storstrand (Oslo: Rex Forlag, 2000). 403 pps. ISBN: 82-7388-695-6. Original
Danish title: 2000 ar med Den Helligeanden (Copenhagan: Forlaget Proskrift,
1999).
The Norwegian version of this text is reviewed here because efforts to obtain the
original Danish have not yet been successful. It is also reviewed here because it
is a substantial and important contribution to Pentecostal historiography. The
thesis of the volume is not new: there has been a tradition faithful within
Christianity to the biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life,
and although persecuted and usually at the edges of the Church, the modern
revivals have spread this vision throughout the world. What is novel about this
expression of the thesis is that the new reality of the Spirit is to be found in the
so-called "Third Wave" churches. It is a classic "history of heresies" or "history
of revivals" historiography frequently found in the writings of Holiness and
Pentecostal historians, but with a new ending!
Pedersen develops the argument in four sections with thirty-one chapters. The
first section @p.15-54) takes a Pietist approach to the history of the early Church,
recognizing, as did Hamack, the transformation of a "persecuted minority" by the
"Hellenizing" of the Church under Constantine. Attention is given to authors and
Church persons who worked to encourage the spirituality of the Church and to
protect spirituality from becoming merely a curiosity within the ecclesial
structures. As is the case in all sections, this section is written in dialogue with
Swedish and other Scandinavian Pentecostal historians. The second section (pp.
57-107) develops the narrative from the Constantinian era to the eve of the
Lutheran Reformation. The literary allusions and references to sources are quite
diverse and it is clear that the author finds few heroes in the period. The third
a
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Associalion, Vol. XIX, 1999
section (pp. 111-265) continues the story from Luther to the end of the nineteenth
century. Significant attention is given to the Wesleyan revival in England and to
the influence of the Pietist, Holiness and Reveil traditions in North America and
Europe. There is some discussion of the missionary movement of the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries. Here again there is a wide diversity of sources and
supporting documentation. The final unit discusses the Pentecostal revivals of
the twentieth century from Azusa Street to Brownsville and the "third'wave"
churches.
This reviewer congratulates the author for developing a coherent narrative on the
basis of such a long and complicated tradition. It is copiously documented
throughout with nearly a thousand footnotes @p. 356-383). The bibliography
(pp. 384-403) includes volumes by Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal authors,
materials that are both scholarly and intended for general Church reading. It is a
magisterial effort that one hesitates to criticize even when one disagrees with the
analysis at various points. The very courage manifested in undertaking such a
massive project provokes a certain reverence.
That being said, and sincerely, it would not be respectful to the scholarly process
to not raise issues of concern. These are briefly stated because of the limits of the
review format. Concerns include: (1) in this analysis, Christianity including the
Pentecostal tiadition is treated as a Western development and the diversity
(geographical and theological) of Christianity throughout its history is not
recognized; (2) there is a lack of attention to social realities that would have
nuanced certain conclusions; (3) the analyses of early, medieval, enlightenment
and reformation Church life generally do not take into account the research of the
last decades, including important manuscript discoveries; (4) there is often a
confbsion about the term "Pentecostal" in North American publications reflecting
an unawareness of the use of the term by Holiness authors both before and after
the Pentecostal revival quite outside a Pentecostal context; (5) anti-Pentecostal
authors are sometimes used to support assertions about Pentecostal spirituality
and theology, once again reflecting a problem sorting out the convoluted context
and imprecise language of North American Christianity; (6) the narrative of the
development of Pentecostalism in Europe and North America appears to assume
that that development was quite simple and does not recognize serious ecclesial
and theological differences even within Denmark, Sweden and Norway; (7) it is
debatable whether the PietistlHoliness/Pentecostal historiography should not be
significantly revised. The use of the paradigm is comforting for it provides
models and a usable history (in the Marxist sense) that allow adherents to the
theory to hold a vision of themselves as the modem expression of a righteous
remnant. This was more useful, perhaps, when Pentecostalism was indeed a
small, persecuted minority. While that persecution is not over, Pentecostals are
no longer a minority and need to develop a historiography that enables
Pentecostal believers to function from a position of strength in society and to
Reviews
suffer the same temptations of power, greed and control that are found to be SO
repugnant in Constantinian and worldly churches. There are certainly ways of
writing the history of Christianity from a Pentecostal perspective that allows one
to struggle with these issues more realistically.
These questions are a tribute to the book and to the author who provoked them.
The book will be a standard work of Pentecostal historiography for a very long
time. It is truly an important book because of its coherence, its carefully defined
theoretical framework, its interaction with earlier scholarship, and the questions it
raises for another generation of Pentecostal historians.
David Bundy
Amos Yong, Discerning the Spirit(s): A Pentecostal-Charismatic Contribution
to Christian Theology of Religions (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000),
pp. 392
A native Malaysian living in the USA, Yong sets out to address the question of
how the Holy Spirit relates to other religions, a topic that may surprise
Pentecostals who are more familiar to think of relating to other religions mainly
in terms of missionary proclamation. After a short introduction, Yong establishes
his methodology and thesis: "The Holy Spirit is par excellence the symbol of
divine presence and activity in the cosmic realm" (p. 29). And it is precisely this
cosmic dimension within pneumatology that allows Pentecostals and
Charismatics to contribute fresh insights to a Christian theology of religions.
In chapter two, Yong outlines the various christological approaches to a theology
of religions (exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism) as well as the impasse of
such an approach. Towards the end of this chapter he argues that addressing the
issue from a pneumatological perspective might be an avenue to do justice to
both the particularity and the universality of the Christian faith.
Having said that, the stage is prepared to present in chapter three his plea for a
pneumatological approach to all religions. Not that such an approach by-passes
the christological questions, but it opens the dialogue with reference to the
universal before addressing the particular. Discussing the filioque debate, he
concludes that "the economies of the Word and that of the Spirit are mutually
related, and should not be subordinated either to the other" (p. 69), or expressed
metaphorically: the Spirit and the Word are the right hand and the left hand of
God. The rest of the chapter is mainly a discussion of theologians whose works
are potential resources for Yong's own approach (Rahner, Tillich, and Lodahl).
Some readers may be surprised that Yong does not refer more to Moltmann's
God in Creation or to P hlmann's Gottes Geist - Zeitgeist oder Weltgeist who
both strongly argue for a cosmic dimension in Christian pneumatology and for
the work of the Spirit outside the Christian church. It is even more surprising
The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, Vol. XIX, 1999
since P hlmann too comes up with some proposals for discerning the Spirit of
God both within and outside the church.
Chapter four introduces the main categories for discerning the Spirit(s). In order
to do so, Yong first constructs a "foundational pneumatology": "I will therefore
argue, on the one hand, that a theology of the Holy Spirit emerges out of our
experience of God's presence and activity in the world ..." (p. 103). To these,
Yong adds the third category: divine absence. This third category is especially
crucial in order to speak about the demonic. In the last section of this chapter,
Yong addresses the issue of discernment and the interpretation of religious
symbols. As a guiding question, Yong asserts that "a basic question at this level,
for example, would be whether or not a non-Christian religious ritual
accomplishes in its practitioners values or relations similar to what the Holy
Spirit works through Christian rituals" (pp. 143-144).
Chapter five provides the reader with an overview of the Pentecostal-Charismatic
movement as a framework for understanding the specific contribution to be
expected for a Christian theology of religion. In order to pinpoint this framework,
Yong discusses the historical roots, the Pentecostal-Charismaticexperience of the
Spirit and gives some parameters of a Pentecostal-Charismaticpneumatology.
In chapter six, he reviews Pentecostal responses to other religions (especially
Suurmond afid Allan) and presents a case for entering such a dialogue:
"Pentecostal-charismatic missions need to be ecumenical to a larger degree than
they currently are. This means, in part, that a Pentecostal missiology will need to
emphasize both proclamation and dialogue" @. 214).
Before presenting a test case in chapter eight, Yong analyses in chapter seven the
resources for a Pentecostal-charismatic theology of religions. He defines them
mainly as religious experience, religious utility and religious cosmology. Again,
these categories are discussed from the viewpoint of divine activity, divine
presence and divine absence. There can be no discernment of divine activity or
presence apart from the discernment of divine absence. This again fosters a
discussion of the demonic as the expression of divine absence. In the next
chapter, Yong applies these categories in a very fruitful way to the UmbandaPentecostal dialogue. After an analysis of Umbanda faith and rituals, he compares
them with Pentecostal faith and rituals and outlines what they can learn from each
other and where Pentecostalism differs from and could re-interpret Umbanda
faith and rituals.
Yong's book concludes with a series of questions and areas for further research,
since his approach provides an entrance door to a theology of religions through
the universality of the divine Spirit without denying the particularity of
christology.
Reviews
Yong's book is a most stimulating work that will stir up many discussions in the
future. He shares with Moltmann, P hlmann, Hollenweger and others the cosmic
dimension of pneumatology. His main contribution is in establishing a framework
for a Pentecostal-charismatic contribution to a theology of religions. His criteria
for discerning the Spirit(s) reflect issues and concerns defined in works on a
Pentecostal hermeneutic: the role of the community, the work of the Spirit,
experience of the Spirit etc. One criterion in a dialogue of religions that could
have received more weight is the issue of trust in the work of the Spirit(s) versus
the manipulation of the Spirit(s). Finally, an area of further research is to trace the
marks of a cosmic pneumatology in the writings of both the Old and the New
Testament.
Matthias Wenk
THE EUROPEAN PENTECOSTAL THEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
History
The European Pentecostal Theological Association was founded in 1979 as a Fellowship
of those actively engaged in Pentecostal education or ministerial training in Europe.
Membership is open both to individuals and institutions who agree with EPTA's purposes
and share its convictions. Many of Europe's finest Bible Colleges are included in EPTA's
membership.
Purposes of EPTA
1. To promote excellence and effectiveness in Pentecostal scholarship,
ministerial education and theological literature.
2. To foster exchange, fellowship and co-operation betweenmember institutions
and individuals.
3. To foster exchange and fellowship between the Association and other
associations with similar objectives and commitments.
4. To strengthen the testimony of Jesus Christ and His Church in Europe and to
bring glory to God in all actions and concerns.
EPTA Conferences
Each year the Association holds its annual conference at a different venue, usually in the
facilities of a member institution. These meetings, in addition to the necessary business,
include papers, seminars and discussions that stimulate theological discussion and
encourage an interchange of ideas and information.
East-Europe Committee
This committee was established in 1989 to encourage and assist the development of
theological education and ministerial training in Eastern Europe. The committee seeks to
link the resources and teachers within the Association with those churches or colleges in
Eastern Europe that require them. The committee also seeks to raise financial support for
delegates from Eastern Europe to attend EPTA conferences.
Membership of EPTA
Membership enquiries should be addressed to the:
Secretary/Treasurer, Dr Matthias Wenk, Bernstrasse 36G, CH-3324, HINDELBANK,
Switzerland. e-mail: [email protected]