This entry is part 17 of 21 in the series: Revival
- The Biblical idea of revival
- Divine and human agency in revival
- Examples of revival
- Conditions prior to revival
- Experience of God in revival
- Repentance and revival
- Prayer and revival
- The Word of God and revival
- Preaching and revival
- Results of revival
- Physical and emotional phenomena of revival
- The miraculous element in revival (I)
- The miraculous element in revival (II)
- Demonic activity in revival
- Problems associated with revival
- Evaluating Revivals
- Pentecostalism, baptism in the Spirit and revival
- Prospects for Revival
- ‘Lord, I have heard of your fame’ – stories of revival
- ‘Renew them in our day’ – prospects for revival
The 20th century was marked by the emergence of a cluster of renewal movements, including the Pentecostal movement, the neo-Pentecostal (charismatic) movement, and the restorationist (‘house-church’) movement. There is no denying the vitality and appeal of these developments. But an important question presents itself to the student of revivals. It is this: To what extent, if at all, do these movements represent genuine revivals?
A number of popular writers on revival stride unswervingly through this issue by including accounts of such-like movements among their descriptions of revival, without pausing to consider whether this is a proper thing to do. It is not at all uncommon for the first Pentecostalist outbreaks to be referred to as revivals (eg “The Azusa Street Revival”); nor is it rare for the charismatic movement to be referred to as though it were some kind of extended revival. Others leave these movements out of account altogether, as though they had nothing at all to do with revival.
The aim of the present chapter will be to explore and clarify the relationship between these various movements and revival, so that the reader can come to a considered answer to the question posed above.
Origins of the Pentecostal movements
Pentecostals, would, of course, assert that their belief and practice is rooted in the Pentecostal outpouring recorded in Acts 2:-
The word “Pentecostal”…is used to describe the events that took place on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts chapter two; or events like those which occurred on that day. To be Pentecostal is to identify oneself with the experience that came to Christ’s followers on the day of Pentecost; that is, to be filled with the Holy Spirit in the same manner as those who were filled with the Holy Spirit on that occasion.
Ernest Williams, in Bruner, A theology of the Holy Spirit, 57.
During the middle of the 2nd century AD a movement emerged which has often been viewed as the prototype of the modern Pentecostal movements and related sects. Montanism, like modern Pentecostalism, recognised the spiritual gifts (charismata), believed that the end of the world was near, and taught a strict moral code. During the Middle Ages, a few individuals, such as John of the Cross and Hildegard of Bingen, are believed to have spoken in tongues. Pre-reformation movements such as the Waldensians and the Lollards met in small groups which had a distinctly charismatic structure and style. During the Reformation, the Anabaptists took a similarly anti-hierarchical stance, and emphasised the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Charismatic phenomena were also manifested among the Huguenots and Quakers. More orthodox, but also with a charismatic flavour, were the Pietists and Moravians.
The spirituality of the Moravian movement fed directly into early Wesleyan Methodism, which is seen by F.D. Bruner as the most important precusor of the modern Pentecostal movements:-
Methodism is the most important of the modern traditions for the student of Pentecostal origins to understand, for eighteenth-century Methodism is the mother of the nineteenth-century American holiness movement which, in turn bore twentieth-century Pentecostalism. Pentecostalism is primitive Methodism’s extended incarnation.
Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, 37.
Wesleyan teaching offered in particular the doctrine of a second work of grace – sanctification – which was distinct from, and subsequent to, justification. Finney took a similar line, although in his case the second work of grace was the baptism in the Holy Spirit, a work which would empower the recipient for evangelism and service. Finney wrote as follows about the inadequacies of his earliest mentor, the Rev. Mr. Gale, a Presbyterian minister:-
There was another defect in brother Gale’s education, which I regarded as fundamental. If he had ever been converted to Christ, he had failed to receive that divine anointing of the Holy Ghost that would make him a power in the pulpit and in society, for the conversion of souls. He had fallen short of receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which indispensable to ministerial success…I have often been surprised and pained that to this day so little stress is laid upon this qualification for preaching Christ to a sinful world.
Rosell & Dupuis, The Memoirs of Charles G. Finney, 57f
In addition to this doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Finney’s high-pressure evangelistic methodology provided an important model for subsequent Pentecostal practice. Then, feeding off the related approaches of Wesley and Finney, the late-19th-century holiness movement entrenched the two-stage theory of salvation still further into evangelical thought-patterns, promoted as it was through influential gatherings such as the Keswick Convention (founded in the 1870s). Prominent evangelists and Bible teachers such as F.B. Meyer, A.B. Simpson, Andrew Murray, and R.A. Torrey, all taught versions of the theory of two-stage salvation with its consequent emphasis on what was being increasingly called the baptism in (or with) the Holy Spirit.
Another factor in the development of the Pentecostal movement was the Welsh revival of 1904/5:-
The Welsh Revival appears to have been the last “gap” across which the latest sparks of holiness enthusiasm leapt igniting the Pentecostal movement.
Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, 46.
In the Welsh revival we can perceive a number of factors which shed light on the subsequent development of Pentecostalism. In the first place, it was born and carried on without the firm doctrinal base which undergirded the 1859 revival:-
In keeping with so many previous Welsh revivals, that of 1859 had been of a theological and doctrinal nature. The 1904 work gave greater prominence to human emotion expressed in prayer, testimony and song. This was, doubtless, in accordance with the theological fashions of the respective generations, but the 1904 characteristics were not conducive to the solid establishment of either Christian conviction of character.
Evans, The Welsh Revival of 1904, 176.
In the second place, the Welsh revival was characterised by a distinct charismatic flavour. The revivalist Evan Roberts experienced a number of striking visions and prophecies. In addition, Roberts gave some emphasis to the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’. After the revival, he co-authored (with Mrs Jessie Penn-Lewis) a book in which contains the assertion that:-
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the essence of revival, for revival comes from a knowledge of the Holy Spirit, and the way of co-working with Him which enables Him to work in revival power. The primary condition for revival is therefore, that believers should individually know the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
in Evans, The Welsh Revival of 1904, 191.
In the third place, the Welsh revival gave spiritual birth to a number of people who were to become leaders in the emerging Pentecostal movement itself. One of these was George Jeffries, founder of the Elim Pentecostal Movement. Another was Donald Gee, a leading member of the Assemblies of God. He was converted in Wales under the Methodist preacher Seth Joshua in 1905.
In summary, it may be said that these various movements and individuals not only supplied the doctrinal framework within which a Pentecostal understanding could be developed, but also created a climate of expectancy for ‘something more’ than the ordinary Christianity which many were experiencing. To this framework and this expectancy were added a resurgence of belief in, and experience of, the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit (including tongues), and the modern Pentecostal movement was born.
The beginnings of the Pentecostal movement itself have been summarised as follows:-
In 1901 a Bible school called Bethel College was started at Topeka, Kansas, by Charles F. Parham who, using no textbook but the Bible, drilled his students in Spirit baptism teaching. These pupils carried the message of the Spirit into Kansas, and when the school closed both teacher and students went throughout the South preaching Pentecostalism. Houston, Texas, became the next centre of “Spirit baptism” when Parham and a local minister, W.F. Carothers, opened a school. One of their converts, William J Seymour, brought the teaching to Los Angeles in 1906 where he founded the Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa Street…The results of Azusa revival attracted nationwide attention. Besides the many visitors, including ministers, who were influenced by the revival, publications were put out from this headquarters which caused the rapid growth of the movement.
R.G. Clouse, in New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, 763.
For the first half-century after its birth, Pentecostalism grew largely by developing its own denominational groupings, built either from exiles from the traditional denominations or (more usually) by the growth of indigenous fellowships. These have continued to the present day. But during the 1950s Pentecostal teaching and experience began to profoundly influence many within the mainstream Protestant churches. Thus the began neo-Pentecostal, or ‘Charismatic’ movement. Bridges between the historic denominations and the newer Pentecostal groupings were built by the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (founded 1953), by the globe-trotting South African Pentecostal pastor, David du Plessis, by the widely-publicised ministry of David Wilkerson (author the The Cross and the Switchblade, and by the testimony of people like Episcopalian Dennis Bennett, Lutherans Larry Christenson and Arnold Bittlinger, and Anglicans Michael Harper and David Watson. By the late 1960s the charismatic movement was deeply affecting sections of the Roman Catholic church. Another relatively recent development has been the emergence of the so-called ‘House-church’ movement, which seeks a rather more radical implementation of charismatic principles in groupings outside the historic denominations.
The ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’
More than many Christian movements, Pentecostalism emphasises experience, rather than doctrine. Pentecostalism detects in the experience of many Christians a formality, a sterile orthodoxy, and a powerlessness which contrasts starkly with New Testament religion:-
The Pentecostal feels an absence of power in the contemporary Christian church. He senses the opposite in reading the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament. He feels that the difference between the church of Acts and the church of today could on the whole be characterized as the difference between a church which emphasized the Spirit and a church which has neglected the Spirit, the difference between a church in which the Spirit was an experience and a church in which the Spirit was a doctrine. The Pentecostal believes that he has found the source of apostolic power again in the encounter with the Spirit which he calls the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He believes that he can contribute this experience to the church.
Bruner, A theology of the Holy Spirit, 21f.
Neo-Pentecostal Michael Harper writes:-
When the Church of today looks at the New Testament Church it appears shabby and emaciated in comparison. The Church of the New Testament had something which we do not seem to possess.
Harper, Power for the Body of Christ, 11.
It is to confessed that Pentecostals are entirely correct in their claim that large numbers of believers are mere shadows of what, from a spiritual point of view, they could and should be. Even in externals, it is obvious that all is far from well:-
What are you going to do about the singing in whispers, the chilly formalities, the locked-up lives, and lack of mutual commitment that have won for so many congregations the derisive description “God’s frozen people”?
Packer, Keep in step with the Spirit, 232.
Now, as far as many Pentecostals are concerned, the answer to this sad state of affairs is to be found in ‘the baptism of the Holy Spirit’. This doctrine is a major distinctive of the movement, and will now be explored in a little more detail.
The centrality for Pentecostals of the baptism with the Spirit has been expressed as follows:-
The distinctive teaching of the Pentecostal movement concerns the experience, evidence, and power of what Pentecostals call the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The first reception of this baptism is recorded in the New Testament account of Pentecost at Acts chapter 2, and it is from this event that Pentecostalism takes its name.
Bruner, A theology of the Holy Spirit, 20f.
Typically, Pentecostal leader Ralph Riggs asserted that:-
The baptism with the Spirit is a work of the Holy Spirit distinct from and subsequent and additional to His regeneration work. A man may be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Riggs, in Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, 46.
Michael Harper quotes R.A. Torrey with approval:-
A man may be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. In regeneration, there is the impartation of life by the Spirit’s power, and the one who receives it is saved: in the baptism with the Holy Spirit, there is the impartation of power, and the one who receives it is fitted for service.
in Harper, Power for the Body of Christ, 22.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is often associated in Pentecostal teaching with the gift of tongues:-
If we only wish to perform the barest minimum essential for ife everlasting, then once we have repented of our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we may live and obtain life eternal. But how much more there is for the serious Christian! How much more rewarding is the life of commitment and service a dedicated child of God may participate in…For surely the unknown tongue is the initial, audible evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
in Hollenweger, The Pentecostals, 10.
The two-stage theory which incorporates an understanding of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a separate, distinct, and decisive experience has attracted considerable criticism:-
Pentecostal believers should remember two things about their crisis experience. First, while it represents a high-water mark against which they can gauge their subequent experience, it is not in itself a guarantee of their remaining filled with the Spirit in subsequent years; that depends upon their continuing in the light and growing in every expression of their union with Christ. Second, non-Pentecostal believers who have entered the light by degrees and without any crisis experience, or in a series of such experiences, may manifest an equal fulness of the Spirit and should not be viewed as second-class Christians because they have developed in a different pattern or because they lack certain gifts.
Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual life, 132f.
And Grossmann comments that in Pentecostal teaching:-
The reception of the Spirit takes on the character of a universal remedy. Preachers are apt to suggest: “If only you experience the baptism of the Spirit and break out into speaking in tongues, all your other problems will be solved.” This is applied to the problem of illness, to other problems of life, to the problem of doubt and to faults of character.
Grossmann, Stewards of God’s grace, 81.
J.I. Packer comments on this two-stage teaching as follows:-
What should we say…of the often-heard view, based on Acts 2, that God means every Christian’s life to be a two-stage, two-level affair, in which conversion is followed by a second event (called Spirit baptism on the basis of Acts 1:5 or Spirit filling on the basis of 2:4), which raises one’s spiritual life to new heights? We should say that though individual Christians need, and again and again are given, “second touches” of this kind (and third, and fourth, and any number more), the idea that this is God’s programme for all Christians as such is mistaken. God means all Christians as such to enjoy the full inward blessing of Pentecost (not the outward trimmings necessarily, but the communion of heart with Christ and all that flows from it) right from the moment of their conversion.
Packer, Keep in step with the Spirit, 91.
It is only fair to add that recent neo-Pentecostal teachers, realizing the inadequacies of the two-stage theory, have tended to offer a much less objectionable account than was previously the case. A recent report into the Charismatic Movement in the Church of England notes that:-
most Anglican charismatics are now very cautious about any concept of a two-stage initiation connected with their experience.
The Charismatic Movement in the Church of England, 57f.
John Wimber, whose advocacy of ‘signs and wonders’ has attracted considerable attention, has a mediating view of the baptism of the Spirit. He suggests (following Charles Hummel),
that Paul and Luke used the term ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ differently. Paul used it to mean an initial action of the Holy Spirit that incorporates the individual into the body of Christ at conversion (especially see I Cor 12:13). Luke used it to mean an endowment with power for effective witness and service, an experience that can be repeated.
Wimber, Power Evangelism, 141.
Wimber also quotes Clark Pinnock, who writes:-
Baptism is a flexible metaphor, not a technical term. Luke seems to regard it as synonymous with ‘fulness’ (Acts 2:4; cf 11:16). Therefore, so long as recognise conversion as truly a baptism in the Spirit, there is no reason why we cannot use ‘baptism’ to refer to subsequent fillings of the Spirit as well. This latter experience, or experiences, should not be tied in with the tight ‘second blessing’ schema, but should be seen as an actualisation of what we have already received in the initial charismatic experience, which is conversion.
in Wimber, Power Evangelism, 141.
Other views on the ‘baptism in the Spirit’
Before concluding our discussion of Pentecostalism, it may be helpful to mention some alternative views of the ‘baptism in the Spirit’.
Some scholars take the view that the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ refers solely to the Pentecostal outpourings of the Spirit. Although subsequent outpourings of the Spirit can and do occur, these are not strictly speaking ‘baptisms of the Holy Spirit’, given the fact that the word ‘baptism’ carries with it the idea of initiation. If this interpretation is correct, then the reference in I Corinthians is to something rather different:-
In 1 Cor 12:13 Paul says, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” But here the reference is not to the baptism of the Spirit, but rather to a baptism into the Church, which is the body of Christ.
Mullins & Bromiley, ISBE, Vol I, 427f.
Limiting the baptism in the Spirit to the original Pentecostal outpouring appears to be a minority view, but one which avoids some of the pitfalls of the two-stage theories, and one which might actually accord with the biblical evidence.
A second, and more widely-held view is that held by John Stott and other ‘main-stream’ conservative evangelicals. According to this view, all believers have been ‘baptised’ with the Spirit at the moment of the new birth:-
The ‘baptism’ of the Spirit is identical with the ‘gift’ of the Spirit,…it is one of the distinctive blessings of the new covenant, and, because it is an initial blessing, is also a universal blessing for members of the covenant…So then, whatever post-conversion experiences there may be…’baptism with the Spirit’ cannot be the right expression to use for them.
Stott, Baptism and Fullness, 43f.
Grossmann, in his helpful and sympathetic treatment of the Charismatic Movement has advocated a similar view:-
To be “baptized in the Holy Spirit” is simply another way of saying “to receive the Holy Spirit”. If we want to use the expression “Spirit baptism”, we can use it only to describe the reception of the Holy Spirit which occurs when a person is born again. Neither the particular accounts referred to in Acts nor the total witness of the New Testament support the doctrine of Spirit baptism as a second stage of salvation in the sense of an anointing for service or as the real, empowering experience of the Spirit.
Grossmann, Stewards of God’s grace, 77.
Bruce Milne helps to clarify the biblical teaching underpinning this view of the baptism of the Spirit:-
The verbal form, ‘baptize(d) with the Holy Spirit’, occurs seven times in the Bible. Six refer to John the Baptist’s contrast between his preparatory heralding ministry, baptizing ‘with water’, and Jesus’ coming Messianic ministry, baptizing ‘with the Holy Spirit’ (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16). It also occurs when Paul expounds the essential unity of the experience of the Spirit in all of God’s people: ‘we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body’ (1 Cor 12:13).
Milne, Know the Truth, 199.
The same writer concludes that the phrase ‘baptism in the Spirit’ refers to an aspect of Christian initiation:-
In other words, in Scripture ‘baptism in the Spirit’ belongs to that complex of ideas which refer to Christian beginnings: repentance and faith, justification, conversion, regeneration, water baptism, ingrafting into Christ, adoption into God’s family…’Baptism in the Spirit’ is therefore one of the ways the NT speaks about ‘becoming a Christian’; hence every true believer in Christ has been baptized in the Spirit…To use the phrase for a subsequent experience of the Spirit’s power and blessing, no matter how overwhelming, strictly goes beyond the biblical usage and is liable therefore in the long run to be unhelpful and misleading.
Milne, Know the Truth, 199.
A further view of the baptism of the Spirit associates it rather closely with revival. The following quotation comes from a volume of sermons by the Scottish preacher, Robert Murray McCheyne. The introduction to this book, by William Reid, headed ‘The Baptism of the Holy Ghost’, contains the follow words:-
O that we were indeed standing in the waiting attitude of these early disciples, then might we expect the baptism of the Holy Ghost “not many days hence”! If Jesus has of late been breathing upon you, and giving you such a longing for a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit as has made you continue “with one accord in prayer and supplication”, thank God and take courage.
in Muir, Revivals and the Charismatic Controversy, 2.
The same phrase was also used occasionally in relation to the experience of revival by individuals. In his biography of John Macdonald, the 19th-century author John Kennedy remarks:-
There have been instances of persons becoming “other men” who were never new creatures in Christ: but there have also been instances of renewed men becoming “other men” under a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. This was the change which Mk Macdonald underwent in Edinburgh. It was soon apparent in his preaching.
in Muir, Revivals and the Charismatic Controversy, 2.
The two preceding quotations seem to represent a strand of teaching which identifies the baptism of the Holy Spirit as almost a synonym for personal revival. According to J.I. Packer:-
John Fletcher (1729-85), Wesley’s designated successor, and some later Reformed teachers too, spoke of repeatable baptisms of the Spirit, meaning intensifyings of assurance and enhanced enablings for holy living and powerful ministry.
Packer, in New Dictionary of Theology, 73.
The same writer notes:-
the belief of some Puritans (eg Thomas Goodwin, Thomas Brooks) that the Spirit will on occasion vouchsafe to Christians an overwhelmingly intense direct assurance of God’s love. They based their view on an unlikely exegesis of Eph 1:13 which saw the Spirit as God’s sealer rather than his seal and posited a time interval between believing and being sealed but a good case can be made for their contention from Eph 3:14-19 with Rom 8:15-16 and Jn 14:18-23, and it is arguable that it is this element of Christian experience, misunderstood, that the many testimonies produced to confirm the several ‘second-blessing’ doctrines actually reflect.
Packer, in New Dictionary of Theology, 319.
D.M. Lloyd-Jones taught a version of the baptism of the Holy Spirit somewhat akin to that held by the Puritans mentioned in the previous quotation. In the course of expounding Eph 1:13 (the ‘sealing of the Spirit’) and Rom 8:15f (the Spirit of adoption), Lloyd-Jones argued that the apostle had in mind a work of the Spirit which gives the recipient a powerful assurance of his/her adoption as a child of God. Lloyd Jones gives a number of examples of this kind of experience from Christian history, and clearly perceives a connection between this experience and the coming of revival. His understanding differs from Pentecostal teaching in a number of particulars. For example, Lloyd-Jones did not assert that extraordinary spiritual gifts always accompanied this experience, only that they might:-
This experience may be accompanied by various gifts. It was so on the day of Pentecost. I say ‘may be’, however, for there are variations in this respect, and there is not an exact repetition each time. It is for this reason that those who say that if we have not spoken in tongues we have never been baptized with the Spirit are utterly unscriptural.
Lloyd-Jones, Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 8:5-17, 305.
Also (and in this he differs from most Pentecostals), he did not regard this as a once-for-all experience:-
There are some who think that once you have had it you have it for ever. There is no greater mistake than that! I have never heard of any case in which, once the Spirit came and bore this witness, the man continued in the same state ever after…It is clear from the literature on the subject that this is an experience which comes and then goes.
Lloyd-Jones, Romans: an Exposition of Chapter 8:5-17, 330.
In summary, we may note that whichever of these alternative views of the baptism in the Spirit is correct, they agree at least on this: that the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is perfect and complete; there is no second work of grace to be added to the first; there are no two ranks of Christians: ordinary believers and those baptised in the Holy Spirit. But our experience of, and relationship with, the Holy Spirit is variable. Sometimes our spiritual health runs low; at others God is pleased to draw near to us and restore our love and renew our power. But this is just to say that, both individually and collectively, we may experience revival. Which returns us to the theme of Pentecostalism…
Is Pentecostalism revival?
Pentecostalism, in its various forms, identifies a serious lack in conventional Christianity, and proposes a solution which is certainly striking in its vitality and appeal. Many believers have been raised to genuinely new heights of experience and effectiveness by what they call “the baptism in the Holy Spirit”. Non-Pentecostals should pause before passing sentence because:-
It is the fault of the churches that the doctrine of Spirit baptism as an independent experience of salvation has developed. For the expectation of a visible and perceptible reception of the Spirit at the time of regeneration has been lost in almost all the churches, in spite of being so well attested in the New Testament. When people then have this experience later, the false conclusion is easily drawn that conscious reception of the Spirit is an independent experience of salvation called “Spirit baptism”.
Grossmann, Stewards of God’s grace, 79.
And Pentecostalism does not merely serve the church by pointing out its inadequacies. Among the positive features of Pentecostal faith and practice may be noted a genuine rediscovery of the miracle-working power of God, evangelistic zeal, warm fellowship, appeal to a wide range of social groups, adherence to the Bible as God’s authoritative revelation, clear moral code, involvement of all believers in the work of ministry, and recognition of the place of emotions – especially joy – in Christian experience.
But Pentecostalism has also exhibited a number of more negative tendencies: a stereotyped and ultimately inhibiting view of Spirit baptism, artificial (though unintentional) division of believers into two grades, persistent anti-intellectualism, limited emotional range, and down-grading of the life-changing power inherent in regeneration. On this last point, Grossmann’s comment is apt:-
Concentration on Spirit baptism easily detracts from the central importance of regeneration. Often the recognition of sin is lacking in depth, because the fundamental event of forgiveness of sins on the basis of a personal and total confession of sin does not have the central place in a person’s experience.
Grossmann, Stewards of God’s Grace, 81.
Some conservative evangelicals, such as John Stott, have had misgivings about the charismatic movement from its early beginnings over 30 years ago. Others have shown more enthusiasm, at least at first. A recent chronicler of the charismatic movement in Britain has drawn attention to an early evaluation by the noted Anglican scholar, Philip Hughes:-
Probably the biggest factor in the publicizing of this neo-pentecostal movement in Britain at this time was the editorial, which Philip Hughes…wrote for The Churchman of September 1962. Hughes had been in the USA earlier that year and had received an invitation from Jean Stone to visit California and see what was happening. He was impressed by the prayer meetings he attended and by the people he met.
Hocken, Streams of Renewal, 117.
Hughes himself has written more recently of his and Dr D.M. Lloyd-Jones’ considered evaluation of the charismatic movement:-
In the early days of the contemporary charismatic movement both the Doctor and I had watched its rise with interest and indeed with a measure of hopeful expectancy. But such hopes as we had, failed to be realized, except to the degree that it has been a route that has brought many to a living faith. But the marks of genuine revival have failed to appear, especially solemnly powerful preaching, a sense of the awful majesty of Almighty God and the abject wickedness of sinful men and women in the presence of their holy Creator, and in consequence a deep abhorence of sin and a grateful reception of the mercy and grace of God in and through our Redeemer and Lord, Jesus Christ. The movement, moreover, is characterized by a widespread unconcern about theology. Its emphasis on being ‘one in the Spirit’ has encouraged silence about theological issues that might be divisive of this unity. Its preoccupation with spiritual phenomena and feelings has led not only to much spiritual superficiality but also to emphases that are clearly unbiblical, such as the insistence that ‘receiving’ the Spirit is always accompanied and authenticated by speaking in tongues, and even that it is open to a person to receive and exercise all the gifts of the Spirit. And as a variation of the ‘second blessing’ scheme of Christian experience it is conducive to the ‘higher level’ notion of Christianity which lends itself rather readily to divisiveness.
Hughes, in Catherwood (ed), Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Chosen by God, 172f.
With regard to Pentecostalism’s general attainment of the criteria of revival, J.I. Packer’s assessment of the charismatic movement would seem to be pretty accurate:
The charismatic movement, though a genuine renewing of much that belongs to healthy biblical Christianity, does not exhibit all the features that belong to God’s work of revival. While vigorously grasping the joys of firm faith, it knows too little of the awesome searchlight of God’s holiness and the consequent godly sorrow of radical repentance. Also, in settling for the joys of faith and the celebration of gifts the movement has, as it seems, been satisfied too easily and too soon. There is need to go, not back, but on from the point it has currently reached to seek the richer reality of God’s reviving visitation, towards which this movement, please God, will prove to have been a step on the way.
Packer, Keep in step with the Spirit, 234.
If these powerful spiritual movements do not quite satisfy the biblical criteria for revival, we are left with one further question to consider: What warrant do we have to hope for genuine revival in our own day? This will form the theme of the final chapter.