Daryl Brenton wrote this article summarising the influence of 20 pioneers in his Bachelor of Ministry studies at the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College at Brisbane Christian Outreach Centre. He served in Papua New Guinea as a Language Programme Co-ordinator with the Bible Translation Association.
Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier/Baptiser in the Holy Spirit,
Healer, and Coming Lord, are important in the formation
of Pentecostal/Charismatic ministry and evangelism.
The late 19th Century saw a blend of four major doctrines that produced a seedbed for Pentecostal/Charismatic theology and ministry in popular Evangelical and Fundamental circles. These doctrines: Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier/Baptiser in the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Coming Lord, are important in the formation of Pentecostal/charismatic ministry and evangelism.
Edward Irving (1792‑1834) was appointed as a Scottish Presbyterian pastor of a London congregation in 1822. He developed a Christology which essentially said that Jesus took on the complete human condition and was only enabled to live a sinless life or work any miracles through the operation of the Holy Spirit. Thus the means of sanctification and miracles were considered to come via the operation of the Holy Spirit in people. His church used gifts of the Spirit including tongues, prophecy and healing prayer. Expelled from his church, he established the Catholic Apostolic Church. The movement was used by early Pentecostal theologians as an interpretative guide for their own experience.
Charles Parham (1873‑1929) was the founder of two bible schools and many Apostolic Faith churches, author of two books and editor of a publication promoting Pentecostal theology. He was first to formulate the opinion that baptism in the Spirit was shown by the occurrence of speaking in other tongues (1901). This gave emerging Pentecostals an identity separate from previous holiness movements. Along with this, he gave the movement a strong missionary emphasis through his expectation that the reinstatement of tongues would lead to a world‑wide missionary movement and had a large influence on the spread of the doctrine of divine healing.
William Seymour (1870‑1922) was the other outstanding person involved in the beginning of the Pentecostal movement. Seymour was influenced by Parham’s theology and started a mission (1906) which became famous/infamous as thousands of people came to see what was happening. Publication of the periodical, Apostolic Faith reached 50,000 and gave Seymour a wide influence. While his influence was curtailed by 1914, Seymour is still regarded as having influenced every Pentecostal strand, either directly or indirectly through the Azusa St. Mission in Los Angeles.
Donald Gee (1891‑1966) spent a significant amount of time as a Bible teacher, editor, author, historian and Pentecostal theologian. He served as vice chairman and chairman of the British A.O.G. for ten years and three years respectively. With this influence, Gee tried to stifle the parochialism of the day and made efforts to promote ecumenicalism within and without Pentecostalism. His wrote more than thirty books and over five hundred articles.
Smith Wigglesworth (1859‑1947), an effective personal evangelist, was primarily famous for his emphasis on faith and the miraculous healings and other answers to prayer that accompanied his ministry. This combination has made Wigglesworth an important example for Christians of every denomination to believe for miraculous answers from God and was often called the Apostle of Faith. Wigglesworth was influential in the life of David du Plessis through a prophecy and subsequent advice, which directed David into a widespread ecumenical ministry.
Maria Woodworth‑etter (1844‑1924) started as a Holiness minister. Because she was a woman preacher and her meetings were attended with supernatural occurrences, she drew great media attention. From 1885 on, her ministry had large numbers of conversions. She claimed to experience speaking in tongues, prophecy and other charismata. In 1912, Maria preached at F.F.Bosworth’s church, influencing many important Pentecostal leaders in the USA. All of this greatly helped to spread the Pentecostal message and must have served the cause of women’s calling and gifting in ministry.
Aimee Semple Mcpherson (1890‑1944) served as an evangelist for the A.O.G. and later founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. She edited a publication, The Bridal Call, opened a radio station, wrote several books, started a bible college (L.I.F.E.) and an aid organisation for the poor and distressed and encouraged many women to enter into ministry. One of her main goals was to challenge her followers to trust in Jesus. Her vision was interdenominational and world wide, from the start.
John G. Lake (1870‑1935) was noted for a marvellous healing ministry and his contribution to the establishment of the Apostolic Faith Mission in South Africa where he established over 600 churches in seven years. He was influenced by Alexander Dowie, William Seymour and Charles Parham. In his missionary work, John helped to establish one of the largest works in South Africa. Returning to America, John settled in Spokane, Washington and established some churches and his famous Healing Rooms. Here it was estimated that over 100,000 people were healed.
Oral Roberts (1918‑) is internationally famous for his message of hope and healing. Oral’s huge crusades helped to revitalise Pentecostalism after WWII, he was instrumental in helping form the FGBMFI and greatly influenced the foundation of the Charismatic movement with his ecumenical style. Wide spread use of TV, radio, books, magazines, newspaper articles, personalised letters and intercessory prayer made him one of the most influential Christian leaders in the USA. His decision, in 1968, to affiliate with the United Methodist church formed a bridge for the Pentecostal message to move into mainline churches. Oral established one of the most amazing educational organisations in the world. The Oral Roberts University and the City of Faith medical and research facility, both run on Christian principles and prepare many Christians for the ministry, mission work and vocations.
Kathryn Kuhlman (1907‑76) was one of the world’s best known female evangelists. By the age of twenty eight, Kathryn had established a church with a 2,500 seater building and an influential radio ministry. At thirty nine, miraculous healings unexpectedly began to occur in her meetings, bringing her national fame through ‘Redbook’ magazine. She regularly filled a 7000 seat auditorium for ten years, having outgrown one with 2500 seats. Kathryn had a great impact on the Charismatic movement through her widespread fame.
The Latter Rain Movement
George Hawtin (1909‑) was prominent in the early Latter Rain movement. He pioneered a bible institute as a Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada pastor in 1935. George resigned in 1947 and joined Herrick Holt’s ‘Sharon’s Global Missions’ as president. Shortly after this, a revival in the bible school brought him a leading role in the resulting movement. His leadership was rapidly eclipsed as others took on leadership roles.
Myrtle Beall (1896‑1979) ‑ founded the Bethesda Missionary Temple, with a 3000 seat building, from a Sunday school ministry. Originally an A.O.G. church, the Bethesda temple withdrew its membership, as it became a centre of the Latter Rain movement. It provided direction for many North American churches. Her son James succeeded her as senior pastor in the late 1970’s and is an influential charismatic renewal leader and contributed to many charismatic journals. Myrtle’s daughter, Patricia Gruits, authored an important book, Understanding God (1962), which has influenced many churches’ theology in the USA.
Yonngi Cho (1936‑) was elected general superintendent of the Korean A.O.G. in 1966 and is the pastor of the world’s largest single congregation with 800,000 people. Cho has also authored many books on faith and church growth which have been very influential. Perhaps Cho’s greatest contribution has been the establishment of ‘Church Growth International’, which has promoted the principles of home cells, prayer and fasting, which have made such a change to his church.
Demos Shakarian (1913‑) was the founder of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International and has helped to spread the Pentecostal message into many countries. FGBMFI has over 300,000 members world wide and is a non‑denominational organisation. It has been a great impetus to the Charismatic movement.
David du Plessis (1905‑87) was instrumental in promoting ecumenical fellowship between factions of the Pentecostal movement and later, between the Pentecostals and Evangelicals. Perhaps his greatest influence was in his unofficial liaison between the Pentecostal movement and the World Council of Churches. Through this work, representatives from mainline churches found a non‑antagonistic representative of the Pentecostal message with whom they could establish a rapport. He also lectured in many universities and seminaries This greatly influenced the formation of the Charismatic movement.
David Wilkerson (1931‑) was an A.O.G. pastor who established Teen Challenge as an organisation which would cater for the converts from his successful street evangelism ministry in New York City. He established a bible institute as a part of Teen Challenge and the organisation has become international as World Challenge. David also co‑founded Times Square church in New York City. Of his many books, perhaps the most influential has been The Cross and the Switchblade which sparked interest about baptism in the Holy Spirit from both Protestant and Catholic circles.
Loren Cunningham (1914‑) was the founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). Once an A.O.G. youth pastor, Cunningham’s vision has spawned an international missionary organisation that is primarily manned by self‑supporting, short‑term, volunteer youth. Through this organisation, a school of ministry has been established, much missionary work has been accomplished in many countries and aid has been distributed to needy countries. YWAM’s emphasis is on spiritual and physical aid to the mission field and finding, then obeying God’s will.
John Wimber (1934‑) founded the Vineyard Ministries International. John had worked as a church growth consultant with hundreds of churches of many denominations. The occurrence of healings in his ministry in 1977, launched him into an international ministry and an intense church planting program. He lectured at Fuller Seminary on the relationship of miracles and church growth, influencing many upcoming ministers.
The Charismatic Movement
Dennis Bennett (1917‑) was an Episcopalian clergyman who was baptised in the Spirit in 1959. Taking over a parish which was due to close for the third time, Dennis transformed it into the strongest Episcopalian parish in Northwest America within twelve years. His testimony introduced thousands of people to the charismatic experience in the US. and overseas, often lecturing in major universities and theological schools. He helped to found the Episcopal Renewal Ministries.
John Sherrill (1923‑) worked as senior editor for Guideposts for several years and with his wife Elizabeth, has co‑authored several influential charismatic books. His, They Speak with other Tongues was an important book in shaping the charismatic movement. It explained charismatic phenomena and how he, an Episcopalian, had been baptised in the Spirit. He and his wife also co‑authored The Cross and the Switchblade, another influential book
Pentecostalism can be seen as a bridge between the currents of the Holiness movement and the modern Charismatic movement. It preserved a specific type of theology with a strong emphasis on evangelism in the power of the Holy Spirit that has been released into the main body of Christendom in recent years. Its ministers came from all walks and stations of life and reflect God’s multi‑faceted character.
Language Programme Co-ordinator
with Bible Translation Association
One of the stories which really affected me was about an expatriate translator who was working in the Sepik province of Papua New Guinea in the 1970s. Once, after a three-hour canoe ride, this translator arrived in a village of another language group and she noticed that there was a church building in the village square. When she asked the people if there was a missionary staying with them, they replied that no, there was not. She asked if they had a pastor and again they said, “No.” Finally, she asked them why they had built a church and they answered, “We are waiting for someone to come and translate God’s Word for us.” When I heard these words, I began to realise that English readers have dozens of Bible translations, and thousands of Bible resources, but many people do not even have scripture in their language, let alone commentaries, Bible studies, and other books that we take for granted. The tragedy of this story is that no one was available to take up the project in this particular village.
While thinking about these kinds of issues, we met the Executive Director of the PNG Bible Translation Association as he was passing through Brisbane. It occurred to me that if a time ever came when expatriate organisations would have to leave the country, a national organisation could still be effectively in place. So, I thought that helping BTA would be something important that I could do to support the Kingdom of God in Papua New Guinea.
Daryl Brenton (http://pngbta.org/node/70)
© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
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