Watchman's Teaching Letter #135 July 2009
This is my one hundred thirty-fifth monthly teaching letter and continues my twelfth year of publication. This is another in a series on the apostle Paul. With this lesson we’ll see neither Paul, nor any of the other apostles, ever taught the deplorable emotional demonstrations that pervade what is falsely identified as “pentecostalism” today. It will be demonstrated that today’s brand of “pentecostalism” is nothing more than a man-devised system of false religion. I will be using several excerpts from various websites to expose these corrupt perversions of Biblical interpretation. After you’ve read the following evidence, you’ll wonder why anyone would have followed such charlatans! My first reference on the charismatic movement will be from Wikipedia: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_movement>:
“The term Charismatic Movement describes the adoption (circa 1960 onwards for Protestants, 1967 onwards for Roman Catholics) of certain beliefs typical of those held by Pentecostal Christians by those within the historic denominations. The term ‘charismatic’ was first coined by Harald Bredesen, a Lutheran minister, in 1962, to describe what was happening at that time in the older churches. Confronted with the term ‘neo-Pentecostal,’ he said ‘We prefer the title ‘the charismatic renewal in the historic churches’.’ The genesis of the Charismatic Movement however is variously attributed to Father Dennis Bennett, an Episcopal priest, in 1960. His book Nine O’Clock in the Morning gives a personal account of this period. ....
“The term ‘Charismatic Movement’ is sometimes confused with the term ‘charismatic.’ The word ‘charismatic’ is an umbrella term used to describe those Christians who believe that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit seen in the first century Christian church (see e.g. the book of Acts ), such as miracles, prophecy, and glossolalia (speaking in other tongues or languages), are available to contemporary Christians and may be experienced and practiced today. ...
“Pentecostals and Charismatics are characterized by their practice of speaking in other tongues and operating the gifts of the Spirit. A Pentecostal believer in an ecstatic religious experience may vocalize fluent unintelligible utterances (glossolalia) or articulate an alleged natural language previously unknown to the speaker (xenoglossy). ...
“The Charismatic Movement has a relationship with Pentecostalism, in that it shares a commitment to the use of spiritual gifts. However, within the Charismatic Movement this commitment is embedded within the full variety of historic denominations, and so in each context theology, culture and acceptance can vary enormously. The term ‘Pentecostal’ refers to that set of denominations that arose out of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival, whereas the Charismatic Movement refers to a different era, context and theological content. The term ‘neo-Pentecostal’ is sometimes used to describe non-Pentecostal charismatics, who are either part of the Charismatic Movement, or neo-Charismatics. ...
“An important characteristic of the Charismatic Movement was a willingness for the believer, after discovering the importance of spiritual gifts, to remain within their original denomination. From the late 1950s many charismatic Christians went on to form separate churches and denominations, for which the appropriate term is neocharismatic. Examples of this include the Vineyard Movement in the US (and elsewhere) and the British New Church Movement. ...
“In 2000 the Charismatic Movement numbered 176 million, neocharismatics 295 million and Pentecostals 66 million. This means that charismatics are the second largest branch of Christianity after the Roman Catholic Church. They are 27 percent of all Christians. Charismatics are growing at the rate of 9 million per year making the total adherents around 618 million by 2009. ...
“Pentecostals, the Charismatic Movement and Neocharismatics share major narratives. Among these are a common belief in the way God works in revival, and the power and presence of God evidenced in the daily life of the Christian believer. Charismatics and Pentecostals have a shared heritage in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. ...
“Many churches influenced by the Charismatic Movement deliberately distanced themselves from Pentecostalism, however, for cultural and theological reasons. Foremost among theological reasons is the tendency of many Pentecostals to insist that speaking in tongues (as initial physical evidence) is necessary for Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals are also distinguished from the Charismatic Movement on the basis of style. Additionally, many in the Charismatic Movement employ contemporary styles of worship and methods of outreach which differ from traditional Pentecostal practice. ...
“Dennis Bennett, an American Episcopalian, is often cited as the Charismatic Movement’s seminal influence. Bennett was the Rector at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California when he announced to the congregation in 1960 that he had received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Soon after this he was ministering in Vancouver where he ran many workshops and seminars about the work of the Holy Spirit. This influenced tens of thousands of Anglicans worldwide and also began a renewal movement within the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. ...
“In the United Kingdom, Colin Urquhart, Michael Harper, David Watson and others were in the vanguard of similar developments.
“The Massey conference in New Zealand, 1964 was attended by several Anglicans including, the Rev. Ray Muller who went on to invite Dennis Bennett to New Zealand in 1966, and played a leading role in developing and promoting the Life in the Spirit seminars. ...
“Larry Christenson, Lutheran Charismatic theologian based in San Pedro, California, did much, in the 1960s and 1970’s, to interpret the Charismatic Movement for Lutherans. A very large annual conference was held in Minneapolis during those years. Charismatic Lutheran congregations in Minnesota became especially large and influential; especially Hosanna! in Lakeville, and North Heights in St. Paul. The next generation of Lutheran Charismatics cluster around the Alliance of Renewal Churches. There is currently considerable Charismatic activity among young Lutheran leaders in California centered around an annual gathering at Robinwood Church in Huntington Beach. Most Lutheran congregations in the developing world would be considered ‘Charismatic’ in their piety. ...
“The Charismatic Movement in the Eastern Orthodox Church never exerted the influence that it did in other mainstream churches. Individual priests, such as Fr. James Tavralides, Fr. Constantine Monios and Fr. David Buss, Fr. Athanasius Emmert of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, Fr. Eusebius Stephanou of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, founder of the Brotherhood of St. Symeon the New Theologian and editor of ‘The Logos’, and Fr. Boris Zabrodsky of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, founder of the Service Committee for Orthodox Spiritual Renewal (SCOSR) which published ‘Theosis’ Newsletter, were some of the more prominent leaders of the charismatic renewal in Orthodoxy. ...
“A more recent trend is the inclusion of Charismatic elements in more traditionally Calvinist or Reformed Theology. Reformed Charismatics, on the whole, reject the ‘prosperity gospel’ and distance themselves from movements that display over-emotional tendencies such as Word of Faith, Toronto Blessing, Brownsville Revival and Todd Bentley revivals.
“Reformed Charismatics, though convinced believers in the modern practice of all of the gifts of the Spirit, attempt to keep the primary focus on the cross of Christ, and the gospel. ...
“Since 1967 the Charismatic Movement has been active within the Roman Catholic Church. In the USA the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was focused in individuals like Kevin Ranaghan and others at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The Roman Catholic Duquesne University in Pittsburgh began hosting charismatic revivals in 1977. ...
“The great majority of Pentecostals are to be found in developing countries although much of their international leadership is still in North America. The movement is enjoying its greatest surge today in the global South, which includes Africa, Latin America, and most of Asia. One reason for this growth is Pentecostalism’s appeal to the poor. According to a United Nations report, the movement has ‘been the most successful at recruiting its members from the poorest of the poor.’ ...
“In 1998, there were about 11,000 different Pentecostal or Charismatic denominations worldwide. The largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, the Assemblies of God, claims approximately 57 million adherents worldwide. The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) has a membership of over 6 million, the Church of God in Christ has a membership of 5.5 million, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel has 5 million members, the United Pentecostal Church International has a membership of over 4 million, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church has over 3 million members. ...
Today’s Pentecostal movement traces its community’s growth to a prayer meeting at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas on January 1, 1901. Here, many came to the conclusion that speaking in tongues was the biblical sign of the Holy Spirit’s baptism. Charles Parham, the founder of this school, would later move to Houston, Texas. In spite of segregation in Houston, William J. Seymour, a (literally) one-eyed African-American preacher, was allowed to attend Parham’s Bible classes there. Seymour traveled to Los Angeles, where his preaching sparked the Azusa Street Revival in 1906. Despite the work of various Wesleyan groups such as Parham’s and D.L. Moody’s revivals, the beginning of the widespread Pentecostal movement in the United States is generally considered to have begun with Seymour’s Azusa Street Revival. ...
“Some Christian leaders who were not a part of the early Pentecostal movement remained highly respected by Pentecostal leaders. Albert Benjamin Simpson became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal revival. It was common for Pentecostal pastors and missionaries to receive their training at the Missionary Training Institute that Simpson founded. Because of this, Simpson and the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), which Simpson also founded, had a great influence on Pentecostalism – in particular the Assemblies of God and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. This influence included evangelistic emphasis, C&MA doctrine, Simpson’s hymns and books, and the use of the term ‘Gospel Tabernacle’, which evolved into Pentecostal churches being known as ‘Full Gospel Tabernacles’. Charles Price Jones, an African-American Holiness leader and founder of the Church of Christ, is another example. His hymns are widely sung at National Conventions of the Church of God in Christ and many other Pentecostal churches. ... African-Americans played an important role in the early Pentecostal movement. The first decade of Pentecostalism was marked by interracial assemblies, ... ‘Whites and blacks mix in a religious frenzy,’ noted a local newspaper account, at a time when government facilities were racially separate and Jim Crow laws were about to be codified. ...”
We find at the website <http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/37-history-of-the-pentecostal-charismatic-movements/> the following:
“The theological foundations of modern pentecostalism can be traced primarily to Methodism and the thinking of John Wesley. Vinson Synan refers to Wesley as ‘the spiritual and intellectual father of modern holiness and pentecostal movements’ (The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States [Eerdmans, 1971], 13). Another scholar has stated that ‘pentecostals are children of Wesley.’ F.D. Bruner writes:
“‘Methodism is the most important of the modern traditions for the student of Pentecostal origins to understand, for 18th century Methodism is the mother of the 19th century American holiness movement, which, in turn, bore 20th century Pentecostalism. Pentecostalism is primitive Methodism’s extended incarnation’ (A Theology of the Holy Spirit [Eerdmans, 1971], 37).
“1. The Influence of John Wesley and Methodism - Wesley was born (1703; died 1791) into an Anglican home with a Puritan influence. He was educated at Oxford and taught there for some years. His brother Charles and some friends organized the Holy Club and were dubbed Methodists for their emphasis on methodical Bible study and the pursuit of holiness. It was Wesley’s views on sanctification that contributed most to the later emergence of pentecostal doctrine.
“Wesley divided sanctification into several stages, each of which represented a different and higher level of salvation through which a believer passes.
“• The first stage is that of prevenient [?] grace which is but the beginning of a deliverance from a blind and unfeeling heart. This was also called assisting grace.
“• The second stage is that of convincing grace which is properly the first real move to salvation. The evidence of convincing grace is repentance.
“• The third stage is that of entire sanctification. This is a gift of God whereby one is cleansed from sin instantaneously. This sanctification, however, is not absolute, for perfection pertains only to God. Nor does it make men infallible, for the body is still subject to decay and death. It consists rather in perfect love and pertains primarily to one’s motives. It is not constitutional. It may be increased and improved upon, but may be lost if diligence diminishes. Involuntary transgressions due to the imperfections of the body are traceable to the mortality and limitations of being a creature and are not properly regarded as sin. Christian perfection, then, consists in the purification of one’s motives; mistakes and acts of ignorance are not regarded as inconsistent with a state of perfection.
“• The fourth stage is that of progressive entire sanctification in which one experiences a continuation of perfection, i.e., a deeper development of it. This is growth in maturity, until one reaches the final stage.
“• The fifth stage is final glorification.
“2. The Cane Ridge Revival of 1800-01 - The meetings that eventually led to revival were begun in June of 1800 by three Presbyterian ministers: James McGready, William Hodges, and John Rankin. By August of 1801 crowds of up to 25,000 gathered in the Kentucky countryside for revival meetings. Most meetings were characterized by much the same sort of ‘motor phenomena’ (as they were called back then) or ‘physical manifestations’ as we see today in certain charismatic renewal meetings.
“3. The Influence of Charles Finney (1792-1876) and American Revivalism - Finney’s contribution was two-fold: (1) His personal testimony to having experienced a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit. In his Memoirs he discussed the confusion of one of his earlier teachers (Rev. Gale, a Presbyterian minister) on this issue:
“‘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 is 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.’
“(2) Equally important was Finney’s evangelistic methodology. Finney justified his deliberate attempts to arouse the emotions of his hearers by arguing ‘that God has found it necessary to take advantage of the excitability there is in mankind to produce powerful excitements among them before he can lead them to obey. Men are so sluggish, there are so many things to lead their minds off from religion and to oppose the influence of the gospel that it is necessary to raise an excitement among them till the tide rises so high as to sweep away the opposing obstacles’, (Lectures on Revivals, 9).
“This has led one author to conclude that ‘Finney’s influence on subsequent Pentecostalism may be said to have been, in fact, more in the realm of form and temperature than in the realm of content and ideas’ (Bruner, 41).
“4. The National Holiness Movement - Bruner provides this helpful overview:
“‘From Methodism through American revivalism and the person and work of Charles Finney ... the line is a straight one that leads through the holiness movement directly into Pentecostalism. The holiness movement seems to have arisen from a variety of causes, principal of which were the demoralizing after-effects of the American Civil War, the dissatisfaction of many within Methodist churches with the ‘holiness,’ or the adherence to Wesleyan perfectionist doctrine of the Methodist Church, and a corresponding concern for the advance of modern liberal views in theology and of wealth and worldliness in the church as a whole. The theological center of the holiness movement, true to its name and its Wesleyan heritage, was a second experience, specifically a conversion into Scripture holiness, sanctification, or as it was often called, perfect love. This center assured the subsequent experience an importance it was later to assume in Pentecostalism. It was directly from the holiness movement, for instance, that Pentecostalism adopted the use of the expression the baptism in the Holy Spirit for its second (or third) Christi /p class=an experience.’
“The movement was itself birthed within the Methodist church in 1867. The first camp meeting was arranged by 13 Methodist ministers in Vineland, New Jersey, July 17-26th. Writes Synan: ‘Little did these men realize that this meeting would eventually result in the formation of over a hundred denominations around the world and indirectly bring to birth a ‘Third Force’ in Christendom, the pentecostal movement’. Some of the influential leaders and authors in this movement were William Boardman (The Higher Christian Life, 1859), Robert Smith, and Hannah Smith (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, 1875).
“There were three major contributions the NHM made to the atmosphere in which modern pentecostalism would eventually arise: 1) an emphasis on a spiritual crisis experience, subsequent to initial conversion; 2) the identification of this experience with the baptism in the Holy Spirit; and 3) popularization of speaking in tongues.
“Note well: until now, this so-called second work of grace as taught by Wesley and the Methodists was viewed as that by which one is cleansed from sin; henceforth it came to be viewed as an enduement with power for ministry.
“The NHM also profited from the influence of several prominent evangelical figures who themselves experienced some form of this second blessing. Included among them were A.J. Gordon, F.B. Meyer, A.B. Simpson (who founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1887 and eventually  separated from what he regarded as the fanaticism of early Pentecostalism, especially its teaching on tongues), Andrew Murray, and especially R.A. Torrey (then president of Moody Bible Institute). Torrey once wrote:
“‘The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an operation of the Holy Spirit distinct from and subsequent and additional to His regenerating work. A man may be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. In regeneration there is an impartation of life, and the one who receives it is fitted for service. Every true believer has the Holy Spirit. But not every believer has the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, though every believer ... may have.’
“The ‘holiness’ of the NHM was not always what we would call a grace-empowered desire or passion to be like Jesus. It all too often degenerated into a hideous form of legalism in which one’s maturity was measured by the number of activities from which one abstained. Whereas many in the holiness movement were godly and yearned for Christ-like righteousness, others defined holiness as abstinence. On their list of taboos: the theater, ball games, playing cards, dancing, lipstick, tobacco, alcohol, all forms of female makeup, the curling or coloring of one’s hair, neckties for men, Coca Cola, chewing gum, rings, bracelets, or any form of worldly ‘ornamentation,’ etc. One was prohibited from attending a county fair, lodge meetings, or being involved in political parties or labor unions. Life insurance was seen as a lack of faith in God and medicine was generally viewed as poison.
“B. The Emergence of Modern Pentecostalism:
“Pentecostalism has its roots in three sources: 1) the theology of John Wesley; 2) the revivalism of Charles Finney; and 3) the emergence of the National Holiness Movement, which was an attempt to preserve historic Wesleyanism. The move from the NHM into pentecostalism per se began in Topeka, Kansas, with a man named Charles Parham.
“1. Classical Pentecostalism:
“a. Benjamin Hardin Irwin and the ‘Fire-Baptized Holiness Church’ - Irwin was originally a holiness minister who gained fame by advocating multiple spiritual ‘baptisms’, the most important of which was the ‘baptism of fire’ and its accompanying physical manifestations (chief of which was the physical sensation of being on fire). Finding that even this was not enough, Irwin began to teach that there were additional baptisms of fire. These he named the baptisms of ‘dynamite,’ ‘lyddite,’ and ‘oxidite.’ The movement lost its momentum when Irwin confessed to moral failure. His primary significance is that Parham learned from him the doctrine of a separate spiritual baptism following sanctification.
“b. The Welsh Revival (1904 - )
“c. Charles Parham (1873-1929), the Bethel Bible Institute, and Agnes N. Ozman - Converted at the age of 13, Parham claims to have been healed while in college, thus preparing him for ministry. He was initially involved in the NHM and travelled as an independent evangelist/healer until he arrived in Topeka in 1898. He founded the Divine Healing Mission there which was later re-named the Apostolic Congregation and Divine Healing Home (1900).
“Parham had a terrible reputation for sexual immorality and was eventually excluded from the movement. Many believed him to have been a homosexual, a charge he vigorously denied all his life.
“In 1900 he established the Bethel Bible Institute where he taught his students that the inevitable result of Spirit-baptism was speaking in tongues. Till now, though, none had experienced it for themselves (although Parham had seen it in others during a trip to New York).
“At 7:00 p.m. on New Years Day, 1901, Agnes N. Ozman, one of Parham’s students, spoke in tongues. This event marks the beginning of the classical pentecostal movement. Parham relates what happened:
“‘I laid my hands upon her and prayed. I had scarcely repeated three dozen sentences when a glory fell upon her, a halo seemed to surround her head and face, and she began speaking in the Chinese language and was unable to speak English for three days. When she tried to write in English to tell us of her experience she wrote Chinese copies of which we still have in newspapers printed at that time.’
“In a short time news spread of what had happened. Reporters and language experts soon converged on the tiny school to investigate this new phenomenon. Cities throughout Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas also began to experience similar occurrences. The most important development came in Houston, Texas.
“It should be noted that what happened in Topeka was by no means the first incident of speaking in tongues in America. Numerous other groups regularly practiced glossolalia. What made Parham’s group unique was their insistence that tongues were the necessary evidence of Spirit-baptism. One of the more prominent outbreaks of tongues occurred in services conducted by Edward Irving at the Presbyterian Church on Regent’s Square in London, 1831. Apparently tongues broke out in a meeting conducted by D.L. Moody in 1875, although he himself never experienced the gift. Tongues were also present sporadically in the Welsh revival. ...
“An interesting note: B.H. Irwin of the Fire-Baptized Churches showed up [at] Azusa in 1906. He repudiated his doctrine of baptisms of fire, dynamite, lyddite, and oxidite and affirmed that the ‘tongues’ baptism was the correct one he had been seeking all along.
“The Spread of Pentecostalism - Florence Crawford took the message into the northwest. William Durham established the movement in the midwest and Chicago. From Durham’s church the movement spread into Canada. Elder Sturdevant took the work to New York City. T B. Barratt, a Methodist Norwegian pastor on tour of the U.S. at the time, took the movement to Europe. ‘From 1906 till his death in 1940, Barratt served as a veritable prophet of Pentecost in Northern Europe. He is credited with beginning the Pentecostal movements in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, and England’ (Synan, 104-05).
“• One of Barratt’s most notable converts was Alexander Boddy, the Anglican vicar of All Saints’ Parish in Sunderland, England. It was Boddy who in turn brought the movement to his country.
“• Things did not proceed as well in Germany. Another Barratt convert was Jonathan Paul, who returned from Oslo to start pentecostal meetings in the city of Kassel, the result of which was formation of a German pentecostal denomination known as the Muhlheim Association. The wildly emotional meetings in Kassel prompted a group of German evangelicals to issue the highly critical Berlin Declaration in 1909 that condemned the pentecostal experience. The movement in Germany never fully recovered from this setback.
“• Pentecostalism came to Russia through the influence of a Baptist pastor, Ivan Voronaev, who was eventually sent to the Gulag and was martyred there in 1943.” [End of quotes from articles.]
The aforesaid data provides a concise history of pentecostalism and the charismatic movement. The two churches to which I formerly belonged were the Evangelical and Nazarene churches and they were both contaminated with these doctrines, although I never witnessed anyone speaking in tongues. I can’t overemphasize how refreshing it was when I finally learned the Israel Identity Truth! Looking back on my churchgoing days, I can only state that I am ashamed of the beliefs which once I held to be the truth. True sanctification is the setting apart of the racially-pure Holy people of Israel!