Pentecostalism stepped into its second century this month. To mark the occasion, CT associate editor Madison Trammel and associate online editor Rob Moll met with three noted Pentecostal leaders for a "state of the union" discussion.
Derrick Hutchins pastors two churches, New Life Church in Orlando and the Family Worship Center in Columbia, South Carolina, and also serves as elected chairman of the general council of pastors and elders of the Church of God in Christ. Predominately black, the Church of God in Christ is the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States, claiming a membership of more than 4 million.
Lee Grady is editor of Charisma, the flagship magazine of the Pentecostal/charismatic movement with a circulation of 250,000 readers.
Russell Spittler currently serves as interim provost of Vanguard University, an Assemblies of God college in Southern California, and he is also provost emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary.
At the beginning of the 20th century, no one could have predicted the explosive growth of Pentecostalism. How do you explain it?
Hutchins: Bishop Mason, the founder of the Church of God in Christ, actually did foresee this phenomenon. He said that the Pentecostal movement would grow until no building could contain those who would embrace this newfound spiritual expressionspeaking in tongues and the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Spittler: By the end of the 19th century, the mood overall in American culture was notably optimistic. There was the growth of classic Christian liberalism and the formation of the social gospel. [But] that optimism was sharply modified by events like the First World War and the sinking of the Titanic. There were three reactions to liberalism: fundamentalism, neo-orthodoxy, ...1