When viewed in retrospect, Pentecost week end of May 21 probably will be associated with a religious spectacle in Jerusalem unparalleled almost certainly since New Testament times. In historic proceedings climaxed on Pentecost Sunday, more than 3,000 delegates to the sixth Pentecostal World Conference participated in what is believed to have been the largest meeting of any kind ever held in the Holy Land. Appropriately enough, the three-day meeting came on the edge of what its followers the world over regard as a twentieth-century revival of Pentecostalism in general and glossolalia in particular.
“We are under no illusion that merely sentimental associations with time or place guarantee a special blessing from God,” cautioned Pentecostal patriarch Donald Gee, “but we do believe that there cannot but be a unique effect upon the hearts and minds of those who gather at such a time and in such a place as they reverently recall the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit given there from the Lord of glory.”
Gee, editor of the quarterly review Pentecost, has had a big hand in each of the five previous world conferences (Zürich, 1947; Paris, 1949; London, 1952; Stockholm, 1955; and Toronto, 1958). He has seen them as a chief means in achieving a strong Pentecostal world fellowship.
The 1961 gathering coincided with the Hebrew observance of the Feast of Weeks (cf. Lev. 23:15–22) and the giving of the Law, but the only significant touchpoint came when both Gentile and Jewish worshipers went to Mount Zion.
Conference leaders contended with three impressive facts touching upon twentieth-century Pentecostalism.
One was the movement’s world scope. It has grown to represent a virile segment of Christianity which ecumenical leaders have described ...1
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