During the last century and the early part of this one, the Christian Church saw the rise of what has come to be known as Pentecostalism, one of whose characteristic marks is “speaking in tongues.” During the last ten to fifteen years this movement has spread into many of the old-line churches, particularly those with strong institutional structures and with a fixed liturgy for their services of worship. This neo-Pentecostalism has caused many problems within these churches, not only for the self-styled “liberals” but also for those who are fully committed to the historic and usually evangelical confessional positions of those bodies. While recognizing the neo-Pentecostals or “charismatics,” as they often call themselves, as fellow Christians, many Christians still have grave doubts about many of their beliefs, particularly those concerning the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In the September 14, 1973, issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Clark Pinnock wrote an irenic article in which he sought to bring about some sort of rapprochement between the neo-Pentecostals and the evangelicals who are doubtful of the charismatic movement. I sympathize with this desire, but I cannot help feeling that Dr. Pinnock, who takes a stance generally in favor of neo-Pentecostalism and against those who raise questions, is altogether too optimistic when he feels that a few doctrinal readjustments on both sides will solve the problem. I cannot but feel that he, like some others, has ignored some basic questions.
Those who raise these questions by no means deny the sovereignty of the triune God, who does according to his will not only in the Church but in the world as a whole. Nor would they attempt to put limits on the working of the Holy Spirit. ...1
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