The traditional (classical) Pentecostal movement began just before the turn of the century. Evangelical Christians with a desire to recapture God’s plan for his Church and to reaffirm the cardinal principles and doctrines of historic Christianity in all their pristine power and glory sought God for his fullness. They were greeted with an outpouring of the Spirit that was to be the start of a world-wide movement.

Although most of these early believers had no desire to leave the established churches, they were ostracized because of their Pentecostal experience. They had a broad area of agreement doctrinally with the evangelicals, but there was a strong resentment to the “tongues experience.” Therefore, they had to establish Pentecostal fellowships in order to have freedom of expression of their new-found experience. Pentecostals in time became a strong sector of evangelicalism.

In those days, a non-evangelical who claimed to be a Pentecostal was almost unheard of. But the picture is quite different today. Some evangelicals have readjusted their level of tolerance so as to accommodate Pentecostals within their fellowship. The emergence of Pentecostal claimants among non-evangelicals has been received with tolerance or acceptance. There is a claim to the Pentecostal experience among the liberal movements and Roman Catholics as well. Pentecostal movements in these groups have been labeled the “new Pentecostalism” or “neo-Pentecostalism.”

Defining “new Pentecostalism” would be almost as difficult as defining fundamentalism. In its brief existence it has been variously interpreted according to the religious background of the recipients. For example, to the Catholics it is a “charismatic renewal,” which implies that the baptism in ...

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