Pro And Con On The Charismatic Movement

What About Continuing Revelation and Miracles in the Presbyterian Church Today?, by Robert L. Reymond (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1977, 64 pp., $1.95 pb), The Spirit Within You, by J. Terry Young (Broadman, 1977, 192 pp., $4.95 pb), The Spirit of God, by Thomas Hopko (Morehouse Barlow, 1976, 132 pp., $3.50 pb), Essays on Renewal, by Leon Joseph Suenens (Servant Books, 1977, 131 pp., $2.95 pb), Experiencing the Holy Spirit, by Jim McNair (Bethany Fellowship, 1977, 171 pp., $3.50), and Fire in the Fireplace: Contemporary Charismatic Renewal, by Charles E. Hummel (Inter-Varsity, 1978, 275 pp., $4.95 pb), are reviewed by Erling Jorstad, professor of history and American studies, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.

Whatever else critics or friends of the neo-Pentecostal (or charismatic) renewal claim for it, none can deny that it has shattered long-nourished stereotypes, produced much excellent scholarship (along with much fluff) on pneumatology, and brought together in worship, and in debate, Christians who had rarely before spoken to each other. The movement today has a momentum all its own; like an escalator, it has people getting on and getting off as it keeps moving.

These generalizations are wondrously illuminated by a comparative study of these recent books. Three continents, five communities of faith, administrators, pastors, and professors all are represented. Two are critics, two are outside observers, two are friends—a nice mix.

First, the critics. Reymond of Covenant Theological Seminary cites the Westminster Confession of Faith and also draws on Kuyper, Warfield, and Vos to support his contention that charismatics must not be allowed to hold the office of deacon or elder ...

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