In light of the movement’s current success and excess, four leaders candidly discuss the future.

We’re growing up and discovering that we like what we are. We‘re proud to be Pentecostal.

—Bishop Leon Stewart, General Superintendent, International Pentecostal Holiness Church

“Holy Wars” and prayer-tower fund raisers notwithstanding, America’s Pentecostals are coming of age. The “holy rollers” of yesterday have moved out of the back-woods and into urban America, where their megaministries stand as church-growth models and their distinctives offer congregants a spiritual jolt that is the curiosity—and sometimes envy—of even the most liturgical believer. “Funny,” said one observer, “that God should use a group once so derided to revitalize his church. I guess the laugh’s on us.”

Perhaps. But Bishop Stewart discerns God’s “sense of humor” in more biblical terms. “It is harvest time for Pentecostals,” he said, “and we are making definite plans to reap that harvest.”

Such enthusiasm is downright palpable when discussing the future mission and growth of Pentecostalism with its leaders. However, when four such leaders met earlier this year at the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals to do just that, it was clear their excitement was tempered by those challenges standing to threaten that harvest.

In addition to Bishop Stewart, Ray H. Hughes of the Church of God-Cleve-land, Tennessee, Ray Smith of the Open Bible Standard Church, and G. Raymond Carlson of the Assemblies of God individually discussed distinctives, doctrines, and the charismatic movement, and how each plays into the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.