Home > Book discussion > Book discussion: The Charismatic Century, part 1

Book discussion: The Charismatic Century, part 1

I thought today was as good a time as any to restart discussion of The Charismatic Century book, co-authored by Jack Hayford and S. David Moore. This was originally published on From the Ashes.

I have been around Christians from a lot of different movements and denominations, and though I cannot claim exclusivity to one denomination or movement, I can claim one particular movement to be part of my roots.

As a kid, before I became a Christian, I was exposed to some different charismatic churches which helped provide my initial introductions to the Christian faith. Magazines from Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland came to my home and we watched the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and the PTL Club on a regular basis.

At age 18, I walked the aisle at an Assemblies of God church out of obedience to what I believe to be the prompting of the Holy Spirit to repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life.

I went to another Assemblies of God church after I left home, and it was the first time I was not in a church that adhered to what is popularly known as the Word-Faith movement.

I went back to the church I got saved in when I came back home, then a short time later joined a Foursquare church.

I’ve been part of a huge, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) church. I’ve been part of a Calvary Chapel. I’ve been part of what turned out to be an old-style Pentecostal church (and left).

I’ve attended church on the internet (LifeChurch).

I’ve attended no churches at all, for months, if not years, at a time.

I’ve been blessed by ministries throughout the entire conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical, charismatic spectrum of Christianity from Charles Stanley to C.J. Mahaney, from Chuck Swindoll to Chuck Smith, Jack Hayford to John Piper, John MacArthur to John Wimber.

Now I’m Calvinist in soteriology, and part of a Southern Baptist church which believes in the charismata, though they don’t practice it openly during services like some of their Word of Faith and charismatic brethren do.

In short, I’m a mutt. A charismatic, Reformed mutt who loves Jesus and sees Him in all kinds of movements and denominations and churches :)

I believeall the gifts of the spirit are valid for today, and that it is helpful and profitable to examine that portion of his spiritual roots.

I hope to do so by working through The Charismatic Century, written by Jack Hayford and S. David Moore.

I believe it’s important to know the history of a movement that is far more than what has been characterized of it by television evangelists, faith healers and scenes of people shouting at the top of their lungs, dancing up front and falling in the aisles.

It’s a movement that has been dismissed as no longer biblical by some Christians and dismissed to the backrooms and home groups by some others….and those who are involved in it are your brothers and sisters in Christ, whether you like it or not :)

Let’s jump in.

The co-authors tell us on page 1 that on New Years Day 1901, the same day that a young woman at Charles Parham’s Bible school in Kansas was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, Pope Leo XIII sung the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest) at the Vatican, dedicating the 20th century to the Holy Spirit.

What made the young woman’s experience unique, according to the co-authors, was that for her it served as evidence  of a renewal of the New Testament baptism of the Holy Spirit; she believed it was a

biblically based, empowering experience that is distinct and subsequent to conversion. Parham and his followers saw their experience just like that of the apostles on the day of Pentecost as described in Acts 2. This, they were convinced, was a restoration of New Testament power for ministry in the latter days. The Charismatic Century had begun. (pp. 1-2)

Five years later: William J. Seymour preached the Pentecostal baptism with the Holy Spirit to a small group of Christians, most of them African-American, in southern California, leading to the famous Azusa Street revival. Early Pentecostals, Hayford notes, likened the Azusa Street revival to the birth of Jesus: Jesus was “born in a humble stable in Bethlehem to common people, and Pentecostalism was born among common folk in a building once used as a stable.” (2)

Racial taboos were shattered as whites, Hispanics, African-Americans and a smaller group of Asians worshipped together. Daily meetings at the birthplace of the Azusa Street revival, the Apostolic Faith Mission, lasted for three years, and it became the “catalytic birthplace” of the modern Pentecostal movement. (3)

From such small, obscure beginnings, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements grew to figures that Hayford cites as 600 million Christians in 2005 and roughly 25% of all Christians worldwide. (3)

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  1. simon
    March 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    How times have changed, the early mindset of the renewal was to fear God and kneel before Jesus as Lord, yet today it is all about the gifts and what I can do. Seems to me the renewal has lost its roots which was holiness before God. Besides not all of the things I remember of the renewal was right, it just wasn’t challenged. This has been its downfall everything or nearly everything was acceptable as long as we assumed the Holy Spirit was in it. From my point of view what started as God centered has become very man centered. One thing I remember how often God warned of judgment to come upon the church and the world and now I believe I am seeing the day of reckoning.

  2. BrianD
    March 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks, Simon!

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