Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Pentecostal Explosion

"Charles Parham...was telling his students....about being filled with the Holy Spirit, when it occurred to him that in the book of Acts, those filled with the Spirit at Pentecost all spoke in foreign languages. So he told them this was a sign of being genuinely filled...and encouraged them to ask God for the gift. On the first day of the new century, Agnes Ozman started 'speaking in tongues', and others soon joined in. Parham took his discovery on a nationwide revival tour, sending his students to find out what language they had been given...Unfortunately, their 'tongues' bore no relation to any languages on earth, so they concluded that it was a language of heaven."

"In 1910, the Tennessee Pentecostal George Hensley, preaching on the text 'They shall take up snakes,' ended by grabbing a rattlesnake and commanding his flock to the the same or be 'doomed to eternal hell'. They obeyed. He kept at the snake handling until 1955, when he died of a snake bite. Today, he has 2,500 followers."

"A group of rich American businessmen, dismayed by how many of their ministers had become liberals, printed a twelve-part book, The Fundamentals, and sent out 3 million copies, one to every church employee and theology student in the USA. It outlined the fundamental doctrines of Christianity...The Fundamentals helped evangelicals see themselves as fundamentally anti-liberal, and it gave us the word that dominates twenty-first-century talk of religion, 'fundamentalist', which originally meant 'conservative Protestant' and now, if anything, means 'someone more religious that I approve of'."

Source: A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins

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