The Gifts of the Spirit Through the Ages

(The Pentecostal Experience)

 

By Mark Greenwood

2002/3

God has given to the church gifts for the work of the ministry and for the edification of the body of Christ.  These can be seen in the office or calling of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastors and teachers. Also we are told he has put in the church (the body as a whole), miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments and different kinds of tongues (1 Corinthians 12 v 28).   

In 1 Corinthians 12 v 8 – 10, Paul list nine gifts of the Spirit given to profit the church, these are; the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, the gift of faith, the gift of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, different kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues.  These are the gifts to the church for the edifying of the body of Christ.  However I believe the bible shows us that the gifts are not limited to be used only when the church is assembled for fellowship.

Much misunderstanding abounds concerning speaking in tongues.  Jesus Christ said that believers would speak in new tongues (Mark 16 v 17).  Some would say that the gift of tongues is only given to be used in conjunction with the gift of interpretation of tongues for the churches edification, but that would limit it to just a few Christians in the assemblies.  The bible shows us that when Jesus Christ said that those who believe on Him would speak in new tongues, he meant it as a gift to all believers (although not all speak in tongues).  We must not limit tongues to one specific function when the bible clearly shows other aspects of this gift.  When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person they are endued with power, which will often result in the natural overflow of speaking in tongues.  Another important aspect of speaking in tongues is the prayer language. Praying in tongues is the natural expression of praying with the spirit.  This is usually done in private and is one of the means whereby God builds the individual up in the spirit. 1 Corinthians 14 v 4 tells us that if we pray in an unknown tongue we edify ourselves.

It would seem that a church can function in the gifts of the Spirit and yet fall short in the fruit of the Spirit. The Corinthian church are seen to have many of the manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit in their midst and yet they were, carnal, proud, arrogant, boastful and lacking much of the fruit of the Spirit.  However, Paul did not take that as proof that the gifts and manifestations were not of God but rather corrected their abuse by giving direction and guidelines.  Thanks to the Corinthian church not being as they should be, we now have these guidelines for all time so that abuses and false manifestations can be checked.

 When God moves by His Spirit in a church and there are spiritual manifestations, then there will also be abuses and false manifestations by deceiving spirits to discredit the work of God and to stop the church from functioning in the power of God.  Men who know nothing of being filled with the Spirit will be quick to point the finger and condemn all manifestations as being of the devil.  They deny the power of God in the church and claim that supernatural manifestations, especially speaking in tongues, have ceased long ago.    Some of these people develop discernment ministries and have written many excellent articles, however if they had any spiritual discernment they would discern between the true and the false and recognize that which is of the Holy Spirit and that which is of deceiving spirits, but they are deceived by the deceiving spirits into believing that that which is true and of the Holy Spirit is of the devil.  They say that the gifts of the Spirit ceased when the bible was complete as there was no more use for them.   If only they would take the example of Paul and differentiate between what is of God and what is from the flesh.

Let me clearly say that I am not against discernment ministries.  Many discernment ministries do recognize the importance of the gifts of the Spirit for today. These have a very important role to play in these days when there is a falling away from the word and people prefer a spiritual thrill rather than knowing God.  In fact I am extremely indebted to the discernment ministries who teach the truth and warn about error rather than mixing them up. They expose false ministries and warn about ministers who, having strayed into error, now promote unity above doctrinal truth.  They expose those who teach that the Holy Spirit is subject to our confession, rather than our confession being subject to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Now I am not against the power of the confession of our lips.  What we speak is very important especially if we are preaching the gospel.  What I do recognize is that Jesus only spoke what He heard the Father say.  This should be the same principle when we are confessing God’s word to “remove mountains”.  We should be led by the Spirit of God.  How can we be led by the Holy Spirit unless we wait on the Lord?  How long do we spend waiting on the Lord to find out His will?

The Holy Spirit has given the gifts to magnify Jesus Christ yet how often the emphasis of churches with spiritual manifestations is on “more power” and  more spiritual manifestations, which just promote and excite the flesh.  The Holy Spirit works on man via his spirit while the enemy works on man via his flesh.

In this last century the churches that have functioned with spiritual manifestations are mostly the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches.  Many people point to Azusa Street in Los Angeles during 1906 as the beginning of the Pentecostal movement and speaking in tongues, but the baptism in the Holy Spirit was already being preached by many ministers well before this time and also the gift of tongues is recorded for us at other times in history.  However Azusa Street is an important milestone for the outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit all over the world. 

Those who oppose the baptism in the Spirit in the church today would point to all the defects, the work of evil spirits and the lack of maturity in handling the manifestations in the meetings to ‘prove’ that this was not of God.  However that is not how Paul dealt with the Corinthians or how he perceived what was happening there.  He didn’t denounce the work as being of the devil but rather admonished them and taught them how to bring order into the church meetings and still allow the Spirit to minister through the gifts.

Let us take a look at Azusa Street through the eyes of Frank Bartleman.

Based on the Book, ‘Another Wave Rolls In’ by Frank Bartleman

What really happened at Azusa Street?

Frank Bartleman spent much of his time in prayer, giving tracts out and preaching.  He received from God in 1905 the following keynote to revival: “The depth of revival will be determined exactly by the depth of the spirit of repentance”, and this, he said, “will obtain by all people at all times”.

He said that there was much rattle in the camp.  Most were seeking selfish blessings.  They rushed to meetings like a big sponge, to get more blessing.  They needed stepping on.

As in Wales there was much travail of soul for the unsaved.

Frank Bartleman and those he was with were seeking revival not tongues, in fact by February 1906 they hadn’t even thought about tongues.

He believed that a body must be prepared in repentance and humility, for every outpouring of the Spirit.

Right from the beginning, he said, the enemy did much counterfeiting.  Satan will always mingle with the genuine revival in order to discredit it and destroy it.

When they first started meeting at Azusa Street, discernment was not perfect and the enemy got some advantage.  The devil scoured the country for crooked spirits to destroy the work if possible.

They didn’t mind outside persecution but had the most to fear from the working of evil spirits within.  Spiritualists and hypnotists came to investigate and try their influence.  Then all the religious sore-heads, crooks and cranks came.

The press wrote shameful things about them. One reporter was sent to give a report based on the ridiculous and the more highly sensational the better.  However he was convinced by God, got converted and offered his paper a true report. He was dismissed, they didn't want his true version just a comic version.  Many "Christians" criticizing  the revival point to these newspaper stories to prove their point.

What he desired to see was not big numbers but rather changed individuals.  He used to go into saloons to preach the wrath of God  

As in the Welsh revival, great emphasis was placed on the ‘blood’ for cleansing etc.  A high standard was held up for a clean life.  The Word of God itself decided absolutely all issues.

God’s way to Pentecost was via Calvary.  Pride and self-assertion, self-importance and self-esteem could not survive there.

When they arrived at a meeting they avoided human contact as much as possible so that they could get under some bench to pray.  A room was set aside for people to seek God in, they had a notice saying ‘not to talk above a whisper’.

Men’s hearts were being searched as with a lighted candle.  It was a tremendous sifting time, not only of actions but of inner secret motives.  Nothing could escape the all searching eye of God.  Jesus was lifted up and the blood magnified, and the Holy Spirit honoured once more.

Eventually, Azusa Street took for itself a name that would distinguish it from other churches, ‘Apostolic Faith Mission’.  Frank felt this grieved the Holy Spirit and opened up another place, immediately the devil sent the cranks. 

A spiritualist woman started to lead the singing so he prayed her out.  Then a fanatical minister with a voice that rattled the windows took over the whole meeting.  Frank rebuked him openly.  The first time he opened the church he found one of the worst fanatics and religious crooks in town sitting on the steps waiting for him.  He was a preacher and wanted to run things, Frank chased him from the place.  Crooks and cranks were the first at the meeting, there was much professional, religious quackery.  What was needed to create a spiritual atmosphere was humility and prayer.

At the beginning of Azusa Street there was a wonderful group of seasoned veterans who had already been walking with God and had learnt the things of the Spirit.  Alas, now there was a mixed multitude who had come from all over to get on the bandwagon.  The seeds of apostasy now had time to work.  In many cases there were Babylonian doctrines and practices.

In the previous building they had the prayer room where one could come aside and be still from the noisy wild excitement, to be quiet before God.  However in the present building that wasn’t possible, and foolishness and fanatical self-assertion seemed to take over.

He says that from the beginning he was very concerned that Jesus should not be slighted by the exaltation of the Holy Ghost and the gifts of the Spirit.  Jesus was all in all and he endeavored to keep Him as the central theme and figure before the people.  The Holy Ghost is given to show the things of Christ.  He said that the word of Calvary and the atonement must be the centre of our consideration.  The leaders were usually found on their faces on the floor in the meetings, not out cold but rather praying.

He said that everything must surround round Jesus, We may not put the power, the gifts, the Holy Ghost or in fact anything ahead of Jesus.  Any mission that exalts even the Holy Ghost above the Lord Jesus Christ is bound for the rocks of error and fanaticism.   

So, from the words of Frank Bartleman we can see they had the desire to be led by the Spirit  in all that was happening with the revival of spiritual gifts, however that doesn’t mean to say they did not make mistakes as they had a lot to learn in this area of spiritual manifestations in the church.  It was a beginning, a beginning that would need order and direction yet a beginning that would draw men of God from different parts of the world to see if this was of God and to take the message back, ‘the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues is for today’.

G. H. Lang gives a critical analysis of Azusa Street, in his book “The Early Years Of The Tongues Movement”.  This was written about 1950.  His own contact with the “Tongues Movement”, as he calls it, goes back to 1909.

Lang believed that the gifts of the Spirit (including speaking in tongues) are permanent in the church age and need to be desired earnestly.  He wrote his book not to cause people to withdraw from the realm of things supernatural but to enable them to ‘discern more accurately between the divine and human, the heavenly and the earthly, the workings of the Spirit of truth and the counter workings of the great liar and deceiver’.  This is an important statement, we are all responsible to discern according to the word of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit. 

He says that Pentecost opened to all believers that higher region of the kingdom of God but that many children of God have no acquaintance with this and that many honest seekers are misled into the counterfeit realm of the supernatural. 

He says concerning Frank Bartleman that he was a chief and godly leader however he questioned whether the manifestations proved that this was of the Spirit of God and said that the reader must judge for himself.  Manifestations of course do not prove anything either way.

Bartleman spent many hours in prayer and this quite exhausted him.  Although Lang could respect the zeal and revere the devotion, he questioned the wisdom of praying until one was worn out and close to death due to exhaustion.

Lang said concerning Azusa Street and the resulting movement that there was plainly a deep mixture of what was of God and what was not of Him.

He fails however to differentiate between the initial baptism of believers in the Spirit which the bible shows clearly may result in several speaking in tongues and prophesying, and the church meeting which should be kept decent and in order with only two or three giving a word of prophecy, and tongues only being given if there is an interpreter.  For the one hundred and twenty in the upper room on the day of Pentecost there would have needed to be forty meetings for them all to speak in tongues if it meant no more than three per meeting.  For the twelve men at Ephesus (Acts 19 v 7) there would need to be at least four meetings.  However if there was no one with the gift of interpretation present at the meeting, then no one would be allowed to speak in tongues.

At the beginning of Azusa Street, Lang recognized there were godly men and women involved however he later questioned the fruit of this work.  This is understandable due to the unchecked questionable manifestations and excesses that followed.  Some of these would be due to dubious characters in the congregation others from leaders making dubious statements.  Often neither would be corrected.  However God did raise up many men of a godly character in the Pentecostal churches who were willing to correct these abuses.  Later, as the older denominations opened up to the Pentecostal experience we find other godly ministers teaching the need to receive the Holy Spirit as a separate experience to salvation.

One of the fruits of the baptism in the Spirit was a great increase in evangelism, with the gospel message being proclaimed all over the world.

The Fire Spreads to Europe

T. B. Barrett a Norwegian (who was born in Cornwall, England), was a Methodist minister who visited America to raise funds for a hall in Oslo.  The year was 1906 and he was in a hotel in New York waiting for a boat home when he was baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

He arrived in Norway and a Pentecostal revival started and spread like fire over Europe.

A A Body, an Anglican Vicar from Sunderland, England, went to investigate, was convinced it was of God and invited Barrett to his Church in Sunderland.

The Holy Spirit baptised those at the church and they spoke in tongues.  This made the news in the press and people from all over Britain travelled to Sunderland to find out what was happening.

The result of this fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Britain was a great increase in evangelism with signs following.

However, in the early days of  this Pentecostal outpouring there was a lack of direction and much abuse of the gifts of the Spirit.  It was into this scene that God called the Jeffreys brothers and other godly leaders.

George Jeffreys who at first was sceptical, later was baptised in the Holy Spirit and became one of Britain’s great evangelist.  It is said that he was a level headed man who was extremely logical and thorough in his discourses.  The extravagances that had marred so many passed revivals were excluded from the work that God called him to initiate.  George preached the word and many thousands were saved and healed all over Britain. 

Stephen Jeffreys who, along with his brother George, was saved in the Welsh revival, travelled to Sunderland to find out what was happening and was baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues after which he noticed a new power in his evangelistic work.

Smith Wiggleworth another man  used of God also visited Sunderland in 1907 and was baptised in the Holy Spirit.  This also revolutionised his ministry.

He was loved and respected by many who saw him as a man of God full of love and compassion, but he was also hated and maligned by others who criticised him for being rough and abrupt with people.   He has been called the apostle of faith.  He was an evangelist who witnessed to most people he met as the Lord led him.  He was saddened by those who enjoyed the baptism for their own pleasure rather than recognising its primary purpose of power to witness.   It grieved him to see people looking to fleshly manifestations rather than to soul winning.

These men of God, and many others, evangelized around England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.  Many Churches around the country were established.  When people were baptized in the Holy Spirit then signs followed, the main one being speaking in unknown tongues.

The older denominations could not accept this as from God and denounced this move of God as being of the devil.

The Pentecostal churches became a denomination and eventually settled down into respectful churches losing much of the fire that started them off.

Other places, such as South Chard became places that people went to because God was using them in body ministry and the gifts of the Spirit.

The 1970’s and 80’s saw the Charismatic revival, as the older denominations became open to the move of the Spirit and accepted the baptism in the Spirit and also speaking in tongues.

The early emphasis, according to Frank Bartleman, was on dying out to the self life, carnal ambition, pride, etc. These days the emphasis seems to be on more power and enjoying a spiritual high, even before being right with God.

As I have said, there were revivals and spiritual manifestations well before Azusa Street.   

 

The Gifts of the Spirit at work in the Reformation

Let us now jump to the time of the Reformation.

These next interesting accounts are taken from, ‘The Scot Worthies’ by John Howie. (They are very condensed from their original script)

George Wishart.

George Wishart was one of the reformers who died at the stake in 1546.  A friend of John Knox, it is said of him that he possessed the spirit of prophecy to an extraordinary degree and was at the same time, humble, modest, charitable and patient.  He often prophesied against those who stood against the word of God.  When he was stopped from preaching in Dundee, he prophesied that it would not be long before trouble would come upon the city.  Four days after he left, the plague hit the city, many people dying every day.  He went back to the city and preached “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction”.  The people begged him to stay and preach to them, which he did.

Another time, when he was mislead to go to a sick friend the Lord warned him of an ambush.  He turned back saying that he would die at the hands of the cardinal but not yet.

Eventually he was taken by the cardinals men and killed at the stake.  He forgave his executioner, committed his spirit to the Lord then prophesied that the cardinal would meet his end not many days hence.  Less than three months later the cardinal was stabbed to death.

 

John Knox.

John Knox was born in 1505, he was a disciple of George Wishart and also a friend and admirer of John Calvin who he spent some time with in Geneva.

He has been called a prophet, a man full of the gifts of the Spirit, and also an apostle to Scotland, which are, I believe, true descriptions of him.

Several times he had to escape from Scotland because his life was in danger.  However the Lord preserved him and he died naturally of old age.

Mary Queen of Scots said she was more afraid of the prayers of John Knox than of an army of ten thousand men.

Prophetical expressions given by him had the most remarkable accomplishments.  He prophesied concerning castles and cities, Kings and Queens.

When he was once praying for the sick a paper was put in his hand, which made mirth of his friend, a nobleman, who had been slain the day before.

He didn’t say anything at the time but after his sermon he gave a few words about the loss of his friend, the good Regent, the Earl of Moray.  He then said, “there is one here who maketh that horrible murder, at which all good men hath occasion to be sorrowful, the subject of his mirth.  I tell you, he shall die in a strange land, where he shall not have a friend near him to hold up his head.” Thomas Maitland, the author of that paper, hearing what Knox said, confessed the whole to his sister saying that John Knox was raving; she replied with tears that none of John Knox’s threatenings fell to the ground. Thomas Maitland later went to Italy and died on his way to Rome having no man to comfort him. 

After the death of John Knox in 1572, Mr. Thomas Smeaton said of him, “I know not if God ever placed a more godly and great spirit in a body so little and frail.  I am certain that there can scarcely be found another in whom more gifts of the Holy Ghost, for the comfort of the Church of Scotland, did shine.”     

There are other recorded instances of the gifts of the Spirit in the life of John Knox and other ministers of the reformation. Here are a sample from some of the other ministers.

 

John Davidson.

John Davidson was a minister of the gospel who also prophesied to some of the well-known noblemen of his time.  At another time, a gentleman related to a great family in the parish of Preston, but who was violently opposed to true piety was beating a poor man and gave him a mighty stroke across his back saying it was for John Davidson.  When John Davidson heard of this the next Sabbath he prophesied against this rich man saying, “He that hath done this, were he the laird or the laird’s brother, ere a few days hence God shall give him a stroke, that all the monarchs of the earth may not challenge”.

This came to pass at the close of that same week, while the gentleman was standing before his own door, he was struck dead with lightning and had all his bones crushed to pieces.  

 

John Scrimgeour

John Scrimgeour was a minister of the gospel around the year 1620.

When he was ministering at Kinghorn a godly woman fell sick of a lingering disease.  She suffered greatly in the mind being overcome by much temptation and feeling she was a castaway.

He went with two of his elders and they prayed for her but she grew worse.  He said that comforting her and praying for her will not do, “we must try some other remedy”, in the name of Jesus Christ he commanded her “to be loosed from these bonds”. Immediately peace and joy ensued. 

He lost a lot of friends and also some of his children to death.  His only surviving daughter at that time, and whom he loved dearly, was also at the very point of death so that he was called up to see her die.  Finding her in this condition he went out into the fields at night to pray.  He travailed in prayer before the Lord beseeching Him that He would spare her.  The Lord met him and told him that He had spared her.  When he arrived home he found the child recovered and she took some meat.  When he looked at her arm it was perfectly whole.

 

Robert Bruce.

Robert Bruce was born about 1554.  He was the second son of Sir Alexander Bruce the Laird of Airth.  His father had plans for his life but God had other ideas and worked on Robert’s conscience so that he could get no rest until he went to study divinity under Andrew Melville.

He became a minister in Edinburgh where King James V1 had such a high regard for him that when he left the country for Denmark  he asked Robert to acquaint himself with the affairs of the country because he could trust him more than the rest of his brethren or other nobles.  He was not disappointed for the country was more blessed under the care of Robert Bruce than before or afterwards.  However, some time after this he lost the Kings favour because he stood for the word of God with other ministers and was eventually banished from the country, The next year he came back but was confined to his house and removed officially from his function at Edinburgh.  He was charged to remain at Inverness which he did for four years teaching and preaching with much affect.  He was continually persecuted by the King and council and was tossed about having to move from place to place.

Robert Bruce was a man who manifested and demonstrated the Spirit in his speech.  It was easy for his hearers to perceive he had been much in prayer.

He was also a man who could prophetically predict future events, speaking of several things which afterwards came to pass.  Also, people who were past all recovery from epileptic diseases, or falling sickness were brought to him and after being prayed for by him were fully restored from the sickness.

Some ministers came to him concerning a church problem.  He prayed over them repeating to the Lord many times the problem they had brought to him.  The Holy Spirit came upon those present causing extraordinary motion on all present, “and such sensible down-pouring of the Spirit, that they could hardly contain themselves”.

It is said that, “There was none in his time, who preached with such evidence of the power of the Spirit; and no man had more seals of his ministry; yea, many of his hearers thought that no man since the days of the Apostles, ever spoke with such power.”     

 

John Welch.

John Welch was born around 1570, his father being the Laird Collieston in Nithsdale Scotland, so he wasn’t without money however his story is a bit like the prodigal son at the beginning.  He would rather play truant than go to school and eventually joined himself to the thieves on the border between England and Scotland.

When he eventually found himself clothed only in rags he decided to return home to his father.  His father put him through college where he worked hard, became a sincere convert and proceeded to the ministry.  It is said that from the beginning of his ministry he reckoned the day ill spent if he did not spend seven or eight hours in prayer.

He married the daughter of John Knox to whom he had three sons all who died as young men.

He was imprisoned by King James, who’s intention was to destroy the Church of Scotland and establish bishops instead who he believed would give him absolute dominion.

After being moved from prison to prison he was eventually banished to France where he and his wife resided for sixteen years.

Welch did try to return to Scotland but was denied by King James 1.  Mrs Welch had an interview with the King who asked her who her father was, “John Knox” was the reply.  “Knox and Welch” said the King, “The devil never made sic a match as that”

The King asked her how many children her father had and if any where boys, to which he was told, “three girls”.  “God be thanked” said the King lifting up his hands, “for if they had been three lads I never would have enjoyed my three kingdoms in peace”.

The King at last told her that if she would persuade her husband to submit to the bishops he would grant her request, to which she lifted her apron and said, “Please, your Majesty, I’d rather receive his head there”.     

Welch often uttered prophesies against ungodly men, which came to pass.   The story is told that when he was once entertaining a company with godly discourse, a Popish young gentleman began to mock and laugh and pull faces.  Welch became sad and asked all to be silent and observe the work of the Lord upon the mocker, upon which the young gentleman sunk down and died beneath the table.  

At another time while in France, a young gentleman student of his died.  He stayed with the body praying even though others came to take the body for burial.   He asked for more time which they gave then he asked for more time still, after two days had past they thought that perhaps he wasn’t sure that the man was dead so they called in the doctors to prove it to Welch.  He still asked for more time, he begged them to give him an hour or two alone with the body, which they did.  He fell down and cried out to the Lord with all his might until eventually the young man opened his eyes.  Welch called his friends in and showed them the young man alive.  This young man went on to acquire a great estate in Ireland, became Lord Castlestuart and was asked by the Earl of Stafford to be a counselor in Ireland. 

A Popish friar once stayed with him and listening outside his door as he prayed to God through the night, the next morning he declared to Welch what he had done and told him he wanted to become a Protestant.

When Welch was still in Scotland some friends were waiting for him as he prayed in the garden.  One of the friends opened a window and saw a strange light around him and heard him speak strange words about his spiritual joy.

There are many more stories about John Welch, it was said that no man could hear him preach without weeping.

He was eventually allowed to go to London where the king allowed him to preach.  Having preached he went inside and passed on to be with the Lord.  

(The above incidents in the life of the reformers were taken from, "The Scots Worthies" by John Howie)

 

The Gifts of the Spirit After The Reformation.

In 1741 Jonathan Edwards wrote that manifestations neither prove or disprove a work of God.  The test was the fruit it produced.

A revival comes when the people of God recognize that except God does a work their labours will be in vain.  Their hearts cry will be for the spirit of prayer and love to so fill their lives that their one desire will be to be on their knees with God in prayer, yet without God they can do nothing, they are barren, dry and empty, and they know it. 

The first sign or fruit of a genuine revival is repentance.  When people recognize their real state compared with a holy God, they will cry out for mercy.  Repentance may include with it manifestations of cries of anguish and even falling to the ground as the sinner is convicted of his uncleanness (Luke 18 v 13, John 18 v 6, Acts 9 v 4).

Believers will be filled with the Spirit.  This may include many tears as they behold all that Christ has done for them by His death on the cross.  The blood of the Lamb will be honoured and the Lord Jesus shall be magnified in praise and worship.  This may involve speaking in tongues and prophesying.  They too might find themselves prostrate on the ground in awe and reverence of a Holy God (1 Kings 8 v 11, Ezekiel 1 v 28, Daniel 10 v 9, Revelations 1 v 17).

The immediate effect on a Christians life will be a greater desire to know the word of the Lord, there will be an increase in the time spent alone in prayer to God.  A burden to intercede for others will be manifest in their lives.  A godly character will become apparent as they spend time with the Lord.  I say these are the immediate effect because as the revival wanes, if the believers neglect their duties then once more they will become dry, barren and carnal.

If there is no repentance and brokenness, no lifting up the  Lord Jesus Christ, no spirit of prayer or spirit of holiness present in the revived persons life, then the question is, what has been revived?   

 

John Wesley and the Methodist

If we go to the year 1766 we find John Wesley had developed a “second blessing” theology.  It was John Fletcher (Wesley's co-worker) who called this second blessing a “baptism in the Holy Spirit”.  The seed was now sown.  During the nineteenth century it is said that thousands of Methodist claimed to have received this experience.  Their meetings would sometimes involve much sighing and groaning which they believed to be the work of the Spirit amongst them. This would be in accordance with Romans 8 v 26-27, however to what extent this was the Spirit or a work of the flesh is difficult now to ascertain. 

While John Wesley was preaching people would sometimes fall to the floor and there was often much groaning and crying out in anguish as those listening to him, being under powerful conviction, were filled with fear, horror and despair as they saw the state of their souls before a holy God. This would often be turned into love, joy and peace as they praised God on being set free from their sinful desires that they might serve God.

There were many manifestations in Wesley’s meetings, however he did not take for granted that they were all of God but rather discerned between that which was of God, that which was of man and that which was from Satan.  This was not an easy task.  He said that the danger in regard to these extraordinary manifestations was to either see them as essential to the inward work of the Spirit or to condemn them altogether as not being of God.  There were many genuine cases but as time went on he saw that Satan would mimic the work of God in order to discredit the whole.  He said that every spiritual manifestation should be checked by the “Law and Testimony”, and that the resulting fruit in a persons life should be noted.

As for the spiritual manifestation of uncontrollable laughter, where the people could not resist it, this he believed was the work of Satan amongst the people and prayed for deliverance for those who were affected   When Charles Wesley met a member of the French Prophets the man started to make noises like a turkey which the Wesley's perceived as the work of the devil. John Wesley warned his followers to beware of such activities, and to line everything up with the “law and the testimony”.  Speaking with the tongues of men and angels is one thing, making animal noises is quite another.  

After The Wesley Brothers

In 1831 Edward Irving was a popular Presbyterian Pastor in London.  When tongues and prophecy were experienced in his church a lot of ministers lost respect for him.  It was Edward Irving who established the theology that the glossolalia was the sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  It was in 1830 that Edward Irving heard that the gift of tongues and prophecy were being manifested back in Scotland.

On Page 300 of the book, “The Life and Letters of St Paul”  by David Smith, which was written in the early 1900’s, we read that Mary Campbell was a “young woman of saintly character”.  It was as a group of Christians were gathered round her couch praying for the restoration of the gifts that she started to speak in tongues.  She later was miraculously healed.  The saintly Thomas Erskine of Linlathen spent six weeks at this time with the “devout” Macdonald brothers and said that he believed that the miraculous character of these gifts was of God.  

Around the years 1867 to 1880 many of the American Holiness churches were recognizing the need for a fresh baptism in the Spirit and after 1875 they began to stress the Pentecostal aspects of the second blessing.  However they saw the "second blessing" as the sanctification of the believer rather than an enduement of power.

Around 1880 even in the Methodist Holiness churches there were different views on holiness.  Some rejected the holiness teaching, others saw it as a gradual work in the believers life while still others saw it as a faith work that needed appropriating immediately.  Some believed that the witness of the Spirit to our spirit was the eradication of the sinful nature instead of what is believed today as the God given assurance of our faith.  Some of the Holiness movements leaders started to promote teachings such as ‘sinless perfection’, which caused them to lose a lot of favour with other churches.

After 1875 the Keswick movement flourished in England and this too preached the need for an enduement of power for service.  The Keswick convention laid the doctrinal groundwork for the approaching outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Keswick doctrine denied the eradication of the sinful nature, saw the baptism with the Spirit as being for enduement of power and the manifestation of the gifts rather than for sanctification, which had been maintained in the Holiness churches,  At this time they were experiencing the enduement of power but the gifts of the Spirit were not so much in evidence.

R. A. Torrey, D. L. Moody, A. J. Gordon and A. B. Simpson in America followed the Keswick teaching and laid the foundation in America for the Pentecostal revival.  

By the late 1800’s men like D. L. Moody and F. B. Meyer were looking for and hoping for a latter day outpouring of the Spirit, another Pentecost.  In his message titled “The Holy Ghost”, D, L. Moody said, “Another great work of the Holy Spirit, which is not accomplished, is the bringing on of the latter-day glory. In a few more years - I know not when, I know not how - the Holy Spirit will be poured out in a far different style from the present.” 

F. B. Meyer in his forward to the book “The Ministry of the Spirit” by A. J. Gordon, 1896, hopes “that the age would close with a world wide Pentecost. And there are many symptoms abroad that this also is in the purpose of God.”

By the time the 1900’s came, the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit for enduement of power was well established.  It is said that people like A. B. Simpson, A. J. Gordon, Jessie Penn-Lewis, R. A. Torrey and  D. L. Moody all believed in the baptism in the Holy Spirit and all professed to have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.  However they did not see tongues as the scriptural sign of having received the baptism.  Simpson did not join with the rising Pentecostals because of the difference in the tongues issue also he wasn't happy with some of the manifestations at Azusa Street.  Torrey, due to the many dubious manifestations at Azusa Street rejected it as a move of God.  

On the first of January 1901, a young woman who was a student of Bethel Bible College in Topeka Kansas (which was run by Charles Fox Parham), asked that hands be laid on her that she might receive the Holy Spirit as in the book of Acts.  Her name was, Agnes N. Ozman, after prayer she was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke with new tongues.  Other students at the bible college were also baptized in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues.  Between 1901 and 1906 revival of the Pentecostal experience with speaking in tongues broke out in different American cities as the fire was spread by Parham and these students.

Agnes Ozman had previously been to the D. L. Moody bible school in 1894 and had also been a student of A. B. Simpson in New York.  She learned much about the Holy Spirit from A. B. Simpson and his colleague Steven Merritt.

William Seymour learned about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and went to hear C. F. Parham teach about it.  He was invited to be the Pastor of a small church in Los Angeles.  Shortly after arriving he spoke on the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues, he was locked out and barred from holding any more meetings there.  The church was affiliated with the Holiness Church Association of Southern California, who also condemned him.

He was invited by some Baptist of North Bonnie Brae Street to take some gospel meetings in their house.  It wasn’t long before several of these saints were baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues.    Word spread and more people joined them, including those from the church he had been barred from.  The house could not contain the large numbers that gathered so they had the meetings on the lawn.  Eventually a large building was bought on Azusa Street, where people from all over the country came to find out what was happening.  

The leaders at this time were very conscious of the need to keep Jesus exalted in the right place and to beware of seeking signs and wonders. W. W. Menzies in his book 'Anointed to Serve', on page 54 quotes an observer, A. W. Orwig, as saying, 

"In the first year of the work in Los Angeles I heard W. J. Seymour, an acknowledged leader, say, 'Now don't go from the meeting and talk about tongues, but try to get people saved'  Again I heard him counsel against all unbecoming or fleshly demonstrations, and everything not truly of the Holy Spirit.  Wise words indeed.  There had been some extremes and still are in places. But these things no more represent the real Pentecostal work than do the follies in various churches represent genuine Christianity.  Brother Seymour constantly exalted the atoning work of Christ and the Word of God, and very earnestly insisted on thorough conversion, holiness of heart and life, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit." 

A big influence on the emerging Pentecostal movement in America were the Holiness churches and also the Fundamentalist who were influenced by J. N. Darby in their style of meetings.  Many of the Holiness churches merged into the Pentecostal Holiness Church, others, along with many independent churches  became the Assemblies of God.

In England, the experience of the baptism in the Spirit produced many evangelist.  The two brothers, George and Stephen Jeffreys with the experience of the Welsh revival still very much alive, and having been  baptized with the Holy Spirit, evangelized around  England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Elim movement in England was a result of the work of George Jeffreys.  Stephen Jeffreys joined with the Assemblies of God in England. Both Elim and the AoG consisted of new converts plus many Christians who were forced out of the older denominations because of their Pentecostal experience.  Many independent churches joined with the AoG.

The baptism in the Spirit is a wonderful gift, given by the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ to all believers throughout the church age.  The gifts of the Spirit are given by the Spirit to the church for her edification, exhortation and comfort.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit will empower a Christian to be more effective in their ministry.  However, even after their initial baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Christian still needs a continual infilling of the Spirit to have an effectual ministry.

It is a great mistake for any Christian to believe that because they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit they cannot be deceived either now or in the future.  The Christian needs to be continually discerning the spirit and the teaching that they come into contact with.

It is also a mistake for that Christian to believe they are now perfect and unable to sin. The baptism in the Holy Spirit does not make an immature person into a mature person.

To judge someone as not having been baptized in the Spirit because they have become deceived in some area, or are overcome by temptation is the same mistake as saying that this experience makes one infallible.

While at Antioch, the Apostle Peter, because of fear of those who were of the circumcision (who had recently arrived at Antioch), "walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel", causing others to also fall into error.  Paul did not judge Peter as never having the truth but rather corrected his error (Galatians 2 v 11– 14). 

Discernment ministries are there to point out the error of different teaching so that the Christian can humbly and prayerfully seek God for the truth.  If the discernment ministries are speaking truth then the Spirit will witness to it.

 

The Charismatic Movement.

Around the 1960's 70's and 80's the traditional denominations became open to the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit. This brought with it many problems because each denomination had different beliefs and emphasized different opinions concerning the work of the Holy Spirit.  Some would accept the gifts of the Spirit were for today but would reject that the baptism in the Spirit was a separate work from salvation.  This brought with it many watered down manifestations that completely lacked any spiritual witness or anointing.  

In his excellent little booklet on the "Charismatic Movement in the Historic Churches" 1972, W. T. H. Richards recognized these dangers.  He wrote:

 "WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT AND THE TRADITIONAL PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT?

On the surface there appears to be very little difference between the two, but in fact there is a great deal of difference. I am not suggesting that the one is more lively or spiritual than the other, but that there are important distinctions and maybe if we look at some of them it will help us to understand the position better. Notice first of all, then, there is a difference in structure.

When the world-wide Pentecostal Movement came into being, the pioneers felt that the correct thing to do was to form a fellowship of like-minded believers who agreed upon sound evangelical principles. Throughout the world we have Spirit-filled Pentecostal fellowships with their own system of Church government and procedure, maintaining their own identity, united together for the purpose of fellowship and witness. I am not advocating denominational systems and I do not think God is very interested in them, but He is interested in the people. God blesses men, not systems. The great need is for dedicated men.  The danger is always present that people become denominationally minded. We must always remember as Ministers of Jesus Christ that it is our duty to build the Church of Christ, not a denomination. One good thing, however, that can be said about having a loosely formed Fellowship with its practical guidelines and Statement of Fundamental Truths is that at least we know where it stands and what is expected of its adherents. I believe I am right in saying that the Statement of Fundamental Truths would be almost identical in all the groups within the Pentecostal Movement throughout the world. This, if it does not act as a safeguard against error, at least highlights it.

The neo-Pentecostal Movement is quite different. This started about ten years ago. The recognized Charismatic leaders in Britain, America, Canada and other countries are still members of their own particular denominations, some of which are Church of England, Methodists, Presbyterians and Catholics; denominations which, incidentally, are themselves rife with modernism and humanism. Some leaders are completely independent of any local church or organization. One can see how difficult it would be, even if there was a desire to do so, to create a Fellowship and formulate a Statement of Belief that would be agreeable to them all, even on a broad basis.

It is also difficult to see how, in its present state, the neo-Pentecostal movement could promote and co-ordinate a united missionary work, train young people for the ministry or exercise discipline. As I have stated, I am not advocating the formation of a new fellowship or that this should ever be done. I am simply pointing out one of the main differences which could influence the effectiveness of the neo-Pentecostals.

He went on to say, 

"Then, further, we notice that there is a marked difference also in policy.

This is seen in several ways, but one of the most important, which could have far reaching repercussions, and to which I have already referred, is holding united public meetings with baptized Catholics who are still convinced that the doctrine of Rome is right, and, going even much further than that, seeking dialogue with the Catholic hierarchy. A statement in the magazine Renewal of January, 1972, reads:

'After preliminary discussions an agreement has been reached between the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church, some Pentecostal churches and participants in the charismatic movement within the Protestant and Anglican churches to enter into dialogue. This international dialogue, extending over a period of five years, will consist of yearly meetings during which the theological discussions will focus on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian and the Churches. The conversations will direct their attention to both the experiential and theological dimensions of fullness of life in the Holy Spirit.'

The statement that "some Pentecostal churches" will be taking part in this discussion in June of this year is misleading, for no recognized Pentecostal body will be represented, certainly not Assemblies of God of this country.

The General Secretary made this clear in a statement in Redemption Tidings recently. One wonders then whom they are representing? On whose behalf are they speaking?

Is not this being rather presumptuous? Is not this dialogue giving the Catholic hierarchy false hopes?

One would have thought that the reticence of the Pentecostal bodies to join in such dialogue would have caused these brethren to hesitate here. Warnings to be cautious in this matter have been given a number of times by godly, mature brethren. Donald Gee, for instance, gave some wise guidance in a statement in the magazine Pentecost, when he warned against giving recognition to a denomination whose claims we reject and added, 'The only possible form of unity on a realistic basis must take the line of personal contacts with individual fellow Christians in other communions where there is a happy discovery of mutual conviction regarding faith and order.' "  

The above quotes are taken from Mr Richards' booklet, which was a result of an address that was delivered by Mr Richards at a session for ministers and their wives at the 1972 conference at Minehead of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain and Ireland.  

 

The Pentecostal Church has had its outstanding ministers in the past and so has the Charismatic ministry with such people as Roger Price of Colchester, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones a charismatic Presbyterian and not forgetting that other well known charismatic Presbyterian A. W. Tozer (these three have now gone to be with the Lord).  The situation with the Pentecostals and Charismatics these days is that many of the safeguards have been abandoned in their desire for spiritual manifestations and unity.  However there are still some of the old guard among the Pentecostals who recognize the dangers sweeping through the modern church and will not compromise on doctrine for the sake of unity.