Thursday, November 3, 2016

Beware of political prophesies this election

The Christian internet is ablaze with many prophetic utterances about the coming election, and just who has God’s anointing for this election. Be careful, prophecy can be confused and distorted by our sub-conscious yearnings or deeply held assumptions.

As a historian let me give a case study of this that happened during the beginning of the Charismatic Revival of the 1970s. It was a prophetic utterance given by David Wilkerson (1931-2011) one of the great figures of that revival. Wilkerson authored the seminal book, the Cross and the Switchblade, which inspired many in the mainline churches to believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit at a time when that was only a “crazy” Pentecostal thing. He went on to found Teen Challenge which did terrific work among addicted inner city kids.

This work is wonderful and still worth reading. It can be gotten HERE

Wilkerson was brought up in a rural Pennsylvania Appalachian town in a fundamentalist and Pentecostal environment. Among other things he learned from his pastors and neighbors was that the Catholic Church was the “hoar of Babylon” of the Bible and the Pope an anti-Christ, etc.

To his surprise, and to many other Pentecostals, the Charismatic Renewal broke out among Episcopalians (1960) who looked and smelled (incense and all) like Catholics, and even believed in many Catholic doctrines, like a “real presence” in Holy Communion. And then (oh no!) the Holy Spirit moved and began a revival among Catholics (1967) and thousands and thousands of Catholics were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, etc. Most disconcerting to Wilkerson and many other Pentecostals, they did not leave the Catholic Church, but in fact became more devote Catholics. Something must be wrong somewhere.
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In 1973, Wilkerson spoke at a large inter-denominational charismatic gathering where there were many Catholics. There he issued a strong and lengthy prophecy. It warned of the wrath of God on Ameica, disguised by several years of great prosperity. (He missed the recession of 1974 – or maybe the Holy Spirit did not know it was coming.)  Most importantly, he prophesied that Catholic Bishops and the Pope would clamp down on the Catholic charismatics and force them out of the Catholic Church. They would have to go to Pentecostal churches. This prophecy was published as a paperback book, The Vision (1974) and can still be had at online used book stores.

None of the things he prophesied happened. I believe that Ol’Scratch was using him and his authority, via his sub-conscious yearnings, suspicions and assumptions, to sow confusion into growing Catholic charismatic renewal. That renewal in fact had another decade of great growth. Neither the Bishops nor the Pope ever tried to stop it. In fact, several popes strongly affirmed the renewal. The Catholic Charismatic renewal petered out in the U.S after the 1980s for reasons that are unclear, but it is still going strong in the 3rd World, particularly Brazil and Africa.

So now to this moment in America. Be very wary of prophetic utterances that Trump is God’s man and like Cyrus of the Bible will “rebuild the Temple,” etc. We Christians lost the Culture War and have many unfulfilled longings for a righteous and revived America. But that make us all the more susceptible to prophecies that promise a quick reversal of it all.

In my earlier posting I suggested that it is possible for the Holy Spirit to work revival in America under a Clinton administration as under a Trump administration. In the election of 1800 Thomas Jefferson, a Deist, was elected to the horror of orthodox Christians. They thought the terrors of the French Revolution would soon come to America. That did not happen, and in fact the Second Great Awakening flowered under the Jefferson administration without him even knowing about it. See this HERE

So keep praying for America, and the Holy Spirit send us a new revival, regardless of who is elected.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Clinton Presidency and the Possibility of Revival.

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Hillary Clinton could well be our next president. This is horrifying to many conservative and Evangelical Christians. Indeed, there is much spiritual danger to Christians from a Liberal Supreme Court. Certainly the radical pan-sexuality of recent decades will continue under a Clinton administration. Some Christians are speaking and writing as if this is the definite end of the USA as we know it. That is possible – many things are possible, but it is by no means a given. And the fear, may I say hysteria, in some of the Christian press and blogs are quite high. [1]  

In a fair, and in fact wonderful, interview on NPR radio (Oct. 16) Max Lucado said that the worst thing about the election is that Christians have lost much of their joy by fretting over the poor choice they have this election and its possible aftermath.[2] Beth Moore wrote in her blog that God will still be on his throne the day after election day – probably a revelation to many.[3]

What is missing in most Evangelical and Spirit-filled Christians is a trust in the power of prayer. God can send revival to shake and change a nation, even when it has fallen to a low state such as we have experienced in the last decades.
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Let me give a historical example, the election of 1800. That election pitted President John Adams, running for his second term, and leader of the Federalist Party, against Thomas Jefferson, leader of the Democratic-Republican party. Adams was, solidly pious and orthodox. Jefferson was none of those things. In fact, he was a Deist who believed in a God “out there” who did not interfere in creation, i.e. miracles did not happen, even the ones in the Bible.  Jefferson famously took a Bible and cut out all of its miracles, leaving Jesus as a nice moral teacher. 

Image result for thomas jeffersonFurther, Jefferson was an early advocate of the French Revolution, and still supported it when it turned violent. Adams and most traditional Christians were aghast that the French Revolution had morphed into its terror, guillotine, and a fiercely anti-Christian stand. 

In the campaign if 1799 the Federalists made much of Jefferson’s radicalism and assured everyone that if he won American would become just like France, guillotines in Washington, women raped in the streets, ministers killed and churches burned down. How is that for catastrophic expectations? The Federalist campaign propaganda seems funny to us today, but it was deadly serious then.

That Christian propaganda was not prophetic. In fact, Jefferson is today ranked as a “pretty good” (but not great) president. He did not import any guillotines, and the morality of the country did not fall apart.  

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Spiritually, Jefferson’s Deist beliefs had little influence on the religious atmosphere in America. Rather Americans experienced the Second Great Awakening (1799-1820+), which transformed the nation into a majority Evangelical nation and practically knocked out Deism. Since Deism is a demonic idea with “principalities and powers” under-girding it, it never really disappears but lingers in individual persons, as in the village atheist, or in seminaries as liberal theology, Unitarian Churches, etc.

The Second Great Awakening flowered during the Jefferson administration. It began on the American frontier starting 1798 or so, caught fire in 1799, and had its greatest single revival event in 1801 at Cane Ridge, Tennessee. The revival at Cane Ridge attracted perhaps 30,00 folks and practically emptied the Tennessee frontier.
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The Second Great Awakening invented the “Camp Meeting” where people came together in open fields and brought wagons and tents and food to stay a few days.[4] The best thing is that the camp meeting idea spread, and soon the Methodists and Baptist were all having “camp meeting” in many locations. Revival fervor and spiritual phenomenon such as the “falling” (being slain in the Spirit) spread through the country. The end result was that church-going increased from about 17% in the 1780s to over 40% by the 1820s.

Thomas Jefferson had no clue as to what happening to the USA spiritually.  He died in his belief that “fanatical” (i.e. Evangelical) Christianity would disappear in a generation. The last laugh was on him!

In fact, the highly evangelical Methodist denomination took to camp meetings like a duck to water, and with the camp meetings used as an evangelical event, experienced its greatest growth. Methodism became the major Protestant denomination in America by the Nineteenth Century. The Methodists continued to be an evangelical and revival denomination (“Shouting Methodists”) until the seminaries poisoned their graduates with various liberal types of theology (Deism reincarnated as “Death of God” theology, Liberation theology, etc., in the Twentieth Century.

Back to the Second Great Awakening. Without taking away anything from the sovereignty of God to bring revival to His church, it seems that there was a relationship between the Second Great Awakening and remnant, faithful congregations who prayed for revival all during the 1790s. These were mostly small frontier churches of Scottish Presbyterian origins. Some of the pastors had memories of the great Scottish revivals of the 1740s which culminated in the great Cambuslang revival of 1743, and they wanted the same for their new nation. Many prayed, "Come again as at Cambusland!"

Significantly, both the Scottish revivals and the Second Great Awakening were all deeply sacramental.[5] That is, they revolved around a three-day program of preaching, repentance and confession that culminated in a multi-denomination communion service on Sunday. After the 1820s that sacramental emphasis declined, and revivals centered on preaching and conversions.

The “take home” from this historical information is not that we are to be unconcerned about the possible continued Paganization of America under a Clinton administration. Certainly we must vote for and support local governors, congressmen and Senators who oppose this. But principally, we must regain our trust in prayer, particularly in united prayer, to bring about a new and great revival. One that would be as long lasting as the Second Great Awakening, and as powerful as the Azusa St. Revival of 1906 or the Welsh Revival of 1904. In the Welsh Revival God graciously sent his cloud of glory among the villages and towns in Wales which produced instant conversions. There are stories of men fleeing the glory cloud and warning their drinking buddies in the bars, “Run, or you’ll lose your ale!”[6]

We Christians, Evangelicals/Pentecostals/charismatics, had a strategy back in the 1980’s to take over the Republican party. We would then fill the Congress and courts with God-fearing Christians and reverse the forced secularization that has been afflicted on us since the 1960s, as in the end of prayer in schools.

That plot did not work. The Republican Party used its Christian base to achieve power, but instead pushed its own secular agenda of lower taxes and smaller government. These may be good ideas (or maybe not) but they are not intrinsically Christian.  In fact, in their Ayn Rand, libertarian form, these ideas have become an anti-Christian Trojan horse for Paganaization from a different direction.[7]

So by November 9th many Christians will find themselves with no political savior. (I presume Trump will be defeated and largely marginalized.) Thus they will have only God to rely on as savior of our nation. What be a splendid occasion and a wonderful opportunity for the cultivation of fervent, united prayer!

Let me suggest Christian communities go about praying for revival in a more disciplined and systematic way that what we are accustomed to. The remnant frontier communities of the 1790 did just that, setting aside special days for fasting and prayer for revival. Can we not organize “concerts of prayer” in which churches alternate hosting praise, prayer and intercession meetings for a group of united churches?

Hey, pastors out there. Make these meeting into a two or three-day event, with Holy Communion too, and we could very well have multiple Cane Ridges going on all over the country. Do we have faith to imagine some ACLU lawyer running up the steps of the Supreme Court and yelling, “Get out before the glory cloud hits, or you’ll make prayer legal in schools again!”

[1] See the October 2016 edition of Charisma Magazine, in which Steve Strang openly endorsed Donald Trump for president.
[2] See also, Christianity Today, “Max Lucado’s Hope for This Election Season,” Podcast, at:
[3] Beth Moore, The LPM blog, The Scandel of Election 2016.” Posted October 18, 2016.
[4] I suggested in my book, Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revivals (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), that the Holy Spirit inspired the camp meeting to have the same spiritual dynamics as the Jewish Feast of Booths. That is, people were taken out of their homes (their emblem of social standing) and shared food and learned the Word and worshiped together.
[5] On the Cane Ridge revival, see Paul Conklin’s. Cane Ridge: America’s Pentecost (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990), and on the Scottish revivals, Leigh Eric Schnidt, Holy Fairs: Scottish Communions and American Revivals in the Early Modern Period (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 1990).  I excerpted as a blog post a chapter from my book Forgotten Power, on the Scottish communion revivals as a blog posting, “The Lord’s Supper and Revival: The Scottish Example.” Posted November 15, 2013.
[6] On the Welch Revival, see Noel Gibbard, Fire on the Altar: A History and Evaluation of the 1904–05 Revival in Wales (Bridgend: Bryntirion Press, 2005).
[7] On this see my blog posting, The Anglican Pentecostal, “The Spiritual Decline and Fall of the Republican Party.” Posted April 6, 2016.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

On the Rejected Colombian Peace Agreement

In a news item some of you may have missed, the Colombian people rejected a proposed peace deal with the FARC. The peace agreement needs to be re-negotiated, and our prayers should be with the negotiators, and with the people of Colombia. We ask the Lord to speed the re-negotiation process and to bring a final settlement to that land.

FARC, the Marxists guerrilla group that has been fighting various Colombian governments for over five decades. FARC has been a darling of the left, supposedly fighting for social justice and the overthrow of the corrupt Colombian government, etc., as in the usual Left narrative.

This is a vast distortion of the truth. Colombia has had democratically elected governments (often ineffective) all this time. Because the FARC has been a Marxist-atheist group with no resources in believing in universal moral principles, as time passed it became increasingly ruthless and corrupt in its own way. Think of what happened in Russia after Lenin took over, no petty corruption – just massive mayhem and slaughter. The FARC’s corruption was in its single-minded search for income regardless of its immoral source, from the drug trade, kidnappings and shake-downs of even small businesses. Their rule in the areas they controlled was punctuated by terror and many massacres. (Not that the government forces and the right-wing militias were guiltless).

What they developed into is the reason they are universally loathed by the Colombian people. Most of the yes vote for the acceptance of the peace agreement was cast by persons who hated the FARC, but thought that the peace agreement was flawed but acceptable. The no vote majority believed the agreement did violence to the sufferings and injustices brought on by the FARC.

For the Christian this was a dilemma. Certainly Christians should love mercy, and personally, although being a staunch anti-Communist all my life (I volunteered for the Vietnam war) I believe I would have voted for the peace agreement. But we cannot so easily write off the many Colombian’s demand for more accountability to the atrocities committed by the FARC.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Flowering of the Charismatic renewal

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The Flowering of the Charismatic Renewal - 1960[1]

            By 1960 there were large numbers of mainline Christians in the United States who were “closet Pentecostals.” They received the Baptism of in the Spirit mostly from contact with such para-church groups as the CFO, FGBMFI, the Schools of Pastoral Care, etc. Some came into the fullness of the Spirit through a direct prayer encounter with God, as in the case of Rufus Moseley. Most had learned to be prudent in manifesting the Gifts in their mainline churches lest they be thrown out, or ostracized as “weird.”
            There was no specific name for that type of Spirit-filled believer, one who exercised the gifts but remained within a mainline congregation. Some of those who received the Baptism of the Spirit were ministers or pastors within the mainline churches, and this posed special problem for them. They were often asked to resign their charges or leave their denominations if they persisted in their Pentecostal ways.
            A few ministers were able to keep their positions in spite of their Pentecostalism. One was a Lutheran, Harald Bredesen, who had a long association the CFO. He had offered to resign his position, but his bishop refused to accept it.  Then in 1957 Bredesen accepted the call as pastor of Mount Vernon Dutch Reformed Church in upper New York. That church soon became the focus of local charismatic activity and worship.[2]
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A handful of other pastors succeeded in openly operating as Spirit filled ministers within their denominations, among these were Fr. Richard Winkler (Episcopal, in Wheaton, Illinois) and the Rev. James Brown (Presbyterian in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania). All of this was low key and unnoticed on a national level. After the renewal became public in 1960, these men came into leadership positions of the general movement. For example, the Rev. Bredesen had a special anointing as a publicist. He seemed to be at the right place and time, and know the important media people. He was quoted and cited many times in the national press and was often on TV.

From Closet Pentecostalism to the mainline:
            The years of “closet Pentecostalism” changed radically when an Episcopal rector of a church in California decided to inform his congregation that he had received the gift of tongues. The subsequent chaos and publicity was providentially molded into what became the start of the “charismatic renewal.”
            The rector, Fr. Dennis Bennett, had begun his church ministry as Congregational minister before becoming an Episcopal priest in 1950. He was well versed in theology and solidly orthodox in belief.[3] He was called to St. Mark’s in Van Nuys, California, where he presided over a growing and affluent congregation.
            In 1959 several members of nearby Episcopal parish received the Baptism of Holy Spirit from Pentecostal friends and were holding “tongues” prayer meetings. The vicar of the church, Fr. Frank Maguire, asked Fr, Bennett to investigate and give his opinion. Fr. Bennett went to see the couple who led the prayer group and was intrigued. After weeks of conversations with them, and of reviewing church doctrine of the Holy Spirit, reviewing the Book of Acts, as well as the Book of Common Prayer, he concluded that the Baptism of in the Spirit and tongues were legitimate. By November of 1959 both he and Fr. Maguire received the Baptism of in the Holy Spirit. The prayer group expanded to include members of St. Mark’s. 

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            Fr. Bennette attempted to keep everything low-key as the renewal continued to spread in his parish. But rumors and exaggerations also began to spread. To clarify the situation Fr. Bennett felt it was important to go public (Sunday, August 3, 1960).
            I set aside the preaching scheduled for the day, and went into the pulpit at the three morning services and simply shared what had happened to me. I appealed to the people to dismiss the ridiculous rumors.
            The general reaction was open and tender – until the end of the second service. At that point my second assistant snatched off his vestments, threw them on the altar and stalked out of the church, crying, “I can no longer work with this man!”
            That blew the lid off. After the service concluded, outside on the patio, those who had set themselves to get rid of the movement of the Holy Spirit began to harangue the arriving and departing parishioners. One man stood on a chair shouting, “throw out the damn tongue-speakers!”
            …The contrast was amazing. On the one hand was the unreasoning fury of the “opposition,” while the people who had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit were quietly moving around telling their story, faces shining with the love of God.[4]

            The treasurer and one of his vestrymen joined the opposition and asked Fr. Bennett to resign.  Fr. Bennett announced his resignation at the third service. He did not have to resign, but felt he needed time to sort out his wonderful but revolutionary experiences of the past months. Immediately, the Bishop of Los Angeles wrote a letter to the parishioners of St. Mark’s forbidding then to speak in tongues in any parish function. Those involved in the charismatic prayers left St. Mark’s but continued in two home prayer cells not under church auspices.

            One of the lay leaders, Mrs. Jean Stone, had excellent social and press connections and managed to get national press coverage of Fr. Bennett’s dramatic Sunday in both Newsweek and Time. The Newsweek article headlined “Rector and a Rumpus” (July, 4 1960). Both articles presented the appearance of Pentecostalism at St. Mark’s in surprisingly positive terms. The Time article began:

            The early Christians were much impressed by the phenomenon known as glossolalia (literally, "speaking with tongues"), which appeared at the first Pentecost: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." To the skeptical, the "other tongues" sounded like gibberish, but the faithful found special meanings in the spontaneous outpouring of sounds.
            Peter saw the "gift of tongues" in a group of Gentiles as evidence that the Holy Ghost was present and they should be baptized forthwith. Paul cited it as a notable Christian gift, and though he had it himself ("I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all"), he warned in his first letter to the Corinthians against letting it get out of hand. The general practice lasted into the 3rd century. Now glossolalia seems to be on its way back in U.S. churches—not only in the uninhibited Pentecostal sects but even among Episcopalians, who have been called "God's frozen people."[5]

Meanwhile, Mrs. Stone organized the Blessed Trinity Society to promote the Pentecostal experience among Episcopalians. The society published various pamphlets on Holy Spirit baptism and Trinity Magazine, and mailed it to extensive list of Episcopalians all over the country.  When Dennis Bennett’s witness of how he received the Baptism of in the Holy Spirit appeared in Voice Magazine (The FGBMFI journal) the society mailed a copy of the magazine to every Episcopal priest in the country. For five years Trinity and Voice magazines were the only non-Pentecostal magazines that advocated practicing of the Gifts of the Spirit. The Blessed Trinity Society organized meetings and conferences on the Holy Spirit which attracted persons from many denominations. It eventually disbanded, but not before it did its providential work of publicizing that one can practice the Gifts of the Spirit and still live within an existing mainline church.
St: Luke’s of Seattle:
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After Fr. Bennett resigned from St. Mark’s, the Episcopal bishop of Olympia (Washington State) invited Fr. Bennett to take over a small parish in Seattle that was on the verge of closing, St. Luke’s.  Bennett accepted the charge and in a year increased the membership form seventy-five to over three hundred. More importantly, St. Luke’s became the center of the new Pentecostalism for much of the West Coast. Visitors came to see what tongues were about, or to attend one of the conferences Fr. Bennett organized on the Gifts of the Sprit. Fr. Bennett also received invitations from all over the country, including many FGBMFI chapters or conventions, to share his testimony and experiences as an Episcopalian openly living the Spirit-filled life. At first, these new Pentecostals in the mainline churches, like Bennett, were called “neo-Pentecostals” – an accurate if clumsy name. “Charismatic” was suggested by the Rev. Harold Bredeson in Trinity Magazine and this word soon gained acceptance.

            A major factor for the wide success of the charismatic movement was Fr. Dennis Bennett himself. He was the Episcopal rector out of Hollywood central casting: handsome, dignified, theologically well educated, and a great speaker. He could explain how the baptism of the Holy Spirit was not only good theology, but how it could help every congregation and denomination of the mainline churches.

            Significantly, he also reassured his fellow Episcopalians that there was no conflict between being filled with the Spirit and the great liturgies of the church. In fact, one complimented the other. He related that one Sunday, when his assistant was celebrating the liturgy at St. Luke’s, he sat in the congregation with his family:

“As I listened to the familiar words of the Book of Common Prayer, and the readings of the Scripture lessons, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the beauty and significance of it.  For the first time in my life, to my remembrance, I was moved to tears by a church service!”[6]
            In 1973 Bennett and several others initiated Episcopal Renewal Ministries (ERM),[7] an organization dedicated to spreading the charismatic renewal among Episcopal churches. It did this through conferences, literature and through it journal, Acts 29.  ERM met with a good degree of success, and by the 1980s over 500 Episcopal parishes were renewed, i.e., their clergy and member were predominantly charismatic.

            Unfortunately, the number of renewed parishes was insufficient to turn around a denomination that numbered over 8,000 parishes and was becoming among the most theologically liberal and apostate of the mainline churches.  This was mostly due to the fact that the ERM did not make major headway in altering the various Sadducaic theologies that were rampant in Episcopal seminaries. 

            By the mid 1960’s the example of the charismatic renewal in the Episcopal Church had helped rally the “closet charismatics” in other denominations to form alliances and organizations within their own denominations. Larry Christenson led the Lutherans, Tommy Tyson the Methodists, Harold Brown the Presbyterians. Even some Baptists, generally the most strongly cessationist of Protestants, began coming into the renewal.[8]

            The Pentecostals were genuinely surprised by the outpouring of the Spirit on the mainline churches. Pentecostal leaders had long written off these churches as hopelessly mired in liberal theology and apostasy. They considered them beyond the reach of God’s redemptive grace and renewal. That the renewal began among Episcopalians was especially surprising, as the Episcopal Church was notorious for its theologians who pioneered the trendy, Sadducaic and utterly faithless “death of God” theology of the times. Further, the Episcopal church, with its vestments, liturgy and strongly sacramental theology, was very close to the Roman Catholic Church – and any Pentecostal preacher would tell you, THAT church was the “hoar of Babylon” and “Church of the anti-Christ.”[9]

            There was another element of surprise, perhaps chagrin, among Pentecostals at the charismatic renewal. This dealt with the fact that the Pentecostal movement had originated and grown mostly among churches that were descended from, and subscribed to, the old Holiness moral and dress codes. Good Pentecostals did not smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, go to movies, or do anything “worldly.” Pentecostal women wore no makeup and dressed with great modesty. They assumed their lifestyle was necessary for one to be a sincere Christian and to receive and maintain empowering presence of the Spirit.[10]

            The Holiness code of how a Christian should behave, look like and dress was ignored by these new charismatics, especially the Episcopalians. They still liked their occasional martinis or cup of wine, and, worse, the Holy Spirit did not seem to mind! Their women wore lipstick and makeup, and wore fashionable dresses or pants suits, yet they spoke in tongues and seemed to love the Lord! In other words, the Holiness behavior and dress codes looked more and more like an unnecessary legalism. Pentecostals began to notice, especially their women and teens.[11]

Catholic Pentecostalism:

            For the Pentecostals another and bigger shock was yet to come. The Catholics started to get the Spirit too, and in huge numbers!
Image result for Duquesne catholic charismatic renewal            It began in 1967 among college students and their professors at two Catholic universities, Duquesne and Notre Dame.[12] Two lay Catholic theology instructors at Duquesne University, Ralf Keifer and Patrick Bourgeois, had read David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade[13] and John Sherrill’s They Speak With Other Tongues,[14] two books which were best sellers at the time. Wanting to have the experiences of the Spirit described in these books, the two professors sought out a charismatic home group led by a Presbyterian laywoman and attended by others from a variety of Protestant churches. On the next meeting both received the Baptism of the Spirit. They began sharing their experience with their Catholic friends and students.

               In February of 1967 Keifer and Bourgeois organized a prayer weekend for Catholic students at Duquesne, many of whom had also read The Cross and the Switchblade. They were determined to seek God’s will and meditate on first chapters of the book of Acts. By the time the weekend was over practically all of them had received the Baptism of the Sprit and had spoken in tongues. This group continued to meet, and visitors from Notre Dame came and were also baptized in the Holy Spirit.

            A major breakthrough at Notre Dame happened on March 13th at the home of Ray Ballard. Ballard was the president of the South Bend chapter of the FGBMFI as well as a deacon of a local Assemblies of God church. He also hosted a mid-week pray meeting in the basement of his home. He was used to hosting persons from every Protestant denomination, but the telephone call asking permission for a group of Catholic students and faculty to visit was a bit intimidating. Ballard called several Pentecostal ministers to attend in order to answer any theological questions the Catholic visitors might have.

            The Catholics who came included Kevin Ranaghan, a graduate student in theology, and six other students.[15] After a brief lesson on the Gifts of the Spirit by one of the Pentecostal ministers the Catholics asked for the Baptism of in the Spirit. They were encircled by the others and laid hands on for the Baptism. Within minutes most were speaking in tongues, and all experienced a powerful impartation.

            A retired Pentecostal missionary present asked the Catholics, “Now that you have received the Holy Spirit, when do you plan to leave the Catholic Church?” The astonished students insisted they would not leave their church. The missionary added, “Then you will lose the gift of the Spirit.”[16] The missionary’s expectation was that this group of Catholics, like others he had seen before him, would leave the Catholic Church. Their affirmation to continue within the Catholic Church as Spirit-filled Catholics was the defining moment in launching the Catholic charismatic renewal.

            This could not have happened a decade earlier. The great Catholic council, Vatican II ended in 1965. It began by Pope John XXIII declaring he wished a new breath of freshness to come into the Church. The discussions and documents of Vatican II created an entirely new possibility of ecumenical exchange between Protestants and Catholics. The Catholic Church now called Protestants “separated brethren,” not heretics. Restrictions on Catholics attending Protestant services were eased. The documents of Vatican II, drafted by the Belgium’s Cardinal Suenens (later a major figure in the Catholic charismatic renewal) actually included several paragraphs urging the “charismas” be received by all Catholics. It also encouraged a stronger role of laity in Church life.[17]  Thus, persons like Kevin Ranaghans and instructors Keifer and Bourgeois, who had followed the developments of the Council, understood what was happening to them and their students as within the new Catholic openness to the Holy Spirit.

            During the weekend of April 7-9 of 1967 about one hundred students and faculty from Duquesne and Notre Dame met for a weekend of prayer and reflection on what had happened to them. All of this was reported favorable in two national Catholic journals, The National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor. From then on, the Catholic charismatic Renewal went on the “fast forward.” The Notre Dame campus became the center of yearly conferences of Catholic charismatics.  The second yearly conference in March of 1968 attracted about 150 attendees. The third conference in 1969 brought 450, the forth 1,300, and the fifth in 1971 over 5,000. By then the movement had begun spreading to the Catholic Church in other countries. In 1976 the conference attracted 30,000 participants, and it was decided that this was unwieldy and henceforth the Catholics would attend regional conferences.

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            The Catholic charismatic renewal had two unique features. First is the absence of any form of anti-intellectualism or fundamentalism that characterized the original Pentecostal movement. The Catholic renewal was birthed amidst two Catholic universities and from the beginning attracted superb theologians and scholars to its ranks. Early on, for instance, Fr. Kilian McDonnell, who had from the early 1960s studied and dialogued with Protestants and Pentecostals, joined the ranks of the renewal. He served to present the case for an orthodox Catholic Pentecostalism to the American bishops, some of whom had some doubts about the movement.[18] Fr. Francis MacNutt, a Dominican priest who had received the baptism of the Spirit at a CFO, began writing about the gifts of healing. Many others could be cited.

            Another singular factor of the Catholic charismatics was that it was led by lay leadership that sprang out of Christian “covenant communities.” Two covenant communities in were particularly important for the beginning of the Catholic charismatic renewal: The People of Praise community at Notre Dame and Word of God at Ann Arbor Michigan.[19]

            Covenant communities are an attempt to live out the picture given in the book of Acts of the Jewish/Christian community. In general, these communities developed as groups of families, often with attached singles, living in close proximity in order to better share as life of prayer, fellowship, accountability and the education of their children. The covenant communities gave the Catholic renewal a core of “shock troops” to organize, advertise and propagate the renewal with an effectiveness not seen before. 
            The advantages given to the lay leaders by these communities were not just spiritual encouragement and support, but practical things such as child care when a leader was called to a conference or ministry. The covenant communities supplied the leadership for the “Catholic Renewal Services,” which prepared conferences, including the huge national conferences at Notre Dame, recorded cassette tapes (the new medium of the times), booklets and position papers on the Charismatic renewal to be used by Catholic charismatics all over the nation – and the world. Out of these communities also came the staff of New Covenant magazine, the charismatic monthly for Catholics, and Servant Books, a major publishing house for books on the renewal.

            Throughout parts of this book, we have been tracing how the Holy Spirit has been influencing individuals and groups to recover the “earthy” Hebraic character of early Christianity. Here in the covenant communities is another, often overlooked, example of this process.  Unlike traditional monastic communities, the covenant communities made no demands for celibacy, nor was private property abolished. Covenant communities centered on enhanced family life and normally have an intense “outreach” and evangelism component of their corporate lives. Thus they have avoided the pitfall of the Hellenistic-monastic model of desert Christianity (see chapter 00).
A publishing house for charismatics: Logos International:

            For the first years of the renewal there was no national charismatic magazine other that Voice (FGBMFI) and Trinity (Episcopalism). This was remedied with the appearance of Logos Journal begun in 1971. It was published by a Christian businessman active in the FGBMFI, from Plainfield, New Jersey, Daniel Malachuk. Logos Journal carried articles from and about the whole spectrum of renewalist authors and teachers including the “Word Faith” ministers such as Kenneth Hagin, but including more traditional Pentecostal leaders such as Kathryn Kuhlman.

            Even before that, in 1966, Malachuk began a publishing house, “Logos International,” with the publication a book that was an expose of spiritualism written by and ex-medium, Raphael Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit.[20]  The book became a best seller. Malachuk’s next major success was the publication of Nicky Cruz’s book, Run, Baby Run, the exciting story of the conversion to the Spirit-led life of a gang leader in New York City.[21] That book sold eight million copies. Malachuck went full time into publishing and followed with a string of successful charismatic and Pentecostal works, including Fr. Dennis Bennett’s classic Nine O’clock in the Morning (1970).[22]  Logos International books printed an incredible 45 million copies from 1966 to 1981.[23] In the mid-1970s it was publishing 50 titles of year from Pentecostal and charismatic authors.

            Probably nothing else demonstrates the shift of spirituality away from other-worldly Hellenistic Christianity, to the new this-worldly and Hebraic spirituality of the charismatic renewal than the books published by Logos International. Many of its authors incorporated and combined the prosperity doctrine of New Thought with Faith Idealism from E.W. Kenyon and Kenneth Hagin. The most salient example of this was the books by Harold Hill. Hill was a businessman and electrical engineer who had ruined his life with alcoholism until he cried out to God in desperation. He found himself led to AA meeting where he gave his life to Christ and began an amazing turnaround. His life became a Holy Spirit adventure of restoration and joy

            In his first and most influential book, How to Live Like a King’s Kid he described one incident after another in which amazing and miraculous outcomes result from calling on Jesus and the power of the Holy Ghost.[24] For example, a power company was having trouble debugging new equipment which was indispensable for its business.  The manager called him and explained:
“We thought we could find the trouble. We had the technicians from General Electric and our own technicians working for two weeks, but we’re stumped. What are you going to do about it?’
            Well, praise the Lord, I had a consultant, the best in the business, Jesus himself. …
            I began to pray, and immediately while I was praying, I knew exactly what was wrong. I saw it as clearly as a picture on a TV screen. This was my first experience with diagnosing a serious and complicated electronic problem strictly by the Holy Spirit, and Satan said, “You crazy fool. You’re just imagining that. It’s too ridiculous.” But I was too dumb to doubt the Word of God.
            I walked into the power station, directed entirely by the Holy Spirit. …And so I walked over to the spot that I had seen in the Spirit as being the trouble source and issued instructions to the technicians as to what to do to cure it….
            One of them said, “Yes sir.” Although what I suggested seemed absurd, they had nothing else to try. So they did what I told them, pushed the button, threw the switches, and the thing took off like it was supposed to…”[25]

            In Hill we see the optimism and this-worldliness of New Though, now united not just with orthodox Christian doctrine, but with an unbounded faith that the Holy Spirit will give the believer victorious answers to everyday, “earthy” problems.

            The Logos International books ushered in not only the mix of Christian New Perspective and Faith Idealism mix, but also introduced the charismatic reader into the very this-worldly aspect of life in the body and marriage. Such works as Patricia Banta Kreml’s book, Slim for Him, with its concern for toned and attractive body, H. Page Williams, X-Rated Marriages, would not have been printed by a Christian press any century before the 20th.[26] Though the Puritans develop the first prosperity doctrine (See chapter 00) and had a high view of marriage, they were also reluctant to write about sexuality even within Christian marriage.

            The reality is that the Church as whole lacked a Biblically sound doctrine of sex and marriage – the product of its Hellenistic heritage. Christians claimed that only parental education was the proper venue for this matter – which were almost universally inadequate. All of which means that sexuality was not written about from a Christian perspective until the decades of the mid-20th Century – a horrible gap. Dan Malachuk‘s Logos International played an important role in providing an end to this gap.

            Logos International books covered the whole spectrum of Spirit-filled authors. Logos books included many titles from traditional Pentecostal authors such as Jack Hayford, Jimmy Swaggart and David Wilkerson. It published books by the new charismatic televangelists such Pat Robinson and Jim Bakker, and internationally known charismatics such as Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho of Korea. Logos also published books authored by CFO alumni, such as, Harold Bredesen, Rufus Moseley, and especially Agnes Sanford. We had already mentioned that the Logos edition of The Healing Light (1972) was a key healing text of the early renewal. (see chapter 00) Logos also published most of Mrs. Sanford’s later works as well, such as her autobiography Sealed Orders, Twice Seven Words, and her prophetic classic, Creation Waits.[27]

            Malachuk’s Logos International and his Logos Journal crashed into bankruptcy in 1981 in spite of excellent book sales. The problem stemmed from Malachuck’s unwise attempt to publish a weekly charismatic newspaper, the National Courier, for the Spirit-filled community. It was first class and very expensive, and, like most new ventures, lost money. Malachuk was soon transferring revenues that were rightfully authors’ royalties from Logos International to keep the newspaper going. Bankruptcy came in 1981 with dozens of Logos International writers loosing much of their royalty earnings.[28]

By that time other Christian publishers were doing Pentecostal/charismatic writers regularly. Steve Strang picked up the mantle (and the readership) of Logos Journal with his magazine Charisma, which has remained the banner publication of American charismatics to this day. After bankruptcy, Logos eventually emerged under new management as “Bridge-Logos” and continued to publish charismatic titles, though at a much reduced rate.

As we have shown, the Charismatic Renewal was the product of melding Pentecostalism with Christian New Perspective.  Because Christian New Perspective writers and leaders were from mainline Protestant denominations, they could worship with, fellowship and influence mainline Christians the way Pentecostals could not. Professor Glenn Clark, and the Rev. Frank Laubach are good examples of this. From the 1940s their influence and writings circulated where Pentecostal messages would not have been allowed or even considered.

Later, in the early years of the Charismatic Renewal, with such persons such as Dennis Bennett, Harold Bredesen and Francis MacNutt in leadership positions, it became difficult to consign tongues and the other gifts as delusions of the poor, fanatical and ignorant underclass. In an important sense, the Charismatic Renewal helped make Pentecostalism respectable to mainline Christians.[29]  Partly because the Charismatic Renewal was a “middle class” Pentecostalism, and partly due also to the Charismatic Renewal’s separation from the classic Holiness/Pentecostal legalism, the growth of charismatic churches and influence during the 1970s was astounding.

            Significantly, the doctrine that tongues was a necessary “initial evidence” for the Baptism of in the Spirit was challenged as many Christians began experiencing the Gifts of the Spirit during the Charismatic Renewal without tongues. They could turn to 1 Cor. 12: 7-11 which shows that Paul believed that individual believers experience some, but not all of the gifts of the Spirit.  The focus of the Charismatic Renewal shifted from tongues to healing and worship as the main elements of Spirit-filled life.


The noted Pentecostal scholar, Dr. Jon Ruthven, dis a very positive review on my recent book on Agnes Sanford, which can be accessed HERE

 This work can be bought on Amazon in the paper edition or in an inexpensive Kindle edition. Or you can get the paper copy direct form the publisher at a discount, HERE

My wife has published a funny, inspiring and well written work on our life and ministry together. It can be purchased HERE

[1] There are now fine studies of the Charismatic movement from various perspectives, among the best are: Peter Hocken’s, The Glory and the Shame: Reelections on the 2oth Century outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Gilford: Egal, 1994), and the more recent work by Vinson Synan, An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit, (Grand Rapids: Chosen, 2101). Both authors played significant roles in the renewal, with Synanm being perhaps the single most important facilitator/leader of the renewal.
[2] See his autobiography, Harold Bredesen (“With Pat King”), Yes. Lord (Plainfield: Logos International, 1972).
[3]Bennett’s account of the beginnings of the charismatic renewal in his church is a classic of charismatic literature: Nine O’clock in the Morning . (Plainsfield: Bridge-Logos, 1970).  For a recent and excellet overview of the charismatic renewal in the Episcopal Church see: Dr. William Faupel, “Touched by the Wind: the Charismatic Movement in the Episcipa; Church,” Pneuma Review, posted8/20/2000.
[4] Bennett, Nine O’clock, 75
[5] Time, August 15, 1960.
[6]Bennett, Nine O’clock, 59
[7] Initially called “Episcopal Charismatic Fellowship’ it changed its name to Episcopal Renewal Ministries to avoid complications with the word “charismatic” had in the eyes of many of the more traditional Episcopalians. In 2001 it changed its name again to “Act 29 Ministries” as the Episcopal Church imploded in heresy and apostasy.
[8]For instance, Dr. Howard Ervin , one of the earliest charismatic theologians, was a Northern Baptist pastor.
[9] This opinion is not entirely dissipated even to this day. The influential charismatic televangelist and pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio (19.000 members), John Hagee subscribes to this opinion. He is more widely known for his irregular idea that Jews are still under the Old Testament covenant of God and do not need to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah to be saved.
[10]On the strictness of this Pentecostal-Holiness code of life see the brief description in Synan, Eyewitness, chapter 1, “A child of Azusa.” For a week in the mid-1980 Carolyn and I were on vacation in the North Georgia section of Appalachia, and one Sunday we worshiped at a classical Pentecostal/Holiness church. The woman pastor welcomed us warmly enough, but some of the elder woman made it a point to tell Carolyn that they were very strict and did not were paints suits or makeup. It really was a nice church in spite of the fact that the music was form the 1930s (significantly there were no youths attending). We went back the next week with Carolyn wearing a dress and only a bit of rouge. At this church everyone in the congregation is invited to come to the mica phone and sing “unto the Lord.” In this they were in obedience to 1 Cor. 14:26, although I did not recognize that, and thought it was a peculiar local custom. We were invited to sing, and had a great time belting out one of the new charismatic praise song. 
[11] It is my opinion that the annoying, “overdone” makeup and hairdos of Tammy Faye Bakker and Jan Crouch, the wives and co-hosts of their pioneer Christian TV founders, stems from their Holiness Pentecostal upbringing. Once they observed that being gifted and filled with the Spirit did not depend on long hair bundled on top, and flat heeled shows, they went full tilt into “glamour.” But they lacked having the moderating effects of a mother or elder sister saying “Dearie, that color rouge is too much…”
[12] A good description of the beginnings is found in René Laurentin’s book, Catholic Pentecostalism (Garden City: Doubleday and Co., 1977), Chapter 1, “The Birth of Catholic Pentecostalism.”
[13] David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade (New York: Pyramid Books, 1970). This book is about a small town Pentecostal pastor who obeys God’s prompting to go to New York City and minister to the youth gangs. It is one of those books, like Agnes Sanford’s Healing Light that has a special anointing to it. It has made an impact on many persons throughout the world. For its impact on the charismatic movement in Great Britain see: Peter Hocken’s Streams of Renewal, 148-149.
[14] John Sherrill, They Speak With Other Tongues, (Old Tappen: Fleming H. Revell, 1964).
[15] Keven Ranaghan and his wife Dorothy became perhaps the single most influential lay Catholic charismatics of the renewal. They have written numerous books on the renewal, including Kevin’s seminal The Catholic Pentecostals (New York: Pualist Press, 1969).
[16] Edward D. O’Connor, The Pentecostal Movement in the Catholic Church (Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 1971), 47.
[17] For Cardinal Suenens’ understanding of how the Council prepared for the Catholic charismatic renewal, see: Léon Joseph Suenens, A New Pentecost? (New York: Seabury Press, 1975, translated by Francis Martin), 40-41.
[18] He was the principal author of an important early booklet, Theological and Pastoral Orientations on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (Notre Dame: Word of Life, 1974). Perhaps his masterpiece is a work he coauthored with George Montague, Christian Initiation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Evidence from the First Eight Centuries (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1991).
[19] Website for the Word of God community at Ann Arbor is:, and for People of Praise:  Another important and influential covenant community is the Alleluia community in Augusta, Georgia, 
[20]Raphael Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit, (Plainfield: Logos International, 1966).
[21] Nicky Cruz, Run, Baby Run, (Plainfield: Logos International, 1968).
[22] Dennis Bennett, Nine O’clock in the Morning, (Plainfield: Logos International, 1970).
[23] To glimpse this huge output, now mostly resident in used book stores, go to “” and under advanced search choose “publisher” and type in “Logos International” My recent search brought up over 3000 entries -many of course repeated, but certainly hundreds of titles.
[24] Harold Hill, How to Live Like a King’s Kid (Plainfield: Logos International, 1974), 157-159. This work was a best seller, and Hill proceeded to churn out a whole bevy of books for both Logos International, and from 1980, with Fleming H. Revell, which had began publishing charismatic books. Hill’s Logos works included: How to Live in High Victory (1977), How to Filp Your Flab – Forever (1979) and Instant Answers for King’s Kids in Training (1978). His Revell books included: How to Live the Bible Like a King’s Kid (1980), God’s in Charge Here (1982), Bible Answers for King’s Kids (1984), The Money book for King’s Kids (1984), The Impossible Takes a Little Longer (1985).
[25] Harold Hill, How to Live Like a King’s Kid (Plainfield: Logos International, 1974) 157-159. It should be noted that there is reason to think that some of Mr. Hill’s stories are exaggerations or even inventions. Hill, who at one point was a consultant for NASA, is famous for claiming that computers in NASA did an astronomical regression and authenticated the “long day” when the earth stood still in the Bible (Jos. 10:12-14). He never offered documentation for this incredible story and died in 1986 still vouching for it. NASA spokesmen denied the story.
[26]Patricia Banta Kreml, Slim for Him (Plainsfield: Logos Internatioanl, 1976) H. Page Williams, X-Rated Marriages (Logos International, 1977)   
[27] Agnes Twice Seven Words. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1971.Note also, Sealed Orders. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1972, Route 1. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1975.Creation Waits. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1978.
[28] Jamie Buckingham, “End of an Era, Final Chapter of the Logos Era,” Charisma (Dec. 1981), 48-55.
[29] For example, Ted Olsen, “Why the Oral Roberts Obituaries are Wrong,” Christianity Today, posted 12/16/2009.