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Grant McClung: Pentecostals: The Sequel

 

Grant McClung, “Pentecostals: The Sequel: What will it take for this world phenomenon to stay vibrant for another 100 years?” Christianity Today (April 2006), pages 30-36.

While some of us who have been reading Christianity Today for years and years—I started in 1961 when the magazine was five years old—may not expect supportive articles on Pentecostal/charismatics, we have now seen several in the past few months. A recent issue featured a nice review on Jack Hayford, the current President of the Foursquare Gospel Church. The November 2005 issue featured Ted Haggard, the charismatic president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

CT’s April 2006 issue contains an article by one of Pentecostalism’s better historians, Grant McClung, who for years has been researching, teaching and writing about Los Angeles’ Azusa Street Outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This article was also timed to coincide with the Azusa Centennial held in Los Angeles.

Since there are now 600 million Pentecostal/charismatics across the world and, according to the article, another 54,000 are being added every day, it is hard for the Evangelical church and one of its finest periodicals to ignore all of us. In less than 20 years, at current rate of growth, there will be over one billion of us, mostly in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In many ways, we are the Evangelical movement. McClung notes that Pentecostals today are more urban than rural, more female than male, more majority world than western, more poor than affluent, more family oriented and more young than old.

McClung closes his article with seven prayers instead of predictions. “1. That we may keep Christ and his commission at the center.” “2. That we maintain the dual dynamics of Word (exegesis) and Spirit (experience) as necessary equipping for mission.” “3. That we lift up holiness of character and turn from the carnal display of human charisma.” “4. That we get the life-giving, socially transforming gospel of Jesus Christ out of our sanctuaries and into the streets.” “5. That we humble ourselves and acknowledge all partners in the harvest.” “6. That the Azusa Street centennial will not only be a cause for celebration, but also a time for solemn reflection.” “7. That we will be more excited about the glory of God than about our own accomplishments.”

I believe that we have to go back to our Pentecostal roots to appreciate what God has done in the past, and to wonder with awe what He will do in the next century. The early Pentecostals emphasized that “Jesus is coming soon.” I cannot help but wonder if that coming is a lot closer than we all realize—especially when 54,000 more people will be Pentecostal tonight instead of what they were this morning. In less than a month, everyone in my home state could be a Pentecostal.

 

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Category: Church History, Summer 2006

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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