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Jeremiah Campbell: Say What?

The fourth part (and the longest section) briefly surveys highlights throughout Church history attempting to answer accusations that tongues (and prophetic speech) associated with Spirit filling ceased with the apostolic era. He offers a fine (if overly Classical Pentecostalizing) reading of the testimonies of women and men around the world and throughout history of varying church traditions who experienced tongues and/or prophetic speech in relation to their testimony of experiencing the Spirit. While he makes numerous leaps to read into the historical witnesses as if they themselves connected tongues to Spirit baptism, he does well in identifying the continuation of tongues and prophetic speech as part of the broader historic and global Church (summarizing works like that of Stanley Burgess, Christian Peoples of the Spirit).

The final section is split between the more contemporary experiences of the Spirit associated with tongues and prophetic speech (following from the 19th century revivals, through the Pentecostal outpouring at Azusa in the early twentieth century, and briefly noting the Catholic Charismatic movement). In this section, Campbell describes several of the largest Pentecostal fellowships, but curiously does not mention the Church of God in Christ (entering Pentecostalism in 1907) which predates several he lists and also claims the largest U.S. affiliation of all Pentecostal fellowships (improperly attributed to the Assemblies of God, p. 99). The COGIC reports between 5.5-6.5 million adherents in the U.S. and is the fifth largest Christian denomination in the U.S. (according to the National Council of Church which lists the AG as 9th in 2010 with just under 3 million adherents: This section closes with a call to seek the fullness of the Spirit and remain open to tongues-speaking. Here, Campbell offers seven barriers to receiving the Classic Pentecostal experience of tongues as initial evidence of Spirit baptism. These show pastoral concern and would certainly offer brief answers to those who might still have something keeping them from such a personal and difficult to describe experience.

As stated previously, Campbell’s work is accessible to the average reader and could be used by a Classic Pentecostal congregation to offer some basic apologetics for the experience of tongues in relation to Spirit baptism. While the arguments would be helpful in such a setting, they would not likely remain unanswered by critics. There are numerous gaps in the Biblical and historical interpretation which begin with the Classic Pentecostal presupposition read back into the text of Scripture and historical writings. Though these are weaknesses specifically, the texts covered still offer insight into prophetic speech and the Spirit as an expectation among many and as normal in the Biblical context. Should any future revisions be made, perhaps some of these comments might be taken into consideration to strengthen the overall argument which still needs further expansion both for the academy and for the church: prophetic speech acts are evidential of Spirit impartation/experience. It is hoped that even the intent of this volume (that others might seek and receive the infilling of the Spirit) would be accomplished through the reading of this volume.

Reviewed by Rick Wadholm Jr.


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Category: Biblical Studies, Summer 2018

About the Author: Rick Wadholm Jr., Ph.D. (Bangor University, Wales, UK), is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Rick has pastored several rural congregations in North Dakota and Minnesota for 22 years and is ordained with the Assemblies of God (USA). He is a regular speaker for churches, camps and conferences. He enjoys reading and discussing theology and Biblical Studies, most particularly the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth. Rick is an active member of the Institute for Biblical Research, the International Bonhoeffer Society, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society for Pentecostal Studies, and was the Executive Editor of The Pentecostal Educator published by the World Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education (2013-2019). Rick is author and editor of numerous articles and books. He has helped found the Society for Pentecostal Studies Student Caucus. He also enjoys blogging on topics of translation, Biblical studies, pastoring and theology by contributing to four different blogs—his personal blogging adventures hosted at Facebook. Twitter.

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