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Touched by the Wind: The Charismatic Movement in the Episcopal Church

The war and the subsequent effects of rapid urbanization and industrialization caused others to be more pessimistic about the future of the world. These abandoned a postmillennial eschatology—that saw a renewed united church ushering in the kingdom of God on earth—in favor a premillennial eschatology. They saw their task as a faithful remnant warning of further judgment. The appeal for renewal and unity of the church was replaced by a call to leave denominational structures in order to form a true restored New Testament Church.23

Thousands heeded this call. Regional, state, and local associations were formed to assure that converts were nurtured in the pure holiness understanding of the faith. The restoration of the true church was proclaimed. In local communities, advocates were organized into “bands”—at first prayer groups that were similar to the Tuesday Meeting but which later became more active, engaging in street evangelism and inner city mission work. A proliferation of regional and statewide periodicals came into existence to tie these groups together. By the end of the century they had taken on the structures which formed the Holiness denominations. Following the Azusa Street revival, the more radical groups became Pentecostal.24

IV It would be absurd to pretend that this brief description begins to give justice to all the subtle complexities of the Charismatic Movement or the American Holiness Movement, especially at a time when historians of American religion are just now beginning to uncover the significance of the role which the movement played in the nineteenth century. Rather, I have sought to sketch the broad outlines sufficiently to make some comparisons in order to reflect upon possible future directions the Charismatic Movement may be heading.

First, though differing in content, both movements promoted a doctrine of Spirit-baptism, an experience subsequent to conversion. In the case of the Holiness Movement the experience was understood to transform one’s sinful nature and was evidenced by a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. In the case of the Charismatic movement, the experience was understood to bring to existential reality, one’s relationship with God and is evidenced by the gifts of the Spirit.

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Category: Church History, Pneuma Review, Summer 2000

About the Author: D. William Faupel, Ph.D., serves as Professor of the History of Christianity and Director of the Library at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. His graduate education includes degrees in theology, library science and the history of Christian thought from Asbury Theological Seminary, and the University of Kentucky in Kentucky and the University of Birmingham in England. Dr. Faupel, ordained in the Episcopal Church, has served as pastor, education and editor and writer. He is the author of The Everlasting Gospel: The Significance of Eschatology in the Development of Pentecostal Thought (Deo Press, 2008).

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