Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 133:531 (Jul 76) p. 253
“A Second Look at the New Pentecostalism,” Russell T. Hitt, Eternity, March, 1976, pp. 12-15, 28, 30.
“Pentecostalism in Historical Perspective,” C. George Fry, The Springfielder 39 (March 1976): 183-93.
Russell Hitt’s “second look” is in essence an admission that he struck out the first time at bat. He first assessed neo-Pentecostalism in 1963 and concluded “the movement was dying.” Now he admits, “I was badly mistaken” (p. 13). This confession is followed by a lengthy report on the many facets of classical and neo-Pentecostalism. The report is largely sympathetic, although Hitt does state his theological differences from the movement on tongues as the sign of the baptism of the Spirit.
The closing paragraph returns to the confessional. Hitt writes: “Fifteen years ago I thought the neo-Pentecostal movement might be on the decline—perhaps dying out. Now in 1976 I have decided that opinion was like my idea that Billy Graham would never amount to anything and like my first remarks that the Living Bible would never sell” (p. 30). By his own admission Hitt poses no threat to Jeane Dixon, but he raises questions whether his “second look” is any more accurate than his first.
One misleading impression Hitt creates is that Pentecostalism is responsible for the current interest in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He writes “Is it possible God is employing the once-despised Pentecostals and charismatics to revive the truth of the Holy Spirit’s ministry today just as He revived the authority of Scripture over that of the ecclesiastical structure at the time of the Reformation?” (p. 28). By this does he imply that other segments of Christianity have ignored and forgotten the ministry of the Holy Spirit? If so, Hitt has struck out again. Evangelical Christianity has had a strong emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit for many years, an emphasis apart from the Pentecostal focus on speaking in tongues and healing.
BSac 133:531 (Jul 76) p. 254
Hitt also gives the misleading impression that the Pentecostals are responsible for the current emphasis on spiritual gifts to the whole body of Christ and on the ministry of the laity. The emphasis of the Pentecostals is on the sign gifts of tongues and healing almost exclusively. It has been non-Pentecostal evangelicalism that has developed body-life truth and the full teaching of spiritual gifts and the truth that the work of ministering is the work of the church as the body of Christ.
Although Hitt insists “that Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals have no right to use the word ‘charismatic’ in a sectarian sense” (p. 30), he tends to adopt their view that t...
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