The Pentecostalization Of Global Christianity And The Challenge For Cessationism -- By: Jeffrey P. Straub

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 21:0 (NA 2016)
Article: The Pentecostalization Of Global Christianity And The Challenge For Cessationism
Author: Jeffrey P. Straub

The Pentecostalization Of Global Christianity And The Challenge For Cessationism

Jeffrey P. Straub1


Thinking about the men we honor in this Festschrift, all are friends, colleagues and former mentors. Each in his own way contributed to my current ministry. Dr. William W. Combs was a challenge to us as he labored to instill a commitment to handling God’s Word carefully. Ever the fastidious exegete, Bill pushed us continually to ask the question, “why does the author say this here?” Bill wanted us not just to understand the message of the text but its authorial intent, without which correct understanding, the meaning of the text simply couldn’t be grasped. One doctrine he worked on was the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It continues to be a needed study as the essay will demonstrate. Thanks, Bill, Bob, and Bruce, for your faithful service. It is to you men that this essay is dedicated.

Pentecostalism And The Challenge Of Cessationism

Since the early twentieth century, with the rise of Pentecostalism and its accompanying belief in the miraculous gifts, evangelicals have repeatedly made the case for cessationism.2 Cessationists once were in the majority.3 Pentecostalism, in its American permutations, began as a

fringe movement on the edges of Christianity, but now it has so saturated evangelicalism over the past one hundred years that the cessationist position is a minority view. Pentecostalism has grown, assuming its origins in the early 1900s, to become the second largest segment of world Christianity behind Roman Catholicism.4 Yet, Pentecostalism is hardly monolithic. At one end of the spectrum are descendants of early Pentecostals such as the Assemblies of God, founded in 1914.5 At the opposite end are syncretistic versions of Pentecostalism as exemplified in many African Initiated Churches (AIC) that emerged in post-colonial Africa.6 Pentecostalism, “a religion made to travel,” has gone global.7 This paper will set forth the progress of the globalization of Pentecostalism and, in the process, its challenge to cessationism.

The Global Presence Of Pentecostalism

A Pew Charitable Trust study recently estimated the global Christian population at 2.18 billion among a world population of 6.9 billion. About 50% are Roman Catholic, with 36...

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