Emphasis within the Pentecostal movements today

Click to join the conversation with over 500,000 Pentecostal believers and scholars

Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected

John Duncan | PentecostalTheology.com


There is an increased emphasis within the Pentecostal movements today towards scolarship. But there also seems to be a decline in the spirituality. Do you see a corallation?

Eric Jones [11/15/2014 1:15 PM]
Scholarship tends to strengthen that part of us that rationalizes away spirituality.

John Duncan [11/15/2014 1:26 PM]
If I have to choose between scholarship and being spiritual I will of course choose being spiritual but I am hoping and believing the next revival will be a both/and revival. Who are the Pentecostal leaders you look to for leadership as an example of these together?

Eric Jones [11/15/2014 1:31 PM]
I have met a few. Oliver McMahan, Mark Rutland…

Jerry Poff [11/15/2014 1:56 PM]
Do the more well-known Pentecostal ministers just give lip service or do they come in demonstration and power?

Eric Jones [11/15/2014 1:59 PM]
Pretty much lip service…

Jerry Poff [11/15/2014 2:05 PM]
Seems to be more traditional in smaller, rural pen churches. I suppose it would be hard to preach it with conviction if you really didn’t believe in it. A tough place to be if you are in a .Pentecostal church

Paul Hughes [11/15/2014 2:11 PM]
I went off to Bible college and seminary in the 1980s, called of God to teach, and very serious about learning to divide the Word of God. I thus became an outspoken advocate of such advanced study, having heard my share of ignorant preaching already. Yet that concept went haywire somewhere, in other cases, as Relativism in society met Historical and Speculative Theology. I suspect the missing pieces to the puzzle include true commitment to the Gospel and a Baptism in the Spirit that leads to deep consecration and Spirit-dependence — as opposed to a lightweight commitment to “a” gospel and a visceral, emotions-based encounter (ostensibly) with the HS, not to mention the tendency of successful leaders (not just the educated) to be self-opinionated more than Spirit-opinionated and Scripture-opinionated, and self-actualizing more than Spirit-actualized.

Margaret Williams [11/15/2014 5:22 PM]
I know John Duncan is one of the best ministers anywhere. He preaches the truth and does not tickle ears. The same thing is with Hugh and Jean Hubbard. They preach the truth. My problem with churches now is that pastors are afraid they are going to lose their flock, so they are not preaching the things they should. They are not enlightening their congregation to the facts there is spiritual warfare, generational curses and ungodly soul ties working around us. Are they not doing it because : 1. They do not believe it themselves 2. They are afraid of stepping on toes 3. The subjects make them uneasy, therefore, they are not educating themselves first, then educating the flock. This is very serious business. Satan is throwing everything he has at us. Pentecostal churches have changed so much. I do not want to be religious anymore. I want to be spiritual and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is what we were created for.

Jerry Poff [11/15/2014 5:37 PM]
For your consideration: Can there be a true Pentecostal experience without true holiness? Also, can the gifts of the Spirit operate in Christians who do not believe that tongues are the initial evidence of the infilling?

John Duncan [11/15/2014 5:42 PM]
I have seen over the years – when Pentecostal churches get away from the initial evidence doctrine they lose the intensity to seek God for a manifestation of the Spirit and therefore grow less spiritual.

Jerry Poff [11/15/2014 5:47 PM]
John, I agree.

John Duncan [11/15/2014 5:50 PM]
Actually the Pentecostal church is technically defined as a church that believes in the initial evidence. So these churches that no longer believe in the evidence are no longer rightfully considered Pentecostal.

Jerry Poff [11/15/2014 5:50 PM]
We don’t seek for things we don’t believe in, exist, or promised or available.

Jerry Poff [11/15/2014 5:54 PM]
I do believe that officials of Pent. Denominations will soon change the language of their Disciplines in regards to the evidence of receiving the Baptism of The Holy Ghost.

Eric Jones [11/15/2014 7:05 PM]
What has happened is that the scholarly group has replaced the Biblical gifts of the Spirit with another list that doesn’t rely on the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The modern Pentecostal church is going the way of all former denominations. They start with powerful manifestations but eventually begin requiring higher education for their ministers because they don’t want the embarrassment of having simple, emotional preaching representing the denomination. They begin to compare themselves with other more “scholarly” denominations and seek to be more respectable in the eyes of men. Eventually, they rewrite their history and take out the embarrassing parts. I saw this firsthand in the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination before I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and now I see the same things in the Pentecostal churches.

Marlon TwoRivers McGrath [11/16/2014 4:41 PM]
I haven’t seen any evidence of that occurring here. Maybe we are paying more attention to the Spirit than to the study of Spiritual things 🙂 =—->

James H. Boyd [11/16/2014 5:50 PM]
Although a charismatic Presbyterian, rather than a classical Pentecostal, J. Rodman Williams Renewal Theology makes a strong case for initial evidence. However I do disagree with him in some other areas, such as eschatology.

Randy H Johnson [11/18/2014 8:06 AM]
Eric Jones, Eric, how many like buttons are we allowed on a single thread? I’ve been saying what you just said for years! Ever since someone came up with those “Spiritual Gift Inventories” that first, and this is most important, don’t require speaking in tongues, so that people can feel good about themselves and convinced that they are baptized in the Holy Spirit when they are born again or at least baptized in the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues or any of those other non-rational manifestations.

I think lot of “Pentecostal Scholarship” is nothing but a smokescreen for explaining away why aren’t having a genuine Pentecostal experience.

Margaret Williams [11/18/2014 8:11 AM]
Eric Jones, I totally agree with u. Well said.

Richard Lindsey [12/06/2014 8:55 PM]
Having been a Pentecostal (yes, endorsing IPE) since I was 14 (52 years ago), I have some observations to make as well. There is no question there has been a significant decline in the Pentecostal emphasis. We have become a mile wide and an inch deep. We are ruled by the clock rather than by the Spirit. We have become insipid, having very little of the supernatural manifested in our churches. That, however, is a given, and not the real issue. The real issue is how did we get where we are. I came from a very humble little church in Lampasas, Texas, that I don’t think ever had a hundred people in the building at the same time. My pastor was not an ignorant man, but neither was he theologically sophisticated. When the Lord called me into ministry, I determined to go to Southwestern. The last message my pastor had for me was to not “let them turn you into their kind of preacher.” YES, he had a bias against formal education. But as I got there, I found the likes of a Thomas Harrison, ThD, who taught most of my theology and bible classes. I found him to be not only a very bright biblical scholar, but also a deeply spiritual man of prayer and the Spirit. A few years later, I was on the evangelistic field and beginning to do quite well. I attended the Evangelist’s Seminar in Springfield and met a man named Del Tarr. Instantly, I knew this man had something I didn’t and it was something I needed. For months, the Spirit dealt with me about attending AGGS (we called it a graduate school back then because it was so unspiritual to attend a SEMETARY… While there, I heard Dr. Cordas C. Burnett preach one of the most inspiring messages I had ever heard – both thoroughly Spiriit inspired and thoroughly scholarly. I took a class on the Holy Spirit and the Communication of Theology from one of the most humble men I’ve ever met – a man of deep and prayerful consecration – Melvin Hodges. I had a man named David Irwin teach a class on Personality Factors – one that opened a whole new world to me. I sat under Dr. Stanley Horton for Eschatology For Today and wa blown away at the brilliance of this soft-spoken, brilliant man who was as humble as any man I’ve ever met. I took New Testament Theology from Dr. Anthony Palma. I took Apologetics from Dr. William Menzies – one of the most brilliant teachers I’ve ever encountered – and a man who had a deep devotion to Pentecostal theology. I sat for several classes under Dr. Delbert Tarr, who would later become the President of AGTS – a man who is thoroughly Pentecostal with decades on the mission field and one who became my mentor for a very long time. My two years at AGGS thoroughly opened my eyes to the error of my pastor from Lampasas – a Godly man, but one who held an unsubstantiated bias against formal education. As I went on into ministry, I encountered many men who had significant zeal and emotional enthusiasm – LOTS of heat, but not a lot of LIGHT, and I’ve seen many of them go by the wayside. I’ve served in Academia, wherein I supervised collegiate staff from high school dropouts to PhDs. I have seen most of those high school dropouts lay aside ministry for one reason or another. Some of the Doctoral level persons were genuine Pentecostals with evidence of deep spiritual giftings. Others were simply people who had put in enough time to earn a sheepskin and had no more business in a Bible College than I would have had flying the space shuttle. What I have learned from what I saw, is something I’ve earlier gleaned from the Scripture. As I look to the old testament, the person who contributed the greatest foundation to Israel, from the standpoint of foundational theology, and structure of Israel was Moses. Where was Moses educated? In the house of Pharoah – the finest education Egypt could provide. When I go to the New Testament, the person who laid the foundation for the church was also the most well educated – Paul – educated at the feet of Gamaliel – equivalent to today’s Rhodes Scholars. I have also noticed an enormous amount of bias in Pentecostal churches from the day I was called to preach until today against formal education. I find that misguided at best, offensive at worst. The people who have taught me more about living for Jesus than any others in the entire world were also some of the best educated men I’ve ever met. I’ve also noticed that there is MUCH less bias from those with credible educations against those who don’t than vice versa. Now, please understand, I’ve also met PhDs who were profoundly arrogant and very foolish outside their own narrow sphere of knowledge. But these are all anecdotal issues and citations. The overarching generalization I can comfortably make about this Spiritual/Educated continuum is that it is NOT a dichotomy of either/or. For I have found MOST of the most theologically/biblically educated men were also very spiritual men. Exceptions? Of course. But the exceptions were relatively rare. And, yes, I have spoken with tongues, I have been used in words of knowledge and words of wisdom, discerning of spirits, prophecy, healings, faith and other ways where I sensed the leading coming from One Greater than I but hard to place in a specific category. I am thoroughly Pentecostal and only wish I had more opportunity to learn from some of the educated men I’ve know who are more Godly than I…

John Duncan [12/06/2014 9:59 PM]
Money and and education are not evil in themselves but as the Pentecostal churches have gotten these they have naturally depended less on God.

Eric Jones [12/06/2014 11:44 PM]
I had the amazing opportunity to sit under Professor Richard Lindsey over 25 years ago. Bro. Lindsey was very inspiring, brilliant concerning Biblical scholarship, yet demonstrating Pentecostal distinctives unashamedly. In fact, at that time, Jimmy Swaggart Bible College had some of the most scholarly yet Pentecostal professors I have seen in one college since. Spirituality and scholarship are not opposite values, yet I have seen many these days seem to feel that spirituality and Pentecostal distinctives are less important and even detrimental when it comes to reaching our increasingly secular and arguable sophistication of modern culture

Paul Hughes [12/06/2014 11:55 PM]
The rank uneducated are often just as “unspiritual” as any arrogant academic. I have tried to pastor some who would not settle for less than being pumped up with shouting and loud music, and having their “itching ears” scratched. They wanted sweet milk and rejected solid food. There really have been some church people whose thought process, such as it was, was “if you, pastor, would just get me stirred and excited enough, then I could be spiritual. If I sit like a bump on a log and refuse to budge, it is your fault.”


  • Charles Page
    Reply July 26, 2016

    Charles Page

    we have taught and sang away the glory till all we have is a form of spirituality!

  • Drew Banacos
    Reply July 26, 2016

    Drew Banacos

    My spirituality has grown through Pentecostal education. I have grown with others along the way. It’s not education that’s the problem. It’s what we do with it. We need to allow the Holy Spirit and prayer to be active in our education.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.