STEVEN LAND. In a book originally published in 1993, Land accepts the influence of dispensationalism on early Pentecostals but differentiates them from the ‘traditional fundamentalist dispensationalist who, in agreement with Augustine, Warfield and others, believed that the gifts of the Spirit, the so called “sign gifts”, were limited to the Apostolic era.’ He states, ‘Though influenced by Scofieldian dispensationalism, they put a different twist on it.’ These twists include a belief in three dispensations instead of seven, an acceptance of ‘overlap and interpenetration of these dispensations’ and the belief in the miraculous gifts for today. According to Land, early Pentecostals distinguished between ‘new Israel’, the Church, and ‘national Israel’, although both shared a common ‘spiritual destiny’.27 Land gives evidence of familiarity with the primary sources of Pentecostal eschatology but shows reticence towards the term dispensationalism because he conceives of it in Scofieldian terms. Given his interest in Pentecostal spirituality rather than history, he does not discuss whether Pentecostals modified their views on eschatology after the first decade.
PETER ALTHOUSE. Althouse places eschatological viewpoints in four quadrants based on their relationship to four factors: ‘present hope’, ‘future hope’, ‘present despair’ and ‘future despair’. He locates Pentecostals in the quadrant of ‘future hope’ as proponents of the ‘Latter Rain eschatology’ rather than of premillennial dispensationalism, which he places in the ‘future despair’ quadrant.28 He follows closely the views of Sheppard, writing that
Pentecostals did not generally hold a dispensational fundamentalist eschatology in the early history of the movement. Over time, however, Pentecostals embraced a fundamentalist version of dispensational eschatology with such tenets as a pretribulation ‘secret’ Rapture.29
26 Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, 147.
27 Steven Jack Land, Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom (Cleveland, TN: CPT Press, 2010), 71–72. Kindle.
28 Peter Althouse, ‘An Introduction’, in Althouse; Waddell, Perspectives in Pentecostal Eschatologies, 14.
29 Althouse, Spirit of the Last Days, 36.
He recognises the influence of dispensational premillennialism on Pentecostals but equates their early views more to Joachim of Fiore than to Darby or Scofield. He states,
Fundamentalist forces would soon be felt among Pentecostals and they would abandon their latter rain eschatology for dispensational premillennialism, yet at the cost of the foundation of their dearest doctrine—speaking in tongues as the expression of the baptism of the Spirit. … The meaning of the Blessed Hope thus changed from the advent of the Second Coming to this new view of the rapture.30
Throughout his writing Althouse provides another clear expression of the ‘latecomer to dispensationalism’ view.
FRANK MACCHIA. Macchia also follows Sheppard’s analysis and accepts the ‘latecomer to dispensationalism’ view. As may be noted in the following passage, he equates dispensationalism with the cessationist version of the system:
I essentially agree with Sheppard’s effort to distance Pentecostalism from dispensationalism. My reading of early Pentecostal literature shows a nondispensationalist openness to different understandings of end–time events, even a certain lack of interest in such questions. … Sheppard argues persuasively that Pentecostalism accepted certain features of the end–time schema from the dispensationalists early on but did not swallow its larger hermeneutical implications until they attempted later to gain the acceptance of conservative evangelical churches.31
His comments on ‘a certain lack of interest in such questions’ raise questions relevant to this dissertation. Were early Pentecostals concerned with eschatological issues, or was this an interest that was later fomented by their interaction with fundamentalist dispensationalists?