Pentecost As The Power Of The Cross The Witness Of Seymour And Durham

Pentecost As The Power Of The Cross The Witness Of Seymour And Durham

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

Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected






The Pentecostal Theology

Aims & Scope

Pneuma is the Pentecostal Theology (SPS). Since its founding in 1970, the SPS has become an international society of scholars interested in Pentecostal and Charismatic studies. T ough many of the more than 600 members of the Society belong to one of the Pentecostal or Charismatic churches, a number of others are involved in the Society’s annual meetings from other churches or merely from university settings. In 1979, Pneuma first appeared as the Journal of the SPS. The Journal became a major medium for the interna- tional discussion of scholarly issues related to Pentecostal and Charismatic studies. Articles have appeared over the years on matters related to the special interest groups of the SPS, namely, biblical studies, history, theology, missions, praxis, ecumenism, and religion and culture. The Journal has cherished an ecumenical and an inter- national vision as well.

The staff at Pneuma trust that the Journal will bring the scholarship of the SPS and beyond to the broader awareness of the academy and the churches for the mutual benefit of both.


Frank D. Macchia, Vanguard University of Southern California

Managing Editor

Ed Rybarczyk, Vanguard University of Southern California

Book Review Editor Amos Yong, Regent University

Book Review Editorial Assistant Pidge Bannin, Regent University

Copy Editor Nancy de Flon

Associate Editors

Edith L. Blumhofer, Wheaton College; Donald W. Dayton, Independent Scholar; Sherry Sherrod Dupree, Santa Fe Community College; Hannah K. Harrington, Patten College; Jeff Hittenberger, Evangel University; Cheryl Bridges Johns, Church of God School of T eology ; Steven J. Land, Church of God School of T eology , Henry I. Lederle, Oral Roberts University; Leonard Lovett, Independent Scholar; Gary B. McGee, Assemblies of God T eological Seminary ; Doug Petersen, Vanguard University of Southern California; Margaret M. Poloma, University of Akron, and Vanguard University of Southern California; Cecil M. Robeck Jr., Fuller T eological Seminary; James K. Smith, Calvin College; Russell P. Spittler, Vanguard University of Southern California; Roger Stronstad, Western Pentecostal Bible College ; H. Vinson Synan, Regent University; Eldin Villafañe, Gordon- Conwell T eological Seminary ; Grant Wacker, Duke Divinity School; Everett A. Wilson, Vanguard University of Southern California.


Manuscripts submitted for consideration should be sent to the Pneuma Editor at Vanguard University, 55 Fair Drive, CostaMesa, CA 92626-9601, USA.

Books for review should be sent to the Pneuma Book Review Editor, Regent University, School of Divinity, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464, USA.

Instructions for Authors

Please refer to the fourth page of the Volume prelims or go to .

Abstracting & Indexing

Indexes: Articles published in Pneuma are indexed by New Testament Abstracts, Religion Index One: Periodicals, and Religion Index Two: Multi Author Works, published by the American T eological Library Association (ATLA), 250 S. Wacker Dr., 16th Flr., Chicago, IL 60606, E-mail:, Web:

Pneuma (print ISSN 0272-0965, online ISSN 1570-0747) is published 2 times a year by BRILL, Plantijnstraat 2, 2321 JC Leiden, The Netherlands, tel +31 (0)71 5353500, fax +31 (0)71 5317532.



The Pentecostal Theology

Volume 30 (2008)



Instructions for Authors

Manuscripts submitted for consideration should be sent to the Pneuma Editor at Vanguard University, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626-9601, USA.

Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced with footnotes on separate pages following the text. The author’s names should appear only on a separate title page and no place else on the manuscript. Please include a short abstract of no more than 150 words as well as up to six or seven keywords.

Submit manuscripts on 8.5”×11” paper if possible. Include a copy of the manuscript on a 3.5” labeled disk. Indicate which word processor was used; a recent edition of MSWord is preferred. Normally, manuscripts exceeding thirty pages in length, including notes, will not be considered. Prospective authors should consult the SPS website for guidance on style:

Upon publication contributors will be granted access to Pneuma online.

A PDF file of your published article or book review will be downloadable for 60 days after notification (by email). You will also receive one printed copy of the journal.

© 2008 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands

Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints BRILL, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus

Nijhoff Publishers and VSP.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or

otherwise, without prior written permission of the publishers.

Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by the publisher provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910,

Danvers MA 01923, U.S.A. Fees are subject to change.

Printed in the Netherlands (on acid-free paper)


Pneuma 30 (2008) 1-3

Pentecost as the Power of the Cross: The Witness of Seymour and Durham

Frank D. Macchia

Vanguard University, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA

William H. Durham is, next to Seymour, the most significant among the early Pentecostal theologians. He is known for establishing the so-called “finished work” wing of the Pentecostal movement due to his emphasis on the all-sufficient nature of Christ’s work of atonement for providing the Christian with all that is needed for salvation, including regeneration and sanctification. As William Faupel has noted, Durham used the strong Christological point of reference attained in his Pentecostal experience to argue that the Christian is “fully” saved at regeneration, without the need for a subsequent sanctification experience.1 It has been commonly thought that Durham provided a break with the Wesleyan Pentecostal beginnings of Pentecostalism and an open door to the non-Wesleyan (“baptistic” or Reformed) Pentecostals to feel at home theologically within the nascent Pentecostal movement. There are a couple of remarks I would like to make in this regard.

First, I am convinced by T omas Farkas’ dissertation on Durham that Dur- ham’s position was unique, unlike that of his Wesleyan predecessors and his “baptistic” Pentecostal successors. Farkas notes that he advocated what might be called a “single-work perfectionism” which claimed the eradication of the root of sin and the attainment of “entire” sanctification at the moment of con- version.2 Secondly, I agree with Faupel that Durham’s strong Christological


Faupel, The Everlasting Gospel: The Significance of Eschatology in the. Development of Pentecos- tal T ought , Journal of Pentecostal T eology Supplemental Series 10 (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 304-306.


Farkas, William H. Durham and the Sanctification Controversy in Early American Pentecostal- ism, 1906-1916 (PhD Dissertation, Southern Baptist T eological Seminary, Louisville, KY, 1993), 21.

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/157007408X287740



F. D. Macchia / Pneuma 30 (2008) 1-3

point of reference was already built into the spiritual DNA of Pentecostal experience and witness. One early Pentecostal author wrote concerning Chris- tian initiation: “It is all holiness. It makes you more like Jesus. It is Jesus in justification, Jesus in sanctification and Jesus with the baptism with the Holy Ghost.”3 More importantly, notice what William J. Seymour wrote regarding the atonement:

In Jesus Christ we get forgiveness of sin, and we get sanctification of our spirit, soul, and body, and upon that we get the gift of the Holy Ghost that Jesus promised to His disciples, the promise of the Father, all this we get through the atonement.4

Seymour’s statement is exuberant in its appreciation for the effects of Christ’s atonement, even to the point of noting that the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes through the atonement as well. Lest one think that the above quote was not typical of Seymour, notice what he wrote concerning the atonement in another context: “Let us lift up Christ to the world in all his fullness, not only in healing and salvation from all sin but in His power to speak in all the languages of the world.”5 Again, Seymour seems to locate the gift of the Spirit and the capacity for glossolalia in the fullness that is achieved by Christ in his atoning work on the cross and passed on to us at Pentecost. Rooting the gift of the Spirit and speaking in tongues in the atonement is not unique to Seymour. Charles Mason did this as well by noting that his baptism in the Spirit brought him into solidarity with Jesus as Jesus groaned in tongues for the suffering of the world from the cross. In his description of his experience of tongues, Mason wrote, “It seems I was standing at the cross and I heard him as he groaned, the dying groans of Jesus, and I groaned. It was not my voice but the voice of my beloved that I heard in me.”6

It seems to me that Durham’s “break” with his Wesleyan past was not so much in his Christological point of reference, or even in his focus on the sufficiency of the “finished work” of the atonement for Christian initiation. It was rather in the implications of this work for Pentecostal experience. The Wesleyan Pentecostals were convinced that one entered into the benefits of the finished work of Christ through three distinct stages (regeneration,


Author unknown, “The Baptism with the Holy Ghost,” The Apostolic Faith (Oct. to Jan. 1908): 4.


Emphasis mine; Seymour, “River of Living Water,” The Apostolic Faith (Nov. 1906): 2.


Seymour, “The Precious Atonement” The Apostolic Faith 1:1 (Sept. 1906): 2.


Mason, “Tennessee Evangelist Witnesses,” The Apostolic Faith (April 1907): 7.


F. D. Macchia / Pneuma 30 (2008) 1-3


sanctification, Spirit baptism as power for witness), while Durham believed the stages to be two in number (regeneration and Spirit baptism). Durham’s motive was not at all a “forensic” notion of the atonement as making us com- plete in Christ apart from Christian experience. Durham’s point was rather that the power of the cross as the place from which the Spirit is mediated was too great to leave the root of the sinful nature still in tact. He wrote, for example,

When God saves a man, He saves him from sin. He saves him from Hell. He brings him from a state of death into life. Yea, He gives him eternal life. This being true, how inconsistent it is to tell one whom God has saved, that he is only partly saved.”7

Given the fact that Durham (and Seymour) rooted Pentecost in the cross, the early Pentecostals could very well have placed the roots of Spirit baptism in regeneration as well. They would have done this if it were not for the influence of the Wesleyan ordo solutis that they embraced at some tension with their developing theology of the cross. Some Pentecostal groups, most notably, the Oneness Pentecostals, however, did arrive at an integrated notion of Christian initiation in a way consistent with the early, implicitly pneumatological, Pentecostal theology of atonement.

Of course, it is possible to recognize that the seeds of justification, sanctification, and empowerment for witness are within one’s “born again” experience, while still allowing for distinct experiences of sanctification and empowerment to follow as an outgrowth. In my view, however, the real significance of both Seymour and Durham for Pentecostal theology is the seamless flow of events assumed from the cross to Pentecost, a flow that had the impartation of the Spirit at its very substance. The cross was not an abstract event that reconciles God to humanity totally apart from us but rather an all- sufficient power for regeneration, sanctification, healing, and empowered (Spirit-baptized) witness in that it had the resurrection and Pentecost at its horizon as parts of a seamless flow of events by which the Spirit is mediated. In this light, just imagine if Pentecostals had developed the power of Pentecost from the self-giving love of the cross! Just imagine if tongues were viewed as the many voices around the world from many different contexts groaning for the liberty of those who suffer most profoundly under the weight of the curse of sin and death.


Durham, “The Finished Work of Calvary,” Pentecostal Testimony 2 (January, 1912): 3; quoted in, Farkas, William H. Durham and the Sanctification Controversy, 139.



Be first to comment

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