Thoughts on Montanism and Pentecostalism

Posted by Link Hudson in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

Thoughts on Montanism and Pentecostalism

Many years ago, I read about Montanism. Some Pentecostal authors actually seem positive toward the movement and describe it as a move against the institutionalization of the church in that era. But is that how we should interpret it?

Montanism was a movement some time before 200 AD. Montanus, according to critics, would prophesy in a frenzied state. He had two women prophetesses who worked with him. A movement grew up around him known as Montanism or ‘The New Prophecy.’ Montanus was from Asia Minor, but the movement spread from there to North Africa, Italy, and Gaul. In Asia Minor, there was a definite schism, but apparently those who adhered to the movement in Carthage remained a part of the regular church.

Much of what we now of Montanism was written by critics who were harsh toward it. Some things that were controversial about Montanism. – It was said that Montanus raved and prophesied while in an ecstacy. – They said his way of prophesying differed from the continuous tradition of how prophesying was done from the beginning of the church. – Montanists were ascetic and against women wearing ornaments. – Montanists were accused of accepting gifts and wearing makeup. – After the death of Montanus and the two prophetesses, Montanists apparently believed that prophecy had ceased because the perfect had come and went with Montanus, and may have invented I Corinthians 13 cessationism, while the main church still believed in the gift of prophecy. – It is believed that Montanus forbade widows and widowers from remarrying.

It is this last point I want to respond to. Tertullian, the author and apologist, became a Montanist defender. He defended the ‘New Prophecy’ revelation that widows could no longer remarry. Basically, the Montanist movement, through their prophecies, had created a new, extra-biblical doctrine about marriage, forbidding marriage to widows and widowers. I see this as something that is contradictory to Pentecostal approaches to theology and scripture. Pentecostals typically see these ‘ground rules’ as set in the Bible. Doctrine comes from scripture. Certain ‘Neo-Pentecostal’ groups may not see it that way.

31 Comments

  • Reply July 28, 2017

    Michael Green

    How about just Christianism? There are no divisions in heaven.

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      That is just a silly comment – so what?

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Link Hudson posted this originally. Not sure if the chart was with the OP but maybe he can give a more Pentecostally oriented interpretation and explain which “Pentecostal authors actually seem positive toward the movement ” ?

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Link Hudson

      Troy Day I don’t know. I’ve come across some comments that seemed positive toward Montanism, or at least skeptical of the negative ‘press’ Montanism got.

      The movement may not have been as unorthodox as some contemporaries painted it, or maybe not so much in the west. It sounds like it got off into extremes. If Tertullian’s views were an accurate portrayal, they were against widows and widowers remarrying. This differs from historic Pentecostal thought, since the movement would have been actually modifying Biblical doctrine on marriage based on alleged prophecies or revelations.

      There were ‘orthodox’ Christians whose writings were recorded by Eusebius, who were against Montanism who actually affirmed the ongoing validity of the gift of prophecy.

  • Reply July 28, 2017

    Stan Wayne

    Montanism is only recorded by its enemies in the East but in a slightly subdued form the Latin version with Tertulian and Perpetua and Felicitas can be seen as very similar to Pentecostal or 1st Century practice

  • Reply July 28, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Stan Wayne Are you familiar with the Holy Spirit baptism gifts gateway theory?

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      Yes

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      I disagree that the Baptism is the gateway to gifts because we have a great deal of the HS already at regeneration and other gifts besides tongues can manifest thru that -Apollos demonstrated that before his HS Baptism but Tertullian was a promoter of tongues also

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures” as are most Baptists before the Baptism in the Spirit experiences. Some of the other gifts: teaching, administration, helps, are very “natural” in their character. Not surprisingly, these are the gifts which the anti-supernatural wing of the church emphasizes. The “Gateway Theory” applies more to the SUPERNATURAL gifts: ones that can’t be “made up” by a person or naturally honed. Even tongues, …you can distinguish a genuine language (esp. if you know the speaker hasn’t learned it) from just babble. This is my pet peeve with many “Pentecostal” preachers. They will be at a climax or the end of their sermon and, “Oh glory to Jesus, hallelujah, shandabaradando peyopando karafta” Priase God, …whoooh!” Anyone can do that. Literally anyone. (I’d be amazed it Kenneth Copeland, for instance, broke out in fluent French!) But a prophecy that comes true or reveals something about a person, a work of knowledge that is accurte, a genuine healing: these are things you can’t dispute. Either it comes from God or it doesn’t.

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      Walter Polasik I don’t see a distinction in scripture between supernatural and “natural” gifts / Appolos was “Aglow” with the Spirit prior to B/HS and furthermore all apostles had healed and exorcised including Judas – not only that Apostleship among the 12 (not just a later one) is a heavy gift and Matthias had it before B/HS

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      But I hear what you say about more big real undeniable stuff

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne No, no, you’re right, in Scripture ALL the gifts have a supernatural source. But in the modern church, Supernaturalism is denied, if not vehemently, then tacitly. My point was that anyone can claim to have the gift of teaching, or mercy, or administration (even secularites!). But it’s kinda hard to claim the gift of prophecy unless the prophecy you speak comes to pass or really does some genuine work in the hearers. Or it’s hard to fake an accurate Word of Knowledge. It’s hard to fake a genuine exorcism of a genuine demon as well. But you see my point with Baptists and others claiming “natural” gifts right? No special experiences needed there. Also, atheists and materialists have told me that the doctrine of Cessationism to them is a bald admission that there is no power or God in the church and there never was. Sadly, I have to agree, not so much with the notion, but with the direction Cessationism points in. “Yes, we believe Jesus literally rose from the dead and will literally, physically come back to earth and bring people literally out of their graves….but that He could heal an AIDS patient today…well, let’s not get so carried away, shall we?”

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      Walter Polasik I agree but the Montanists such as Tertullian were doing gifts whether or not they understood initial evidence (even with some speaking in tongues I think they had lost initial evidence but still had miracles – as with St Patrick etc

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne Well, I’m not going to totally doubt Montanus or Tertullian. Perpetua died a martyr so, she was no Gloria Copeland. Bottom line, the Holy Spirit will do His work sovereignly. We’re never the “best candidates” for His work. He always works in spite of our hang ups. As to Montanus howver, when he began claiming that the New Jerusalem would descend in his home town of Papua, um…..that’s where I draw the line. But there is no doubt that the Gifts have continued down through history. If you check my profile and background out (I’ve gotta update it soon) you’ll see I attended Bob Jones University. It was there that I undertook to examine Cessationist claims regarding Church History and what happened to the Church after Acts 28. I learned quite a lot (and from my own reading, not so much in the classroom). They had a surprising amount of Pentecostal books in their library…so I read up. (My own personal class of Pentecostalism 101 @ BJU. 😉 )
      As a result, I made quite a few professors angry with my findings. (I was called out as a Pentecostal in a class of 100+ people). When I challenged the professor (a Ph.D in New Testament no less!) on biblical grounds at the end of the conversation I was left with my hand held out as he stormed angerly away. I later found out his grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher out in California!

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      1 Cor 13 is decisive against cessationism

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Michael Green

      No but i am familiar with the Truth Holy Spirit

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne Funny you should say that as many Cessationists for YEARS had used I Cor. 13:8-11 as a base for cessationist doctrine.

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      Walter Polasik they have a tough time after thinking a bit about what 1) face to face 2) know as we are known and 3) perfect mean

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      Besides to think repeated instructions on Gifts would appear in Gods word that would be read for thousands of years but only were applicable for 20 years is absurd – especially when we think that most people who first received the instructions received it after the 20 years were over even if they were alive when they were written

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne Well, 1.) “perfect” is to telion (from “telos” direction, completion) it means “that which will be completed”. (It’s also where we get our word, “teleology” from) So, they reasoned, that which is to be completed (from Paul’s vantage point) was written Scripture. the apostles and other authors of Scripture didn’t have the knowledge we have today, including the completed and collated Scripture. So, the speaking and revelatory gifts were understood to have been used for that purpose, until the Scripture was completed. Then they would die away of their own accord. 2.) Paul himself said, “we know in part and prophesy in part” but he spoke of a time when “that which is ‘in part’ shall be done away”. The sign gifts would of themselves cease and the three things Paul mentioned at the end of the chapter would remain. (of course, there was no “chapter break” in the original letter). 3.) Church history does seem to indicate that the sign gifts did diminish after about 400 A.D. Also according to Ephesians 2:20, apostles and prophets were FOUNDATIONAL to the Church but we are now well past the foundational stage, correct?

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      Incorrect

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Well, the instructions on the gifts were helpful to understand other things like attitude of service and being centered on the fact that the Spirit dispensed them sovereignly. And if you Pentecostals are so sure the Gifts are NORMATIVE for the Church today, why aren’t Pentecostal pastors going around hospitals cleaning them out? Huh?

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      (;-) )

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      How am I incorrect Mr. Wayne? I have it down in Scofield’s notes by golly! J. M. Carroll wrote that we Baptists go back all the way to JOHN the Baptist. You guys just popped up around 1900. (and maybe in weird groups like the Irvingites and those people in Topeka, Kansas. Wasn’t your founder a racist and another one a one-eyed uneducated black guy?)

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      Walter Polasik that is another absurd fundamentalist argument – Jesus did not clean out the whole pool of Siloam or even the beggars at gate beautiful and in fact COULD NOT do many might miracles in his home town – error to think anyone did that kind of thing prior to the milenium

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      1 C 13 – we have gifts till we see him face to face and Know as we are known – the future age

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne Oh, so what YOU’RE saying is that’s a STRAW MAN argument. Well, and so it is. But then Peter had a healing ministry so powerful even people who passed under his SHADOW were healed. Paul sent out handkerchiefs and other cloths and THOSE were the means of healing people. Where is that kind of power TODAY? I mean, I know people on TBN claim stuff but….And you know, if the gift of healing (by laying on of hands) persisted, why did even Paul tell Timotny to “use a little wine” for his stomach’s sake? Wasn’t that an indication that even HIS healing ministry was slowly abating?

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne: Where does it say THAT? Doesn’t I Cor. 13 say that they will CEASE? Is the Bible right because the Gospel is TRUE or because we can show sign-gifts to back it up? Do we really need some “pizzazz” to get people to see the truth of the Gospel? Benny Hinn knocking people flat on the floor perhaps?

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      {I’m sorry, I have too much fun role-playing]

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Stan Wayne

      No not all – 1 Cor says WHEN – when we are face to face and when we KNOW as we are known – that is in the future age

    • Reply July 28, 2017

      Walter Polasik

      Stan Wayne Yes, it says we’ll know perfectly. But doesn’t the very same passage SPECIFICALLY say “tongues will cease”? Even the Greek indicates they will “die off” or “fade away”. Hasn’t that happened? How can you argue with history?

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Thoughts on Montanism and Pentecostalism

Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

Thoughts on Montanism and Pentecostalism

Many years ago, I read about Montanism. Some Pentecostal authors actually seem positive toward the movement and describe it as a move against the institutionalization of the church in that era. But is that how we should interpret it?

Montanism was a movement some time before 200 AD. Montanus, according to critics, would prophesy in a frenzied state. He had two women prophetesses who worked with him. A movement grew up around him known as Montanism or ‘The New Prophecy.’ Montanus was from Asia Minor, but the movement spread from there to North Africa, Italy, and Gaul. In Asia Minor, there was a definite schism, but apparently those who adhered to the movement in Carthage remained a part of the regular church.

Much of what we now of Montanism was written by critics who were harsh toward it. Some things that were controversial about Montanism. – It was said that Montanus raved and prophesied while in an ecstacy. – They said his way of prophesying differed from the continuous tradition of how prophesying was done from the beginning of the church. – Montanists were ascetic and against women wearing ornaments. – Montanists were accused of accepting gifts and wearing makeup. – After the death of Montanus and the two prophetesses, Montanists apparently believed that prophecy had ceased because the perfect had come and went with Montanus, and may have invented I Corinthians 13 cessationism, while the main church still believed in the gift of prophecy. – It is believed that Montanus forbade widows and widowers from remarrying.

It is this last point I want to respond to. Tertullian, the author and apologist, became a Montanist defender. He defended the ‘New Prophecy’ revelation that widows could no longer remarry.

Basically, the Montanist movement, through their prophecies, had created a new, extra-biblical doctrine about marriage, forbidding marriage to widows and widowers.

I see this as something that is contradictory to Pentecostal approaches to theology and scripture. Pentecostals typically see these ‘ground rules’ as set in the Bible. Doctrine comes from scripture. Certain ‘Neo-Pentecostal’ groups may not see it that way.

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