- Aug 19, 2008Professor Steven Land's book, _Pentecostal Spirituality_ is an excellent study of the theological roots and early theological formation of classical Pentecostalism. He argues for the primacy of the Holiness movement's theology and practice as the fertile soil in which modern Pentecostalism has grown. Dr. Land is Professor of New Testament at Church of God Theological Seminary in Cleveland, TN, a Wesleyan-Holiness-Pentecostal Seminary:
Another CoG author, Winfield Bevins, in his _Rediscovering John Wesley_ goes into more depth and detail concerning the historical relationship between Wesleyanism and Pentecostalism, though overall I would say his book is much better suited as an introduction to the subject than Land's book is.
Though often caricatured as teaching a "third blessing" or "three works of grace," Land's book clearly shows that the early majority view among Pentecostals was not that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a third work of grace, but that it was instead a reception of divine power upon a clean heart, which is much closer to views of Fletcher and the Holiness movement in general concerning the issue. To be sure, Land does not deny that classic Pentecostalism has taught that speaking in tongues was the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and so this crucial distinction between classic Pentecostalism and the older Wesleyan-Holiness movement is still maintained.
It should also be noted that the non-Wesleyan Assemblies of God, while they are the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world in membership, are by no means the only representation of Pentecostal theology. Wesleyan-Holiness-Pentecostal denominations such as the Church of God, Int'l Pentecostal Holiness Church, Church of God in Christ make up a significant portion of Pentecostalism.
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