Lesson 1, Topic 4
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The Modern Pentecostal Movement

Wes August 9, 2021
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The Modern Pentecostal Movement

The Moving Factors

If Pentecost continued from Acts 2 until now, why do we talk about the Pentecostal Movement of the 20th century?

Even though we have now seen the outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout history since the Apostles, we still note that there was something about the 20th century that makes it stand out as the “Century of the Holy Spirit.” In the 20th century, there were numerous events and movements known as Pentecostal and/or Charismatic, which have continued into the 21st century. 

What made the 20th century different than those that preceded it? And how did these events and movements come about?

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Where do you see God at work in all these factors?

There were many factors that gave rise to the Modern Pentecostal Movement. Some of these were historical and cultural — the movements towards racial unity and gender equality around the turn of the century. Some of these were theological — renewed interest in the biblical evidence of the Baptism of the Spirit. Some people even claimed there were natural factors — like the San Fransisco earthquake of 1906. Many of the factors appear to be directly linked, like dominoes — such as Charles Parham’s assignment about speaking in Tongues, which influenced William Seymour’s sermon at Azusa Street. Some factors — like Pope Leo’s prayer “Come, Holy Spirit,” — appear indirectly linked. 

Whatever way one accounts for these factors, something significant was happening in the decades around the turn of the 20th century, paving the way for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

Test Yourself

Who was known as the father of the Modern Pentecostal Movement?


Charles Parham

Talk it Through

Home Forums 1.4 Factors That Gave Rise to the Modern Pentecostal Movement

  • 1.4 Factors That Gave Rise to the Modern Pentecostal Movement

    Posted by ECO on August 16, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Choose ONE of these quotes to reflect on, with the questions provided, in a brief paragraph.

    1. William Seymour – “Don’t tell people about tongues, tell them about Jesus.” Why do you think Seymour said this? Do you agree or disagree? Is there ever a time to tell people about tongues?
    2. Pope Leo XIII, dedicating the 20th century to the Holy Spirit, on Jan 1, 1901, praying “Come, Holy Spirit.” What do you make of the Pope dedicating the 20th century to the Holy Spirit? Considering the numerous Holy Spirit-birthed movements of that century, is it relevant or does it seem more coincidental?
    Susan replied 3 months, 1 week ago 31 Members · 32 Replies
  • 32 Replies
  • Curtis

    September 1, 2021 at 8:01 pm
    Rank: Level 2

    I agree with his statement always tell people about Jesus but if someone asks about tongues one can show them from the Bible that it is for today.

    • ECO

      September 1, 2021 at 8:47 pm
      Rank: Level 2

      The point, if I understand Seymour right, is that Jesus always comes first. We don’t focus on the Spirit, because the Spirit doesn’t focus on himslef. Someone once said the Holy Spirit is the shy member of the Trinity. His goal is not to draw attention to himself, but to point people to Jesus. It is memorably said this way: “The Spirit has a spotlight ministry.”

  • Alexander

    March 17, 2022 at 11:10 am
    Rank: Level 1

    I assume Seymour said this because it was easily a devisive topic in the early days of the modern pentecostal movement. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit’s primary mission is to point people to him and glorify him, so I believe that the Holy Spirit would be pleased with our focus being on the gift giver rather than on the details of the gifts. I don’t think the intention of this statement was for people not to talk about the gifts, but to make sure the ultimate focus is on Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s purpose (as well as the purpose of his gifts).

  • Jenn

    March 20, 2022 at 10:27 am
    Rank: Level 1

    Talking about speaking in other tongues can distracting new believers from Jesus. If we focus on tongues initially, it detracts from the miracle of salvation. We can get wrapped up in conversations about evidence in an already divisive topic, when salvation comes by faith, not evidence. Similar in that we can’t understand the Word of God fully until after we’ve decided to open our hearts to it, trying to understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit only makes sense to us after we’ve already experienced salvation. Let’s focus on sharing the love of Christ, and after, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

  • Charla

    March 20, 2022 at 9:06 pm
    Rank: Level 1

    Words are powerful. I believe that when the Pope dedicated the 20th century to the Holy Spirit he was making a Kingdom of Heaven inspired declaration. Is this declaration the only reason for so many Holy Spirit-birthed movements in this era? I don’t think so. I believe this was simply one of many pieces to what the Lord was orchestrating in this time, setting the stage for an outpouring of Holy Spirit.

    • ECO

      March 22, 2022 at 9:44 am
      Rank: Level 2

      @smythc1 that’s right. I believe that God works in patterns and that when God is doing one thing in one part of his church, he is doing the same thing in another part of his church (even if it looks a little different).

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