Tag Archives: Pentecost

NRM: Methodist Holiness and Pentecostal Movements

NRM: Intro. To Christianity, Methodist Holiness and Pentecostal Movements

I. Introduction to Christianity:

A. Using the structure of the Nicene Creed, be able to identify the main tenants in Christianity such as: the Trinity, God as creator, Jesus as God incarnate, Jesus’ life and death, belief in the foundation of the church, baptism, and resurrection

B. I use this creed to show the power of creeds and doctrine in the construction of Christian traditions and also to emphasize the arguments among early Christians which led to a particular kind of Christianity dominating the western world.

            The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.[1] 

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made[2],
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate[3] from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures[4];
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

I. Chapter Name: “Symbol and Sign in Methodist Holiness and Pentecostal Spirituality”:

(This is a summary of a chapter found in Timothy Miller’s book, America’s Alternative Religions… the chapter itself was written by Charles Edwin Jones).

  A. What church did Methodism start within? The Church of England (Anglican Church)

  B. Who started the Methodist movement? John Wesley (an Anglican priest) gathered students together at  Oxford (1729-1735 c.e.), not with the intention to make a new denomination but rather so students could focus on what he termed entire sanctification (aka Christian Perfectionism)

      focus on: 1. lively preaching, 2. intenerate preaching, 3. focus on spiritual rebirth,

      4. free will, 5. perfectionism, 6. Bible studies and Christian living

  C. The Methodist Holiness movement focused on not just initial sanctification (forgiveness of sins) but also on what?

ENTIRE SANTIFICATION/ CHRISTIAN PERFECTIONISM: where by a Christian, through the grace of God , could strive for perfectionism and maybe before death reach the state where the taint of original sin was washed away.

 D. What was the event called the Pentecost by Christians

Book of Acts ch. 2: 1-4 (in the New Testament) (NIV 2010)

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

VIDEO: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/watch/ (start at roughly 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes)

            Anglican Church Methodism (Wesley brothers)

2 movements have roots in Methodism but stood outside the Methodist structure: Holiness movement (Wesley and Palmer) and the Pentecostal movement

           BOTH  MOVEMENTS:

      1. present activity of Holy Spirit

       2. looking for Jesus’ return

       3. postconversion experiences of purity and power (bapt.of the Holy Spirit)

E. Who was Phoebe Palmer and in what ways did she alter the ideas around entire sanctification? Palmer simplified and popularized John Wesley’s doctrine of entire sanctification modifying it 6 different ways:

    1. entire sanctification (baptism of the Holy Spirit)

    2. Holiness with Power

    3. Instantaneous elements of sanctification

    4. entire sanctification (not goal but beginning of Christian life)

    5. “altar theology” (place oneself on the altar as a sacrifice to God)

    6. no evidence needed other than the Biblical text to be assured of entire sanctification

 F.  Phoebe Palmer emphasized the role of women (ability to prophecy)

 G. The Pentecostal movement views what activities as evidence of the Holy Spirit? prophecy, laying on  of hands, and glossolalia (speaking in tongues), Services are often very loud and jubilant

 VIDEO: Atlanta West Pentecostal Church 10:15 am Praise Break


  H. What 2 locations are most often associated with the start of the Pentecostal movement?

    1. Charles F. Parham’s Bible College in Topeka Kansas (student spoke in tongues in 1900)

    2. Azusa Street Apostolic Mission in LA- mission led by a student of Parham’s, William Seymour, an  African  American evangelical minister (started in 1906)          

J. Pentecostal focus on the “end times” and modern prophecy and signs

K. Various kinds of “signs” found in Pentecostal movements:

                        1. Glossolalia: speaking in tongues

            VIDEO: Bill Maher’s film Religious, Speaking in Tongues clip

             (how might this clip show a very limited perspective on glossolalia?)


                        2. Laying on of Hands

                        3. In some small churches in Appalachia: Snake Handling: (often called signs churches)

                        Biblical references: the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke

  VIDEO: Snake handlers of Appalachia



[1] This part of the creed is often noted as an easy way to identify Gnostic Christians… since some Gnostic Christians believed that Jesus’ god was not the same as the Jewish creator god. This also emphasizes the monotheistic nature of the Christian religion.

[2] Many early Christians debated about the nature of the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One group of Christians set themselves apart, and ended up on the losing side of history in the Western Church, by declaring that God the Father was inherently superior over God the Son.

[3] Early Christian communities argued over Jesus’ nature. So Christians believed in docetism (from the root ‘to seem’) and described Jesus as only ‘seeming’ to have a human (fleshy) body. Supposedly Gnostics would not have supported a creed which emphasized Jesus’ manifestation in the flesh, believing the material world to be inferior to the spiritual world.

[4] The scriptures included not only the sacred texts which the early Christians will authorize but also the Hebrew Bible/TaNaKh/ Jewish Sciptures. This is significant because presumably some Gnostic Christians did not support including Jewish scripture into the Christian Bible. Obviously, this opinion was not shared by the successful church authorities of the day, due to the fact that Jewish scripture remains a vital component of the Christian Bible.

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Very Basic Introduction to Western Christianity

Information/terms to assist you with the reading (I created this brief summary for my NRM students who needed some supplemental background information regarding why many American NRMs were invoking terms sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and what these concepts signified for the older “mother” traditions.)

This summary written by Katherine Daley-Bailey.

Christianity: (Christians) Christianity is a religion that sprang up within Judaism. Jesus of Nazareth, who Christians refer to as the Messiah (Jewish concept meaning anointed one, chosen one, kingly one) or Christ (Greek translation of messiah), was born a Jew. His family was Jewish. They participated in Jewish holidays and Jesus seems even to have been educated in the Jewish law. The earliest Christians were Jews… so Christianity only makes sense if you know something about the religion it grew out of. Christianity, as new religion, based itself of various distinguishing marks (that separated it from Judaism). Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was not only a Jewish wise man but that he was God incarnate (in the flesh). Jews don’t believe that Jesus was God in human form. Christians believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and that this resurrection awaits all faithful followers after death. Jews believe that Jesus was a human being and died a human death. Christians believe that they are the “new Israel”… the new “chosen ones” of God. Jesus, according to Christianity, came back from the dead to tell his early followers to go forth into the world and declare the gospel, the “good news.”

Texts: Early Christians saw the Jewish scriptures (the TaNaKh) as predicting the arrival of Jesus. According to these Christians, their relationship with God had changed… since Jesus’ followers believed that God was with them in the flesh, was killed, and then rose from the dead. The early followers of Jesus began to tell others of Jesus’ story (the gospel). Over time, four versions of the Jesus story were considered authoritative. Christian leaders felt that if Christians were to truly understand Jesus they must know the earlier Jewish scriptures as well as the new scriptures (the gospel stories, etc.). For this reason, Christians included the earlier Jewish scriptures along with these stories about Jesus and the early Church in their Christian Bible.

Leaders: Christians believe that Jesus told his followers to tell His story… and that this requirement was passed on to all Christians. The earliest followers to go out and preach about Jesus are referred to as Apostles (messengers). Fifty days after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, Christians believe that the Holy Spirit (another member of the Christian trinity along with God, the father, and, God the son) came down to where these early followers were and gave them the ability to speak in various languages (speak in tongues) so that they could go all over the world and tell people about Jesus. This event is referred to as the Pentecost. Christianity developed its own structure … a hierarchy with the bishop of Rome (the Pope) ruling over other bishops, and they rule over different geographical regions. Various early Christians rebelled against the structures of belief of the church leader who held power and were thereby thrown out of the church and deemed “heretics.”

Later some Christian bishops thought the bishop of Rome should share power with them and this led to a split in the church. In 1054 c.e., the Western Latin speaking Christians under the leadership of the Pope and the Eastern Greek speaking Christians on the side of the various Eastern bishops, excommunicated (ousted) each other from the church. The Western Church is known as the Catholic Church and the Eastern Church is known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Western Church centered in Rome went through troubled times as the Roman Empire shifted its center to the East. When the Roman Empire in the West crumbled, a power vacuum opened up and the Western (aka Catholic) Church and the Pope began to play a huge role in the politics of Europe.

Schisms: The Catholic Church encountered interior opposition in the early 1500s. The Catholic Church held massive political power in Europe at the time. However, there were numerous criticisms among the clergy (ordained) and the lay (not ordained) communities in the church. Martin Luther, a young Catholic priest, was encouraged by his advisor to study the Bible (remember that very few people could read and even a smaller percentage could read Latin (Latin Bible= Vulgate), the language in which the official authorized version of the Bible was written in). Luther started to study the Bible and found what he saw were inconsistencies between Church doctrine and laws and what was written in the holy book.

Luther wrote a list of questionable practices and theological ideas that he felt were problematic and nailed a copy of this text (The Ninety-Five Thesis) to the church door in Wittenberg on Oct. 31st, 1517. When Luther would not recant his statements against the Catholic Church, he was excommunicated. He would later go on to translate the Bible into German. This allowed those who could read German access to the text. Thanks to the invention of the printing press, literacy rates shot up and many more people could read the Bible. Luther believed that man was saved by sola fide (faith alone)… whereas the Catholic Church believes that man is saved by faith and works (good deeds and merit). Luther believed that a Christian only needed access to the Bible (sola scriptura= scripture alone) to be a good Christian… whereas the Catholic Church emphasized a Christian’s need of scripture and tradition (along with the Church’s guiding influence to help Christians understand that scripture). Luther and those who split with the Catholic Church were called Protestants… because they “protested” against the Catholic Church. Since these Protestant Christians believed they could interpret the Bible on their own, these Christians often disagreed over their interpretations and this caused many to start their own churches.

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