The large houses converted in the 3rd c. held 30 people in a circular format, much like a large family gathering. People looked at each other and shared face-to-face in worship, giving a revelation or teaching or prophecy ONE-TO-ANOTHER. There was no audience, only family. People didn’t know each other by the back of their heads! There was no performance, only participation. There was no “us and them.” It was an “each other” experience. Look up the occurrences of “each of you” or “one another” when the Church comes together.
Justin Martyr around 155–160 AD, said the “prophetical gifts formerly belonging to the Jews are now at work in the Church” as well as other charismata, particularly the 7 gifts of the Spirit: the Spirit of understanding, another of counsel, another of strength, another of healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God.”
Irenaeus of Lyon around 185 AD, says “It is impossible to name the number of all charismata, which the church, dispersed throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ” and “in like manner (as Paul does – 1 Cor 14:18), we also hear that many brethren in the church, who have prophetic charismata, speak in all kinds of tongues through the Spirit and reveal the hidden things of people, for their benefit and explain the mysteries of God. For some (of Christ’s true disciples) do certainly and truly drive out demons, so that those who are thus cleansed from the evil spirits often believe and join the church. Others have foreknowledge of future things, they see visions and utter prophetic words. Again others heal the sick by laying their hands upon them and let them rise up healthy. Moreover, as we have said, the dead even have been raised up and lived with us for many years.” He also addresses those from his own church who fail to accept these charistmata: “Others do not accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit and cast the prophetic charisma far from their sight, through which man, when he is sprinkled with it, bears the life of God as fruit. Quoting Isa 1:30 saying “they like a terebinth tree that has lost all its leaves and like a garden without water’ . . . have no use for God, because they bear no fruit.”
Tertullian declared shortly after 200 AD says the charismata were common practice in Carthage. At people’s baptism he suggests they: “Ask from the Lord, as a special gift of His grace, the distributions of the charismata.” He thus saw baptism, the receiving of the Spirit, and the charismata as being closely linked.
Other writings that mention the gives of the Spirit are those of Cyprian (Carthage 258), Hippolytus (Rome, c.170–c.236), Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), Origen (c.185–c.254), Ephraem Syrus (c.306–373), and near the end of Augustine’s life (before 430), he claimed that particular gifts of the Spirit (such as the gift of healing) were present during his own time and within his own geographical region of North Africa.
There is much more written about the Holy Spirit in revivals throughout Church history. The common denominator is the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, often in ways that interrupted the “order” of the established Church, and these revivals suffered differing degrees of “pushback” from the established Church. In many cases the orthodox Church during these times was very corrupt, worldly, or just plain lifeless and the world around them followed suit. When society and Church hit rock bottom, that’s apparently when God pours out his Spirit again. This rarely ever happens within the established Church, but only through a handful of people, but then it spreads like a wild fire. Persecution doesn’t seem to stamp it out either, but only fuel it more. The blood of the martyrs came often from the Catholic and even Protestant churches!
Sometimes, we see church-people getting with the program, but often after the “wave of the Spirit” is practically overwhelming them or knocked them flat on their butts! Thank God some of them come to their senses. There are always abuses and influences by outside religions and cults, so the need to “test the spirits” is important, but there can’t be so much stress on “doing everything decently and in order” that there is also a “quenching of the Spirit” or forbidding of the gifts of the Spirit. The Spirit and His gifts are the life and witness of the Church, and when they are waning then so is the life and witness of the Church, resulting in carnality to soon set in – no matter how theologically “prim and proper” the Church has become. It can still be “dead right!”