This article is highly inaccurate and biased. You rightly object to people going to anti-Catholics for information on Catholicism. In the same way, Fr. Stenhouse is not a good source for information on Pentecostals. Exercise the same fairness you expect from Protestants, and consult either sympathetic or neutral sources to get your basic information.
[quote=Sean O L]“ASSEMBLIES OF GOD” AND OTHER “LATTER RAIN” SECTS
by Paul Stenhouse, M.S.C., Ph.D
When genuinely sympathetic people find the ‘speaking in tongues,’ shouting, visions, trances, jerking, dancing, ‘ecstatic utterances,’ ‘gifts of prophecy’ and ‘interpretation of tongues’ associated with Charismatic ‘religion’ too irrational and hysterical to be credible, is it surprising that the unbelievers scoff?
Who are these “genuinely sympathetic people”? Christianity has always seemed like foolishness to outsiders. This is not a valid objection to Pentecostalism.
The ‘Pentecostalists’ are part of the ‘Holiness’ millenarian movement that started in the 1880s in southern California, and for which the ‘charismatic’ element was dominant.
The “Holiness” movement goes back much earlier in the 19th century, began in the Northeast (especially New York) rather than California, and was not originally a millenarian movement. More accurately, Fr. Stenhouse is speaking of what is sometimes called the “radical holiness movement,” which was much more sectarian and was influenced by premillenialism (this is my own background).
All members are believed to be filled with, and led by, the Spirit and therefore 'perfect.
In a highly qualified sense. Essentially, the Holiness view of perfection is analogous to the qualification for obtaining a plenary indulgence–freedom from all attachment to sin. It does not mean total perfection in all respects (it certainly does not mean, as Fr. Stenhouse later implies, that the sanctified person has a perfectly reliable judgment). Furthermore, being filled with the Spirit is not guaranteed by membership in the movement or in any denomination (surely Fr. Stenhouse doesn’t think that that’s what Pentecostals believe–but that’s the plain sense of his words). Finally, while the earliest Pentecostals were “holiness” and believed in “entire sanctification” as I’ve just described it, the Assemblies of God derive from non-Holiness people who were influenced by Pentecostalism. The AOG does not, as far as I know, teach entire sanctification in the Wesleyan Holiness sense. Rather, they teach that the baptism of the Holy Spirit gives power for service. This does involve living a holy life, of course. But it’s even farther away from a claim to total perfection than the Holiness position is. He’s muddling several different things here.
They exhibit an emotionalism that is regarded as characteristic of the extreme Charismatic sects…
I don’t know what that sentence is supposed to mean. Regarded by whom? What extreme sects? The AOG are not as “extreme” as the more extreme charismatic groups. He’s simply trying to smear Pentecostals without defining his terms at all.
The Church of the Nazarene is a ‘Holiness’ Church founded in Los Angeles in 1895 after three ‘Pentecostal Tabernacles’ had been set up in Brooklyn, New York in 1894. Through affiliation with other Presbyterian and Methodist Pentecostal Churches, the Pentecostal Church qf the Nazarene arose, and in 1919 ‘Pentecostal’ was dropped, as the members did not favour ‘speaking in tongues’ which was a practice of more radical Pentecostal groups, the largest of which is the Assemblies of God.
This is essentially my background–my folks belonged to a much smaller group who weren’t as successful as the Nazarenes (they regarded the Nazarenes as overly lax–my folks were so extremely strict that very few people were willing to join them).
In the full article, Fr. Stenhouse makes the dubious claim that instances of crimes committed allegedly by divine command discredit the entire Pentecostal movement. By this methodology, one could easily discredit Catholicism. I know quite well from bitter personal experience how the radical holiness tradition can lead to a misplaced identification of one’s own ideas and feelings with the leading of the Spirit. Fr. Stenhouse isn’t entirely wrong there. But he’s absolutely wrong in saying that the holiness/Pentecostal tradition has no way to tell a sincere believer that he or she is mistaken. Holiness and Pentecostal believers recognize the possibility of spiritual delusion and devote quite a bit of energy to guarding against it. Abuse of an idea does not prove the falsehood of the idea. Catholics, of all people, should recognize this, instead of stooping to use the same tawdry arguments that they rightly disdain when used against them.