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God Present in a Confused Situation: The Mixed Influence of the Charismatic Movement on Classical Pentecostalism in the United States

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This confused response to the Charismatic movement2 by an official of the Assemblies of God is typical of what many classical Pentecostals in the United States have felt in their struggle over the past three decades to come to terms with the obvious proliferation of extraordinary signs and gifts of the Holy Spirit among members of mainline churches. In the past, Pentecostals viewed these churches as the chief opponents of the latter-day bestowal of supernatural signs and wonders. Apparently, without the permission of Pentecostals, the Spirit of God was suddenly being felt in Charismatic Renewal among members of major Protestant churches and, most surprisingly for Pentecostals, in the Roman Catholic Church. The Pentecostal confusion, however, was due not only to the unexpected work of the Spirit among alleged opponents of revival, but also to the influence that these Renewal movements were having on many classical Pentecostals. In other words, Pentecostals not only had to wrestle with the dramatic work of the Spirit in the mainline churches, they also had to come to terms with the possibility that the movement may serve as a source of renewal for Pentecostal churches. This confusion was rooted in the Pentecostal ambivalence toward a Renewal movement that both repelled and influenced the classical Pentecostal churches.


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