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The Holiness and Pentecostal Churches: Emerging from Cultural Isolation

by Donald W. Dayton

Donald W. Dayton is associate professor of historical theology at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, and chair of the steering committee of the evangelical theology section of the American Academy of Religion. A layman in the Wesleyan Church of America, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Among his writings are Theological Roots of Pentacostalism (Scarecrow 1984), Discovering an Evangelical Heritage (Harper & Row 1976), and (editor) Contemporary Perspectives on Pietism (Convent 1976). This article appeared in the Christian Century  August 15-22, 1979. P. 786. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation and used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www.christiancentury.org. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


The Holiness and Pentecostal churches, the youngest of the ecclesiastical families examined in this series, are often overlooked and sometimes avoided by their elder brothers and sisters in Christendom. Notice, however, is especially appropriate now because the rest of this century will see the culmination of a continuing process as these churches emerge from sectarian isolation into broader American church life as vigorous ecclesiastical traditions.

Distinguishing the Families

No single article can easily discern the dynamic and project the future of this constellation of churches. Holiness churches, largely a product of the Methodist tradition, follow those who in the ethos of the 19th century camp meeting preserved a variation of the Wesleyan doctrine of “Christian perfection,” emphasizing a postconversion experience of “entire sanctification.” Distinctly “Holiness” churches do not speak in tongues; they are among the sharpest critics of the practice. Pentecostal churches teach that Pentecost is a repeatable experience available to Christians in all ages and usually that its appropriation is “evidenced” by speaking in tongues. Something of the difference may be seen in the caricature that Holiness churches emphasize the “graces” or “fruits” of the Spirit while Pentecostal churches place greater weight on the “gifts” of the Spirit, especially “divine healing” and glossolalia.

Yet there is an appropriateness in treating the two traditions together. Historians increasingly agree that Pentecostalism emerged at the turn of the century largely from a radical wing of the Holiness movement emphasizing “divine healing” and the imminent return of Christ. At that time Holiness leaders were attempting to interpret Pentecost as an experience of “entire sanctification” until the emergence of tongues-speaking Pentecostalism prompted them to purge features that might cause confusion. The lines are also blurred by large segments of Pentecostalism (especially in the south and among blacks) that are also “Holiness” in that they teach “three works of grace” -- conversion, entire sanctification and a “baptism in the Spirit” with speaking in tongues. And Holiness and Pentecostal churches share much in ethos, hymnody and social/cultural experience.

This wing of Christendom encompasses incredible diversity. Both branches were movements before the formation of denominations. Thus the Holiness family includes pockets of influence within Methodism (many camp meetings and some educational institutions), pre-Civil War perfectionist antislavery radicals like the Wesleyans and Free Methodists, such products of the National Camp Meeting Association as the Church of the Nazarene and the Pilgrim Holiness Church, social-service movements like the Salvation Army, a synthesis of Holiness theology and a Campbellite-like ecclesiology in the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), as well as a host of smaller bodies.

Pentecostalism is even more diverse, especially ethnically and theologically. Pentecostals range from the most developed Assemblies of God churches (increasingly taking on the shape of wider Protestant church life) through southern Holiness-Pentecostal churches, the intensely sectarian “Jesus only” unitarian Pentecostals, and large black and ethnic churches, to the uncharacteristic extremes of Appalachian “snake-handlers,” all too often the only public image of “holy rollers.”

I will grossly oversimplify this complexity by speaking primarily of three broad groups: (1) the largely white Holiness churches, especially those in the Christian Holiness Association (CHA); (2) the white Pentecostal churches in the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America (PFNA); and (3) a more diffuse grouping of ethnic Pentecostal churches dominated by black Pentecostalism.

Growth and Vigor

We can only estimate the extent of these churches. No one knows the size of the Church of God in Christ, the largest black Pentecostal church. Guesses range from a very conservative half-million members to 2 or 3 million. The CHA claims to represent a total membership of perhaps 2 million, while American Pentecostalism would probably exceed twice that figure.

But such numbers do not tell the whole story. Until surpassed by the Southern Baptists, the Methodists were the dominant religious body in America, at a membership of about 10 million. The United Methodist Church, however, now lists a Sunday school enrollment of only half its membership, and on a given Sunday has only about a third of its membership in church. By contrast, the Church of the Nazarene claims a Sunday school enrollment double its half-million membership and attendance larger than membership totals. The Wesleyan Church often has double its membership in attendance. This suggests than on a given Sunday roughly as many people are in Holiness churches as in United Methodist churches,

Thus the picture of Holiness and Pentecostal churches as they enter the 1980s is largely one of youth and vigor. These new churches are flexing their muscles as they enter maturity riding the crest of fantastic growth. The 1977 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches identified the Salvation Army as the fastest-growing religious body in America. The Church of the Nazarene has nearly tripled in size since 1940, while the Assemblies of God have more than quadrupled and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) has more than quintupled. According to National Council of Churches statistics (which appear not to include Pentecostal churches), five of the top eight denominations in per capita giving are Holiness bodies. Free Methodists, for example, average about four times the giving of United Methodists, Lutherans or Episcopalians.

At the same time, such growth is now leveling off. Thus the Nazarenes grew only 1.4 per cent in this country in 1977 and dropped by more than 20,000 in Sunday school enrollment. Similar patterns obtain among Pentecostals. This leveling off is correlated with other important changes. Holiness and Pentecostal folk are busily engaged in creating all those agencies and patterns of church life that their maverick forebears found too confining. Within a variety of polities, the weight of authority is being shifted away from congregations toward denominational structures. Thus the most heated debates in recent General Councils of the Assemblies of God have centered on efforts to qualify local sovereignty in favor of district and national councils.

One ominous result of this bureaucratization is that all sorts of decisions are being made primarily on the basis of political and institutional requirements without the theological and ecclesiastical controls that exist in other contexts. Thus one problem facing these churches in the next couple of decades will be to find ways to open up the decision-making processes to responsible theological reflection and wider accountability. This task will not be easy -- to judge, for example, by the resistance met recently in the Assemblies of God by various “sunshine” resolutions designed to open up administration in the wake of charges about high-level financial indiscretions.

Maturing Scholarship

One of the most significant facts about both the Holiness and Pentecostal churches is the rapid and recent growth of seminary education. Though some Holiness seminaries go back further (especially Asbury Theological Seminary and Anderson School of Theology), the late 1940s saw the beginnings of their real growth and the founding of the Nazarene Theological Seminary and Western Evangelical Seminary. The Pentecostals are just now entering the field. The first Pentecostal seminary was founded by blacks -- the C. H. Mason Theological Seminary in Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center. The Assemblies of God have now launched in their Springfield, Missouri, headquarters a graduate school of theology. And to a certain extent, one must see in this line such recent efforts as the more technically “charismatic” or “neo-Pentecostal” Melodyland School of Theology and the projected school of theology at Pat Robertson’s CBN University (of the “700 Club”) in view of their tendency to build faculties on a flowering of scholarship within the Assemblies of God. And mirroring its founder’s evolution out of the Holiness wing of Pentecostalism into Methodism is the school of theology at Oral Roberts University.

Such developments have naturally led to a burst of scholarly and theological activity. The Wesleyan Theological Society (WTS), representing the Holiness churches, is now 15 years old and claims a thousand members. A smaller but initially more vigorous Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS) was founded in 1970. The increasing sophistication of theological work in these traditions may be traced in some of their journals.

The influence of this maturing scholarship is being felt outside the denominations involved. Mainstream churches and educational institutions have had in the past a disproportionate share of leaders who were reared in Holiness and Pentecostal contexts but whose theological development led them into other ecclesiastical fields of service. With the maturation of their own churches, more of these scholars are maintaining their identification with Holiness and Pentecostal bodies. Perhaps the greatest symbol of this trend for the present generation has been Timothy Smith, who in addition to his work at Johns Hopkins University has continued to pastor Nazarene churches and on occasion to preach “special meetings.” This tendency is especially prominent among Pentecostals, who have begun to move into the evangelical seminaries. Thus text critic Gordon Fee of the Assemblies of God teaches New Testament at Gordon-Conwell, and several Pentecostals serve Fuller Seminary. Perhaps more interesting are such figures in the ecumenical centers. Union Theological Seminary (New York) now has Old Testament scholar Jerry Sheppard of the Assemblies of God and black homiletician James Forbes of the United Holy Church of America.

Theological Ferment

This maturing scholarship is growing in impact, and the strains of theological reformulation are already being felt. Both traditions suffer from a reductionism in which distinctive teachings were elevated out of proportion. Part of the theological problem faced by each is to recover perspective and balance. The Pentecostal teachings have been more easily translated into other contexts, as the rise of the charismatic movement indicates, and the most creative Pentecostal theology is taking place in that dialogue. Holiness doctrines present a greater problem of reinterpretation, and recent years have seen a variety of theological methods applied to the task. Really persuasive restatements have not yet emerged. Probably most influential for a new generation of Holiness scholars has been the work of Nazarene theologian Mildred Bangs Wynkoop, especially her book A Theology of Love: The Dynamic of Wesleyanism (Beacon Hill, 1972).

The most explosive issue in Holiness thought today is being fought out primarily in the Church of the Nazarene. Increasing historical sophistication has revealed the discontinuities between classical Wesleyanism and late 19th century Holiness thought in which the doctrine of “entire sanctification” was expounded from the accounts of Pentecost in the Book of Acts. This doctrine of “Pentecostal sanctification” not only has been shown to have shaky exegetical foundations but appears also to have been repudiated by Wesley. This tension forces Nazarene theologians into two camps -- those wishing to reaffirm classical Wesleyanism and those defending the 19th century developments. Such discussions are tremendously threatening. They not only challenge the consensus of several decades but also suggest the historical conditioning of Holiness theology, raise questions about the varieties of theologies in the New Testament, and focus issues about the historical and theological relationships between Holiness and Pentecostal traditions.

Among white Pentecostals the pressure comes from the charismatics, who are shedding certain classical Pentecostal doctrines, particularly “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” and its being “evidenced” by speaking in tongues. The most sophisticated debates center on the hermeneutical problem of how “historical precedent” determines doctrine in the case of the narratives in Acts. The controversies around the “evidence doctrine” are not about the validity of “tongues” as such, but only about the experience as the necessary evidence of having received the baptism. Ultimately, classical Pentecostals will have to follow the charismatics in discarding some of these claims, but the process will be slow because these teachings have been so central to identity that most classical Pentecostals are unable to see what might lie beyond them.

For black Pentecostals the theological issues are often different. Their theology is more fluid and less rigidly committed to the formulations agitating white Pentecostals. More important, however, at least for the theological avant-garde, is the fact that black Pentecostals identify as much with the black church experience as with white Pentecostals. Some interesting developments are taking place at C. H. Mason Seminary in Atlanta, where certain themes of liberation theology are being incorporated into Pentecostal thought.

Such ferment signals an emerging theological pluralism also evidenced by the rise of a number of irreverent “Young Turk” journals. The most spritely is Agora, originating in the Assemblies of God but broadening into a “magazine of Pentecostal opinion.” Agora’s agenda includes “promoting an intellectual tradition,” building bridges with charismatics, and articulating a prophetic word on social issues. The shock to the Pentecostal establishment is indicated by the fact that the General Council of the Assemblies of God voted to revoke the ministerial credentials of the editors before thinking better of it and backing away.

Several Holiness denominations have similar journals. The Listening Post pursues “renewal” and related issues within the Free Methodist Church. Colloquium explores such issues as race, urban ministry and the role of women in the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana). A common strategy of these journals is revealed in the name of the Epworth Pulpit, centered in the Nazarene seminary but aspiring to broader Holiness impact. The “Epworth Pulpit” was the tomb of John Wesley’s father from which the son preached in the churchyard when locked out of the parish church in which he had been reared. Today’s editors seek to speak to the modern Holiness movement from the more socially committed positions of the forebears.

Fundamentalist Forces

The meaning of all of this is not yet clear, but the older Holiness traditions may indicate what lies ahead for both traditions. One analysis a few years ago from the right wing identified three major tendencies among Holiness churches: a dominant push toward acculturation, called into question from two sides -- a young, theologically innovative and socially aware minority on one side and those attempting to hold to the old Holiness ways on the other. The latter tendency is already well established. Since World War II bits and pieces of the Holiness bodies have been pulling off to form the “conservative” Holiness movement committed to resisting cultural accommodation by holding on to the ethos of the camp meeting and the taboos against television, wedding rings and so forth.

I would suggest that the future of Holiness and Pentecostal churches will take shape as issues are fought out along four major axes. One of the basic questions facing these churches is whether they will align themselves with fundamentalism. Both traditions began to reach beyond an earlier sectarianism just as the post-World War II “postfundamentalist evangelical” coalition was beginning to emerge. Founders of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) sought to broaden their base just as the Holiness and Pentecostal churches were reaching for wider acceptance. The impact of this relationship was profound. In the wake of the founding of the NAE, the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America was set up along similar lines, and the Christian Holiness Association was restructured to match. The PFNA, and to a lesser extent the CHA, adopted the NAE statement of faith, inserting in each case an additional article on distinctive themes. The Wesleyan Theological Society and the Society for Pentecostal Studies were successively founded in imitation of the Evangelical Theological Society. The key issue for the fundamentalists was the inerrancy of the Scriptures, and one may trace under NAE and ETS influence a rush to beef up Holiness and Pentecostal statements on Scripture. In short, as one Pentecostal historian puts it privately, large segments of the Holiness and Pentecostal movements were “captured” by fundamentalism.

Recent years have seen some reassessment of this tendency in the Holiness churches, where its impact was less in the first place. Churches like the Wesleyan and the Free Methodist were readily incorporated into NAE, but other large segments of the Holiness movement, especially the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene and the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), have shied away from such identification. The forging of a full Holiness coalition in the CHA has required a blunting of fundamentalist rhetoric and doctrines like premillennialism and the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Both the CHA and the WTS have quietly excised “inerrancy” formulations over the past decade or so, and the future probably lies with the Nazarenes, whose leaders and scholars describe themselves as “conservative” and say they are as distant from the fundamentalist “Battle for the Bible” as from the dominant schools of biblical criticism. At any rate, most Holiness schools tolerate restrained forms of biblical criticism and modern theology as yet unacceptable among “evangelicals”

The situation is different among white Pentecostals, whose identification with fundamentalism is much stronger. Despite blasts from Agora, the Assemblies of God appear to be moving toward the official adoption of a tight formulation of “biblical inerrancy.” Church leaders have begun quietly to purge faculties of those with broader sympathies. Though complicated with political battles of another sort, such issues were also at the root of the recent struggles at Melodyland School of Theology that led to a split in which many of the noninerrantists went into exile.

Black Pentecostalism is another story. Largely excluded from the PFNA when the whites were joining the NAE, and more likely to find solidarity with the other black churches than with the white Pentecostals or evangelicals, these churches are much less tempted by a fundamentalist identity. Ironically, earlier patterns of exclusion and oppression have left the black and ethnic Pentecostal churches in the place of providing more creative theological leadership.

The Charismatic Movement

A second force shaping both Holiness and Pentecostal churches is the charismatic movement. There is a spiritual vulnerability produced by third- and fourth-generation ambivalence toward ecstatic religious experience in traditions trained to expect it. I am told that perhaps only 50 per cent of the youngest generations of Pentecostals cultivate the distinguishing mark of speaking in tongues. And in many Holiness churches it is difficult to find contemporary preaching of “entire sanctification.” Under such circumstances the dynamic of the charismatic movement is a special threat particularly for the Pentecostals, who earlier felt compelled to withdraw from traditional churches. To grant the validity of the charismatic movement undercuts their very rationale for existence.

One of the most creative forces, however, in building bridges between classical Pentecostals and charismatics has been historian and church leader H. Vinson Synan of the Pentecostal Holiness Church. Synan goes so far as to suggest occasionally that the primary purpose of classical Pentecostal churches in the providence of God was to preserve and mediate the Pentecostal teachings to the rest of Christendom. He therefore relates openly to the charismatic tradition, participates in Vatican dialogues with the Pentecostals, and so forth.

Much of the struggle has been focused in the Assemblies of God. Mavericks in the denomination broke through the anticharismatic taboos to build large and powerful churches by incorporating the charismatic impulse. These churches are creating new relationships between Pentecostals and charismatics and have drawn together in a distinct party that finds its voice in Restoration magazine. Such forces toward greater openness were given additional impetus recently when church leaders were caught off guard by the passing of a General Council resolution calling for more interaction in the future.

The issues are different for the Holiness bodies, which see the charismatic movement as only the most recent manifestation of an old enemy, Pentecostalism Holiness teaching usually denies flatly the existence of glossolalia understood as ecstatic utterance. Some Holiness churches, notably the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan Church, have seen high-level administrative rulings against the charismatic movement whose enforcement means virtual excommunication for those professing charismatic experience. On the other side has been the founding two years ago at the large charismatic gathering in Kansas City of a Wesleyan Holiness Charismatic Fellowship. This group had its first convention in January. The beginnings were small, mostly a handful of disspirited ex-Nazarenes, but the mere existence of this group represents a major challenge and a nagging reminder of unresolved issues.

Social Witness

I would resist an analysis of the social impact of the Holiness and Pentecostal churches based solely on the styles of social witness that have dominated the major denominations in the past two decades. One could argue that these churches have been at their best socially, at least historically, in dealing directly with the radical dissolution of personal and family life under the pressures of oppression, personal vice, and the like. Still today the Pentecostals often have better success in dealing with problems of drug addiction and alcoholism through conversion and spiritual discipline than the supposedly more sophisticated programs launched by the government and various social agencies. And one should not overlook the sustaining power of Pentecostal life and worship in maintaining identity and an alternative vision of reality in the face of racial and economic oppression and deprivation. The irony is that such styles and concerns are less characteristic of these churches as they rush to adopt the styles of the mainstream.

In fact, on many social issues the Holiness and Pentecostal churches have a better historical than current record. Two Holiness bodies, the Wesleyan Methodists and the Free Methodists, were antislavery and radically reformist in their pre-Civil War founding -- and into the 20th century maintained very active “reform” committees on the district and national levels. Many turn-of-the-century Holiness bodies, archetypically the Nazarenes and the Pilgrim Holiness Church, understood their special calling to be ministry to the poor, especially those in the inner cities -- and this impulse was epitomized in the Salvation Army. And early Pentecostal church life reveals striking illustrations of racial integration -- such as whites worshiping in the black Azusa Street (Los Angeles) mission that launched the international Pentecostal revival, or integrated worship services in the south at the height of the Jim Crow era.

Such concerns are, however, largely absent today. The Holiness reform impulse is largely evaporated, and often in the recent identification with the “evangelical” world even repudiated as inappropriate for a properly “spiritual” and “evangelistic” church. Pentecostalism as well is now sharply split along racial lines with little evidence of interaction.

A similar pattern may be discerned with regard to women. A recent NCC study found one-third of all ordained women in this country in Pentecostalism and another one-third in paramilitary groups like the Salvation Army. Had Holiness bodies been properly grouped with the latter, several hundred more women ministers would have been identified and the fact discovered that perhaps 50 per cent of all ordained women are in Holiness churches.

Ironically, the institutionalization of these churches is pulling them in the opposite direction. The Church of the Nazarene, for example, had 20 per cent women ministers at its founding, but only 6 per cent by 1973. And the Salvation Army now less consistently applies its earlier feminist principles. But there is some push among the younger generation -- partly in response to the wider feminist currents -- to reaffirm and reappropriate this heritage as both a source of role models and a powerful tool in moving today’s church leaders.

One reason for the scant interest in social issues in the past few decades is that energies have been more absorbed in issues of personal ethics. The generations that matured in the 1940s, 1950s and even 1960s struggled with a legalistic code of taboos in behavior and dress. These battles are largely over. I was teaching in a Holiness college in the mid-1960s when the prohibition against movies and the theater fell. Now the issue is more likely to be drinking, and the avant-garde in Holiness and Pentecostal schools are experimenting with restrained social drinking. If such patterns of accommodation continue, Holiness and Pentecostal folk will become even more indistinguishable from other Christians.

A Longing for the ‘Good Life’

Probably the greatest temptation facing these churches today is materialism. Marginality, both cultural and economic, has produced its opposite in successive generations -- the push toward “respectability,” a strong desire to be close to the centers of power, and a longing to enjoy the “good life.” One result is the lavish style of conspicuous consumption that dominates such institutions as Oral Roberts University and the Christian Broadcasting Network, where it has become normative doctrine that the pious will prosper. A black Pentecostal bishop recently confided that such currents are the greatest threat his church faces. As Presiding Bishop J. O. Patterson observed at the 1975 “Holy Convocation” of the Church of God in Christ: “God has blessed us to ride in the best automobiles, live in the best homes, wear the finest minks and exclusive clothing, and to have large bank accounts. Our churches are no longer confined to the storefronts, but we are building cathedrals.”

Such movement is obviously out of step with the broader church interest in discovering and defining a ministry to and with the poor. Holiness and Pentecostal folk are still fleeing the life of the poor. But as one might expect, there are third- and fourth-generation efforts to reverse this pattern, especially among those coming to maturity in the 1960s and 1970s. Thus Free Methodist Howard Snyder, author of the popular Problem of Wineskins (InterVarsity, i975), has called his church to recover its early ministry of “preaching good news to the poor” via a return to ministry in the central cities. Nazarene Tom Nees recently left a prestigious Washington, D.C, pulpit to found the Community of Hope, with links with the Church of the Saviour and the Sojourners community. His work, especially a project of “Jubilee Housing” that attempts to involve the community in the reclaiming of slum housing, is having wide impact in his denomination. And Ronald J. Sider of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the major force behind the “Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern” and “Evangelicals for Social Action,” holds ministerial credentials in a Holiness denomination, the Brethren in Christ.

I expect such themes and ministries to gain force in Holiness circles in the years ahead. A strong history of social concern and the nagging presence of the Salvation Army help keep these themes more alive than in Pentecostal and evangelical contexts. The 1974 annual convention of the Christian Holiness Association became the largest body to adopt the “Chicago Declaration” as a resolution -- despite some concern that such action would admit too much complicity in recent evangelical failures in this area.

Among Pentecostals such themes are more muted -- though one must recognize the ministries modeled after the work of David Wilkerson’s “Teen Challenge” with urban youth and the role of Pentecostals in the Hispanic community in New York city. The merging of Pentecostal power and enthusiasm with social concern is an exciting possibility, repeatedly promised but not often achieved. Perhaps the most significant work in this direction will come from the blacks and other minority Pentecostals whose history of oppression and alienation has given them a different consciousness that may yet have a significant flowering.

Ecumenical Trends

Finally, I would notice some trends in inter-church and ecumenical relations. Here again, the terrain is complex. Though little noted on the outside, Holiness and Pentecostal churches have been involved in numerous mergers in the 20th century. Bodies like the Church of the Nazarene and the Assemblies of God were built up by a complex agglutinative process as various independent ministries, small groups, and local or state associations came together in merger. My own church, the Wesleyan Methodist, absorbed the Reformed Baptists in 1966 before merging with the Pilgrim Holiness Church in 1968 and voting in the merging conference to begin negotiations with the Free Methodists. Those talks have since foundered, but such activity led to some speculation, especially in the 1960s, about the emergence of a sizable new church in the Methodist tradition composed of Holiness bodies. I doubt that now, but I do predict a greater self-consciousness of a Holiness bloc of denominations grouped under the CHA, where there is already very close cooperation in such areas as publishing and preparing Christian education materials.

Internal Pentecostal relationships are more complex -- with splits along racial lines, according to commitment to the Holiness doctrine of sanctification, and even more deeply over the issues of the “Jesus only” doctrines of the Trinity. Such variety even raises questions as to whether it is possible to find a common denominator other than the speaking in tongues. Perhaps me most creative dialogue among these branches is occurring in the Society for Pentecostal Studies.

Relationships between Holiness and Pentecostal churches are almost nonexistent except in the National Association of Evangelicals, which incorporates some Holiness bodies and a good part of white Pentecostalism. Direct dialogue is confined to the most avant-garde academic circles, where representatives of the WTS and the SPS have been quietly slipping into each other’s annual meetings.

Relationships with the rest of the church world will probably move along a variety of trajectories. In some parts of the world, aspects of the Pentecostal movement and the Salvation Army have found it natural to gravitate toward the conciliar movements. In America the context of the fundamentalist-modernist controversy has skewered the identification in the fundamentalist and evangelical direction. We may expect the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, and the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) to provide a center of gravity that will continue to pull Holiness identification away from the National Association of Evangelicals into some suspended position between the NAE and the NCC.

White Pentecostals will continue to find stronger identification with American fundmentalism and evangelicalism, despite the protests of some Pentecostal academics. In the early years of the NAE, the Assemblies of God made a clear choice to follow the lead of figures like Thomas Zimmerman into the NAE by disfellowshiping David DuPlessis, who reached toward the ecumenical movement. Black Pentecostals will find even more of their identity in being a part of the black experience, and the highly sectarian “oneness churches” will remain somewhat isolated for the time being. No uniform pattern emerges, but the variety will be a source of ferment as the Holiness and Pentecostal churches continue to assert themselves and to emerge from isolation to claim a significant place among other churches of Christendom.


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