Th is article accepts that twentieth-century classical Pentecostalism originally shared a similar ethos to that exemplified among the South German Anabaptists, and investigates some resonances in ecclesiology between the two. Scrutiny of a selection of early sixteenth-century documents relating to Anabaptism identifies the following: a radically consistent application of sola scriptura, a rejection of the state-church synthesis, a revisioning of sacramental belief and practice that subverts the clergy-laity divide, commitment to the teachings of Jesus as the primary and central guide to discipleship, a sacrifi cial pilgrim mentality of “just passing through this world,” individual choice and responsibility to follow Jesus, confi dent personal witness to the goodness and salvation of the Lord, and some level of demonstration of the charismatic gifts. Early Pentecostalism resonated with all these themes, although it developed a more detailed and sophisticated biblical and theological understanding of the charismatic aspects. However, present-day popular Pentecostalism, especially but not exclusively in the West, appears to demonstrate in its implied ecclesiology a number of dissonances from all of these elements, which may indicate a significant divergence from the original ethos of the movement and present major future challenges to its authentic and consistent continuation and self-propagation.
"South German Anabaptist Ecclesiology and Its Present-day Pentecostal Counterpart,"
Spiritus: ORU Journal of Theology: Vol. 4:
1, Article 10.
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