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The Spirit of Pentecost



This work shows that Australian Pentecostalism does not fit the accepted historical and sociological theories normally associated with the emergence of Pentecostalism worldwide. The movement grew from three major nineteenth century tributaries. These were the Wesleyan movement with its emphasis on entire sanctification; the ministry of John Alexander Dowie with its focus on divine healing and separation from the world; and the Evangelical movement, with its fervent and growing desire for revival. This work traces the origins and development of three extant Pentecostal denominations — the Assemblies of God, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and the Apostolic Church. While local leadership was indigenous, there was a strong multicultural element in these groups. Disputes over doctrine reflected the dilemma that arises when experience-based approaches to Scripture prove to be in conflict with each other. Three aspects of the dynamics of the movement are examined. First, the role of women with the belief that the Spirit could be given to both men and women equally. Consequently, women had a unique freedom to preach, administer the sacraments, and lead churches. Over half of the first thirty Pentecostal congregations were founded by women. Secondly, for all its emphasis on the spontaneous work of the Spirit, an analysis of Pentecostal sermons reveals a range of topics and a primary focus on the Second Coming, Christian living and the work of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly, it was their experience of God through the Holy Spirit, particularly in reference to to the practice of glossolalia, that motivated the early Australian Pentecostals.


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