Blast from the Past: An Old Bibliotheca Sacra Journal Article from 1951 Chiding Pentecostals for Being a “Small” Denomination

Posted: November 18, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Discipleship/Sanctification, Missional Thought, Pentecostal/Charismatic Interests, The Mysterious World of American Evangelicalism
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In my research for my thesis, I came across the following from BSac—V108 #429—Jan 51—pps. 46-47

Is the Pentecostal Movement Pentecostal?
Part 1 – Roy L. Aldrich

The first statement to be examined is the assertion that the modern Pentecostal movement is “a second, or fuller, realization and fulfillment of Joel 2:28–29” than was known previously. If the modern movement is any fuller realization of Joel 2:28–29, then it should be at least equal to the original Pentecost in scope. But there was no Pentecostal movement or sect in the early church; the entire church was Pentecostal—in the proper sense! There was no tongues movement in the apostolic church; all of the 120 at Pentecost spoke with tongues, and later the gift of speaking in tongues was at least generally distributed throughout the church. Nevertheless modern Pentecostalists admit that they belong to a sect which is set apart by its own peculiar experience. Here is their admission: “There was one great Christian experience which brought together all the component parts of the Assemblies of God movement—the baptism in the Holy Spirit accompanied by the speaking in tongues as the Holy Spirit gave utterance. This one truth has designated and set apart the Assemblies of God as a distinct religious body, and the Pentecostal experience is the one excuse for its very existence as a religious body separate from other organizations of similar faith.”
First-century Christians would have considered this a heresy. In spite of its rapid growth the tongues movement represents indeed only a small segment of Christianity. If all the Pentecostal groups were combined they would constitute a denomination inferior in numbers to several of the larger denominations. The Assemblies of God reported 253,000 members in 1948. Several of the well-known denominations have memberships in the millions. This is no reflection upon a small denomination. It is only to point out that the modern tongues-movement is not what it asserts itself to be: it is not Pentecostal in scope.

Notice that Aldrich seemingly belittles the Pentecostals for having a tiny constituency in comparison to other “larger” denominations as proof that Pentecostals aren’t what they claim to be, Pentecostal (Universal). You think he would eat his words today as the Pentecostal movement is one of the fastest growing global movements and is larger than many mainline denominations combined?

  1. jesusblogger says:

    I hope he would eat those words.

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