Vinson Synan writes,
“Added to [the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements] is the newest category that some called the “third wave” of the Holy Spirit. It originated at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1981 under the classroom ministry of John Wimber, founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches. This “wave” was comprised of mainline evangelicals who experienced signs and wonders but who disdained labels such as “Pentecostal” or “charismatic.” The Vineyard was the most visible movement of this category. By 2000 the third wavers, also called “neo-charismatics,” were credited with some 295 million members worldwide.” (The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal, 1901-2001, 9, emphasis mine)
There are two quick ways of defining the word “disdain”:
- to look upon or treat with contempt; despise; scorn.
- to think unworthy of notice, response, etc.; consider beneath oneself.
I really don’t think Synan is helpful when he suggests that those within the Third Wave category “disdain” the label of Pentecostal or Charismatic. In reality, the concern is first biblical / theological and the second is practical. Those of us in the Third Wave do not generally identify with those terms because (1) we do not believe that Spirit baptism occurs subsequent to salvation, (2) we do not believe that speaking in tongues is the initial and physical evidence of Spirit baptism, (3) we have concerns about the practical application of these two previous issues. Yet we would still strongly agree with Pentecostal / Charismatics with Continuationism and have many, many, many similarities.
I’m thankful for those who went before us as Continuationists… be it the charismatic mainline folks, the early Pentecostals, the sprinkles throughout church history, and the apostles. There is no disdain for those categories! Just some difference of opinion on important areas of distinction! But no disdain!
What do you think? If you are Pentecostal, do you feel disdain from Third Wavers? If you are a Third Waver, do you despise our Continuationist fore-bearers?
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.
Luke I agree with Vinson. The truth is the early days of the “third wave” a phrase coined by Wagner the mainline Evangelicals who experienced the outpouring of the Spirit had already openly expressed issues with Pentecostals and Charismatics before the openness to the Spirit and little changed after, in speaking with some persons in both pentecostal/charismatic and third wave movements from the 80’s there was some obvious tensions
The doctrinal issue of subsequence is not the big contention, as with many denominations there are differences but the “disdain” is not seen, just look within T4G o gospel coalition there are differences, big ones but not the evident contention that appeared in the 80’s and even in the 90’s when I had issues with Pentecostals and was very vocal and prejudice which I was called on at which time I really started to look into the issues and my own bias.
I would suggest Luke that you interview Dr. Vinson and ask him about his experience and the conclusion of his thesis, I have heard him share stories.
The issue Luke has changed these days but Dr. Vinson speaks from history and as a researchers he might just have some stories
Sean, I think you are probably talking more about the “popular” level then? All of the Third Wave scholars I know seem to be very kind and gracious towards Pentecostals and Charismatics… maybe I’ve missed something.
I think Pentecostals have received a LOT of criticism in their history, so they might be a little sensitive and quick to equate “differences” with “disdain.”
Luke I would encourage you to look into history, things might be different now and I think it is but back then it wasn’t
Who’s right, both cannot be? One is teaching false doctrine, is it the pentecostal, charismatics or the third wave?
It seems to me like a lot of Vineyardites do preach a Spirit baptism subsequent to salvation but tend to use a different terminology…. Thoughts?