Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925

By George M. Marsden | Go to book overview

Holiness

VIII. The Victorious Life

"Indeed, within the last twenty years," C. I. Scofield observed in 1899, "more has been written and said upon the doctrine of the Holy Spirit than in the preceding eighteen hundred years." 1 Scofield's estimate, which appeared in his own work on the Spirit, was not implausible. 2 During the preceding decades the movements known in the twentieth century as "Holiness," "Pentecostal," and "fundamentalist" had been taking shape and each had a common origin in the resurgence of interest in the Holy Spirit that was sweeping American evangelicalism. While Pentecostalism did not emerge as a self‐ consciously distinct entity until the famous outbursts inspired by Charles F. Parham at the beginning of 1901, many of its doctrines and expectations had already been shaped by the surge of theories about the Holy Spirit to which Scofield referred. 3 Most of these speculations, like those of Parham himself, developed in the vigorous "Holiness" 4 movement that emerged during the last third of the century, basically out of Methodism. Less well known is the fact that many writers of holiness works were evangelists and Bible teachers like Scofield who had Calvinist leanings. 5 Indeed, almost all of Moody's lieutenants associated with the rise of dispensationalism wrote works on the Holy Spirit. While their views on the exact nature of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit differed somewhat from those of their Methodistic allies, in 1899 they still saw themselves as in the same spiritual camp. Even more than dispensationalism, their stress on the work of the Holy Spirit seems to have shaped their distinctive outlook at this time. 6

The dispensationalist and holiness teachings held by the more Calvinistic evangelists and Bible teachers were closely connected. The holiness teachings of nineteenth-century American evangelicalism were built upon the idea that the present era was the age of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which had begun on or near the time of the first Pentecost as recorded in the book of Acts. Dispensationalism's central teaching—that the church age was the unique age of the Spirit—stressed the same thing. The holiness teachings,

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