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  1. John Poirier

    Don’t take this as a defense of Jim West’s views–I don’t think he understands Catholicism *or* Pentecostalism (and his comments policy doesn’t allow anyone to correct his many errors)–but there’s an important sense in which Pentecostalism is *not* so much Protestant as post-Protestant. Pentecostalism developed from the Wesleyan stream of tradition, which rejects the two main prongs of the Protestant Reformation (Lutheran and Reformed) in favor of more “catholic” views. In fact, there is a notable similarity, which can be explained both as the product of traditions-history and exegesis, between the Pentecostal and Catholic views of sanctification, as well as between the Catholic sacrament of confirmation and the Pentecostal doctrine of spirit baptism. Wesley corrected many of the errors of the Reformation, and it is for that reason that (the Catholic) Louis Bouyer called him “a reformer of the Reformation”. There is also, of course, a basic similarity between Catholics and Pentecostals in the question of cessationism vs. continuationism: Lutherans and Reformed pretty much all think that miracles ceased in the first century, while Catholics and Pentecostals recognize that there is no exegetical basis for such a view.

    You call attention to Pentecostalism’s (historical) acceptance of *sola scriptura*, but that acceptance in fact is simply an instance of internal incoherence within the Pentecostal tradition. Pentecostal scholars are more and more acknowledging that Pentecostalism is *not* a form of evangelicalism, and that the doctrinal “system” of Pentecostalism will not achieve a stable mass until the movement as a whole jettisons some of the unfortunate aspects of Reformed tradition that washed into the Pentecostal theology by virtue of the former’s influence upon North American religiosity.

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    1. john can I quote you on this ? great comment by the way

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  2. Ah well. I had Gonzalez as my history textbook in seminary. He treats Pentecostalism in a chapter on 20th century Protestantism in the US.

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  3. John Poirier

    Well, I’m not denying (of course) that almost all Pentecostals, if asked, would identify themselves as Protestants. I’m just saying that, with respect to what that identification sometimes means, they would be wrong.

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