Who Really Started The Renewal?

The Renewal? What’s that?

That is the term that none other than Jack Hayford uses to summarize all the various movements and denominations that have arisen over the last 115 (or so) years that have been categorized with names like “Pentecostalism” or “the Charismatic Movement”.  Seeing that some scholars break up Pentecostalism into a series of waves (three waves, sometimes four, sometimes five), or Movements (Apostolic Movement, Latter Rain Movement, Charismatic Movement, Signs & Wonders Movement, etc.), the term “Renewal” serves as a useful catch-all for the various churches and denominations that have one specific activity in common.  Can you guess what it is?


Yup.  It’s “speaking in tongues”.

So who started the Renewal?

Some say it was the Holiness Methodists (or a stream therein).

Some say that it was Charles Parham and his Bible School in Topeka Kansas in 1901.

Some say that it was William Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival in 1906.

I’ve encountered all those positions from the authors I’ve been reading as of late, but today I encountered a position that nobody I’ve read yet has held. 

Before I tell the position that Jack Hayford holds, I should give a little perspective for who exactly Jack Hayford is.  Jack Hayford is a man of no small impact in Renewal circles in North America.  He was the founding pastor of the gigantic The Church On The Way, ex president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, author of over fifty books, author of over 500 hymns & choruses, founder and ex-president of The Kings University (which was recently handed off to prosperity preacher Robert Morris…who thinks that Hayford is the second apostle Paul…and God had to get Morris’ permission to give it to him), and best of all: he’s Benny Hinn’s pastor and officiated Hinn’s re-marriage to his ex-wife.

I’m told the Hinn wedding had quite the reception too. Apparently there was a bartender and everything…


Cheap jokes aside, I’ve been reading through Jack Hayford’s book The Charismatic Century, which was published on the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street “revival” as a sort of retrospective look at the past 100 years of the Charismatic Movement.  Starting off on page one, Hayford writes:

On January 1, 1901, the first day of the new century, from the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII invoked the Holy Spirit by singing the hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus” (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest) dedicating the twentieth century to the Holy Spirit. That same day on the other side of the world, a group of students in Charles Parham’s tiny Topeka, Kansas, Bible school, experienced a Pentecostal outpouring when a young woman was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke “in tongues.”

The Pope?

Well, not exactly.  Hayford doesn’t come outright and say that the Pope is the cause, but it’s strange  that Hayford points out the concurrence of the two events, as if there is some connection (strange but not surprising; the papal bottom is no stranger to Renewal lips).  He further insinuates that only a few pages later.  On page 16-17 he then follows up his comments on page one with the following explanatory quote:

There is an inescapable dynamic inherent in the fact that the century literally began with the most visible and ecclesiastically powerful person in the world issuing a distinct invitation to the Holy Spirit to “Come!” Irrespective of how any particular protestant may feel about the Pope, God seems to have sovereignly moved upon the man as a means of providing His own invocation. At that time, global Christianity held a creed regarding the Holy Spirit but lacked confidence in how to partner with Him – how to personally relate to the third person of the Trinity.

In reality, so much of the vital life of the early Church was overtaken by apathy, pride, spiritual blindness and biblical ignorance, empty tradition and ecclesiastical power struggles, that only with the Reformation (c. 1500 AD) did a beginning of recovery occur. Starting with the foundational concept of the authority of God’s Word and the truth of justification (human salvation) by faith in Christ alone, a century-to-century process was launched.

Degrees of reform effected the restoration of the Church’s concepts of and approach to (1) the great commission, (2) personal sanctification, (3) practical devotion, (4) social responsibility, and (5) forthright evangelism reappeared – often within both protestant and catholic circles, and thus each generation brought to its “moment.”  But it wasn’t until the turn-of-the-century, global outpouring of the Holy Spirit that a growing familiarity with His fullness, works and power began to spread, bringing the Church to this moment.

So that seems a little clearer.  Jack Hayford writes that God “seems to” have orchestrated the entire Renewal with a pronouncement made by the head of the largest false religion in the world.  He notes that non-Catholics are called “Protestants”, but he neglects to mention why.  We’re called “Protestants” because we protested the damnable heresies of the Roman Catholic Church…and the Roman Catholic church butchered us for it.  They burned us alive, like a medieval version of ISIS.


What’s worse is that when Hayford refers to how “vital life of the early Church was overtaken by apathy, pride, spiritual blindness and biblical ignorance, empty tradition and ecclesiastical power struggles”, the “spiritual blindness and biblical ignorance, empty tradition and ecclesiastical power struggles” he’s talking about is the spiritual blindness and biblical ignorance, empty tradition and ecclesiastical power struggles of the Roman Catholic Church.  The “recovery” of the “authority of God’s Word and the truth of justification (human salvation) by faith in Christ alone” are both utterly denied by the Roman Catholic Church to this very day.  Catholic apologists are always eager to attack the concept of sola scriptura, and belief in justification by faith alone (“alone” is the important word there) is still anathema in official Roman Catholic teaching.

When he talks about those five concepts and approaches being restored “often within both protestant and catholic circles”, he seems to be suggesting that they were both legitimate restorations.  He doesn’t volunteer the fact that the Catholic restoration was done without the previously mentioned “truth of justification” (among a few dozen other things).  Call me crazy, but having a saving Gospel seems to be important in making any “restoration” noteworthy.  Beyond that, much of the Catholic changes were in response to, and often as direct attacks on, the changes in Protestant circles (i.e. the council of Trent was a direct reaction to the reformation).

So that leads to an obvious question, right?

How did the same people who removed the Holy Spirit (not to mention the biblical gospel) from the church bring him back with some sort of invocation?

How does the man who Thomas Cranmer called “Christ’s enemy” successfully become Christ’s boss?

How in the world does that make a lick of sense?

Well, it doesn’t.  That’s why Hayford has to quickly follow up the previously quoted nonsense the typical head vs. heart dichotomy.  Since a rational mind cannot make sense of a nonsense argument, Hayford has no choice by to attack the rational mind.


On page 17, Hayford immediately follows up the previously quoted section with:

As remains the case today – God responds to an increased hunger for, and full hearted openness to Him; recognizing that The Holy Spirit of God is poured out at the hand of The Son of God (John 1:33; Acts 2:33-39).  Indeed, to this day there are many who seem mystified by the very fact of God’s three-in-one-ness, almost preferring to avoid too direct an exposure to the Holy Spirit himself.  There is something about our oft-human insistence that seeks either information or an explanation about the Holy Spirit, rather than opening our hearts as Jesus commanded – to an experience – saying “Receive the Holy Spirit…and you shall receive power” (John 2:22; Acts 1:3).

Especially in the Western world, intellect – which is never demeaned or insulted by our Creator – too often is made a substitute for Him. But the Living God, Who knows that our finite minds will never be able to fully comprehend His greatness, grandeur or the breadth and scope of His being, comes to us as a Father. He invites us to experience a relationship with Him – to the One Who is responsible for our life’s existence, and Who offers to bring us, through knowing Him personally and intimately, to understand our life’s purpose and potential through His love and power.

So there you have it: the standard Renewal response when someone says something patently nonsense.

If the whole idea of including Catholics in the Renewal (let alone being a catalytic force behind it) doesn’t make sense to you, the problem is that you’re seeking reason rather than relationship.   If you don’t understand how people who hate the God of the Bible can be given a special blessing reserved for those who love the God of the Bible, then you just need to turn off your brain.


Since God is a triune being and we can’t understand that, nothing about him needs to make sense…right?

Well, sorry Jack.

There is a spoon, and it’s soaked in the blood of martyrs.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Giving the Gleanings” Unger


12 thoughts on “Who Really Started The Renewal?

  1. Lyndon
    You may want to check out AB Simpson, the Canadian founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/cr9605.htm
    AW Tozer wrote a short biography called Wingspread—A. B. Simpson: A Study in Spiritual Altitude. Tozer reminds us that we have received from A. B. Simpson’s life and teachings “such immeasurable benefits that we feel forever bound to thank the thoughtful God who gave him to the church.“

    He was an early “Pentecostal” before Azusa . http://ifphc.org/pdf/Heritage/2004_03.pdf#Page=14
    He had a major influence on early Assemblies of God leaders as well as all of the evangelical church.

    A brief analysis of Simpson and the modern faith movement
    (you may want to look at Simpson’s and Andrew Murray’s view of divine health and healing)

    AB Simpson – a remarkable servant of God!

    • Thanks Karli. I’ve been reading Simpson, Torrey, et. al. and definitely recognize their significance.

      I wasn’t writing about what I think about the origins, but rather what Hayford thinks. I’ll be sharing my own thoughts, including the contributions of Simpson et. al. at the conference. Hope to see you there!

  2. Every time I hear/read stuff from charismatics, particularly the idea of God not being able to do anything unless we say/tell/command/give Him permission blah blah blah, I’m always left wondering how He could do anything without us. If He can’t act without our allowing Him to…. I think of the quote from The Hulk in the Avengers after he beats down Loki…”Puny God!”

    • Well, that’s part of the issue that comes up. There seems to be a lot of making God in man’s image in certain streams of the Renewal. Is it any wonder that the poor and sick are the demographic where the prosperity gospel is received the best? What poor/sick person doesn’t want a God who’s just dying to bless them financially and physically, if only they would figure out how to cast the right spell?

  3. C Peter Wagner and his International Coalition of Apostles have much to do with the New Apostolic Reformation, the NAR. I discovered this in 2008 when my church broke apart because of a pastor who, behind the scenes and in the “inner circle” of the church, was desiring to be considered an Apostle. For a few years, a pastor from Kenya named Thomas Muthee was coming to my church to preach and I always felt weird about his hold on my pastor. I was sure that he was in the word of faith movement but couldn’t find anything about him until the 2008 election year when Muthee prayed over Sarah Palin at her church and then he was all over the internet. This river of deception sweeping away our churches, and much of
    our Christian youth, has much to do with C Peter Wagner, who mentions Thomas Muthee in his book. It is very sad to see and we must expose this movement. Follow this current wave and ‘river of deception’ all the way upstream to it’s source and you’ll find C Peter Wagner.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Ruth. It’s true that Wagner is a driving force behind the NAR. Much of the popularization of the NAR has to do with Wagner’s promotion of it, but there are also people behind Wagner…most of whom are now dead.

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s