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date: 25 March 2017

Martin Luther in Global Pentecostalism

Summary and Keywords

Global Pentecostalism encompasses three distinct waves or movements: the Classical Pentecostal denominations inspired by the Azusa Street revival in the early 20th century; the Charismatic renewal in historic mainline churches starting in the 1950s; and independent Neocharismatic congregations and networks that began to multiply dramatically starting in the 1980s. Early Classical Pentecostals tended to have a positive attitude toward Luther as the beginning of the “restoration” of the lost doctrine and practice of the apostolic church, but only Jonathan Paul and his Mühlheimer Verband in Germany engaged in any meaningful way with Lutheran theology. Faced with fierce opposition within their denominations, Lutheran Charismatics such as Theodore R. Jungkuntz saw a need to correlate their spiritual distinctives with the Lutheran Confessions, which reached its most detailed expression in Welcome, Holy Spirit, edited by Larry Christenson. The Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus in Ethiopia responded most positively to Charismatic renewal of all Lutheran churches in the world with its 1976 statement, “The Work of the Holy Spirit.” While contemporary Classical Pentecostal theologians have only begun to engage with Luther, notable examples include Frank D. Macchia, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, and David J. Courey, who deal primarily with the doctrine of justification and the theology of the cross. The encounter of Lutheran theology with Pentecostalism suggests that both sides need to develop more comprehensive accounts of Christian experience and its role in doctrine, piety, and church life.

Keywords: Martin Luther, Lutheranism, Pentecostalism, Jonathan Paul, Larry Christenson, Theodore R. Jungkuntz, Frank D. Macchia, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, David J. Courey, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus

Pentecostal Taxonomy and Terminology

Before we can consider how Luther has been received by Pentecostals, it is necessary to establish who exactly Pentecostals are. It is by now a minor cottage industry of scholarship to propose and dissect various taxonomies of Pentecostalism. This discussion follows the lead of David D. Barrett and divides the movement into Classical Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Independent Charismatic/Neocharismatic varieties.1

Classical Pentecostals are those whose denominations arose in direct response to the Azusa Street revival of 1906–1909 under the leadership of William J. Seymour. This category includes heirs of the Holiness movement who teach a “three works of grace” experiential sequence of conversion, sanctification, and Spirit baptism, such as the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee); denominations that emerged from a mainly Baptist constituency and rejected “sanctification” as the second work of grace, following William Durham’s “Finished Work” teaching, such as the Assemblies of God; and Oneness or Jesus’ Name Pentecostals, who mandate baptism in Jesus’ name only and reject the doctrine of the Trinity, such as the United Pentecostal Church. Most scholars restrict the period for the founding of Classical Pentecostal denominations to the early 1940s at the latest.

Charismatics are those members of historic churches (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, and so forth) who adopted many features, practices, and theologies of the Classical Pentecostal movement without leaving their churches. As such, there are no Charismatic denominations, but rather Charismatic movements within long-established denominations. The origins of this movement are generally attributed to Dennis Bennett, an Episcopal priest in California, who experienced “baptism in the Spirit” and started a revival in his church. Charismatic phenomena quickly spread to other U.S. mainline denominations but received their warmest welcome in the Roman Catholic Church.

Neocharismatics are the most difficult group to define. Most simply, they are independent denominations or networks of congregations that display Pentecostal or Charismatic phenomena without any official connection to Classical Pentecostal or historic churches. They range from African-instituted churches, some of which pre-date the Azusa Street revival, to Chinese house churches, to Brazilian prosperity churches, to American megachurches. Altogether, such Neocharismatic communities constitute at least half of all Pentecostals.

Given the enormous variety, Barrett has proposed labeling all the movements collectively as “the Renewal,” a term that functions analogously to “the Reformation” in encompassing a widespread ecclesial movement that nevertheless includes sharply differing theologies and structures. Therefore, in what follows, attention will be focused on early (trinitarian) Classical Pentecostal use of Luther, Charismatic Lutheran use of Luther, and contemporary (trinitarian) Classical Pentecostal use of Luther. Because of the great variety of Neocharismatic churches and theologies, as well as their general disinterest in historical theology, they will not be treated here.

The Use of Luther in Early Pentecostalism

Classical Pentecostalism arose in a milieu of Methodist, Holiness, and Baptist theology and church practice. While one can trace out certain lines of connection to Lutheran Pietism, which was influential on early Methodism, the theological impact was slight at best. Classical Pentecostal ideals of sanctification, for instance, are distinctly Holiness in approach and thus basically at odds with Lutheran understandings thereof. The Finished Work teaching contradicted the Holiness concept of sanctification, but it took its cues from Baptist and Reformed theology, not Lutheran. In general, overlaps with Luther’s theology in early Pentecostalism are a result of Pentecostalism’s being built on a broadly Protestant foundation, not because of any direct engagement with Luther’s theology.

Jonathan Paul and the Mühlheimer Verband

The one notable exception to this rule was Jonathan Paul (1853–1931), a Lutheran Pietist pastor in Germany who experienced baptism in the Spirit in Oslo in 1907, along with his colleague Emil Meyer.2 On their return to Germany, they introduced Pentecostal practice to the church, aided by Norwegian volunteers. In 1909 Paul and another colleague, Emil Humburg, began what would become an annual Pentecostal conference in Mühlheim/Ruhr, but the swift and negative response of the vast majority of their Pietist colleagues was expressed that same year in the Berliner Erklärung, which associated all things Pentecostal with the devil. Paul and his colleagues in turn defended their new teaching with the Mühlheimer Erklärung. Despite Paul’s efforts to overcome the Pietists’ objections, in the end he and Humburg formed the Mühlheimer Verband, “the oldest group within German Pentecostalism [which] emphasizes the spiritual gifts and holiness of life.”3 The divorce was long-lasting, but in 1995 German Pietists and Pentecostal/Charismatics came together to sign a Bussbekenntnis versöhnungswilliger Christen—“a confession of repentance by Christians who are open to reconciliation”—declaring the 1909 Berliner Erklärung to be null and void.

Owing to Paul’s influence, the Mühlheimer Verband was and remains one of the few Pentecostal churches that accepts infant baptism, and it rejected the American Pentecostal insistence on speaking in tongues as “initial evidence” of baptism in the Spirit. Paul was also responsible for producing, with others, the first modern German translation of the Bible since Luther’s.4

The influence of Luther and Lutheranism on the Mühlheimer Verband can also be seen in the 1963 (revised 1980) confession of faith produced by Christian Krust on behalf of the whole community, Was wir glauben, lehren und bekennen. The obvious echo of the Lutheran church’s Augsburg Confession (AC) specifically and the Book of Concord (BC) generally is not confined only to the title. The book begins with the words “With all of Christendom we confess,” and what follows are the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, just as in the BC. The first four sections of this book are “On God,” “On Sin,” “On Jesus Christ,” and “On the Righteousness of Faith,” corresponding exactly to the first four articles of the AC. “On God” quotes Luther’s explanation of the First Article of the Creed in the Small Catechism. No reference is made to Luther in “On Sin,” but “On Jesus Christ” quotes AC III in its entirety and Luther’s explanation of the Second Article of the Creed in the Small Catechism. “On the Righteousness of Faith” quotes AC IV in its entirety as well as selections from the Formula of Concord, from Luther’s 1515/1516 Commentary on Romans, and from two other authors who discuss Luther’s “tower experience” (mentioning particularly Luther’s comment “I felt that I was born anew”) and his teaching on the certainty of faith, respectively. The section “On Faith” quotes the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Ap). Luther and the BC vanish from sight in the following section, “On the Holy Spirit,” but reappear at “The Renewal of Life,” which quotes Ap IV. Again Lutheran sources are absent from the sections on “Baptism in the Holy Spirit according to the Witness of Scripture” and “The Word of God,” but the Large Catechism on the Third Article of the Creed is quoted in the discussion “On the Congregation of Jesus Christ,” as is the first part of AC VII, but the satis est clause is omitted. The remaining sections on spiritual gifts, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, the laying-on of hands, tithing, “God’s Plan of Salvation and its Perfection,” “Our Relationship with the Other Christian Bodies,” and the conclusion make no further mention of Lutheran writings. Although these assorted Lutheran texts are quoted in the book, they are not commented upon or otherwise integrated into the larger confession. Nevertheless, it is evident that there was for German Pentecostals a certain dependence on Luther, or at least a desire to demonstrate a continuity between Lutheranism and their own movement.5

Luther in Early Pentecostal Narratives of Church History

Despite the overall lack of integration of Lutheran theology into early Pentecostalism, there is one place where Luther makes a definitive and recurring appearance in the earliest Pentecostal writings, and that is in Pentecostal theories of church history. While the experience of “baptism in the Spirit” and the exercise of charismata were the central and defining features of Pentecostal churches, they never appeared alone but were always defended by a certain account of church history. This was a necessary response to the often virulent denunciations of their opponents, who insisted—following such venerable figures as Augustine and John Chrysostom—that the charismata in particular had been a special gift to the apostolic age but had ceased once the church was established. This view was put forward most aggressively by the Reformed theologian B. B. Warfield (1851–1921) in his unequivocally entitled Counterfeit Miracles.6 Fundamentalists as well, who had absorbed the dispensationalism of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) and the Scofield Reference Bible (1909, revised ed. 1917), denounced Pentecostals for claiming to have gifts that should have belonged strictly to a previous dispensation. Even apart from such attacks, Pentecostals with any sense of church history at all were forced to consider the question of why the charismata and Spirit baptism had long since ceased to be a normal and universal feature of the church’s life.

Two solutions were proposed. One, which requires only a brief mention here, was the eschatological expectation that Jesus was coming again in glory soon, and the Pentecostal revivals were given for the sake of intensified missionary passion, since “the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations” (Mark 13:10, ESV).

The other solution looked not forward but backward, constructing a theory of decline and restoration to account for the pattern of church history. Such an approach is not unique to or new with Pentecostalism. Likely the Pentecostals themselves inherited it from the Holiness movement, where it had been more muted, and amplified it to respond to critics.

Azusa Street

In Pentecostal accounts of church history, Luther is always identified as the first figure in the restoration of the church. Thus already in the second issue of The Apostolic Faith, the newspaper published by the Azusa Street Mission, we find this in the report on “The Pentecostal Baptism Restored”:

All along the ages men have been preaching a partial Gospel. A part of the Gospel remained when the world went into the dark ages. God has from time to time raised up men to bring back the truth to the church. He raised up Luther to bring back to the world the doctrine of justification by faith. He raised up another reformer in John Wesley to establish Bible holiness in the church. Then he raised up Dr. Cullis who brought back to the world the wonderful doctrine of divine healing. Now He is bringing back the Pentecostal Baptism to the church.7

For a movement opposed in principle to creeds, this retelling of church history in defense of the newly reemerging Pentecostal phenomena quickly became something like a creedal confession.

Thomas Ball Barratt

Thus Thomas Ball Barratt (1862–1940), a Norwegian Methodist turned Pentecostal, wrote in his 1909 (revised 1928) In the Days of the Latter Rain:

The Lutheran Reformation carried the doctrine of “Justification by Faith” on its banner. How was it met? History repeated itself. As when the disciples of Christ had to break away from much of Jewish tradition and teaching, and give a clearer definition of God and His dealings with men, whereof the Jewish Church with all its glory was but a shadow, and had therefore to force its way through Jewish hatred and Gentile scorn, so also Luther, in order to gain and restore to Christianity one of its chief doctrines, had to run the gauntlet of church hatred and the sneers of the world. But by the grace of God he conquered.8

The next step, in Barratt’s account, was John Wesley, who “not only made this teaching of Luther’s a reality in the lives of thousands,”9 but together with John Fletcher and Charles Wesley brought back a passion for holiness—only to be met with equal scorn. The third step was divine healing, and now, Barratt claims, the baptism in the Spirit has been restored. “In the time intervening the Fourth Century and the Lutheran Reformation,” Barratt argues, “the genuine supernatural gifts of the Spirit were suppressed by the church. But how many of the so-called heretics during that time enjoyed the fullness of the Spirit, and were endued with Spiritual gifts? No doubt thousands upon thousands!”10

Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson

A few years later, in 1913, Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson (1865–1943), overseer of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) from 1909 to 1923, published his own church-historical account, The Last Great Conflict. Describing the true “Church of God,” which happens also to be the name of his denomination, Tomlinson writes:

The Church of God is to the gospel or doctrine taught in the Bible as the trunk—or body of the tree is to the branches, leaves and fruit. Where did Martin Luther get the doctrine of justification by faith? From the Church of God as it was given by its members through the Bible. The branch had grown and grown and lengthened out through the ‘dark ages’ until by and by Martin Luther appeared as a cluster of fruit away out on the end of the long branch.11

John Wesley, George Fox, A. B. Simpson (the mission-oriented founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance), and William J. Seymour all follow. Though typically critical of most of church history, Tomlinson unusually puts a positive accent on the church as such.

H. S. Maltby

In the same year, H. S. Maltby wrote in his The Reasonableness of Hell:

During the Reformation God used Martin Luther and others to restore to the world the doctrine of justification by faith. Rom. 5:1. Later on the Lord used the Wesleys and others in the great holiness movement to restore the gospel of sanctification by faith. Acts 26:18. Later still he used various ones to restore the gospel of Divine healing by faith (Jas. 5:14, 15), and the gospel of Jesus’ second coming. Acts 1:11. Now the Lord is using many witnesses in the great Pentecostal movement to restore the gospel of the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5) with signs following. Mark 16:17, 18; Acts 2:4; 10:44–46; 19:6; 1:1–28:31. Thank God, we now have preachers of the whole gospel.12

This shorthand history, word for word, made its way into the statement of faith by the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America, a federation of Pentecostal groups formed in 1948.

Aimee Semple McPherson

Aimee Semple McPherson (1890–1944), who founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1923, developed one of the more elaborate theories of church history, and in so doing also gave more attention to the figure of Luther. In her sermon “Lost and Restored: As I Saw It in My Vision,” published in her 1919 book This Is That, she recounts being given a vision based on Joel 1:4 and 2:25 to explain the pattern of history. These prophetic verses foresaw successive destructions wrought by pests (in the KJV, which McPherson used, the palmerworm, locust, cankerworm, and caterpillar), which the Lord then promised to restore.13 This meant that while the church began fully endowed with the gifts and fruit of the Spirit, over time they diminished. “[F]ormality and sectarianism” set in, quenching the reception of the Holy Spirit as a personally indwelling presence; immorality came to be tolerated; and finally, in the Dark Ages, “the Church lost sight of justification by Faith, lost sight of the atonement, the blood of Jesus, there was a total eclipse and the face of the Sun of Righteousness was obscured … ”14

As justification by faith was the last thing to be lost, so, according to McPherson’s vision, it was the first to be restored. She proceeds to give a colorful if inaccurate portrait of the Reformation:

Martin Luther one day was walking up the steps of the cathedral on his hands and knees over broken glass, endeavoring to do penance, thereby seeking to atone for his sins. As he was toiling painfully and laboriously up the steps in this manner, blood trickling from his hands and knees, cut by the broken glass, he heard a voice from heaven saying: “Martin Luther, the Just shall live by Faith.” At the words, a great light fell from Heaven. It banished the darkness and doubts, it illuminated the soul of Martin Luther, and revealed the finished work of Calvary and the blood that alone can atone for sin … The days that followed were eventful days, epoch-making days, fraught with self-sacrifice and suffering. The Lord had spoken, and promised that all the years that had been eaten should be restored, and out of the seas of travail and suffering that followed the preaching of Justification by Faith there was born a little body of blood-washed, fire-tried pilgrims, willing to suffer persecution for His Name’s sake. You have read, perhaps, how Martin Luther and his followers were turned out of the churches, spoken against falsely, and accused of all manner of evil. As Martin Luther, Calvin, Knox, Fletcher and many other blessed children of the Lord, stood firm for the truths of salvation and a sinless life, they suffered all manner of persecution … 15

As did the others, McPherson moves on from Luther to describe the other restorations. Hers include not only the Wesleys and John Fletcher but also John Calvin, John Knox, Charles Finney the revivalist, and George Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.

Luther was never known directly or in any detail by early Pentecostal theologians. Nevertheless, he was universally held in honor for his restoration of the doctrine of justification by faith.

The Use of Luther by Lutheran Charismatics

While lacking the “distinctives” of baptism in the Spirit or speaking in tongues, a number of “proto-Pentecostal” movements have arisen in Lutheran history. Pietists on the European continent put a great stress on holy living and experience of God, among them Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687–1752), who published several extremely popular works speculating on the end times. Divine healing was also known among Pietists, most notably in the ministry of Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805–1880), who also on occasion practiced exorcism. Two revivals that greatly affected Finland—the Awakened movement under the leadership of Paavo Ruotsalainen (1777–1852) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the Laestadian movement named for Lars Levi Laestadius (1800–1861) later in the 19th century—were characterized by spiritual phenomena of various kinds.16

What can properly be called the Lutheran Charismatic movement, however, arose first in the United States and Germany in the 1950s and 1960s, with Nordic and Australian involvement as well.17 The earliest literature produced by Lutheran Charismatics focused on the new experiences of spiritual gifts rather than articulating the presumably already well-known Lutheran dogmatic tradition. Thus, the use of Luther or the Confessions is negligible in Jesus, Where Are You Taking Us?, which collects the presentations from the First International Lutheran Conference on the Holy Spirit in 1972. Luther’s chief significance therein is as an example to justify a new or renewed chapter in Christian history.18 But the sometimes virulent response especially of American church officials to Charismatic developments within Lutheranism19 prompted a more detailed self-defense. The outcome was by no means certain in advance: while opponents accused Charismatics of “Enthusiasm,” the specific proposals of Pentecostal and Charismatic practice and experience had not been dealt with in the Confessional documents, and thus the case remained to be made on either side.

Theodore R. Jungkuntz

Theodore R. Jungkuntz, as a pastor of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, faced a particularly negative response from his church body, which quickly dismissed Charismatic renewal as Enthusiasm redivivus by means of an appeal to the Smalcald Articles. In assorted articles and public lectures, Jungkuntz set out to overturn the equation of 16th-century heresy with 20th-century revival, and furthermore to argue for the authentically Lutheran character, or at least potential for interpretation in a Lutheran way, of the Charismatic renewal.20

In one article, Jungkuntz turns the accusation back on his accusers, arguing that a mistranslation of Luther’s Smalcald Articles has led to their reading the exact opposite of its real import. Theodore G. Tappert’s translation of Smalcald Articles VII.13 concludes, in speaking of the apostles and prophets: “They were holy, St. Peter says, because the Holy Spirit spoke through them” (Jungkuntz’s italics). Rather, he argues, the conjunction da ought to be translated “when,” which fits better: “Luther’s argument that these prophets did not prophesy until or before they had been set apart by God’s external call. Only then were they ‘holy’ and in a position to be ‘moved by the Holy Spirit.’”21 Jungkuntz compares this to Charismatic Lutherans who, on the basis of the promissory word of baptism to which they have responded in faith, await the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including prophecy, visions, and tongues, which will certainly “require testing and discernment.”22 By contrast, “Has not the above-mentioned, long-standing mistranslation in Luther’s ‘Smalcald Articles’ contributed to a sectarian attitude in some Lutherans toward those Christians who expected manifestations of divine revelation in their lives precisely because they were in faith responding to the promise of the external Word contained in their sacramental baptism? The Lutheran Confessions do not require us to assume that every contemporary revelation by way of ‘prophecy, visions, tongues, or other means’ must necessarily be an Enthusiast’s rejection of the external Word.”23 He concludes with the recommendation that Charismatics speak not of “direct” revelation from God, which could be misunderstood as a circumvention of word and sacrament, but as “‘contemporary’ communications” that follow upon the established, gracious relationship of baptism and faith.

In a much longer article, Jungkuntz sets out to refute the charge that Charismatics adhere to a “theology of glory” at odds with Luther’s “theology of the cross.” After establishing a basic definition of each, Jungkuntz deals with four areas where this charge is especially likely to be laid: Christology, prayer, Spirit baptism or religious experience, and charismatic gifts. The first section endeavors to show that a Charismatic attribution of Jesus’ miracle-working powers to his infilling with the Holy Spirit at his baptism is neither an Adoptionist Christology nor a contradiction of the full divinity of Christ, referring to the Formula of Concord’s assertion that Jesus did not make use of his rightful divine powers but set them aside during his “state of humiliation.”24 The next section on prayer relies more on contemporaneous accounts of prayer experience by Charismatics in various denominations, but it does point out Luther’s commendation of bold prayer and his claim to have essentially wrested Melanchthon out of God’s deathly grip in 1540 by importunate prayer. An appendix at the end of the article also offers a translation of a 1545 letter by Luther to the pastor Ernest Schulze on how to employ prayer to counter a case of severe depression.

The third and longest section on Spirit baptism suffers from a typical problem in Charismatic theology, namely equivocation on what, precisely, baptism in the Holy Spirit is. Charismatics in general have not been comfortable with a direct appropriation of Classical Pentecostal accounts of Spirit baptism, since this relies on a particular ordo of experiences (which remains a matter of dispute between Holiness-oriented and Baptist-oriented Pentecostals) and discounts the sacramental efficacy of water baptism. Jungkuntz attempts to avoid the problem of a detailed phenomenology of Spirit baptism by equating it with “religious experience” generally. Though unsatisfying where Spirit baptism is concerned, this strategy does zero in on the real heart of the problem for Jungkuntz’s Lutheran opponents: the role of experience in the Christian life at all. To this problem Jungkuntz brings a variety of texts from Luther that speak positively of experience, not as the foundation or proof of the gospel but as confirmation of the gospel’s promises in the believer’s own life, as here: “No one can correctly understand God or His work unless he has received such understanding immediately from the Holy Spirit. But no one can receive it from the Holy Spirit without experiencing, proving, and feeling it.”25

The final section on charismatic gifts cites Luther speaking of the possibility of the gifts of the apostolic age being bestowed for the defense of the gospel, though the extreme infrequency of such statements by Luther makes it hard to find such isolated instances very convincing. But Jungkuntz’s larger point is that, contrary to accusations of power seeking for its own sake, Charismatics, like Luther, have “no difficulty integrating the ‘power’ of Pentecost with the ‘weakness’ of Good Friday’s cross.”26 Charismata are not sought apart from the cross but are the expression of its surprising power in weakness.27

Jungkuntz revisits the issue of experience in his book Confirmation and the Charismata. Mostly a summary of the practice of confirmation throughout the history of the church, Jungkuntz seeks to detach the concept of confirmation from the rite. He argues instead from biblical examples that faith is established only by God’s sovereign work of salvation, but it is “confirmed” through signs, wonders, good works, and charismatic gifts, and believers are exhorted to pray expectantly for such “confirmation.” He reviews the variety of types of confirmation as a church practice in the Lutheran Reformation and the relative poverty of commentary from Luther on it, as well as the lack of all positive reference to confirmation in the Book of Concord, as evidence that confirmation need not be a fixed rite with fixed meaning but may be open to Charismatic expansion.

Jungkuntz summarizes what he takes to be a more appropriate reception of Luther’s concerns: “For its completion baptism requires no additional sacrament such as confirmation, but it does indeed requires daily acts of faith which will allow God to grant an experiential confirmation to that faith again and again until the ultimate confirmation occurs in the resurrection on the last day.”28 Against those who would deny Luther’s emphasis on such confirmation or the command to pray for it, he quotes On the Councils and the Church (1539), where Luther criticizes the Antinomians: “For there is no such Christ that died for sinners who do not, after the forgiveness of sins, desist from sins and lead a new life … They may be fine Easter preachers, but they are very poor Pentecost preachers, for they do not preach de sanctificatione et vivificatione Spiritus Sancti.”29

As we have seen here, so we will see again in the section that follows: intra-Lutheran disputes have tended to focus on the nature of experience itself in the Christian life. The Charismatic strategy has been to defend experience as legitimate at all. Detailed discussion of the possible biblical or theological meanings of “baptism in the Spirit” or the charismata has been by and large lost in this larger struggle.

Larry Christenson

Another effort to connect Lutheran and Charismatic theology came from Larry Christenson, a leading Charismatic pastor in the American Lutheran Church30 who served as the editor and principal voice in Welcome, Holy Spirit: A Study of Charismatic Renewal in the Church (WHS).31 This 400-plus-page volume was the result of the 1981 International Charismatic Renewal Leaders’ Conference, which hosted a hundred people from twelve countries, and was refined at smaller meetings held the following two years.

Christenson begins precisely at the neuralgic point for his opponents: the place of experience in the Christian life. He denies that the point of the Charismatic renewal is to uplift emotions over salvation history or to promote spiritual gifts apart from traditional accounts of justification. Rather, the renewal is about experiencing what Lutherans teach: that Christ is Lord, that he gives the Holy Spirit, that he is present in faith, that he justifies and renews. Quotations from participants stress that it was only in the context of Charismatic renewal that many Lutherans felt and believed in a profound way the truth of what they had been taught; just as importantly, what they had been taught was not at all contradicted by their Charismatic experience. Christenson stresses that Charismatic experience is experience of God, tested by scripture, and affirming the lordship of Jesus through being filled with the Holy Spirit.32

The next large section of WHS reviews the scriptural witness to the Holy Spirit. Of particular interest here is the nuanced discussion of Spirit baptism. Acknowledging that it is hard to resolve the matter exegetically, and further that “[a]uthentic experience can be inaccurately assessed and explained,” Christenson allows for the veracity of both second-blessing/Pentecostal and sacramental/Charismatic accounts of experience of the Spirit without ultimately judging between them. He places the emphasis not on the event of Spirit baptism itself so much as its missionary fruit and refers again to the opening concern: “One of the great misconceptions that circulates around discussions of the Holy Spirit is the notion that we have everything that we state in our doctrines.”33 While not invoking Lutheran language directly, the subtext here is the internal Charismatic critique of Lutherans who teach Lutheran theology while lacking or denying any accompanying experiential component. This is the strategy of the entire book: not so much to defend Spirit baptism or charismata in isolation from all other aspects of Christian life, but to claim space for theological experience at all in a Lutheran church that is perceived to be profoundly suspicious of such a thing.

While references to Luther and Lutheran theology abound throughout WHS, the third section, “Declared by the Spirit: A Lutheran Theological Perspective,” takes up the topic directly. Chapter 19 on “Solus Christus—Christ Alone” proposes two guiding hermeneutical questions to apply to Charismatic renewal which reflect Lutheran confessional standards: “Does this teaching magnify the honor of Christ?” and “Does this teaching have a saving effect on people?34 Christenson goes on to explain that Charismatic renewal is not antitrinitarian—the new emphasis on the Spirit is not to the exclusion of the Son, or of the Father either—nor is it “antihuman,” though it does want to oppose the “secular-humanist mentality,” invoking the Formula of Concord on Free Will as an ally in this regard.35 The chapter “Sola Gratia—Grace Alone” emphasizes that “a charism is, by definition, a manifestation of grace,”36 as is baptism in the Spirit, because it is a promise made by Christ in scripture, for which believers wait in faith. “Charismatic manifestations of the Holy Spirit likewise occur as we rely on God’s Word and not because we ourselves have struck on a teaching or method for getting the Spirit into our possession.” The stress is laid on the means by which God works, and as Jungkuntz had done, so also Christenson argues that the ordinary means of word and sacrament do not exclude extraordinary means, so long as the latter do not contradict the gospel or lordship of Christ. Christenson claims that Charismatics also have a fresh appreciation for the dialectic of law and gospel, and in particular an ability to embrace the content of the law once the accusation of the law has been shed.37

The chapter “Sola Fides—Faith Alone” argues that “the word faith has had central significance in the charismatic renewal,” offering examples of Charismatics whose faith in Christ was profoundly deepened by experiences of the Spirit.38 Here Christenson, like Jungkuntz, speaks of growth or maturity of faith, but adds the contrast between a theological account of faith and a psychological account of faith, noting that testimonies of faith and “decisions” for faith tend to speak of what God has done in the believer’s life more than of the believer’s commitment. Then Christenson again takes up the argument about experience, compiling a number of extended quotes from Luther and the Confessions that speak positively of experience, including Luther’s own “Reformation breakthrough.” Christenson concludes, “Such an understanding of faith honors Christ by giving to sight and experience the role assigned to it both by Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions: that place is following faith as its expected fruit and confirmation rather than preceding faith as a necessary foundation.”39 The next chapter, “Sola Scriptura—Scripture Alone,” argues that this sola does not exclude tradition, guidance, or the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.

The final chapter dealing with the Lutheran doctrinal foundation proposes “Four More Alones”: prayer alone, the church alone, baptism alone, and the Holy Spirit alone. All of these are explicated in terms of what they are not saying (e.g., “Baptism alone: not antifaith”) and are generously furnished with quotes from Luther and the Confessions. The last item is of particular importance in the controversial setting of Charismatic renewal within mainline churches, and Christenson asserts: “Luther did not shrink from speaking of the ‘Holy Spirit alone,’ even in the face of what he considered to be the aberrations of the enthusiasts.”40 Christenson concludes the chapter with an appreciation of Lutheran “dialectical theology,” which “lives in paradox and tension,” supremely in the cross.41 He concludes: “Charismatic theology does not oppose a theology of the cross, but it testifies that the cross of Jesus Christ is not barren.”42

The same themes recur throughout the remainder of WHS. It remains the most extended and detailed attempt to put Lutheran theology and Charismatic renewal into conversation with each other and to achieve a new synthesis in praxis without substantial change in teaching. Its final goal is the experience of Lutheran doctrine, rather than its revision.43

The Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus44

The most important Charismatic renewal among Lutherans has taken place in east Africa. In 1970s Ethiopia, Lutheran youth came in contact with Pentecostals, began to manifest the charismata, and almost immediately came into conflict with congregational authorities. Under the guidance of the Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (ECMY) General Secretary, Gudina Tumsa (1929–1979), later a martyr under the Derg regime, a team of forty met to compose a statement regarding the Charismatic renewal, “The Work of the Holy Spirit” (1976). It interpreted the new Charismatic impulses as the long hoped-for and prayed-for revival to empower their mission.

Yet there was also a serious commitment to integrating the Charismatic renewal with the church’s Lutheran heritage. After a lengthy discussion of the Holy Spirit in scripture, followed by quotations from various Lutheran and other denominations’ statements on Charismatic renewal, the document’s section “The Conflict over Ways of Worship” asserts: “There should be a possibility in the congregations to have meetings with more freedom and openness for the manifestation of different gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ways of worship cannot be considered as doctrine. ‘It is not necessary that human traditions or rites or ceremonies instituted by man should everywhere be the same’ (Augsburg Confession, Article 7).” Yet worship is not a matter of indifference. The right response is to see to it that “young people are taught the meaning of the traditional worship service,” and that the ECMY “develop one common liturgy for the whole Church, a liturgy with a form that fits better in our Ethiopian context.”45 A further distinction is made between “necessary conflicts”—namely the conflicts between God and Satan when the latter wants to destroy a reawakening of faith—and “unnecessary conflicts,” such as those over authority, doctrine, and styles of worship, all of which can be resolved through scriptural guidance and righteous behavior,46 which echoes the Formula of Concord (Solid Declaration): “[W]e must steadfastly maintain the distinction between unnecessary, useless quarrels and disputes that are necessary.”47 In the section “Conflict over Doctrine,” the statement also appreciates “the insistence by leading representatives of the Revival Movement that they will abide by the ECMY constitution and the Lutheran confession.”48

As a practical decision, the ECMY’s statement was a great success; it stemmed any potential hemorrhaging of Charismatics and in fact led to phenomenal growth, from about 200,000 members at the time of the statement to more than 7 million in 2015. There is little evidence so far that an in-depth dialogue between Lutheran confessional theology and Charismatic practice has continued in Ethiopia. However, the large-scale effort to translate Luther’s works into Amharic suggests the desire to do so and the likelihood of its happening soon.

Generally speaking, Charismatics in Europe and North America have been sidelined from the official life of the Lutheran churches and therefore tend to maintain their own networks of fellowship, even if they remain in the mainline denominations. As such, relatively little creative theological work has been done recently to engage Luther on the part of Lutheran Charismatics in these regions. However, most of the Lutherans in Ethiopia, Tanzania,49 and Madagascar50 practice various forms of healing and exorcism, among other spiritual practices that tend to be considered Pentecostal, Charismatic, or even “un-Lutheran” by their fellows to the north. As these are also the fastest-growing (and perhaps soon the largest) Lutheran churches in the world, one may anticipate that new cross-fertilization between the Lutheran doctrinal heritage and Charismatic experience will be forthcoming from these regions.

Luther in Contemporary Classical Pentecostal Theology

While Pentecostal practice and experience is over a century old, sustained academic reflection from a Pentecostal perspective is still relatively young. This means that Pentecostal engagement with the theological sources throughout Christian history is modest and fairly new. Accordingly, there is not yet a great deal of reflection or scholarship on Luther from a Pentecostal perspective. Here we will treat three contemporary Pentecostal theologians who have at least briefly dealt with Luther in their own work.

Frank D. Macchia

The American theologian Frank D. Macchia has sought to articulate a Pentecostal doctrine of justification in his monograph Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God. His particular concern is to bring the doctrine of the Spirit more fully to bear on this classic doctrinal locus. In preparation for doing so, he offers accounts of the Catholic and (Reformation) Protestant views of justification, characterizing them respectively as “imparted” and “imputed” righteousness.

While Luther is the primary representative of the “Protestant” view, the theology ascribed to him is more of a generic Reformed/Evangelical Protestant one, even though Macchia’s own findings—heavily dependent on secondary research—substantially and continually contradict this caricature. Luther is described as being “responsible for the narrowly Christological, forensic, and one-sidedly extrinsic understanding of justification” which “tended to leave the Spirit behind.”51 But when Macchia turns to a review of Finnish scholarship on Luther, he asserts that “union with Christ by faith is arguably the basis of soteriology”52 in Luther, for “faith facilitates a mutual indwelling between Christ and the believer,”53 a shift toward the participatory, of which Macchia approves. Macchia criticizes Tuomo Mannermaa (and hence Luther) for making faith the basis of the presence of Christ, since the New Testament sees rather the Spirit as the means of making Christ present.

Had Macchia probed deeper into Luther, though, he would have discovered that there is no contradiction between the two, for faith itself is the work of the Holy Spirit in Luther’s understanding. The failure to recognize this means that Macchia mistakes Luther’s view of justifying faith as a turn toward anthropology and away from the doctrine of the Spirit, leading him to conclude: “If an emphasis on the Spirit over faith means putting Luther at some distance, so be it. We are obligated first to the biblical witness and not to Luther. Luther, I am sure, would have agreed, at least if he was consistent with his fundamental loyalties.”54 Yet some pages later, Macchia again reverses his judgment after citing a passage from Luther’s 1519 Galatians commentary, now saying that “Luther here describes divine reckoning as a pneumatological reality, a divine self-giving. The reckoning of faith as righteous is the impartation of the Spirit.”55

In all fairness, Macchia’s contorted view likely reflects the ups and downs of Luther interpretation within the Lutheran tradition. One wishes, however, that a wider range of Luther resources—on this topic, especially The Freedom of a Christian and the two Catechisms—would have been brought into the conversation. It is especially striking that in the Large Catechism, the Third Article occupies considerably more space than the Second, belying the notion that Luther was christocentric to the exclusion of the Spirit.

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

The Finnish theologian Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen comes from a Lutheran background, self-identifies as a Pentecostal, and counts among the clergy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), serving as associate pastor of Finnish-language ELCA congregations in California and Texas. He studied with Tuomo Mannermaa at the University of Helsinki and has been a regular exponent of the Finnish school of Lutheran interpretation, especially in Pentecostal, Evangelical, and ecumenical circles.56

Exploring the doctrine of justification in his One with God: Salvation as Deification, Kärkkäinen focuses principally on Orthodox and Lutheran/Protestant accounts of soteriology, with only a few modest references to distinctively Pentecostal concerns.57 Unlike Macchia, Kärkkäinen starts with the presumption of Luther’s emphasis on the presence of Christ in faith through the Spirit. His description of Luther’s theology is a straightforward recounting of the Finnish school, anchored in a wide array of Luther sources, though again with the goal of devaluing the forensic approach to justification in favor of a more participatory model. Melanchthon becomes the object of criticism instead, as when Kärkkäinen asserts that the “confessional books” were “mainly drafted by Melanchthon”58 (a curious oversight of the Catechisms and the Smalcald Articles) and represent a “one-sided understanding of Luther’s theology, [which] blurs the meaning of the Holy Spirit in salvation.”59 Evidently from Kärkkäinen’s Pentecostal perspective there is much more promise in the participatory model, which opposes the apparently more traditional view, as expressed by fellow Pentecostal Edmund J. Rybarczyk, whom Kärkkäinen quotes: “To be a Christian is far more than having one’s legal slate in heaven wiped clean.”60 Kärkkäinen favorably compares Luther with the early Pentecostal Minnie Abrahams, as both speak of conformity to Christ through the cross and union with God.61 He also sees potential for recovering not only Luther’s more participatory doctrine of justification by also his ethic of love, with the potential to overcome historic disagreements about the relationship of faith, works, and salvation.62

Kärkkäinen can also employ Luther to criticize many aspects of Pentecostal spirituality and practice. He begins his essay “Theology of the Cross: A Stumbling Block to Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality?”63 with a descriptive account of the origins of Luther’s theologia crucis and its function within the Reformer’s entire oeuvre, citing extensively from Luther’s writings as well as contemporary research on the topic. He concludes the article with guidelines for deeper Pentecostal reflection on “the dark side of reality,” which he considers to be much needed, though without wanting to lose the “distinctive Christian—and may we dare to say, biblical—emphasis on the power of the Spirit to effect healing, mental and physical recovery, and deliverance … ” First, he asks Pentecostals to face the reality of sin and evil head on, as Luther did, eschewing the “misguided effort to whitewash the walls of our world with sentimental talk about God’s love.” Second, he points out that for Luther the cross is not only “salvatory” but also “revelational”: God cannot be known apart from the cross, and the cross cannot be displaced from the Christian life. Only honest talk about the cross can lead to honest hope.

Interestingly, in the third place, Kärkkäinen criticizes Pentecostals for talking deeply about God’s grace to the exclusion of God’s love, recalling that from Luther’s perspective God’s love is always of “something that is not existent, or that exists in weakness or shame,” contradicting the almost exclusive language of “victorious living” in Pentecostalism, which could suggest that God’s love is for the successful. He also applauds Luther for not trying to absolve God of all responsibility for evil but recognizing the “alien work” of God even in evil things, which makes God alone to be truly God. Kärkkäinen would also like to see a Lutheran corrective to Pentecostal accounts of faith: “There is too much stress on the human side and too little on what God does … Faith is not so much needed when one sees God’s miracles; faith is needed when we are facing the dark side of life and the imminence of death.” His final call is to appreciate Luther’s communal depiction of the church, which is “not a showplace for the successful but a hospital for the suffering and needy!”64

David J. Courey

David J. Courey takes up the torch of appropriating the theologia crucis for Pentecostalism in his What Has Wittenberg to Do with Azusa? Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Pentecostal Triumphalism.65 Courey writes as an engaged Pentecostal pastor and theologian of many decades’ experience, deeply troubled by the “triumphalism” he finds in the movement, both the past-oriented triumphalism in restorationist accounts of church history with Pentecostalism as the supreme instance of restoration, and the future-oriented triumphalism of the expectation of victorious living and perfectionism for true believers. Beginning with a historical reconstruction of pre-Pentecostal restorationism and then its assimilation into Pentecostal piety and teaching, Courey notes that internal failures in the movement have not led to a reassessment of triumphalistic piety but to a shift toward selective institutional accounts of victory, thereby dodging the issues of failure and disappointed expectations on the personal level.

Courey sets up, by contrast, a detailed account of Luther’s theology of the cross, drawing on a wide range of contemporary scholarship on the theme as well as the original 16th-century resources. He argues that the Reformer is “an untapped resource for Pentecostal contemplation”66 and lists convergences in worldview between the two, chiefly an acceptance of supernatural realities such as angels, demons, signs, wonders, and the potent activity of God in the human realm. If Luther expressed less than abundant interest in the charismata, it was chiefly because his focus was always on the charis behind the charismata. Luther conceded the possible reappearance of charismata if God deemed them useful for the sake of the gospel,67 but “endeavouring to apply a Pentecostal grid to the sixteenth-century Reformer is anachronistic folly.”68

Courey also discusses the priesthood of all believers and apocalyptic expectation as common concerns between Luther and Pentecostalism, but the most interesting argument he makes—and one that should not come as a surprise after the earlier discussion of Lutheran Charismatics—is in favor of Luther as “a theologian of experience.”69 Courey follows Luther’s conflict with the Enthusiasts through his legacy in Pietism, Wesleyanism, and other streams that affected Pentecostalism. He summarizes:

Luther … was certainly a theologian of experience, yet, it must be admitted, he was also suspicious of it. For Luther, human experience might be fickle, uncertain, fallen—and human interpretation of experience, even more prone to error. Both experience and its interpretation exist in nobis, in the realm of the penultimate. But God’s Word, his gift of justification, the sacraments, these were stable, objective, dependable. In essence, they were ultimate, accomplished pro nobis, but extra nos. An experience may be from God, but what is its meaning? One may encounter the divine in prophecy, healing or in a deep sense of divine love, or divine displeasure, but by what canon are such encounters to be interpreted? On what basis is an experience to be embraced or rejected?70

From here, Courey develops in greater detail an account of Luther’s view of experience in terms of knowledge of God, for “this question is not merely philosophical, or theological, but existential as well. The theology of the cross is concerned with the nature of spiritual experience.”71 Courey examines such topics as personal glory, institutional glory, and pious expectation with the lens of the theology of the cross, denying that the latter is essentially pessimistic, for the cross destroys false glories and false expectations on the way to the genuine glory believers can expect in the resurrection. Courey also takes up Walter von Löwenich’s distinction between two kinds of divine hiddenness: the hiddenness of the cross, which is disclosed to us in the gospel, and the hiddenness of the divine will, which remains hidden. Courey argues that Luther’s theology of the cross corrects the Evangelical-Pentecostal desire for direct ascent to heaven without the descent of the cross, but he adds that “the corollary is just as potent: when the descent is true, and deep, the ascent is assured and increasingly present. This may be a contribution Pentecostalism makes to Lutheran orthodoxy, and to the broader appropriation of the theology of the cross.”72 Alongside simul justus et peccator, Courey endorses Oberman’s simul gemitus et raptus, “simultaneously groaning and rapturous,” as its experiential counterpart.

On this basis Courey explores his proposed notions of pneumatologia crucis and eschatalogia crucis as legitimate and much-needed extensions of Luther’s theologia crucis. The former emphasizes how the Spirit leads us to suffering and suffers with us; it helps us in our weakness; it testifies, reveals, and convicts; it raises the dead and inaugurates the end. The latter is best expressed by the two simul formulas, which capture the dialectic of already/not yet existence; an eschatology of the cross also undergirds provisional human efforts toward truly inclusive community and social-diaconal activity. Courey adds a distinctive Pentecostal stamp with the proposal that Spirit baptism is itself “the nexus between cross and eschaton. As such, it offers both backward- and forward-looking perspectives that can replace the restorationism (retrospective triumphalism) and the perfectionism (prospective triumphalism).”73 In conversation with Luther’s theology of the sacraments, Courey further proposes tongues and healing as signs of both cross and eschaton, which emphasize the embodiment of spirituality but embrace the ambiguity and suffering of the sign of the cross.

Areas for Future Research

The encounter between Pentecostal/Charismatic and Lutheran theology is still quite new and restricted in scope, but each calls for deeper engagement with the other. The astounding growth of Pentecostalism worldwide and of Charismatics within the Lutheran family mandates a more serious appraisal on the part of historic Lutherans; likewise, the stature of Luther and the scope of his impact on historic Christianity invite contemporary Pentecostals and Charismatics to study him more seriously and evaluate their own proposals and practices in his light.

An obvious area of exploration is pneumatology. While invocation of the Spirit is par for the course in Pentecostalism, pneumatology can nevertheless remain a rather empty category. Many Classical Pentecostals argue that, in fact, their own movement is christocentric more than pneumatocentric, and that they, too, need a deeper account of the Spirit. The accusation of Luther’s poverty of reflection on the Spirit still seems to be axiomatic, despite extensive evidence to the contrary.74 It would make sense for these two areas of research to be conducted in tandem.

Closely related to the Spirit is the topic of experience, since Pentecostals above all are identified by their common experience of the activity of the Spirit in their lives rather than by a common confession, liturgy, or structure. As the discussion of Lutheran Charismatics and of the Pentecostal theologian Courey has shown, the precise meaning of experience remains under dispute in both communities, to say nothing of its import in making Christian claims. Experience has come under closer scrutiny in other domains of theology, especially those advancing the experience of hitherto overlooked groups such as the poor or women, but these have generally not engaged Pentecostal accounts of experience and have also often assumed Lutheran accounts of experience to be hostile to their own proposals. Altogether, the conversation is still immature and awaits deeper investigation.

While the relationship of baptism in water and baptism in the Holy Spirit has been a hot topic of debate between Lutherans and Pentecostals/Charismatics, thus far very little discussion has taken place on the Lord’s Supper. This is a surprising oversight. Indeed, the ecumenical statement Lutherans and Pentecostals in Dialogue observes:

Because of their consistent emphasis on the real presence of God in worship, Pentecostals expect the Lord to be present in his Supper. Pentecostals have at times claimed a version of Zwingli’s understanding of the Supper, often over against the dominant sacramental church culture, but practical experience and piety indicate that Pentecostals do actually believe in some kind of real presence beyond a strictly symbolic or memorial understanding of the Supper.75

The possibilities for exchange between the Pentecostal doctrine of worship and the Lutheran doctrine of the Supper are clear and promising. This can also offer a bridge to Pentecostal understandings of healing, as Prenter points out in his study of Luther’s doctrine of the Spirit: “a celebration of the Supper which does not contain the assurance and hope of a bodily fruit is not a spiritual celebration at all.”76

The Institute for Ecumenical Research maintains a page on Lutheran-Pentecostal dialogue with much relevant documentation: Lutheran-Pentecostal dialogue.

A large number of early Pentecostal writings can be found at the Consortium of Pentecostal Archives.

Primary Sources

Barratt, Thomas Ball. In the Days of the Latter Rain. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1909.Find this resource:

Christenson, Larry, ed. Welcome, Holy Spirit: A Study of Charismatic Renewal in the Church. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1987.Find this resource:

Courey, David J. What Has Wittenberg to Do with Azusa? Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Pentecostal Triumphalism. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2015.Find this resource:

Jacobsen, Douglas. A Reader in Pentecostal Theology: Voices from the First Generation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Jungkuntz, Theodore R. “Secularization Theology, Charismatic Renewal, and Luther’s Theology of the Cross.” Concordia Theological Monthly 42.1 (1971): 5–24.Find this resource:

Jungkuntz, Theodore R. “A Response.” The Cresset, Occasional Paper 2 (1977): 3–11.Find this resource:

Jungkuntz, Theodore R. “Sectarian Consequences of Mistranslation in Luther’s Smalcald Articles.” Currents in Theology and Mission 4.3 (1977): 166–167.Find this resource:

Jungkuntz, Theodore R. A Lutheran Charismatic Catechism. Howard City, MI: Bread of Life Ministries, 1979, rev. ed. 1982.Find this resource:

Jungkuntz, Theodore R. Confirmation and the Charismata. 2d ed. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1983, rev. ed. 1997.Find this resource:

Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. “Deification and a Pneumatological Concept of Grace: Unprecedented Convergences between Orthodox, Lutheran, and Pentecostal-Holiness Soteriologies.” In Toward Healing Our Divisions: Reflecting on Pentecostal Diversity and Common Witness, 2–27. Lakeland, FL: Society for Pentecostal Studies, 1999.Find this resource:

Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. One with God: Salvation as Deification and Justification. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. “Theology of the Cross: A Stumbling Block to Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality?” In The Spirit and Spirituality: Essays in Honour of Russell P. Spittler, edited by Wonsuk Ma and Robert P. Menzies, 150–163. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2004.Find this resource:

Krust, Christian. Was wir glauben, lehren und bekennen. Rev. ed. Nuremberg: Missionsbuchhandlung und Verlag Altdorf, 1980.Find this resource:

Macchia, Frank D. Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010.Find this resource:

McPherson, Aimee Semple. This Is That. Los Angeles: Bridal Call Publishing House, 1919.Find this resource:

Further Reading

Antola, Markku. The Experience of Christ’s Real Presence in Faith: An Analysis on the Christ-Presence-Motif in the Lutheran Charismatic Renewal. Schriften der Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft 43. Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1998.Find this resource:

Barrett, David D. “The 20th Century Pentecostal/Charismatic Renewal of the Holy Spirit, with its Goal of World Evangelization.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 2.3 (1988): 119–129.Find this resource:

Burgess, Stanley M., and Eduard M. Van Der Maas, eds. New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Rev. and exp. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.Find this resource:

Christenson, Larry, and Paul Anderson. “Lutheran Charismatics.” In The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, edited by Stanley M. Burgess and Eduard M. Van Der Maas, 847–851. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.Find this resource:

Engelsviken, Tormod. The Gift of the Spirit: An Analysis and Evaluation of the Charismatic Movement from a Lutheran Theological Perspective. PhD diss., Aquinas Institute School of Theology, Dubuque, Iowa, 1981.Find this resource:

Fabien, Lotera. “Healing Ministry of Ankaramalaza.” Africa Theological Journal 35.1 (2015): 35–45.Find this resource:

Fischer, Moritz. “‘The Spirit Helps Us in Our Weakness’: Charismatization of Worldwide Christianity and the Quest for an Appropriate Pneumatology with Focus on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 20 (2011): 95–121.Find this resource:

Heino, Harri. “The Charismatic Movement in Finland and North America.” Pneuma 10.1 (1988): 50–61.Find this resource:

Institute for Ecumenical Research . Lutherans and Pentecostals in Dialogue. Strasbourg, Pasadena, and Zürich: Institute for Ecumenical Research, David du Plessis Center for Christian Spirituality, and European Pentecostal Charismatic Research Assocation, 2010.Find this resource:

Jacobsen, Douglas. Thinking in the Spirit: Theologies of the Early Pentecostal Movement. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Lie, Geir. “The Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement in Norway: The Last 30 Years.” Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research 7 (2000).Find this resource:

Lindberg, Carter. The Third Reformation? Charismatic Movements and the Lutheran Tradition. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1983.Find this resource:

Lindberg, Carter. Charismatic Renewal and the Lutheran Tradition. LWF Report 21. Geneva, Switzerland: Lutheran World Federation, 1985.Find this resource:

McDonnell, Kilian, ed. Presence, Power, Praise: Documents on the Charismatic Renewal. 2 vols. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1980.Find this resource:

Pfitzner, Victor C. Led by the Spirit: How Charismatic is New Testament Christianity? Adelaide: Open Book, 1976.Find this resource:

Prenter, Regin. Spiritus Creator. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001 (1st ed. 1953).Find this resource:

Rasolondraibe, Péri, ed. Consultation on Renewal Movements in Lutheran Churches in North and South. Geneva, Switzerland: Lutheran World Federation, 2002.Find this resource:

Simpson, Carl A. A Critical Evaluation of the Contribution of Jonathan Paul to the Development of the German Pentecostal Movement. Doctoral thesis, Glyndwr University, 2011.Find this resource:

Wilson, Sarah Hinlicky. A Guide to Pentecostal Movements for Lutherans. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2016.Find this resource:

Wogen, Norris L., ed. Jesus, Where Are You Taking Us? Messages from the First International Lutheran Conference on the Holy Spirit. Carol Stream, IL: Creation House, 1973.Find this resource:

Wulfhorst, Ingo, ed. Spirits, Ancestors and Healing: A Global Challenge to the Church; A Resource for Discussion. Geneva, Switzerland: Lutheran World Federation, 2006.Find this resource:


(1.) David D. Barrett, “The 20th Century Pentecostal/Charismatic Renewal of the Holy Spirit, with its Goal of World Evangelization,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 2/3 (1988): 119–129.

(2.) See Carl A. Simpson, A Critical Evaluation of the Contribution of Jonathan Paul to the Development of the German Pentecostal Movement (PhD diss., Glyndwr University, Wrexham, Wales, 2011).

(3.) Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 89.

(4.) Anderson, Introduction to Pentecostalism, 89.

(5.) Christian Krust, Was wir glauben, lehren und bekennen (rev. ed.; Nuremberg: Missionsbuchhandlung und Verlag Altdorf, 1980). All translations are the author’s.

(6.) B. B. Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1918).

(7.) The Apostolic Faith 1.2 (October 1906): 1, quoted in Douglas Jacobsen, Thinking in the Spirit: Theologies of the Early Pentecostal Movement (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003), 64.

(8.) Thomas Ball Barratt, In the Days of the Latter Rain (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1909), 25.

(10.) Ibid., 36.

(11.) Quoted from Douglas Jacobsen, A Reader in Pentecostal Theology: Voices from the First Generation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 101.

(12.) Quoted in Donald W. Dayton, The Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1987), 19–20.

(13.) Both verses here are taken from the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, which was still the main English translation in use in McPherson’s day.

(14.) Aimee Semple McPherson, This Is That (Los Angeles: Bridal Call Publishing House, 1919), 393–394.

(15.) Ibid., 395–396.

(16.) Thus Carter Lindberg’s exploratory study The Third Reformation? Charismatic Movements and the Lutheran Tradition (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1983) inquires whether Pietism qualifies as the second Reformation and Pentecostalism/Charismatic renewal as the third.

(17.) See, for example, the work by Norwegian Lutheran theologian Tormod Engelsviken, The Gift of the Spirit: An Analysis and Evaluation of the Charismatic Movement from a Lutheran Theological Perspective (PhD diss., Aquinas Institute School of Theology, Dubuque, Iowa, 1981), and Geir Lie, “The Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement in Norway: The Last 30 Years,” Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research 7 (2000) for accounts of charismatic renewal in Lutheran Norway; and Victor C. Pfitzner, Led by the Spirit: How Charismatic is New Testament Christianity? (Adelaide: Open Book, 1976), a response to charismatic renewal in Australia.

(18.) Norris L. Wogen, ed., Jesus, Where Are You Taking Us? Messages from the First International Lutheran Conference on the Holy Spirit (Carol Stream, IL: Creation House, 1973), 46–47, 114. Very few of the presentations were given by Lutherans.

(19.) See the many responses, more hostile than not, of American Lutheran churches (as well as others) in Kilian McDonnell, ed., Presence, Power, Praise: Documents on the Charismatic Renewal (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1980). See also the early and openly hostile study by the Norwegian Lutheran scholar Nils Bloch-Hoell, The Pentecostal Movement: Its Origin, Development, and Distinctive Character (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1964), and another Lutheran study intended to debunk post-apostolic glossolalia, H. J. Stolee, Pentecostalism (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1936), reissued as Speaking in Tongues (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1963).

(20.) See especially the Missouri Synod’s statements “The Charismatic Movement and Lutheran Theology” (1972) and “Policy Statement Regarding the Neo-Pentecostal Movement” (1975) in McDonnell, Presence, Power, Praise. Note that at the time of writing, “Neo-Pentecostal” referred to what is now generally called the Charismatic movement in historic churches. Jungkuntz responded to the LCMS statements with “A Response,” The Cresset, Occasional Paper 2 (1977): 3–11. Jungkuntz’s opponents were not only in the Missouri Synod, however; see his strongly worded “Response to Scott H. Hendrix’s ‘Charismatic Renewal: “Old Wine in New Skins,’” Currents in Theology and Mission 5.1 (1978): 54–57.

(21.) Theodore R. Jungkuntz, “Sectarian Consequences of Mistranslation in Luther’s Smalcald Articles,” Currents in Theology and Mission 4.3 (1977): 167.

(22.) Ibid., 167.

(23.) Ibid., 167, Jungkuntz’s italics.

(24.) Theodore R. Jungkuntz, “Secularization Theology, Charismatic Renewal, and Luther’s Theology of the Cross,” Concordia Theological Monthly 42.1 (1971): 7.

(25.) Ibid., 18, citing WA 10/2, 23; LW 36:248. (Luther’s Works [= LW], edited by Jaroslav Pelikan et al. (St. Louis: Concordia, 1955–2015), is conventionally cited as LW with volume and pages. The German original, D. Martin Luthers Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe (Weimar: Böhlau, 1883–2009), is known as the Weimar Ausgabe and is conventionally cited as WA with volume and pages.

(26.) Jungkuntz, “Secularization Theology,” 22.

(27.) Jungkuntz also authored and self-published A Lutheran Charismatic Catechism (Howard City, MN: Bread of Life Ministries, 1979, rev. ed. 1982), which responds to thirteen typical Lutheran concerns about the Charismatic renewal, though due to its extreme brevity it raises more questions than it answers. The topics raised are better answered by Jungkuntz’s longer works.

(28.) Theodore R. Jungkuntz, Confirmation and the Charismata (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1997; rev. ed. 1983), 52.

(29.) Ibid., 90, citing LW 41:114.

(30.) The American Lutheran Church merged with the Lutheran Church in America and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in 1988 to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

(31.) Larry Christenson, ed., Welcome, Holy Spirit: A Study of Charismatic Renewal in the Church (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1987). Christenson had already written a significant number of books on Charismatic Lutheran theology and ethics including the following: Speaking in Tongues (Minneapolis: Dimension, 1968); The Christian Family (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1970); A Message to the Charismatic Movement (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1972); What about Baptism? (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1973); The Renewed Mind (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974); A Charismatic Approach to Social Action (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974); The Charismatic Renewal among Lutherans: A Pastoral and Theological Perspective (Minneapolis: Lutheran Charismatic Renewal Services, 1976); The Christian Couple (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1977); Back to Square One (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1979).

(32.) See Christenson, Welcome, Holy Spirit, 20–34.

(33.) Ibid., 83.

(34.) Ibid., 105; here and in all quotes italics as in original.

(35.) Ibid., 107–108.

(36.) Ibid., 109.

(37.) Ibid., 111–112.

(38.) Ibid., 113.

(39.) Ibid., 118.

(40.) Ibid., 134.

(41.) Ibid., 134.

(42.) Ibid., 135.

(43.) Markku Antola concludes that “Christ’s presence in faith defines the content of the Lutheran charismatic theology in WHS” and thereby founds “a credible basis for charismatic Lutheran theology”; Markku Antola, “The Experience of Christ’s Real Presence in Faith as a Goal for Lutheran Charismatic Renewal,” Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research 6 (1999), which is a summary of his monograph The Experience of Christ’s Real Presence in Faith: An Analysis on the Christ-Presence-Motif in the Lutheran Charismatic Renewal (Schriften der Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft 43; Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1998).

(44.) During the 1970s, the church was required by law to drop the word “Ethiopian” from its name. The term was later restored and the church is known today, as it was originally, as the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY). “Evangelical” in this case refers to the primarily Lutheran mission heritage of the church, though a Presbyterian mission also joined the EECMY.

(45.) McDonnell, Presence, Power, Praise, vol. 1, 181.

(46.) McDonnell, Presence, Power, Praise, vol. 1, 179.

(47.) The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, edited by. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 530.

(48.) McDonnell, Presence, Power, Praise, vol. 1, 180.

(49.) Moritz Fischer, “‘The Spirit Helps Us in Our Weakness’: Charismatization of Worldwide Christianity and the Quest for an Appropriate Pneumatology with Focus on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 20 (2011): 95–121.

(50.) Lotera Fabien, “Healing Ministry of Ankaramalaza,” Africa Theological Journal 35.1 (2015): 35–45.

(51.) Frank D. Macchia, Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010), 40.

(52.) Ibid., 50.

(53.) Ibid., 51.

(54.) Ibid., 54.

(55.) Ibid., 63.

(56.) See, for example, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, “‘The Christian as Christ to the Neighbour’: On Luther’s Theology of Love,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 6.2 (2004): 101–117, a survey of Luther’s love ethic but without drawing any conclusions from a Pentecostal perspective or for a Pentecostal audience.

(57.) An earlier public presentation on the same topic does include more Pentecostal accents that were not included in One with God: see Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, “Deification and a Pneumatological Concept of Grace: Unprecedented Convergences between Orthodox, Lutheran, and Pentecostal-Holiness Soteriologies,” in Toward Healing Our Divisions: Reflecting on Pentecostal Diversity and Common Witness (Lakeland, FL: Society for Pentecostal Studies, 1999), 2–27. Here Kärkkäinen asks whether Pentecostals can benefit from the Spirit orientation they share with Orthodoxy and the new Luther research that reorders their own Protestant origins in order to “develop a theology worthy of the name ‘Pentecostal,’” 3. He also makes mention of the aforementioned Lutheran Charismatic work, Welcome, Holy Spirit, as a bridge between Lutheran and Pentecostal theologies, 16–17.

(58.) Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, One with God: Salvation as Deification and Justification (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004), 37.

(59.) Ibid., 62.

(60.) Edmund J. Rybarczyk, Beyond Salvation (PhD diss., Fuller Theological Seminary, 1999), quoted in Kärkkäinen, One with God, 109.

(61.) Ibid., 111.

(62.) Similar arguments are made in Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, “The Holy Spirit and Justification: The Ecumenical Significance of Luther’s Doctrine of Salvation,” Pneuma 24.1 (2002): 26–39, which concludes with some questions about Luther’s pneumatological potential but is otherwise not a distinctively Pentecostal inquiry into Luther; Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, “‘Drinking from the Same Wells with Orthodox and Catholics’: Insights from the Finnish Interpretation of Luther’s Theology,” Currents in Theology and Mission 34.2 (2007): 85–96; and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, “The Lutheran Doctrine of Justification in the Global Context,” Currents in Theology and Mission 38.1 (2011): 4–16.

(63.) Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, “Theology of the Cross: A Stumbling Block to Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality?” in The Spirit and Spirituality: Essays in Honour of Russell P. Spittler, edited by Wonsuk Ma and Robert P. Menzies (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2004), 150–163. This is a more developed version of an earlier article, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, “‘Evil, Love and the Left Hand of God’: The Contribution of Luther’s Theology of the Cross to an Evangelical Theology of Evil,” Evangelical Quarterly 74.3 (2002): 215–234.

(64.) Kärkkäinen, “Theology of the Cross,” 161–163 passim.

(65.) David J. Courey, What Has Wittenberg to Do with Azusa? Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Pentecostal Triumphalism (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2015).

(66.) Ibid., 115.

(67.) Ibid., 119–120.

(68.) Ibid., 121.

(69.) Ibid., 128.

(70.) Ibid., 148.

(71.) Ibid., 153.

(72.) Ibid., 176.

(73.) Ibid., 213.

(74.) See the seminal study on Luther’s doctrine of the Spirit, Regin Prenter, Spiritus Creator, translated by John M. Jensen (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001; (orig. ed. 1953).

(75.) Lutherans and Pentecostals in Dialogue (Strasbourg/Pasadena/Zürich: Institute for Ecumenical Research/David du Plessis Center for Christian Spirituality/European Pentecostal Charismatic Research Association, 2010), 17–18.

(76.) Prenter, Spiritus Creator, 277, italics in original.