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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Presbyterianism is often understood as a doctrinal or Word-based tradition. This chapter argues on historical and theological grounds that it is an experiential or Spirit-based tradition too. Presbyterians played a decisive role in the initiation and development of North American revivalism from the 1720s onward. When charismatic phenomena appeared among Presbyterians—first in the 1830s in Scotland and London, and then globally from the 1960s onward—they could be seen as the fulfillment of certain elements in Calvinist theology and spirituality. Confessional Presbyterians in Britain and in North America have frequently held to cessationism (the claim that miracles ceased soon after the apostles). Yet “Pentecostalized” Presbyterians in South Korea, Cameroon, and Brazil are noncessationist, and mainline Presbyterians in the United States in 1970 gave guarded endorsement to contemporary expressions of charismatic gifts. This open-but-cautious stance seems to be the most common position today among Presbyterians both in North America and globally.

Keywords: charismatic renewal, Pentecostalism, cessationism, miracles, speaking in tongues, divine healing, Scotland, United States, South Korea, Edward Irving

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