The Third Wave and the Third World

C. Peter Wagner, John Wimber, and the Pedagogy of Global Renewal in the Late Twentieth Century

in Pneuma
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While a great deal of social science literature has examined the explosion of pentecostal and charismatic Christianity in the Global South as well as conservative and anti-modern forms of resurgent Christianity in the United States, little work has been done to investigate the causal effects of the former on the latter. Drawing from existing literature, interviews, and archives, this article contributes to filling that gap by arguing that in the mid-twentieth century, evangelical missionary concerns about competition from global Pentecostalism led to an intellectual crisis at the Fuller School of World Missions; this crisis in turn influenced important Third Wave figures such as John Wimber and C. Peter Wagner and is linked to key moments and developments in their thought and pedagogy.

The Third Wave and the Third World

C. Peter Wagner, John Wimber, and the Pedagogy of Global Renewal in the Late Twentieth Century

in Pneuma




See generally Joel Robbins“The Globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity,” Annual Review of Anthropology 33 (2004): 117–143; Philip Jenkins The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press 2002).


Thomas Higgins“Kenn Gulliksen, John Wimber, and the Founding of the Vineyard Movement,” Pneuma 34 (2012): 208–228.


T.M. LuhrmannWhen God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God (New York: Alfred A. Knopf2012).




WagnerWrestling115 117.








Paul Hiebert“The Flaw of the Excluded Middle,” Missiology: An International Review 10 (1982): 35–47.




Donald McGavran“Divine Healing and Church Growth,” in Power Evangelism (New York: Vineyard International Ministries 1984). This is not the John Wimber and Kevin Springer text of the same name but rather a series of printed commentaries in a three-ring binder that was supposed to accompany the Wimber-Springer text during Vineyard training exercises.


On Kuhlman see Todd V. Lewis“Charisma and Media Evangelists: An Explication and Model of Communication Influence,” Southern Communication Journal 54 (1988): 93–111; on Protestant speech ethic see Webb Keane Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter (Berkeley: University of California Press 2007). This Protestant speech ethic still exerts some influence in the contemporary Vineyard though ironically it has been supplemented by other speech ethics that have a structural if not genealogical kinship with that of Kuhlman; see Jon Bialecki “No Caller ID for the Soul: Demonization Charisms and the Unstable Subject of Protestant Language Ideology” Anthropological Quarterly 84 (2011): 679–703.


Walter HollenwegerThe Pentecostals: The Charismatic Movement in the Churches (Minneapolis: Augsburg1972); Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield Counterfeit Miracles (New York: C. Scribner 1918).


Alan TippettPeople Movements in Southern Polynesia: A Study in Church Growth (Chicago: Moody1971).




Jon Bialecki“Disjuncture, Continental Philosophy’s New ‘Political Paul,’ and the Question of Progressive Christianity in a Southern California Third Wave Church,” American Ethnologist 36 (2009): 110–123.


Mathew Engelke“Number and the Imagination of Global Christianity; or, Mediation and Immediacy in the Work of Alain Badiou,” South Atlantic Quarterly 109 (2010): 811–829.


Walter Benjamin“Theses on the Philosophy of History,” in Illuminationsed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World1968) 261.


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