David du Plessis and the Assemblies of God

The Struggle for the Soul of a Movement


In David du Plessis and the Assemblies of God Joshua R. Ziefle details the complicated tensions that arose during the Charismatic Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He highlights the story of Pentecostal missionary David du Plessis, whose deep involvement in every area of the revival illustrates the tenor of the movement and the controversies it engendered.

Du Plessis’s ejection from the ministerial ranks of the Assemblies of God over his continued involvement with non-Pentecostals and the denomination’s slow but steady rapprochement with the ecumenism of the Charismatic Movement are important themes in this monograph. Ultimately, Ziefle argues that both du Plessis’s enthusiastic embrace of charismatics and the Assemblies’ own hesitant approach to Spirit-filled Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants represent persistent hallmarks of Pentecostalism.

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Joshua R. Ziefle, Ph.D. (2011), Princeton Theological Seminary, is Associate Professor at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. His research interests include: the Charismatic Movement, Pentecostalism, American religious history, the interaction between religion and politics, and popular culture.
"Ziefle provides an excellent contribution to help readers understand both du Plessis and the Assemblies of God. [...] He keeps his audience captivated by the events, personalities, and controversies through his engaging writing style, an uncommon characteristic of adapted dissertations."
Matthew Paugh, St. Paul's United Methodist Church, in Canadian Journal of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity Vol. 5 no. 1 (2014).

Acknowledgments ... ix
Abbreviations ... xi

Introduction: Uncovering Pentecost ... 1

A Practical Pentecost ... 7
Primitivism, Pragmatism, and Pentecostalism ... 8
Problematic Pentecostal Beginnings ... 10
Early Controversies ... 15

The Path of Pentecost ... 23
Du Plessis’s Formative Years ... 24
Worldwide Pentecostal Dialogue ... 34
Du Plessis Meets the Ecumenical Movement ... 38
1959: A Year of Hope and Promise ... 46

Irreconcilable Pentecosts ... 57
The Challenges of Pentecostal Growth ... 58
The Assemblies of God Dismisses du Plessis ... 67
Du Plessis in the Aftermath ... 93

Not Babel, But Pentecost ... 103
Ecumenism and the Roots of the Charismatic Movement ... 105
The Charismatic Movement in Mainline Protestantism ... 110
Charismatic Renewal in the Roman Catholic Church ... 119

Pentecost Set Free? ... 129
The Ecumenism of the Charismatic Movement ... 131
The Assemblies of God and the Charismatics ... 137
Interpreting the Assemblies of God’s Changing Perspective ... 150
The Continuing Mission of David J. du Plessis ... 157

Conclusion: The Lessons of Pentecost ... 167

Appendix: A Partial Timeline of the Life and Travels of David J. du Plessis, with Emphasis on the Peak Years of his Ecumenical and Charismatic Activity ... 183

Bibliography ... 221
Index ... 229
All interested in the history and development of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement, as well as those whose lives were touched by related religious experience.
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