Charismatic and mainline

Domestication of a movement

On Passion Sunday in 1960, the Episcopal pastor of a growing parish in suburban Los Angeles revealed his covert spiritual experiences of recent months. Unknown to most parishioners, he and 70 other members had been “speaking in tongues”—making utterances that most mainline churches equated with overheated Pentecostalism and Holy Roller tent revivals.

Dennis Bennett got through the 7:30 service without causing a commotion at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, which had 2,500 people on its rolls. At the end of the second service, however, an assistant priest pulled off his vestments, put them on the altar and stalked out, saying, “I can no longer work with this man!”

Tumult reigned in the patio. One man stood on a chair, shouting, “Throw out the damn tongue-speakers!” according to Bennett.

 

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