Towards a common witness: A comparative study of the Assemblies of God and the Catholic charismatic renewal

Terrence Robert Crowe, Marquette University


The thesis of this study is that Spirit-Baptism provides a special grace and empowerment to unite disparate pentecostal groups in common witness. Errors occur when the human element interferes with this divine ecumenical initiative. The argument is extended to suggest that Spirit-Baptism is a source of hope for uniting the Christian family more generally and merits serious and close investigation by the churches. Common witness, as the term is used in the dissertation, is the expression of fellowship between pentecostals of diverse backgrounds. This witness is given first to one another, then to the churches generally, and finally to the population at large. This bond of mutual recognition allows pentecostals, who may have previously experienced estrangement through denominational differences, to realize their more basic spiritual unity in the Body of Christ. The method used for addressing the various questions surrounding pentecostal common witness combines Anselm's faith seeking understanding with a historical-critical analysis. The study is a historical recovery of the sources of original inspiration for classical pentecostals and the Catholic charismatic renewal as well as an examination of the role of Spirit-Baptism in the two traditions. The first two chapters of this study examine the historical origin and development of the Assemblies of God and the Catholic charismatic renewal. The third chapter compares their diverse understandings of Spirit-Baptism. The fourth chapter assesses contemporary pentecostal and Catholic charismatic leaders' views on the possibilities for a pentecostal common witness. The fifth chapter proposes a theoretical and practical method for initiating a pentecostal common witness effort. The search for a common witness among diverse pentecostal groups is not only a theoretical concern. Intensive and cooperative planning is currently going on among representatives of several of these groups to launch an evangelization campaign. Based upon the evidence, this study concludes that Spirit-Baptism provides a basis for uniting historically conditioned, culturally diverse and theologically distinct Catholic and classical pentecostals in such a common witness effort.

Recommended Citation

Crowe, Terrence Robert, "Towards a common witness: A comparative study of the Assemblies of God and the Catholic charismatic renewal" (1991). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9133790.