Evangelical, seeker, charismatic, emerging
WYH3271HS Winter 2017 March 2, 2017
James Hanrahan on Catholic charismatic renewal in Canada.
Michael Wilkinson on Pentecostalism in Canada.
General changes in the 1960s
The 1960s, often seen as a time of secularization and religious liberalism, was also a springtime for charismatic, evangelical, and seeker expressions of Christianity.
The Charismatic movement
The Evangelical Fellowship of the Anglican Communion began in the 1960s.
Anglican evangelicalism by 1960 was typically of a liberal and low-church variety. A revival of Anglican evangelicalism began in the early 1960s. The Evangelical Fellowship of the Anglican Communion (EFAC) was founded in England in 1961 by John Stott (1921–2011), an evangelical pastor, writer, and teacher who served as its general secretary for twenty years. It represented a protestant and Reformed approach to Anglicanism. In 1967 Stott and his more conservative friend (and sometime rival) James I. Packer (b. 1926) organized a conference at the University of Keele, England, which attracted a thousand people, and is frequently seen as restoring evangelicalism to a significant mainstream position within Anglicanism.
Both Stott and Packer directed much of their attention to Canada; the latter, in fact, took up a teaching position at Regent College, Vancouver. In the mid-1980s a handful of Anglican evangelicals from across Canada met at Wycliffe College in Toronto to organize a Canadian affiliate of EFAC. A brief history is here.
The Church Growth movement began in the 1960s. Donald McGavran began the Institute of Church Growth in 196. His book The Bridges of God was influential.
Seeker-sensitive churches connect with visitors by being attractive to persons raised in a secular culture. The best-selling bookThe Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren gave a blueprint for this approach, and Warren's Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, is a very large seeker megachurch. Worship with contemporary music and cultural allusions, services such as sports programs and daycare, and supportive small groups and classes are key.
The Toronto Blessing
In January 1994, at a church near the Toronto airport, worshipping congregations began experiencing a powerful revival involving experineces of being 'slain in the spirit,' holy laughter, the healing of damaged relationships, and other phenomena. Only 120 people were present at first, but the church grew to over a thousand, and influenced similar revivals around the world, including Albania, Cambodia, and the Phillipines. A visitor who was influenced was Nicky Gumbel, developer of the "Alpha Course", an introduction to Christianity which has been credited with helping to convert tens of thousands of people; he is the pastor at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, in London, U.K.
The churc, called Toronto Airport Vineyard, was part of the Vineyard movement begun in the 1980s by John Wimber (1934–1997) of Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. The movement became known as "the Thrid Wave of the Holy Spirit," after the Pentecostal movement and the charismatic movement. It emphasized 'signs and wonders'. The pastors of the Toronto Airport Vineyard church were John and Carol Arnott, who were influenced by earlier revivals. The preacher at the first blessing was Randy Clark, who also had had revival experiences. The revivalism waned in about a year. John Wimber regarded the Toronto blessing as inconsistent with the values of the Vineyard movement, and the church was removed from the Vineyard association. The church was renamed Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, and now "Catch the Fire".
Michael McClymond, "After Toronto: Randy Clark's Global Awakening, Heidi and Rolland Baker's Iris Minstires, and the Post-1990s Global Charismatic Networks," in Pneuma 38 (2016): 50-76, picks up the story. U of T library users can read it here. He identifies churches around the world that have picked up "bodily healing, verbal evangelism, care for the poor, Bible teaching, exuberant worship, 'soaking prayer,' and inner healing," as well as specialized ministries.
Developments in the Catholic charismatic movement
The Catholic bishops of Canada wrote a pastoral letter about the charismatic movement during its 35th anniversary in 2003.
An article by Steven Studebaker and Lee Beach of McMaster Divinity College, (pdf) "Emerging Churches in post-Christian Canada" in Religions 3 (2012): 867–879, looks at non-institutional Christian fellowships that have disdained both mainstream and evangelical expressions. (They distingiush this from 'emergent' churches, as innovations generated by mainstream churches. The distinction does not seem firm.) These Christians have little use for mainstream and evangelical churches which appear to them to be immersed in program not people, religiously consumeristic, obsessed with the culture wars, lacking in diversity, and "cookie-cutter" in their social codes.
They mingle in different kinds of churches: