Pentecostal-Charismatic Prophecy

Empirical-Theological Analysis

by Samuel W. Muindi (Author)
Monographs XIV, 284 Pages


Prophecy is a major theme both in Scripture and in Church doctrine. However, prophecy is seen by many as an ancient biblical phenomenon which is now redundant. There is, conversely, a form of prophecy that is very much alive in the Pentecostal-Charismatic wing of the Church. Although the Pentecostal-Charismatic tradition is billed as the fastest growing movement in Church history, it has received scant attention in Pentecostal Studies in terms of its focus on Charismatic Prophecy. This book is an attempt to explore the notion of charisms of the Holy Spirit. It examines, from an empirical-theological perspective, the nature and significance of the phenomenon of Charismatic Prophecy as reportedly manifested in Pentecostal Charismatic liturgical settings in an African context.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Chapter 1: The Prophecy Phenomenon
  • Introduction
  • Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement
  • Pentecostal-Charismatic Experience
  • Study Context
  • Study Outline
  • Scope and Limitations
  • Significance
  • Chapter 2: Empirical-Theological Method
  • Introduction
  • Theological-Hermeneutical Paradigm
  • Empirical-Theological Method
  • Hermeneutical-Praxis Model
  • Empirical-Theological Process
  • Research Problem and Goal
  • Development of Research Problem
  • Development of Research Goal
  • Empirical Induction
  • Perception
  • Reflection
  • Formulation of Research Question
  • Empirical Research Design
  • Empirical Deduction
  • Conceptualization
  • The Conceptual Model
  • Operationalization
  • Data: Collection and Analysis
  • Data Collection
  • Preparation of Data Sets
  • Data Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Interpretation and Reflection
  • Methodological Reflection
  • Summary
  • Chapter 3: Inductive-Exploratory Case Study
  • Introduction
  • Case Study Method
  • Case Study Context
  • Redeemed Gospel Church
  • Participant Observation
  • Focus Groups
  • Data Analysis
  • Findings and Discussion
  • Hermeneutical Praxis Model: A Review
  • Chapter 4: Literature Review: Critical Interaction with Theory
  • Introduction
  • Prophecy: Conceptual Description
  • Prophecy: Biblical Perspectives
  • Prophecy in the Old Testament
  • Prophecy in the New Testament
  • Prophecy and the Spirit of God
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Definition and Description
  • Charismatic Prophecy: A Social-Scientific Perspective
  • Charismatic Prophecy: An Empirical-Theological Perspective
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Voices of Pentecostal-Charismatics
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Emerging Theoretical Constructs
  • Chapter 5: Deductive-Explanatory Case Studies
  • Introduction
  • Participant Observation
  • Focus Groups
  • Data Analysis
  • Interpretation and Reflection
  • Empirical-Analytic Results and Scripture
  • Empirical-Analytic Results and Praxis in Church History
  • Empirical-Analytic Results and Praxis in Contemporary Church
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Emerging Theory
  • Methodological Reflection
  • Chapter 6: Charismatic Prophecy: Empirical-Theological Model
  • Introduction
  • Empirical-Theological Process in Retrospect
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Sacramental-Experiential Model
  • Charismatic Prophecy as Paraklesis
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Form
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Significance
  • Charismatic Prophecy: Critical Review
  • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Summary and Conclusions
  • Synopsis
  • Findings and Conclusions
  • Implications for Ministry
  • Further Research
  • Appendices
  • Appendix 1: Participant Information Summary: Inductive Case Study
  • Appendix 2: Participant Responses Summary: Inductive Case Study
  • I. The Experience of Prophecy
  • II. The Impact of Prophecy
  • Appendix 3: Participant Information Summary: Deductive Case Studies
  • Appendix 4: Participant Responses Summary: Deductive Case Studies
  • Bibliography
  • Index of Authors
  • Index of Scripture References
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Index of Subjects

| vii →


Figure 1: Hermeneutical-praxis model of espoused beliefs and religious praxis.

Figure 2: Charismatic prophecy: Empirical-theological process paradigm.

Figure 3: Charismatic prophecy: Sacramental-experiential model.

| ix →


This monograph is an abridged version of my doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Birmingham, U.K. in 2012 for which I was awarded Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the same year. I am particularly grateful to Professor Mark J. Cartledge, my first reader and supervisor, who, together with Professor Allan Anderson, my second reader, guided my work with critical empathy and encouragement. I benefited immensely from their expertise, not only in doctoral supervision, but also in the fields of Pentecostal studies and empirical-theological research. I am also grateful to many other professors at the University of Birmingham who, in the course of my academic pilgrimage at the university, constantly challenged and motivated me to excel. The permission, facilitation and assistance accorded to me by the leadership of the Redeemed Gospel Church in Kenya in the conduct of the empirical part of the study are gratefully acknowledged.

The phenomenon of prophecy is a significant motif both in Scripture and in the Church. It is also, reportedly, a common manifestation in the liturgical settings of the contemporary global Pentecostal-charismatic movement. Although the emergent global Pentecostal-charismatic movement, which is arguably the fastest growing Christian movement in church history, has brought to the fore the biblical notion of the charisms of the Holy Spirit and has, in the recent past, been subjected to critical inquiry in the academy, there has hardly been any critical study of one of the movement’s prominent charisms – charismatic prophecy manifestations in congregational settings. This monograph therefore represents an attempt to critically examine the charism of prophecy as manifested in the Pentecostal-charismatic congregational settings in an African context. The over-arching methodology of the study is hermeneutical; it seeks to interpret the nature and significance of the Pentecostal-charismatic phenomenon of prophecy from an empirical-theological perspective. ← ix | x →

This monograph is dedicated to my wife Ndinda and to my children Nduku, Mumbe, Muthike and Mwende, who have been a source of unwavering love and who so ably took charge of our family affairs during my academic pilgrimage; they have always helped me keep everything in the right perspective.

| xi →


AB Anchor Bible

ABD Anchor Bible Dictionary

AICs African Independent Churches

AJET Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology

AJPS Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies

AJSL American Journal of Semitic Language and Literature

ATJ African Theological Journal

BBR Bulletin for Biblical Research

BETS Bulletin of Evangelical Theological Society

BibRes Biblical Research

BibSac Bibliotheca Sacra

BTB Biblical Theology Bulletin

BZAW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

CBQ Catholic Biblical Quarterly

CBR Currents in Biblical Research

CSR Christian Scholars Review

CurTM Currents in Theology and Missions

DPCM Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

EJT European Journal of Theology

EvQ Evangelical Quarterly

HeyJ Heythrop Journal

HSM Harvard Semitic Monographs

HTR Harvard Theological Review

HUCA Hebrew Union College Annual

ISBE International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ITC International Theological Commentary

JAAR Journal of the American Academy of Religion

JBR Journal of Bible and Religion

JBV Journal of Beliefs and Values ← xi | xii →

JEPTA Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association

JET Journal of Empirical Theology

JETS Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

JPT Journal of Pentecostal Theology

JPTSup Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series

JR Journal of Religion

JSNTSup Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series

JSOT Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

JSOTSup Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series

JSSR Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

JTC Journal for Theology and the Church

JTS Journal of Theological Studies

JTSA Journal of Theology for Southern Africa

LXX The Septuagint

MT The Masoretic Text

NICOT New International Commentary on the Old Testament

NTS New Testament Studies

OBO Orbis biblicus et orientalis

OTL Old Testament Library

PIBA Proceedings of the Irish Biblical Association

PNEUMA Pneuma: Journal for the Society of Pentecostal Studies

RRR Review of Religious Research

RSR Religious Studies Review

SBL Society of Biblical Literature

SBLDS Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series

SBLMS Society of Biblical Literature Monograph Series

SBLSP Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers

SBT Studies in Biblical Theology

SJT Scottish Journal of Theology

TTod Theology Today

VTSup Vetus Testamentum Supplement ← xii | xiii →

WCC World Council of Churches

WTJ Westminster Theological Journal

WW Word and World

WZ Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

| 1 →


The Prophecy Phenomenon


Prophecy is a major theme, both in Scripture and in Church doctrine. The Scriptures are referred to as “prophecy of Scripture”: “Knowing this first, no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:20–21).1 The Church is said, in Scripture, to be “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph 2:20). Moreover, the Church is admonished “to pay attention” to “the word of the prophets” (2 Pet 1:19). However, for many people prophecy was an ancient phenomenon of the biblical times that is now extinct and perhaps no longer necessary. Nonetheless, there is a form of prophecy phenomenon that is reportedly extant in the contemporary Pentecostal-charismatic wing of the Church.

Although the Pentecostal-charismatic phenomenon is billed as the fastest-growing Christian movement in church history, and has brought to the fore the biblical notion of the charisms of the Holy Spirit as experiential religious manifestations, the subject of the charisms of the Holy Spirit, charismatic prophecy in particular, has received little attention in ← 1 | 2 → Pentecostal studies. The present study is therefore an attempt to venture into this little-explored field of religious manifestation. The study examines, from an empirical-theological perspective, the nature and significance of the phenomenon of charismatic prophecy as manifested in the Pentecostal-charismatic liturgical settings in an African context. Thus, the concern of the present study is neither the prophecy of Scripture nor prophecy as a ministry of the church in general. Rather, the concern of the present study is Pentecostal-charismatic prophecy that is observed in congregational settings of the contemporary Pentecostal-charismatic movement.

At the outset, the study hypothesizes that all forms of Christian prophecy are intuitive divine-human intermediatory phenomena; they are characterized by the immediacy of a revelatory impulse from the world of divinity to a human recipient and are received without any prior rationalization or reflection on the part of the recipient. The prophetic mode of intermediation is epiphanic in the sense that the deity is revealed, not only through the revelatory message, but also through the immediacy of a divine presence that is experienced as an awe-inspiring power which enthuses the human recipient to speak the revelatory message.2 However, the phenomenon of prophecy that is commonly observed in Pentecostal-charismatic congregational settings appears to present features that are unique to the Pentecostal-charismatic movement. As such, the phenomenon of charismatic prophecy is best understood in the context of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement. It is therefore a propos to foreground the study of charismatic prophecy with an introductory explication of the appellations “Pentecostal-charismatic movement” and “Pentecostal-charismatic ← 2 | 3 → experience” in historical perspective in order to clarify the context for the contemporary manifestation of the charismatic prophecy.

Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement

Pentecostalism, as a sectarian designation of a Christian movement, is, according to Hollis Ganz, of recent origin; it appears to have had its roots in the eighteenth-to nineteenth-century Wesleyan doctrine of holiness and experience of sanctification.3 However, it is the revivalist groups of the early twentieth-century North America and elsewhere, with an emphasis on “speaking in tongues” as on “the day of Pentecost” (Acts 2:1–4), which earned the sectarian appellation “Pentecostal.”4 Augustus Cerillo portrays the origins of Pentecostalism in terms of four epistemological approaches: the providential approach which focuses on the eighteenth-to nineteenth-century revivalist fervors in many parts of the world, the historical roots approach which seeks a continuity between Pentecostalism and antecedent religious and social developments particularly the Wesleyan-holiness experiences of sanctification in the nineteenth-century North America, the ← 3 | 4 → multicultural approach which portrays Pentecostalism as a multicultural phenomenon springing up from African spirituality encounters with the North American revivalist fervors of the nineteenth century, and a functional approach which views the origins of Pentecostalism in terms of marginalized and disenfranchised groups that sought solace in the apocalyptic imageries of the revivalist fervors.5

The four approaches are, however, not mutually exclusive; they are essentially different perspectives of a nuanced provenance. As Deborah Cole notes, if the historical roots approach is viewed singly, it tends to “neglect the contributions of each unique environment and setting where Pentecostalism grew and may also neglect the significance of God’s activity and moves of the Holy Spirit in history.”6 Whereas Deborah Cole notes that the historical roots approach allows for continued search for links to the past to keep going as new historical information and insights become available,”7 Kenneth Archer underscores the multicultural approach; he notes that the early twentieth-century Pentecostal multiple uprisings were “a diffuse group of restorationist revivalist movements held together by a common doctrinal commitment to the ‘full gospel message’ and a passionate emphasis upon the ecstatic religious experiences associated with ‘Spirit baptism.’”8 On the other hand, Edith Blumhofer observes that the restorationist motif in which the revivalists sought to re-enact the Luke-Acts pneumatological paradigm in contemporary Christianity was the basic impetus for the rise of modern Pentecostalism.9 Mark A. Noll also notes that the most pervasive characteristic of the early Pentecostals was their passionate desire for an immediate experience of divine presence ← 4 | 5 → through the Holy Spirit.10 The restoration and “full gospel” motifs are succinctly expressed in the early twentieth-century doctrinal statement of the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America:

During the Reformation God used Martin Luther and others to restore to the world the doctrine of justification by faith (Rom 5:1). Later on, the Lord used the Wesleys and others in the great Holiness Movement to restore the gospel of sanctification by faith (Acts 26:18). Later still, he used various ones to restore the gospel of divine healing by faith (James 5:14–15), and the gospel of Jesus’ Second coming (Acts 1:11). Now the Lord is using many witnesses in the great Pentecostal Movement to restore the gospel of baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5) with signs following (Mark 16:17–18; Acts 2:4;10:44–46; 19:6; 1:1–28:31).11

The Pentecostal restoration thesis thus utilizes Martin Luther’s notion of a “priesthood of all believers” to argue for a “prophethood of all believers.”12 The early Pentecostal restoration motif was also eschatological. Steven Land notes that “the movement was simultaneously restorationist and eschatological … Pentecostalism’s reason for existence was the carrying out of a last days global missionary mandate by those who were Christ-like witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit.”13 Amos Yong develops this view further and observes that the contemporary Pentecostal movement, as a coalesced continuation of the nineteenth-to early twentieth-century revivalist-restorationist movements, manifests three types of pentecostalisms:

The classical Pentecostal movement connected to the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles in 1906–1909, the Charismatic renewal movement in the mainline Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches beginning in the 1960s, and ← 5 | 6 → a neo-Charismatic “catch-all” category that comprises 18,810 independent, indigenous, post-denominational groups that cannot be classified as either Pentecostal or Charismatic but share a common emphasis on the holy spiritual gifts, Pentecostal-like experiences … signs and wonders, and power encounters.14


XIV, 284
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2017 (December)
pentecostal-charismatic movement religious exeriences charismatic prophecy
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2017. XIV, 284 pp., 3 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Samuel W. Muindi (Author)

Samuel W. Muindi, ThM (Duke University, USA), ThD (Boston University, USA), PhD (University of Birmingham, UK), is currently Dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, International Leadership University, Nairobi, Kenya.


Title: Pentecostal-Charismatic Prophecy
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