Twenty Years in the Pentecostal Movement

by Thomas W. Wellard

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In the summer of 1910 I was engaged in mission work. I was in charge of the Sunshine Mission in Dundee, Scotland. We were very happy in our work for souls were being saved and the workers enjoying a blessed fellowship. We fought not over doctrinal differences but laboured together for the salvation of precious souls.

About that time the “tongues movement” started in our city. It was then that I was told unless I received “the baptism” and “spoke with tongues”, I would not be raptured when the Lord returned for His Body.

Finally I made arrangements with the pastor of that Pentecostal assembly to attend one of the tarrying meetings. I had heard of all the wonderful things that were being done and the spiritual manifestations. Therefore, I went there with the expectation of receiving some real spiritual blessings.

On the night I attended the church, with a friend, it was only twenty-five minutes after I arrived that I received, what they termed, my “baptism”, I came through, speaking in “another tongue”.

I really had an experience; but to me it seemed that at times I was floating about on air. Several times I went off into a trance and they told me that I was “under the power”. I was. But not under Divine power. It was quite a different power. It was not long until I had many misgivings regarding the manifestations. I felt sure the experience was not scriptural but was afraid to say it was not of God, for fear that I would be found speaking against the Holy Spirit. Thousands today are being held in the unscriptural movement by this fear. So I went on in the Pentecostal movement, ministering for twelve years as a Pentecostal preacher in Canada and the United States. Many times, when alone, I felt convicted and longed to be delivered from Pentecostalism. I began to read articles against the movement, written by many of the leading Bible teachers. And I would go to hear some noted preacher speak, but he would condemn and criticize and would offer no sound scriptural corrective. I wanted scriptural proof of our delusion but received none. They were able to prove that some of the leaders in the movement did not live up to their testimony. But I know that could be proved concerning the leaders in other movements. Because I became thoroughly disgusted with some of the things that I had witnessed I felt led to resign from the movement. May I say that I found some of the finest people of God speaking in “tongues”. But I was sure that the Spirit of God would not cause people to behave as many of them did who were supposed to be under the power The Spirit surely was not responsible for such utterances and such confusion. Even separated from the Conference, I continued as pastor in a Pentecostal Church, looking for light. One day I was called to visit a very sick man. I took with me my anointing oil, expecting that I would be asked to pray for him, according to James 5:14. But he never asked me. That was the beginning of many wonderful hours of prayer with that saint of God. He asked me to wait and have lunch with him, so the I could get a message over the air he wanted very much I should hear. I waited. For the first time I heard Pastor J. C. O’Hair give one of his messages. That day he was speaking on the Epistle to the Galatians. I listened attentively, and for the first time I heard the message that was the means of my deliverance from the Pentecostal delusion. I shall never forget those verses,—Galatians 2:7 to 9: “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles”).

I had never noticed these words in Galatians. I thought he was reading from another Bible. If what that man is saying is true I am preaching “another gospel”. Oh, that all Pentecostalists, as well as others who claim to be Fundamentalists, would only diligently and prayerfully read and understand Galatians 2:7 to 9. On returning home I took up my Bible; I looked up the passages and saw them in my own Bible. The light came to my soul. I was delivered. I studied the wonderful message of grace. I saw that I had been preaching the gospel of the kingdom. What a mixture I was giving out and expecting signs to follow. What deliverance, what blessed joy to be able to rightly divide the Word of truth and to preach the Unsearchable Riches of Christ, and the glorious message of redemption unfettered by Israel’s religion or Christendom’s traditions. There is only one cure for all such movements; and that is to “study to show thyself approved of God, rightly dividing the Word of truth”.

Our present-day program is neither the kingdom program of Matthew 10:5 to 8 nor that of Mark 16:14 to 18. Neither is it the program of Peter and the Eleven, in the Book of Acts. They were ministers of the circumcision, with the gospel of the circumcision. Our message is from Christ through Paul.