Special Thanks to – Rev Walter Alvarez (Church of God)

The origins of Pentecostalism in Chile

Allan Anderson, Doctor of Theology, Professor of Pentecostal studies at the Graduate Institute of Theology and Religions, and directs the Postgraduate Programs of the University of Birmingham (England). Previously, the Pentecostal pastor and theological educator in South Africa, he integrates the editorial boards of several publications.

Dr Allan Anderson writes:

“The presence and the Pentecostal power of the Spirit were emphasised in the revival in Wales (England) (1904 – 1905). The meetings were long, spontaneous and, apparently, chaotic and emotional. God’s closeness to services and personal experience was emphasised through singing in the Spirit (using ancient songs from Wales), simultaneous prayers out loud, revealing visions and prophecies. Evan Roberts (1878 – 1951), leader of the revival, taught that personal experience of baptism in the Spirit should precede any revival. Although the emphasis of Pentecostalism centred on the radical and less common manifestations of revival in Wales, the early Pentecostal leaders, Especially from Britain, found inspiration in that revival, seeing their Movement as coming out of it and continuing in it.

Evan Roberts

“At the Keswick Convention of 1905, the emotional conduct of three hundred delegates from Wales influenced an unofficial all-night meeting that, according to one observer, became out of control. A.T.Pierson described the gathering and the manifestations of speaking in tongues as ‘disturbing anarchy’ and ‘a satanic disturbance’.

Although revival movements similar to the Pentecostal movement existed in India since 1860, the revival of Wales spread to India and other parts of the world through missionaries in Wales.

In 1905, revivals erupted in the Khasi Hills, in north-eastern India, where Presbyterian missionaries were at work.

Another revival began in 1905 at the Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission in Kedgaon, near Pune, (A mission for Young Widows and orphans). The revival continued for two years.
This revival brought tears of repentance and confession, prayerful and prolonged prayer meetings, powerful demonstrations of the Spirit, including healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

Evangelistic teams of hundreds of young women were empowered by the Spirit with the power to give testimony in the surrounding villages. This revival made the Mukti Mission an important Pentecostal centre of international significance.

This revival preceded the revival of Azusa Street and was a precedent for a diffuse form of Pentecostalism.

“The revival in India had at least four (4) consequences of major importance:

1.First, it is clear that Bartleman, an enlivened leader and companion of William Seymour, and writers of ‘The Apostolic Faith’, saw the revival in India as a precedent for the revival of Azusa Street!

2.Second, women played a more prominent role in the revival in India than in the North American revival.

Pandita Ramabai, an Indian woman, a famous social reformer and evangelical Christian, resisted both the patriarchal oppression in India and the Western domination of Christianity.

The Mukti revival, led by women, was a motivational and empowering influence for young women who had been marginalised and discarded by society. This is a prime example of the social activism of Pentecostalism, empowering the oppressed for service and clothing women leaders with dignity.

3.Third, both Pandita Ramabai’s ministry and the revival she led were open to and welcomed of other Christians, in contrast to the rigid exclusiveness of many subsequent Pentecostal movements.

4.The fourth consequence was the encouragement of that revival on Pentecostals in Latin America.

Minnie Abrams, Ramabai’s right-hand woman, contacted Mrs Willis Hoover, a friend and former Bible schoolmate, who lived and ministered together with her husband in Valparaiso, Chile.

Mr and Mrs Willis C. Hoover who were at that time American missionaries pastoring and ministering within the Methodist Episcopal Church received revival reports of the happenings in Mukti and the Azusa Street revival.

The correspondence between Abrams and the Hoovers was documented in a booklet that Minnie wrote in 1906 entitled ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Fire’. This booklet also contained an exposition on the restoration of speaking in tongues – the first Pentecostal theological writing about baptism in the Spirit.

Being encouraged by what was happening with the move of the Spirit around the world, The Methodist churches of Valparaiso and Santiago anticipated a similar revival, praying for it and seeking the same experience they were reading and studying about in the book of Acts Chapter 2.

As a result of this, the Pentecostal revival in Chile commenced in January 1909 within the Valparaiso Methodist Episcopal Church, with a Sunday school of 200 people growing to 1000 by the end of 1909. This revival spread to other churches around Chile.

While there was a predominantly favourable climate for the revival of Valparaiso, this changed rapidly towards the then end of 1909, a change that culminated in the condemnation and excommunication of such revival and its leading pastors at the hands of the Episcopal Methodist Church Conference in February 1910.

This paved the way for Willis Hoover to resign as a Methodist Episcopal Minister and become the leader of the new Chilean Methodist Pentecostal Church.

The new Methodist Pentecostal Church had its beginnings keeping Methodism as its doctrinal base, Willis Hoover added great importance to this because he considered that he had not betrayed the principles of John Wesley and further mentioned that he would continue to preach in that same manner. Added to the Methodist doctrine was the fact that all Christians should search for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of this baptism of power (supported by the experiences of Wesley himself when he brought about a revival in England),

This revival, being a specific manifestation within the Methodist Episcopal Church and other Christian circles, did not promote the doctrine of the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (speaking in tongues).

This form of Pentecostalism (Mukti being its first expression) was being developed globally as an alternative to the “initial evidence” doctrine being centred in the United States of America.