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The Bapticostal movement is a movement in some Baptist churches towards adopting certain elements of the charismatic movement. The word Bapticostal is a combination of Baptist and Pentecostal. The term has been used in a limited manner to describe a worship style of high-tempo Contemporary Christian music accompanied with spontaneous shouts, clapping and hand raising. But it also describes those churches where members profess to have and exhibit the charismatic gifts that are practiced in Pentecostalism such as speaking in tongues, being slain in the Spirit, or being granted a word of knowledge. The prevalence of such beliefs within Baptist churches worldwide is unknown. In some unions or conventions it hardly exists (e.g. Eastern Europe) but in others (Australia, New Zealand) it is common. In the United States, it has been estimated that among Southern Baptist churches, 5% of the churches could be classified as Bapticostal, and the numbers are growing. According to a study in 1989, 69% of Baptist churches belonging to the Baptist Union of New Zealand, the main Baptist association in New Zealand, identified positively with the charismatic movement.
Southern Baptist Response
While the Bapticostal movement may be gaining support with individual churches in the convention, the movement has been met with official opposition. In 1999, a regional Southern Baptist association of churches expelled the Calvary Baptist Church in Marshfield, Missouri for the church teaching and exhibition of speaking in tongues and church members being slain in the Spirit.
More recently, in 2006 the International Mission Board passed standards for missionaries which would disqualify those who espoused opposition to traditional Southern Baptist doctrines of eternal security and a rejection of a salvific view of baptism, and also engaged in speaking in tongues or had a "private prayer language".
Following the new qualification of missionary appointments, the Rev. Dwight McKissic gave a sermon during a chapel service to students attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and announced that he speaks in tongues and uses a private prayer language and emphasized not taking a cessationist view of the charismatic gifts. Southwestern quickly distanced itself from McKissic's comments saying,
- "Rev. McKissic’s interpretation of tongues as 'ecstatic utterance' is not a position that we suspect would be advocated by most faculty or trustees. In keeping with Baptist convictions regarding religious liberty, we affirm Rev. McKissic’s right to believe and advocate his position. Equally in keeping with our emphasis of religious liberty we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches."
However, shortly after his election as president of the Convention, Rev. Frank Page expanded on his "big tent" view of Southern Baptists by saying,
- "Churches must deal with charismatic issues and theology as a part of their own autonomous structure. I think that many charismatics function well within traditional Southern Baptist churches. In fact, we have several in our church. Some are more vocal and sometimes disruptive. Churches must deal with those kinds of attitudes on a case by case basis. Trustee bodies must do the same."
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- Tucker, John (October 2007). "Heads in the Sand: New Zealand Baptists and the Tour Debate" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-22.
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