Pentecostal pastor W.T.H Richards published a book in 1972 (6 years before MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos and decades before the release of Strange Fire) called Pentecost is dynamite. While the book is supportive of Pentecostalism, he does devote an entire chapter to the emerging problems within the pentecostal movement. In chapter Six: Is the Pentecostal movement in decline? Richards observes:
Many church services are nothing more than a pentecostal ritual, lacking fire and apostolic power. Often-times there is an exibition of the false fire of emotionalism. The hallelujah shout has an empty ring about it. Meetings are gipped up and manipulated, and the results are reminiscent of jungle tribes who work themselves into a frenzy. Nothing can be more damaging to the cause of Christ than an attempt to “create an atmosphere” by psychological means and manoeuvres. (P69)
Richards quotes Pentecostal writer and missionary David Wommack who had also begun to identify that the pentecostal church was drifting back towards a pre-reformation condition:
Anyone who has observed the pentecostal movement over the past years can see that the same separation from apostolic sources and the resulting symptoms of deterioration that tore down the early church are at work today.
What strikes me as ironic is the fact that previous Pentecostal leaders recognised the spiritual problems decades ago, as they were emerging – yet many are unaware of them today when the problems and excesses are in full bloom.