The time between 1880 and 1920 has been described by historian Jackson Lears as a time when America was imbued with a desire for rebirth and transformation. It was a time of great tumult and cultural shifts and, within the ever-changing religious milieu, a number of new religious expressions sprang up. In previous blog posts, I've mentioned some of them:
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
I grew up in a nondenominational, Charismatic church in small-town Nebraska. Our church operated with little formal structure, partly, I believe, because structure was seen as a hindrance to the free working of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues and other expressions of the gifts of the Spirit were not unusual, and the worship was often exuberant and expressive. In short, my church was like many other 20th-century Pentecostal and charismatic churches in the United States. Because of my background, I've always been fascinated by the Pentecostal strand of American Evangelical Protestantism, but until recently, I've never taken a serious look at the scholarly work done in the field of Pentecostal history. My latest research project has fortuitously given me a great excuse to dive into the origins of American Pentecostalism, and what follows is a brief summary of what is, more or less, the current consensus story of Pentecostalism in its nascent stages.