Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture

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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Religion - 384 pages
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In this lively history of the rise of pentecostalism in the United States, Grant Wacker gives an in-depth account of the religious practices of pentecostal churches as well as an engaging picture of the way these beliefs played out in daily life.

The core tenets of pentecostal belief--personal salvation, Holy Ghost baptism, divine healing, and anticipation of the Lord's imminent return--took root in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Wacker examines the various aspects of pentecostal culture, including rituals, speaking in tongues, the authority of the Bible, the central role of Jesus in everyday life, the gifts of prophecy and healing, ideas about personal appearance, women's roles, race relations, attitudes toward politics and the government. Tracking the daily lives of pentecostals, and paying close attention to the voices of individual men and women, Wacker is able to identify the reason for the movement's spectacular success: a demonstrated ability to balance idealistic and pragmatic impulses, to adapt distinct religious convictions in order to meet the expectations of modern life.

More than twenty million American adults today consider themselves pentecostal. Given the movement's major place in American religious life, the history of its early years--so artfully told here--is of central importance.

 

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Heaven below: early Pentecostals and American culture

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Pentecostals, or "radical," "primitive" evangelicals, have not only survived but have flourished while embracing beliefs that include personal salvation, Holy Ghost baptism, divine healing, and the ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
1 Temperament
18
2 Tongues
35
3 Testimony
58
4 Authority
70
5 Cosmos
87
6 Worship
99
7 Rhetoric
112
11 Boundaries
177
12 Society
197
13 Nation
217
14 War
240
15 Destiny
251
Epilogue
266
US Pentecostal Statistics
271
Notes
273

8 Customs
121
9 Leaders
141
10 Women
158

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About the author (2009)

Grant Wacker is Professor of Christian History, Duke University Divinity School.

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