Pentecostalsfundamentalist Christians who identify speaking in tongues and miraculous healing as divine giftshave long been ridiculed as poor, ignorant, violent and licentious. In this remarkable study, Wacker, raised a pentecostal and now a respected historian at Duke University, devastates the standard stereotypes. But he also departs from the Edenic model of denominational historiography, which imagines, for example, that the Azusa Street mission was a model of interracial harmony before the fatal break between its black and white founders. What emerges instead is a remarkably rich account of the inner lives of ordinary men and women who felt themselves filled with the power of the Holy Ghost. In 15 tightly organized chapters, Wacker offers a comprehensive ethnography of the first generation of pentecostalstheir faith, their social attitudes and their politics. He leads the reader through enchanted landscapes populated by angels and demons, pauses to assess reports of xenolalia (speaking in a human language allegedly unknown to the speaker) and surveys the gulfs that have divided charismatics from their detractors. It is difficult to imagine a more judicious treatment of the subject; meticulously researched, lyrically written and continuously illuminating, Wacker's book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the origins of this influential current in American culture.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 anticipation of the imminent return of Christ. They are prospering today, as evidenced by the Brownsville Assembly of God Church in Pensacola, FL, where millions have flocked to a nonstop revival begun in the 1990s. Wacker (history of religion, Duke Univ.), who himself has Pentecostal roots, gives an in-depth, well-researched look at the history, beliefs, and everyday lives of early Pentecostals (1900-25). He discusses their culture, temperament, taboos, use of time, organizational skills, and leadership. While exploring the boundaries that separate the Pentecostals from mainstream U.S. society, he also shows how only a minority fit the stereotype of poor and alienated folk. The genius of the Pentecostal movement, Wacker states, lies in its ability to hold two seemingly incompatible impulses the primitive and the pragmatic in productive tension. Recommended for cultural and theological collections. George Westerlund, formerly with Providence P.L., Palmyra, VA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture” by Duke University historian Grant Wacker, is a treasure. A delightful, informative, thoughtful and useful read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good review of the social history of the beginnings of pentecostal churches and organizations.
Chapter on speaking in tongues was well documented and argued. Read more
Excellent study of an interesting area of American culture.
The author has very well covered the topic, and has the personal background to do this well.
Pentecostals! From snake handlers in Appalachia to mega-watt speakers like Joyce Meyers,the Pentecostal tent is a big one and it has a very colorful history. Read morePublished on October 9, 2009 by Jennifer Smith
The first generation of American Pentecostals is presented by Grant Wacker's "Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture" (2001, 367-page paper back). Read morePublished on November 30, 2007 by Readalots