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Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture Paperback – February 25, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In the book's fifteen chapters we get a glimpse into the character, temperament, and daily lives of these adventurous and hearty souls. You'll discover the keys to their effectiveness and the areas where they stumbled. Included among many subjects covered are the movement's leaders, the theology and practicality behind the prominence of women, their changing views on war, the persecutions they faced, and even the "gift of tongues" that helped make their faith distinctive. The stereotype of the poor, illiterate, and disinherited Pentecostals is dismantled. Instead you will meet a representative slice of early 20th century America. They were a people genuinely sincere, deeply committed to their beliefs, and fully convinced that they were instruments in the hands of Almighty God, empowered by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
"Heaven Below" is made up of 269 pages of fascinating reading, followed by an appendix, and 82 pages of footnotes. It also includes a valuable index.Read more ›
The book is extremely careful and honest. Some Pentecostals will be taken back by the authors perspective which is very different from theirs, but that is exactly what makes the book reliable. The author has no stake in misreperestenting truth. Most people who would read this type of book are comfortable with established professors in major universities having a reputation for strong honesty, but I have to report that most Pentecostals are not, but broadening their perspective to include such ideas might be very valuable.
Wacker begins by telling the reader, "My main argument can be stated in a single sentence: The genius of the Pentecostal movement lay in its ability to hold two seemingly incompatible impulses in productive tension. I call the two impulses the primitive and the pragmatic" (10). The rest of the book goes on to defend and refine this statement. By the end of this book his main argument is both clear and persuasive; in everything Pentecostals found a balance between `thisworldliness' and `nextworldliness.' The conclusion restates the thesis this way: "saints seized a timeless formula, as old as the New Testament story of Mary and Martha, and brilliantly put it to modern use" (266).
Each chapter traces and expands this theme. "If authority grew from supernatural signs and wonders, it also grew from a life well lived, from a life that manifested the fruits of Christian grace in day-to-day affairs" (86). "However much saints aspired to worship the unseen creator God... in actual practice they worshiped a God with skin... for saints such mingling came as easily as breathing" (87). "(W)orship was something one did, not something one theorized about... Planned spontaneity, we might call it" (99). "Early Pentecostals knew as well as any that the Lord demanded a separated life. But they also knew as well as any that He appreciated good common sense" (140).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Grant Wacker definitely knows whats up on Pentecostalism.
If you are interested in the beliefs or ways they practice, then definitely you must get this book.
An excellent biographic resource on the early role and nature of American Pentecostalism that I used for my doctoral dissertation on Spirtitual Giftedness. Thank you.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Like Wacker, I speak Pentecostalism as I was raised in the tradition. My father is a pastor in the tradition and I am inescapably Pentecostal in my embedded theology. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jerome E Stafford
“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 13 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