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A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist by R. G. Robins

By R. G. Robins

A.J. Tomlinson (1865-1943) ranks one of the prime figures of the early Pentecostal stream, and prefer such a lot of of his cohorts, he used to be as complicated as he was once colourful. Arriving in Appalachia as a house missionary decided to uplift and evangelize negative mountain whites, he stayed to develop into the co-founder and leader architect of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and the Church of God of Prophecy, which including their minor offspring now represent the third-largest denominational kin inside of American Pentecostalism. R.G. Robins's biography recreates the area during which Tomlinson operated, and during his tale deals a brand new realizing of the origins of the Pentecostal flow. students have tended to view Pentecostalism as simply one amongst many anti-modernist hobbies of the early 20th century. Robins argues that this can be a misreading of the movement's origins-the results of projecting the modernist/fundamentalist controversy of the Twenties again onto the sooner spiritual panorama. looking to go back the tale of Pentecostalism to its right old context, Robins means that Pentecostalism may still rightly be visible as an outgrowth of the unconventional holiness circulate of the past due 19th century. He argues that, faraway from being anti-modern, Pentecostals tended to embody modernity. Pentecostal modernism, although, used to be a operating category or ''plainfolk'' phenomenon, and it's the plainfolk personality of the flow that has led such a lot of students to mislabel it as anti-modern or fundamentalist. throughout the compelling narrative of Tomlinson's existence tale, Robins sheds new gentle on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American faith, and gives a extra subtle lens in which to view the spiritual dynamics of our personal day. v

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A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist

A. J. Tomlinson (1865-1943) ranks one of the best figures of the early Pentecostal circulation, and prefer such a lot of of his cohorts, he used to be as complicated as he used to be colourful. Arriving in Appalachia as a house missionary decided to uplift and evangelize negative mountain whites, he stayed to turn into the co-founder and leader architect of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and the Church of God of Prophecy, which including their minor offspring now represent the third-largest denominational relatives inside of American Pentecostalism.

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Simpson’s Christian Alliance to a “torrid zone” where aggressive confederations like B. H. Irwin’s Fire-Baptized Holiness Association held sway. 3 In the absence of an overarching structure, scores of periodicals exerted perhaps the strongest centripetal force working on the movement as a whole. Influential papers like God’s Revivalist (published by Martin Wells Knapp in Cincinnati), the Way of Faith (published by J. M. ), and the Pentecostal Herald (published by H. C. Morrison in Louisville) set the tone for a boisterous chorus of publications.

Where Christ jumped, screamed or rooted in the dust . . ”27 In the collision of these two perspectives—holiness insider and uncomprehending outsider—religious ecstasy reached the pinnacle of its social utility: the fusion of religious difference and class antagonism into a powerful device for the construction and maintenance of cultural boundaries. As an inscrutable term spoken in an alien dialect, religious ecstasy made a perfect shibboleth. Plainfolk Polemic If religious enthusiasm formed the trademark of radical holiness worship, irascibility must have seemed the trademark of its social relations.

Bender particularly emphasized the corrosive effects of modernization on the local community, quoting at length the Rev. ”51 So began the flight of the ambitious, the talented, and the youthful for the bright lights and the far horizons. Bender’s portrait of social modernization has required its share of revision and amendment. His rather sentimental view of the American small town, for example, owed much to the late-Romantic nostalgia of men like the Rev. Bellows, who ignored the fact that, in most parts of 1870s America, Anglo towns were scarcely more than a half century old and who failed to recognize the degree to which such towns were themselves implicated in the modernization process.

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