Heaven Below by Grant Wacker
Early Pentecostals and American Culture

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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.

About Grant Wacker

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Grant Wacker is Professor of Christian History, Duke University Divinity School.
Published April 30, 2003 by Harvard University Press. 384 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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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.

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Project MUSE

In this richly documented, refreshingly nonpedantic, and jargon-free evocation of the early pentecostal world, Wacker has built a solid empirical foundation that will be required reading for future scholars wishing to study this fascinating movement and its relation to the larger social, cultural...

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