Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History 20th Century Fundamentalism and Pentecostalism  CSPAN  February 4, 2018 12:00am-1:10am EST

12:00 am
fayetteville, arkansas to learn about its rich history. learn about fable -- fayetteville and other cities on our website. you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> next on lectures in history, university of north carolina at chapel hill professor molly worthen teaches a class about the history and the intellectual underpinnings of protestant fundamentalism in 20th century of america. she begins with the 1925 scopes monkey trial, which taught evolution versus creationism in public schools and gained national attention. later, she delves into the origins and growth of pentecostalism, which strives for a connection with the divine and includes aspects such as speaking in tongues. her class is a little over an hour.
12:01 am
prof. worthen: let us begin. my name is molly worthen. we are at the university of north carolina at chapel hill and today's lecture is on the history of american fundamentalism and pentecostalism. i will try to answer three big questions today. number one, what is protestant fundamentalism? what does the term mean? second, how did fundamentalists relate to mainstream culture? and third, why has fundamentalism been so much more influential in the united states than in any other society in the western world? i am curious, is fundamentalism, fundamentalists -- are these terms that you hear today? do you know people who call themselves fundamentalists or
12:02 am
use this label? i can see some nodding. any examples? >> is that how they describe groups that do terrorist attack? it is a term that you hear more often in the context of islam. what about here, among american christian groups? >> i am from up north. and many of the christians down here we call fundamentalist christians. often as a perjorative. prof. worthen: that lines up with my own experience. there are exceptions. proud,certainly met independent baptists that claim the term fundamentalist but generally, it seems to be used as an insult. it is not a label that most christians would want applied to themselves.
12:03 am
i think that the history of that connotation, a kind of negative sense in which we hear the word today, it really became crystallized in one particular historical episode, and that is the infamous, or famous, depending on your view, scopes trial. there we go. of 1925. the monkey trial that dominated newspaper headlines in the summer of 1925. now, the scopes trial has a certain status in popular culture. you are probably at least vaguely aware of what it involved, but let me tell you the basic facts of the trial. the state of tennessee passed a law forbidding the teaching of the theory of evolution in tennessee public high school. the aclu, the american civil
12:04 am
liberties union, wanted to challenge the constitutionality of this law. and so they put together and financed a case. they recruited a tennessee high school teacher, a substitute science teacher, a young guy named john scopes who agreed to purposefully incriminate himself by making a point of teaching the chapter from their textbook on the theory of evolution and then urging his own students to testify against him. to rat him out. to get him in trouble so he would be charged with this crime and it would go to trial. that is exactly what happened. this turned out to be an amazing publicity opportunity for the little town of dayton, tennessee. 200 reporters descended on the town in july, 1925. a few thousand spectators from various parts of the south and further afield. if you had walked down the
12:05 am
street of dayton in july you would have seen trained chimpanzees playing on the courthouse lawn. billboards featuring a picture of a chimp drinking a local variety of soda pop. local merchants were trying to capitalize on this moment in the sun. the trial itself was pretty sensational. because both sides, the defense and the prosecution, managed to recruit a star for their side. on the prosecution's team was william jennings bryan, the great commoner, the populist democrat who had run for president three times. he had been woodrow wilson's secretary of state and was known as the great defender of traditional protestantism. and a great lawyer joined the defense team as well. probably the most famous left-wing lawyer of the time.
12:06 am
and famously agnostic on the matter of religion. and that was clarence darrow. he was known for his bold politics. here he is in his characteristically flush making his opening arguments. here is darrow and bryant. here is a sample of the street scene, this is a table set up with anti-evolutionary tracts. both the sides saw this as an opportunity. the aclu wanted to challenge the law on the grounds of academic freedom. that was the tact that they wanted to take. but clarence darrow veered in a different direction. he decided to put traditional
12:07 am
religion on trial. and he summoned to the stand for cross examination, william jennings bryant himself, which was very unorthodox. for one of the attorneys for the prosecution to be summoned for cross examination. darrow wanted to make a great fool of this great statesman. he wanted to showcase the conflict between science and religion. he asked william jennings bryant questions like, how could joshua possibly have compelled the sun to stand still? or, can you tell us the exact date of the flood? and bryant did his best to remain firm in defending his use, though in many cases he did not really have a clear and sharp answer to rebut darrow. i will say that bryant refused
12:08 am
to defend the young earth creationism. he would not defend the view that each day of creation described in genesis literally means 24 hours. he said it could mean a longer period of time. but, in general, he defended the conservative, traditional reading of scripture. and he kind of came off as an old man a bit out of his depth. the judge ended up throwing out the testimony and in fact most of the testimony for the defense as irrelevant to the question of whether or not this high school teacher had broken the law. it was pretty clear that he had. in the end, the jury found scopes guilty and he was ordered to pay a fine. although the commission was later thrown out on a technicality. now, inside the courthouse, the crowd was definitely on bryant's
12:09 am
side. on the side of the prosecution, cheering for bryant. but darrow and the defenders of evolution really seemed to win over the mainstream press in the big cities. a journalist for "the baltimore sun," a guy named hl mencken, was dispatched to cover the trial and he wrote some incredibly searing, mocking reports about the people that he met there. i just want to read an excerpt of one of his reports. "the net effect of clarence darrow's closing arguments yesterday seemed to be the same as if he had bawled it up a rain spout in the interior of afghanistan. the morons in the audience when it was over simply hissed. bryan has these
12:10 am
hillbillies locked up in his pen and he knows it. , indeeds earliest days come his chief strength has been among the focus of remote hills and forlorn and lonely farms. his nonsense is there a deal of sense. his chief strength had been among the folk of remote hills and forlorn and lonely farms. they rejoiced like pilgrims sporting in the river of jordan. -- jordan." holy cow. matter what you might think of hl mencken's ideology, key had a certain genius for comic condescension. and reports like this had powerful effects. this trial came to be widely seen as a cultural defeat for fundamentalism. as the moment that made famous the caricature of the fundamentalist as the uneducated redneck. and the scopes trial has become
12:11 am
this icon of the clash between fundamentalism and modernism. and i think it is so telling that 1925 was also the year of the creation in canada of the united church of canada. remember, i told you about that great moment of protestant unity whennada pam -- canada, the presbyterians, the congregationalists, and the methodist joined together to make one big denomination. and it was this lovely , historical coincidence that it happened at the very same time that american protestantism was so clearly polarizing and breaking apart. very handy. a give you -- it gives you one date to give you to memorize for the final. and it showed you that the divergent set of paths that canadian and american protestantism was heading down.
12:12 am
we have to ask, what are the historical reasons for the very different character of american protestant conflict? who are these fundamentalists? who are we really talking about when we use this label? first, we have to be clear about what fundamentalism means. because this word is used pretty carelessly i think in today's culture and media. in this class, we will use it in a very historically precise way. fundamentalists, i am giving you a definition now, fundamentalist s are conservative protestants who militantly opposed, militantly opposed. ce is important.
12:13 am
new ideas about the bible, science, and society. and often, although not always, broke away to found their own churches, schools, and religious organizations. militant protestants that really opposed in an aggressive way the new changes and in many cases they broke away and found their own groups. now, we can talk about an organized fundamentalist movement from roughly 1900 to these30, when conservatives were fighting brutally to retain control of the old, established, northern denominations that we call the main line. now, this week, you are reading a famous sermon by a liberal baptist preacher. i think that gives you some
12:14 am
sense of the conflict. here he is. he appeared on the cover of "time" magazine. i think that gives you a sense of the cultural status of liberal princes of the pulpit back them. the first presbyterian church in manhattan is where he originally gave this sermon. "shall the fundamentalist win." when you read it, i think you will see that his sermon was not a fight over doctrine, at least not explicitly. you might need to talk with your classmates about whether actually that is what was going on beneath it. i think at least on the surface, his approach was very different from clarence darrow's. essentially, he says if a person is a true liberal, they should have no problem with other
12:15 am
christians believing, say, that god created the universe in six days even if they themselves do not happen to believe that. he says the problem with these fundamentalists is not their theology, they can believe what they like, the problem is their beliefs about church. the fact that they think liberals like him do not belong in any truly christian church. this sermon was a sensation. his brother ran the rockefeller foundation for 30 years. and the foundation funded the nationwide distribution of this sermon as a pamphlet. so it had much wider reach by direct mail than just the people who happened to hear it preached. but i have been reading his autobiography and it is really interesting. he gave this sermon and he called it a failure even though it was really widely read.
12:16 am
to him, it failed in his main hope, which was to stop the fighting and restore harmony. maybe that is a bit naive, really, thinking about it. but it is true that after about 1930, the fundamentalist movement as an organized movement disintegrates. the conservatives basically lost their bid to control the mainline churches, which is why we so often say no the liberal mainline, it's how people typically refer to those denominations. fundamentalism did not go away , though. at this point, we can describe fundamentalism as maybe not an organized movement but as a set of networks. a subculture. fundamentalists built their own world of bible colleges,
12:17 am
denominations, prophecy conferences, anti-communism crusades, lady ministries. a really powerful network of religious and political groups that for quite a long time, i mean maybe up until the 1960's and 1970's, was not really on the mainstream media's radar. it seems like after the scopes trial, fundamentalists had crawled into a hole somewhere and never appeared from the perspective of the average reporter at "the new york times" or something like that. in fact, fundamentalism was growing into a powerful subculture. one more point about terms. in these years, the first half of the 20th century, the terms
12:18 am
fundamentalist and evangelical were more or less interchangeable. people would use them both to talk about the same individuals, to talk about themselves. but, in the 1940's, that starts to change. and the term evangelical comes instead to mean a conservative protestant who is still doctrinally awfully fundamentalist but is not so militant about it. i am talking about people like billy graham. and evangelical was someone who wanted to engage mainstream culture, maybe collaborate a bit more with other christians, rather than separating from the world in an extreme way or picking a lot of fights over doctrine. that is what evangelical comes to mean and it is still how it is used today, i believe.
12:19 am
this then is a big arc of the fundamentalist movement in our story. i want to turn briefly to the matter of theology, and say a little bit more about what fundamentalists believed and what they believe today. fundamentalism looked slightly different in different church traditions. a baptist fundamentalist would believe slightly different things, worship differently than a mennonite fundamentalist, but they are called fundamentalist because they did tend to share a set of fundamentals. we can make some broad comments about that. they tended to have a pietistic concern for personal holiness. for good behavior. many of them came in some way out of the puritan tradition. and retained that puritan
12:20 am
combination of interest in rigorous doctrine, systematic theology with pietism. that personal feeling of the spirit. lots and lots of fundamentalists, though by no means all of them, were also premillennialists in their view of the end times. you remember from last week, that means they thought that jesus was going to return, probably pretty soon, in the flesh, to inaugurate the prophecies predicted in the book of revelation and eventually after the battle of armageddon and all of that jazz, the kingdom of the saints. we can move down to a more basic level of fundamentals. you would've had some disagreements among fundamentalists on things like the end times. i struggled for a long time to come up with a good acronym to help students remember the fundamentals until just a couple
12:21 am
of years ago when i put this out as a challenge to some of your predecessors in this class and one lovely student, a woman named miranda rosser who graduated last spring came up with marvin. which is so handy. the fundamentals. this comes from a list drawn up by some conservative presbyterians in 1910 who wanted to figure out what are the most important things that we cannot cannot compromise on? m -- miracles. a belief that the miracles were reported in the bible really did happen. a for atonement. a belief in the traditional doctrine of christ's substitutionary atonement on the cross. that is, jesus was not just a nice guy. he was not just a handy moral example for us. he really did take our place on the cross and die for our sins. r for resurrection.
12:22 am
he was actually, bodily resurrected. v, christ was born of a virgin. i-n for inerrancy. the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, meaning the bible is totally without error no matter what scientists and historians may say. now, i want to push back a bit against the scopes trial caricature. of fundamentalists as country bumpkins by talking about i guess you could call them the thinking man's fundamentalists. at princeton theological seminary. princeton, in the late 19th century, was one of the intellectual powerhouses behind the conservative response to modernist theology.
12:23 am
and i want to focus on benjamin warfield, who was a scholar at princeton. you are reading an excerpt from one of his sermons this week. he was born in 1851. he was the son of a well-to-do cattle breeder in kentucky. he came from pretty aristocratic stock. his great-grandfather was a u.s. senator, one of his uncles was a confederate general in the civil war. and his family was presbyterian. and warfield really threw himself into serving his family's faith. he went to princeton as a student and he returned to the seminary about a decade later in 1887 to teach there and to spend his life fighting against
12:24 am
modernism by defending this doctrine known as biblical inerrancy. and we need to spend a little time with the idea of inerrancy. this idea that everything in the bible is true, no matter what scholars might say, that scripture has no error in it. the basic idea is very old. christians have always been concerned to defend the bible as a perfect source of truth. but inerrancy as warfield understood it, and as fundamentalists and evangelicals have come to understand it in many cases, has a more recent history. and we need to unpack this a bit to really understand what is going on. to tell the story of the doctrine of inerrancy, i need to backtrack from where we are in this course back to the early, mid-17th century. bear with me.
12:25 am
in these years, a couple of generations after the start of the protestant reformation, a group of protestant theologians found themselves in a bit of a bind, surrounded on the intellectual battlefield. and i am talking primarily about thinkers in the reformed tradition. theologians that followed john calvin and those guys. on the one hand, they had to deal with the scientists and the philosophers of the scientific revolution and the enlightenment who are using new scientific methods to raise awkward questions about the bible's accounts of the miraculous and supernatural doctrines. and on the other hand, they had to face the great theologians of the catholic counterreformation.
12:26 am
these scholastic thinkers who were annoyingly adept at logically, systematically picking apart protestant arguments about authority. these protestant thinkers were caught in the middle and they responded by essentially trying to turn their enemies' weapons back upon them by creating a highly rationalistic, highly logical method of defending the authority of scripture. these protestant thinkers took as their starting point the philosophical principle that god is perfect and unchanging. and christians debate about whether that principle is actually explicit in scripture. it is not clear that it is. but these conservatives said that if that is true, it follows
12:27 am
logically that god's revelation is perfect and unchanging as well. not just in matters of salvation but in every scientific and historical matter from the scope of the flood to the most granular details of ancient israel's politics. so, what this means is that religious truths and scientific truths are the same. the bible is equally reliable on both matters. benjamin warfield's mentor at princeton, a theologian named charles hodge, had a great way of putting this. he said the bible is a storehouse of facts. think about that phrase. a storehouse of facts. and a theologian's job is to arrange and harmonize those facts just as a scientist must the laws ofnfers
12:28 am
nature by classifying data from the natural world. he is really saying that a theologian is a kind of scientist. and this i think really drives home the point that the princeton thinkers followed that model of common sense realism that i told you about a couple of weeks ago and how they thought about science. science is about using your god-given common sense to make sense of the data in god's creation. very different view from the idea of science that we start to see emerge with charles darwin and the thinkers who come after him who develop more sophisticated methods for dealing with uncertainty in their scientific endeavors. now, warfield and his colleagues were not dummies. these guys were sophisticated thinkers who kept abreast of the latest scholarship coming out of european universities and they were well aware of the
12:29 am
discrepancies in the bible. the parts that seem to not quite line up and seem to contradict each other. but they argued that the appearance of these problems in scripture was simply the result of our mortal, imperfect, human misunderstandings. it is not a reflection of god's error. now, warfield, unlike his colleagues, was even open to some version of theistic evolution. that is, evolution driven by god. when you think about his biography, that makes sense. remember his dad was a cattle breeder, so he spent a lot of time in kentucky working on the family ranch and he had observed firsthand how breeding works. how inherited traits can change over time. he died a few years before the scopes trial but i am pretty
12:30 am
sure he would have been very uncomfortable with the all or nothing debate about evolution that took place there. however, warfield and his colleagues at princeton were really worried about the presuppositions, the assumptions, beneath this modernist work. and that is really what he is getting at in the sermon you are reading this week. he and his colleagues believed that any scholar in any field has got to start with the assumption that the bible is free from all error. they said, by definition, god's revelation is perfect. this is not something you should try to prove. you have to just accept this assumption.
12:31 am
and they worried that liberal scholars who said, ok, maybe you can grant that perhaps the miracles in the gospels did not happen, maybe christ did not really raise anyone from the dead, but you can still believe that christ is your savior. you can still have the core of the christian faith. warfield and his buddies said no way, not at all. it is a slippery slope. and if you give up these so-called details, eventually you give up the reliability of the whole bible. they were prepared to fight very hard for these details. they did not see them as details at all. there are a few reasons why warfield's approach became so dominant in the united states. the first is that america had always had many more churches of warfield's tradition.
12:32 am
the reformed protestant tradition, then you would have found in the united kingdom or canada. and reformed protestants historically have really been into fighting over doctrine, really systematic thinkers. remember i told you how john calvin was so systematic and how he reasoned out predestination. same with the puritans. these guys were often itching for intellectual fights. they were very sensitive to any intellectual challenge. that is different from other protestants, who tended to put more emphasis on personal spiritual experience or church tradition or using the bible more as a guide for daily living rather than as a kind of textbook. the second major reason for the popularity of this rationalistic view of inerrancy, this fundamentalist attitude towards
12:33 am
compromise, is revivals. revivals became more popular in america than anywhere else in the western world. and they encouraged a kind of black and white view of christianity. an attitude that uncertainty is bad. that you must either reject the science entirely and then you know you are saved or you can embrace it and be among the damned. and if you are not sure, then you're not really saved. a historian, george morrison, amongggested these are the reasons why fundamentalism became so prominent in america. warfield would not have entirely approved of how the fundamentalist movement picked up the cause of inerrancy and
12:34 am
ran with it. i think what we see is that when sophisticated scholarship filters down from the cloud land of theological treatises into church newspapers and broadcast, it does not retain its complexity and nuances. that is what happened with the doctrine of inerrancy. it became a sort of banner to rally around. to proclaim belief in inerrancy was to proclaim, i reject all of these awful things about modernity. i reject women wearing shorter skirts. i reject weird looking, weird talking, weird smelling immigrants coming into our cities. i reject prideful arrogant scholars who are tearing down our holy books. i want to assert the authority of the bible over america. that is what inerrancy came to
12:35 am
stand for, i think. we gain some perspective on this when we think a little bit about canada. canada had a small fundamentalist movement of its own. especially baptists who paid a lot of attention to what the baptists south of the border were up to. generally, fundamentalists were not as influential in canadian protestantism. i want to focus on one non-fundamentalist evangelical , because i think his story tells us a lot more about what makes canadian evangelicalism different. , a that is this guy contemporary of warfield's. he showed up in your textbook a couple of weeks ago i believe. he was a methodist minister and educator. he was born in 1839 in lower
12:36 am
canada, what is now quebec. he was the great-grandson of loyalists who fled from vermont during the revolution. his parents were devout methodist and he had his own conversion experience when he was a student at victoria college in ontario. later on, victoria asked him to come back and teach. not theology but natural science. he had studied that philosophy that was so influential at princeton, commonsense realism. and in a broad sense, he drew from that worldview the same sort of conclusions that warfield did. he thought, ok, evolution is simply a theory, just a theory. it does not meet my standards of scientific proof, so i do not
12:37 am
have to take a strong position on it. but his approach to the big picture of culture and education was very different. very non-fundamentalist. he wanted to find a way to accommodate christian theology to new scientific discoveries. and he thought that church run colleges, protestant colleges, could continue to teach the humanities, theology. they would shape students' souls. he thought it would be fine for secular university faculty to take over the sciences and professional education. when it came to scripture, he combined commonsense realism with methodist ideas about how christians should read the bible.
12:38 am
the view that john wesley had was that understanding god's will requires bringing scripture into conversations with church tradition, reason, and personal religious experiences. that is known as the wesleyan quadrilateral. scripture, reason, experience, and tradition. it had the potential to be a more moderate guide for thinking about these things. he was also part of a british, north american intellectual world that remained more connected with some other countries, with united kingdom, the homeland of darwin. this is really important. canadian christian intellectuals had more personal relationships in britain and more frequently studied there.
12:39 am
they had more institutional links with british denominations. so, even though geographically speaking, they are just as far from what was happening at the universities of the united kingdom and germany as american protestants were, culturally, canadians felt much closer. charles darwin's experiment felt less like a foreign invasion gradual development of their own and more as a intellectual culture. this is another reason why canadian protestantism did not fracture to the same degree and fundamentalists did not gain the same kind of authority. he and warfield shared some of
12:40 am
the same training and had the same fundamental goals, really. they both wanted to defend the authority of christianity in the modern world but they approached that goal very differently. and in canada, it was the moderates, the more compromise minded christians willing to rethink their ideas about scripture perhaps to accommodate new science. it was these guys who retained control over mainstream evangelicalism, while in america, the more aggressive stance that we see in warfield came to be more influential. now, i have been describing fundamentalism has this really intellectual thing so far. really obsessed with dogma.
12:41 am
and scientific knowledge. and in some ways, it was that, but there is another movement in conservative protestantism that overlapped somewhat with fundamentalism but is really its own thing and that is the holiness movement. here are a couple of images of holiness camps back in the day and today. now, you may recall my talk of holiness christians dimly from the early parts of the semester. holiness beliefs emerged mainly in methodist circles among christians who got really interested in the holy spirit's work in a christian after conversion. what they called the second blessing.
12:42 am
this filling of spiritual power and the total suppression of sin by the holy spirit. john wesley had argued that since scripture demands that humans fulfill god's law, the state of what he called christian perfection must be attainable even if it takes up our whole lives. you remember that from what you read about wesley. holiness christians really focused on this and they took wesley's idea and they kind of ran with it and said, sin must not be inevitable them. it must be possible to totally suppress it in the course of this second blessing. and they came to really hold
12:43 am
this experience of the second blessing as being as significant as a christian's conversion because it could bring to you what they called entire sanctification. god's grace can free one, not just of a perversion of original sin, but the tendency to commit individual sins. they had a much higher view of what the holy spirit could do. the holiness movement is kind of a bridge to the last big group i want to talk about and that is the pentecostals. and i think it can the easy at this point to lose track of where we are in the family tree of protestantism. let us refresh our memories. maybe you are maintaining a growing family tree in your notebook. that would be a great thing to do. let us go back and start with the church of england. church of england. remember, the church of england has a lot of influences. it has the reformed influence. it has some lutheranism.
12:44 am
and it retains a lot of catholicism. and down here, we have to think about wesley's background. let us remember the pietists and the moravians. remember how important the moravians were to wesley. so, the methodists came out of the church of england. wesley was himself a church of england minister. the holiness movement comes out of methodism, for the most part. there are some other varieties of holiness christianity, but for the most part, methodist. and this is where we are now. now, we are talking about pentecostals. who are the radical left wing of
12:45 am
holiness protestantism. this is what it looks like. it least in a general way. now, pentecostal revival first came to the attention of the mainstream press in 1906. when newspapers started covering a major religious event known as the isuza street revival. here is an image of the mission in los angeles. "the los angeles times" reporting this weird babble of tongues. that a new sect of fanatics was breaking loose. wild scene last night. a gurgle of words. reporter, this bewildered reporter, talking about? pentecostal leaders had been traveling the country for a few
12:46 am
years at this point when an african-american hotel waiter, a guy named william seymour, picked up this message of the radical power of the holy spirit to work in you and through you. he had gotten this from a revivalist he heard teaching in houston and he traveled to los angeles and brought it with him. now, he probably would not have been most people's pick for likely evangelist to ignite a worldwide revival, although that is what he would come to do. he was a son of former slaves. he was born in louisiana in pretty impoverished circumstances. he was raised as a roman catholic. he wasn't even raised as a protestant. as a young man, he had fallen in with the holiness movement and he felt called to preach. and like many early pentecostal
12:47 am
evangelists, it was a near death experience that did it. he almost died of smallpox and lost an eye. himhe believed god brought back from the brink and wanted him to do this work. seymour is second from the right on the front row. this is where his revivals were based initially. he came to los angeles with no money or followers but he started holding prayer meetings at the house he was staying and he was soon drawing huge audiences to the front porch. so big that they had to move to this abandoned warehouse. and every day for weeks, there were revival meetings happening off and on at this mission house. people came to sing, your -- hear sermons and testimonies from those who said a had been baptized in the spirit. that is the phrase. and if you had gone -- it would not look like any revival you
12:48 am
have ever seen. people were losing control of their bodies. gyrating. dancing. falling to the floor. slain in the spirit. laying on of hands, claiming to heal people of all kinds of illnesses, states of paralysis and other extreme physical ailments. and you would have heard them speaking in tongues. weird babble of tongues. some early witnesses said they heard people actually speaking in foreign languages that they had never studied. you have the term on your handout. although reports of this were very rare and never confirmed by scholars. most of the time, you would have heard what theologians called
12:49 am
the spontaneous sound that does not resemble human speech. not a recognizable language. has anyone here witnessed people speaking in tongues? yes. what was the context? >> [indiscernible] prof. worthen: were they speaking really loudly and emotionally or was it a quieter kind of speech? >> i think they were quietly praying. prof. worthen: kind of a range. sometimes a more private experience or a message for the congregation. has anyone else witnessed this or participated in it? >> at the church i used to go to, the pastor pretty loud would
12:50 am
speak in tongues. but he said that only he had the power to do so. like no one else would do it except the pastor. prof. worthen: so he would do this as part of his sermon? >> not often, but sometimes. >> that is really interesting. as a kind of way to assert an extra kind of authority of the holy spirit working through him. pentecostal faith, they used this as evidence of the indwelling of the holy spirit in you. that is an echo of the second chapter of acts in which the holy spirit descended on christ's apostles like a mighty wind. at the feast of pentecost, called pentecost because it is 50 days after the jewish holiday of passover. and according to scripture, this was to empower the apostles with the gift of speaking in foreign languages so they could go to
12:51 am
the ends of the earth and convert more people to christ's message. now, pretty much this was a thing that christians thought of as limited to the new testament. there were exceptions. there had been some reports of speaking in congress -- speaking unges before this ministry. brigham young, the great mormon leader, claimed to have spoken in tongues. it might have happened during the second great awakening. hard to say. but it took on a new significance now. the beginning of the 20th century. pentecostals believed that the spiritual gifts mentioned in the new testament, not just tongues but the gift of healing for example as well, had been restored to earth because christ was about to return. they had a real sense of the imminence of the end times. and so this was god's one last appeal to humans to convert
12:52 am
before the terrible events of prophecy began to unfold. this revival coincided, i have a slide but the date of the newspaper front-page was april 18, 1906, which was the date of the great san francisco earthquake. the totally devastating earthquake. that for believers really drove home the point that god wanted this revival to be taken very seriously. these early revivals too -- you may have noticed it in the picture, they were racially integrated. in their leadership and the people that came to worship. these revivals -- this was los angeles at the turn of the century. booming. full of immigrants and migrants from all parts of the country as well as from parts of asia.
12:53 am
you had blacks, whites, latinos, and asians worshiping together at a time when the vast majority of religious events were segregated. you had women disproportionately represented. women coming forward, testifying, preaching and participating in these healing services. breaking all kinds of social taboos. now, tell me, how do you think other christians reacted to reports of these revivals? what would be your guess when they read these newspaper reports? >> i'm sure they thought it was not the original teaching of the church. like crazy people. prof. worthen: absolutely. that was a dominant reaction.
12:54 am
in the breaking of the social taboos, these christians were defying god's rules in how humans should associate. and all of this new testament, miraculous stuff, they thought was not believable. this could not be. this is not something that respectable christians did. it had to be the work of charlatans or the devil. pentecostalism for much of its history was totally scandalous , even to fundamentalists. even to most fundamentalists. if we did a diagram of sentecostals and fundamentalist there would be some overlap , because the pentecostals were doctrinally conservative. they were founding their own churches. but a lot of self-described fundamentalists wanted nothing to do with this pentecostal, holy roller stuff.
12:55 am
no way. by 1920, pentecostal revival had spread to every inhabited continent. it remains today the biggest and most vibrant strain of protestant christianity in the world. although despite the early hopes for unity and equality, by 1920, pentecostals had started breaking into different sects that disagreed about doctrine and they began to conform with mainstream practices of racial segregation and rolling back opportunities for women. however, now i want to tell you about an amazing pentecostal woman. one of the most famous christian evangelists of the early 20th century in the decades after izusa was a woman named amy semple mcpherson who was born in ontario. she was originally canadian. she made most of her career in
12:56 am
california. she had been converted at a revival as a young girl. she married young. she really tried to play the role of a dutiful housewife. she accompanied her husband who was a missionary, to china. he became ill and died very soon after they arrived. and she was increasingly feeling that god was speaking to her to preach. so she came back to north america and got remarried. on the top left is her first husband. she was remarried and started america, preaching at revivals. arriving in her gospel car, which was emblazoned with slogans like "jesus is coming
12:57 am
soon, get ready." her second husband was not crazy about this. he did not want to play second fiddle to her. he wrote letters demanding she take care of the house and act like other women. pretty soon, he got fed up and filed for divorce. she was on her own for a time. she drove around with her mother. she was so determined that when her car got stuck in the mud, she got out and wrapped the clothes from her suitcase around the wheels to gain traction as they continued crisscrossing canada and the united states. she was a little bit like lorenzo or george whitfield in just having a genius for winning an audience. there is a story that i love about her. in her preaching early career in a small town in ontario. she had been preaching for a couple of nights and no one was showing up. she was really discouraged. she went out to the town square and put a chair in the middle of
12:58 am
the square and then she stood silently in prayer. makes you feel kind of awkward while i am doing that, right? it made onlookers feel kind of awkward also. they started gathering around her, and after half an hour just watching this woman standing like a statue someone reaches , out and touches her arm and said,rang to life and come with me, people, and she leads them back to church and they came. and she preached and it was the start of a great revival. she had a sense of how people would respond. and how to maybe get them to overcome their skepticism. she had two children at this point. she brought her whole family and her mother came along and they settled in los angeles where she decided to make her career.
12:59 am
this was after she did things like go up in an airplane to drop leaflets advertising her revival in san diego. she was on the cutting edge of technology and things that would wow people. she built a huge evangelist temple which opened in 1923. this was one of the first mega-churches. it could seat 5300 people. she held three services a day, seven days a week. on sunday afternoons, there would be a line stretching for two blocks of people anxious to get in for the service. she had a huge radio ministry. at her church involved -- church evolved into its own protestant
1:00 am
denomination. the international church of the foursquare gospel. foursquare is a reference to the fourfold ministry of christ as savior, baptizer, healer, and coming king, meaning the second coming. now, mcpherson is full of contradiction. in her theologies, she was pretty fundamentalist and she was all about condemning mainstream sinful culture. she condemned the theater, movies, but she borrowed a lot of hollywood techniques and she would walk on stage carrying a bouquet of roses to great applause. and she was most famous for what she called her illustrated sermons, which were like giant broadway productions. this is inside the angelest temple. here is an image of one of her illustrated sermons.
1:01 am
casts of dozens, very elaborate costumes. she and her colleagues would act out bible stories. there were often live animals.
1:02 am
1:03 am
1:04 am
1:05 am
1:06 am
1:07 am
1:08 am
1:09 am


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on