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

By R. G. Robins

A.J. Tomlinson (1865-1943) ranks one of the best figures of the early Pentecostal circulate, and prefer such a lot of of his cohorts, he was once as complicated as he was once colourful. Arriving in Appalachia as a house missionary made up our minds to uplift and evangelize bad 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 relations inside of American Pentecostalism. R.G. Robins's biography recreates the realm within which Tomlinson operated, and during his tale bargains a brand new realizing of the origins of the Pentecostal circulate. students have tended to view Pentecostalism as purely one amongst many anti-modernist routine of the early 20th century. Robins argues that it is a misreading of the movement's origins-the results of projecting the modernist/fundamentalist controversy of the Nineteen Twenties again onto the sooner spiritual panorama. looking to go back the tale of Pentecostalism to its right historic context, Robins means that Pentecostalism may still rightly be visible as an outgrowth of the novel holiness circulation of the past due 19th century. He argues that, faraway from being anti-modern, Pentecostals tended to embody modernity. Pentecostal modernism, in spite of the fact that, was once a operating classification or ''plainfolk'' phenomenon, and it's the plainfolk personality of the move that has led such a lot of students to mislabel it as anti-modern or fundamentalist. throughout the compelling narrative of Tomlinson's lifestyles tale, Robins sheds new mild on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American faith, and offers a extra sophisticated lens in which to view the spiritual dynamics of our personal day. v

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In that respect, class, defined as a function of socialization, has been a valuable predictor of religious affiliation, notwithstanding many exceptions. On the one hand, that merely suggests that people accept beliefs to which they have access and find shelter under sacred canopies that are within reach. 20 Plainfolk culture in the late nineteenth century, in just this way, nourished its own religious forms, which responded to modernization in ways that were compatible with its fundamental habits and instincts.

48 Pivotal to that transformation, he has observed, was the emergence of 22 the radical holiness world of a. j. tomlinson a new set of social values that coalesced around the welfare of the individual. With the rise of a “translocal market,” the cords that bound the world of trade to its traditional social moorings began to unravel. 50 Bender understood that the process was neither simple nor linear: countercurrents defied the general trend, the autonomous market did not mean the end of community, and trade could never be entirely severed from its social context.

B. 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.

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