Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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the sweeping revival movements of the early twentieth century

"Further stirring popular hopes and fears of the end of the world were the sweeping revival movements of the early twentieth century, which resonated not just through the United States and Great Britain but also around the imperial worlds. These movements spread rapidly following the widely publicized Welsh national revival of 1904 and reached fever pitch after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Within months of the earthquake, a revival in Los Angeles launched the Pentecostal movement, which missionaries soon carried around the world. Although the Pentecost story is taken from the New Testament book of Acts rather than Revelation, the passage clearly had a last-day context. The text that became the charter of the new movement quotes the Old Testament prophecy:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams

However amazing the miraculous signs and wonders might be in their own right, they mattered because (in this interpretation) they betokened the imminent end of the age. And the Pentecostal revival reportedly produced countless manifestations that seemed impossible to interpret except in supernatural terms-the healings, the speaking in tongues, and (most striking perhaps in this age) the generous interracial collaboration. Pentecostal believers soon organized into formal denominations such as the Assemblies of God (1914).

But religious excitement ranged far beyond Pentecostal ranks. Around the world-in Russia, West Africa, and elsewhere-many Christian churches were in the midst of powerful revival movements in the years around 1914, and the most vigorous of all arose in the United States. A mighty evangelical revival found its anthems in such legendary hymns as "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In the Garden" (both from 1912). The movement placed the language of blood and atonement, sacrifice and national righteousness, firmly on the nation's cultural and political agenda. Activists intervened forcefully in secular politics through campaigns to enforce public morality and alcohol prohibition. Also, 1910 marked the World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh in Scotland, which raised hopes of converting the world to Christianity within a generation, and thereby creating conditions for Christ's coming. Already by 1918 observers were mapping America's Bible Belt.

Between 1910 and 1915, moreover, antimodernist American evangelicals published a multivolume manifesto of The Fundamentals, those basic points of doctrine that anyone had to believe before they could be considered a true Christian. These works gave their name to the emerging fundamentalist movement, which defended its views with a militant and confrontational style. And at least in some versions of the fundamentals, believers were required to accept a very specific concept of the future of the world, in "Christ's personal, premillennial and imminent second coming." pg. 138-140 "The Great And Holy War" by Philip Jenkins

Bob Dylan "In the Garden"

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