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Hymnody and Liturgy in the Azusa Street Revival, 1906-1908

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Participants in the Azusa Street Revival regularly emphasized the nonliturgical nature of their Spirit-led worship. This article argues, however, that while worshippers eschewed traditional devices such as lectionaries and set schedules, they did create their own, unique form of liturgy through hymnody. The liturgical functions served by music at Azusa Street included selecting Scripture readings, ordering services, and providing theological balance. To make this case, the author surveys references to music, singing, and hymn writing in the official publications of the revival and in later accounts of the revival recorded by participants. From these sources, the author identifies three types of music used at Azusa Street: singing in the Spirit, new compositions written in a conventional style, and traditional hymns. The article further demonstrates how these genres served specific functions in the community, one of the most important of which was to emphasize the christological, as opposed to pneumatological, aspects of Pentecostal theology.

Affiliations: 1: University of Texas at Austin, Department of History 1 University Station B7000, Austin, Texas 78712-0220, USA


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