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Tongues and Ethics: William J. Seymour and the "Bible Evidence": A Response to Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.

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The "Bible evidence" doctrine was one of the most significant teachings to emerge first at the Topeka revival and subsequently at Azusa Street. For better or worse, it has come to define classical Pentecostalism. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. has argued that central Pentecostal pioneer William Joseph Seymour entertained doubts about the doctrine from early on and eventually came to reject it. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the arguments Robeck makes from the evidence he finds in the Apostolic Faith papers and the Doctrines and Discipline. Contrary to Robeck, the paper concludes that Seymour did not entirely reject the Bible evidence teaching; rather, he made certain key clarifications in light of personal and pastoral concerns.


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Affiliations: 1: Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA 23464, USA


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