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“I Will Pour Out of My Spirit Upon All Flesh”

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An Historical and Theological Meditation on Pentecostal Origins

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Scholars of Pentecostalism have recently debated pentecostal monogenesis (that is, a single origin) in contrast to polygenesis (or multiple origins). This essay examines contributions to the discussion by Allan Anderson, Michael Bergunder, Cecil Robeck, and Adam Stewart, and argues that polygenetic views find support through new evidence from pre-1900, proto- or paleo-pentecostal movements in diverse localities. Moreover, those who argue today for the importance of the Azusa Street Revival acknowledge this global complexity, and so the mono/polygenesis distinction might now be outmoded. The terminology of “Classical Pentecostalism,” in light of Bergunder’s analysis, confirms a pluralized pentecostal identity. The essay’s second, paradoxical claim is that polygenesis does not diminish the significance of the Azusa Street Revival but enhances it by underscoring the theme of “inclusive origins”—a theme presented here as a theological interpretation of pentecostal origins that builds on Walter Hollenweger’s “black origins” and Allan Anderson’s “global origins”—and yet moves a step further.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Theology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri


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