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J.H. King on Initial Evidence: Did He Change?

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image of Journal of Pentecostal Theology

J.H. King, who is commonly viewed as one of the most important early twentieth-century Pentecostal leaders in the United States, was one of the strong proponents of the teaching that tongues speech is the invariable, immediate evidence of Spirit Baptism. Douglas Jacobsen argues in his 2003 book, Thinking in the Spirit, that King modified his position on normative initial evidence tongues in the second edition of From Passover to Pentecost. This article challenges that thesis. After looking at King’s pro-initial evidence polemic in the ‘Introduction’ of G.F. Taylor’s The Spirit and the Bride, and especially in the first edition of From Passover to Pentecost, this article deals with some King remarks in the second edition of the latter volume—remarks that Jacobsen interprets as King vacillating in his understanding of that doctrine. The bulk of the article contends that Jacobsen’s reading amounts to a substantial historical and literary decontextualization of those statements. Rather than interpreting them as King equivocating on initial evidence, they are more accurately understood as King articulating Christian prophetic ministry as (1) the supreme sign of the inaugurated ‘Pentecostal Era’, and as (2) a post-Spirit Baptismal confirmation of a genuine, tongue-certified Spirit Baptism experience.

Affiliations: 1: Emmanuel College, PO Box 129, Franklin Springs, GA 30639, Email:


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