Professor of History and Director of the Institute for the Study of American Evanglicals at Wheaton College
In 2006, American Pentecostals marked the centennial of the Azusa Street Revival, a Los Angeles event that had international impact. Between 1906 and 1908, Azusa Street was the principal center of a movement that announced the restoration in the end times of New Testament Christianity. The revival featured an experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. Today, vast numbers of Christians around the world either identify as Pentecostals or charismatics or embrace charismatic spirituality.
Some American scholars claim that Azusa Street is the primary source of Pentecostalism worldwide. A closer look suggests that it is far too simple to trace the origins of burgeoning contemporary worldwide Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity to Azusa Street. In many places, indigenous movements and local revivals nurtured beliefs and practices similar to those North Americans associated with Azusa Street. Or, indigenous Christians had brief contact with Pentecostal missionaries and then led indigenous revivals. Such events provide other markers for Pentecostals outside the West that function much as Azusa Street does for Americans. In order to understand worldwide Pentecostalism today, one must contextualize Azusa Street and explore local and regional revivals that birthed indigenous movements.
These papers on aspects of world Pentecostalism were presented at the winter meeting of the American Society of Church History in January 2007. Joseph Creech examines how and why the Azusa Street Revival came to figure so prominently in American Pentecostal understandings of world Pentecostalism. Three other scholars--Arun Jones, Ogbu Kalu, and Xi Lian--explore the sources and features of 20th-century revivals in India, Africa, and China. They detail the importance of indigenous revivals in shaping contemporary global Pentecostal movements.
Assistant Professor of History at Hanover College
Copyright © 2007 by The Nagel Institute and Yale University Press. All rights to Xi Lian's paper are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Yale University Press.
Ogbu U. Kalu © 2007
Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity and Mission at McCormick Theological Seminary
Dr. Arun W. Jones © 2007
Associate Professor of Mission and Evangelism at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Joe Creech © 2007
Assistant Director, Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts and Adjunct Assistant Professor of History and Humanities at Christ College Honors College, Valparaiso University