A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist by R. G. Robins

By R. G. Robins

A.J. Tomlinson (1865-1943) ranks one of the prime figures of the early Pentecostal move, and prefer such a lot of of his cohorts, he was once as advanced as he used to be colourful. Arriving in Appalachia as a house missionary decided to uplift and evangelize bad mountain whites, he stayed to turn into the co-founder and leader architect of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and the Church of God of Prophecy, which including their minor offspring now represent the third-largest denominational relatives inside of American Pentecostalism. R.G. Robins's biography recreates the area during which Tomlinson operated, and during his tale bargains a brand new knowing of the origins of the Pentecostal circulate. students have tended to view Pentecostalism as basically one amongst many anti-modernist hobbies of the early 20th century. Robins argues that this can be a misreading of the movement's origins-the results of projecting the modernist/fundamentalist controversy of the Twenties again onto the sooner non secular panorama. trying to go back the tale of Pentecostalism to its right ancient context, Robins means that Pentecostalism may still rightly be noticeable as an outgrowth of the novel holiness circulation of the overdue 19th century. He argues that, faraway from being anti-modern, Pentecostals tended to include modernity. Pentecostal modernism, despite the fact that, was once a operating classification or ''plainfolk'' phenomenon, and it's the plainfolk personality of the circulation that has led such a lot of students to mislabel it as anti-modern or fundamentalist. throughout the compelling narrative of Tomlinson's lifestyles tale, Robins sheds new mild on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American faith, and gives a extra subtle lens during which to view the spiritual dynamics of our personal day. v

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Despite homogenizing forces like canonization and hermeneutical traditions, it remained a richly self-contesting document. Quite naturally, radical holiness—which sought so passionately to incarnate that text—proved equally selfcontesting. And for holiness, as for the Bible itself, that very quality proved to be a source of vitality and power. In mainline denominations the potential for conflict inherent in biblicism could be attenuated by social or institutional controls on interpretation. Within holiness, however, few such controls existed, a liability compounded by the sheer scale of the movement’s diversity.

But the same forces that would fracture the evangelical united front would also render holiness increasingly conflicted and diverse. By the 1880s holiness had become a sprawling world of its own, beset, as we have seen, by class tensions and nascent resentments. No single posture existed vis-a`-vis the evangelical mainstream and its denominational structures. Some were part of the mainstream; others coexisted more or less peacefully with it. 1 In the pages ahead I will address the contentious milieu of radical holiness, the context within which it would distinguish itself from the holiness mainstream.

J. tomlinson to lead a final, worldwide revival at the end of the age. As premillennialists, they knew that the world was doomed. As optimists, they knew that most folks in it could be swept to safety on that last “tidal wave” of holiness. Holiness optimism also surfaced in heightened expectations for health and well-being. 14 The mind–body analogy found its most provocative application in holiness teaching on divine healing, where the same atonement that cancelled sin was said to have banished disease as well: “he was wounded for our transgressions .

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