Emergence of Pentecostalism in Oklahoma: 1909-1930
Seaman, Michael Allen
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This thesis examines the development of the Pentecostal Holiness Church in the Twin Territories and early Oklahoma, from sectarian movement to formalized institution, that helped lay the foundations for the denomination's national and global development. Looking at the background as an eccentric holiness sect to a loosely organized Pentecostal denomination in 1909, built by part-time administrators and a predominately lay pastorate. The Pentecostal Holiness Church evolved into a traditionally structured evangelical denomination with salaried executive staff and professional clergy. The church faced social demonization for its distinct theologies including the belief in glossolalia or speaking in unknown tongues and other ecstatic methods of worship. In the earliest years of the movement the adherents held countercultural social beliefs, with many practitioners objecting to the participation in World War I and some ministers preaching socialism from their pulpit. While they abandoned many of their radical leanings by the 1920s, their eschatological beliefs led them to allowing women pastors despite their conservative views regarding women's domestic and societal roles. The people of the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Oklahoma from 1909-1930, were predominately rural, lacking access to power structures, but established the western most stronghold for the budding denomination.
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