"Living in the Presence of God: Enthusiasm, Authority, and Negotiation in the Practice of Pentecostal Holiness"
University of Mississippi, 1997
Despite enthusiasm's ability to empower believers, it also contained the potential to divide. Chapter Three shows emerging leaders of the pentecostal movement in the South discovering this danger. After first celebrating the restoration of the nine-fold spiritual gifts listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, many quickly retreated into concern over "false manifestations." In 1911, only four years after pentecostalism erupted in the region, the PHC formed without any official statement on the much anticipated gifts. Yet the account in Chapter Four of the Gift Movement, a 1916 revival that nearly destroyed the inchoate work of the PHC in Virginia and West Virginia, demonstrates that popular hunger for prophetic utterance did not easily subside. The movement's central feature was prophecy from both the pulpit and the pew that, among other things, led adherents to marry strangers, destroy photographs and other "worldly" idols, and start for the Chinese mission field on faith alone.
The Gift Movement provides an excellent opportunity to observe the fundamental tension
between enthusiasm and authority within pentecostalism, as well as the ongoing
negotiations this tension demanded of pentecostal people and organizations. Chapter
Five analyzes the practice of pentecostal living between the Gift Movement and
mid-century. In the absence of any consistent teaching on the proper use of spiritual
gifts, PHC preachers and lay members alike labored to avoid the twin evils of "cold
formalism" and "red-hot fanaticism." The Afterword briefly examines
the rediscovery of the Pauline gifts between World War II and the 1960s, and suggests that
enthusiasm has survived both its own schismatic tendencies and the constraints of
institutional development to remain at the heart of pentecostal-charismatic sensibility.