By R. G. Robins
A.J. Tomlinson (1865-1943) ranks one of the prime figures of the early Pentecostal stream, and prefer such a lot of of his cohorts, he used to be as complicated as he was once colourful. Arriving in Appalachia as a house missionary made up our minds to uplift and evangelize negative 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 family members inside American Pentecostalism. R.G. Robins's biography recreates the realm during which Tomlinson operated, and during his tale bargains a brand new figuring out of the origins of the Pentecostal circulate. students have tended to view Pentecostalism as purely one amongst many anti-modernist pursuits 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 Nineteen Twenties again onto the sooner non secular panorama. looking to go back the tale of Pentecostalism to its right ancient context, Robins means that Pentecostalism should still rightly be noticeable as an outgrowth of the novel holiness move of the overdue 19th century. He argues that, faraway from being anti-modern, Pentecostals tended to include modernity. Pentecostal modernism, despite the fact that, used to be a operating type or ''plainfolk'' phenomenon, and it's the plainfolk personality of the stream that has led such a lot of students to mislabel it as anti-modern or fundamentalist. during 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 sophisticated lens wherein to view the spiritual dynamics of our personal day. v
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Additional resources for A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist
However intriguing such analyses may be, in the end they merely solve a faulty dilemma, one predicated on a misperception of the nature of these movements as they actually existed on the far side of a divide. ”48 Pivotal to that transformation, he has observed, was the emergence of 22 the radical holiness world of a. j. tomlinson a new set of social values that coalesced around the welfare of the individual. With the rise of a “translocal market,” the cords that bound the world of trade to its traditional social moorings began to unravel.
Regardless of the measure of their bank accounts or the status of their vocations, most plainfolk portrayed themselves in humble and unpretentious terms. “All the evangelists insisted even more than the politicians,” wrote W. J. 17 In its more generalized form, however, the rhetoric of humility expressed a secular logic of inversion, a populist egalitarianism that constituted, arguably, plainfolk culture’s most universal and enduring ideal. 18 While class deﬁned in Marxist terms has never provided a durable basis for social cohesion in America, class deﬁned as an expression of folkways and cultural tradition has been one of its most important preconditions.
They too believed in Manifest Destiny, but the destiny they saw manifest in world events was that of their own Holy Ghost–inspired movement, destined 40 the radical holiness world of a. 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.
A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist by R. G. Robins