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Review: Portraits of a Generation


Portraits of a Generation: Early Pentecostal Leaders, ed. by James R. Goff, Jr. and Grant Wacker. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2002.

Portraits of a Generation talks about many of the early Pentecostal leaders. Instead of giving a large, drawn-out list of every leader in the Pentecostal movement, it gives the testimonies and interests of those leaders that maybe weren’t quite as famous. It gives insight into who really had the vision and those who desired seeing those visions put into real life. In this book, they represent leaders from all different walks of life. They differ on areas from ideas about theology, ethnic and social background, and areas of living. There is a common view that Pentecostalism was a movement without structure or leaders, but this book instead shows that the movement had a strong sense of both.

Portraits of a Generation is separated into three sections: “Forerunners,” “Visionaries,” and “Builders.” All of the chapters are about individual early leaders. Many of the contributors are known scholars of Pentecostalism while others aren’t very well known in the academic world.

In the first section, “Forerunners,” the leaders that the editors include are John Alexander Dowie, E. L. Harvey, Charles Price Jones, Frank Sandford, and Alma White. They are all leaders who paved the way toward the formal Pentecostal movement. These leaders were not directly tied with the Pentecostal movement, and some didn’t believe in the same standards that Pentecostals do today, such as speaking in tongues. Though not specifically under the Pentecostal umbrella, they laid out some of the ground beliefs and ideals that were later accepted into Pentecostal doctrines.

In the section on “Visionaries,” there are discussions about Minnie F. Abrams, Frank Bartleman, William H. Durham, Thomas Hampton Gourley, Alice E. Luce, Francisco Olazábal, and Maria B. Woodworth-Etter. These leaders were between the forerunners and the builders. They were the ones who envisioned what the movement eventually became and helped provide for the structure. Francisco Olazábal was one of the main contributors in the growth of Pentecostalism in the Hispanic culture while Minnie F. Abrams, Alice E. Luce, and Maria B. Woodworth-Etter gained popularity in being some of the first female leaders for the Pentecostal movement.

“Builders,” the last section, discusses the leaders Florence Crawford, G. T. Haywood, Charles Harrison Mason, Carrie Judd Montgomery, Antonio Castañeda Nava, Ida B. Robinson, George Floyd Taylor, and A. J. Tomlinson. In this section, Pentecostalism begins to take on the form of classical Pentecostalism. The people included in this section are those who heard and saw what the other leaders were trying to do and started to put their beliefs and ideals into action.

Because the volume is collective, there are some essays that were different in the quality of their sources than others. Some of the arguments had limited sources so are based on suppositions. Overall, the quality of the essays is very professional. All twenty-two chapters looked at Pentecostalism in three different lights: those who came before, those who had the vision, and those who put the vision into action. This gives us a good understanding of the early stages of the Pentecostal movement and how it was viewed by those with whom it began.

Reviewed by Samantha Beck, Evangel University student

Softcover, 430 pages, illustrated. $34.95 plus shipping. Available from amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Quad Cities Pentecostal history

Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage: A Memorial to the Church in the Quad Cities, compiled by Kenneth Richard Kline-Walczak. Revised version. Hillsdale, IL: The Author, 2008.

Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage is the second in a projected four-volume series of books about the history of the Pentecostal movement in the Quad Cities (Moline and Rock Island, Illinois and Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa). The first volume cataloged the influence of healing evangelist Maria Woodworth-Etter in these towns along the Iowa-Illinois border. Now, in this second volume, Kenneth Richard Kline-Walczak has assembled an impressive collection of articles concerning the region’s Pentecostal heritage and its roots in earlier Christian traditions.

Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage is divided into five chapters. The first chapter (p. 1-43), “The Mass Mound and the Blessing of Davenport,” documents the ministry of Father Charles Felix Van Quickenborne, a Jesuit priest-missionary who is believed to have conducted the first Christian service in the area in 1835. Kline-Walczak describes the priest’s work as “miraculous” and “apostolic.” The second chapter (p. 45-78) traces the influence on the Quad Cities of the 1857-1858 revival which originated from the Fulton Street prayer meetings in New York City. The third chapter (p. 79-168) provides detailed information about a local congregation affiliated with noted healing evangelist John Alexander Dowie, the founder of the Christian Catholic Church (headquartered in Zion, Illinois).

The fourth chapter (p. 169-346) presents information about campaigns in the Quad Cities held by various healing evangelists from 1900 to 1960. The chapter, organized chronologically, includes both the mundane (such as the times and locations of services) as well as controversies covered by the local press (including the 1929 departure of the “blonde evangelist” Mattie Crawford due to disagreement over finances). Some of the evangelists in this chapter include: 1900s – Martha Wing Robinson, Maria Woodworth-Etter; 1910s – Wilbur Glenn Voliva, James L. Delk; 1920s – A. W. Kortkamp (founder of Moline Gospel Temple), Mattie Crawford, Louise Nankivell, Lilian B. Yeomans; 1930s – Watson Argue, Mrs. A. A. Carpenter, Joseph Mattson-Boze, Everett B. Parrott, Kathryn Kuhlman; 1940s – R. F. DeWeese, Charles S. Price, Lorne F. Fox, Raymond T. Richey, Leonard E. Page, Oral Roberts, Charles L. Hollis; 1950s – O. L. Jaggers, Frank R. Lummer, William Freeman, James W. Drush, William Branham, David J. DuPlessis, Lloyd Huffey, A. A. Allen, Billy Adams, Velmer Gardner, Maurice Hart, Gordon Lindsey, Morris Cerullo.

The fifth chapter (p. 347-368) is dedicated to Dr. Charles L. Hollis and his wife, Ruth Vingren-Hollis, who served as pastors of Moline Gospel Temple from 1949 to 1999. This chapter includes transcriptions of an oral history interview of the Hollises by the author and of an interview of the Hollises by Kathryn Kuhlman, which was broadcast on her television program in 1976.

The bulk of Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage consists of hundreds of articles from regional newspapers, assembled for the purpose of introducing the region’s readers to its Pentecostal past. Kline-Walczak also includes helpful interpretive and bibliographic essays about the subjects at hand. By reproducing such a vast assortment of historical materials, the compiler allows readers to get a sense of the mood of early Pentecostals (and, at times, that of their detractors). Kline-Walczak, through his back-breaking research efforts, has given Pentecostals in the Quad Cities a valuable documentary account of their origins and development.

Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers

Paperback, vi, 368 pages, illustrated. $20, plus $4.00 shipping. Order from: Ken Kline, 2535 Central Avenue, Apartment 1, Dubuque, IA 52001 (email: woodworth65@yahoo.com ; phone: 563-845-9823).


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