Charismatic Crossings: The Transnational, Transdenominational Friendship of Bernt Berntsen and Wei Enbo

In: Global Chinese Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity

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Charismatic practices such as healing and exorcism are neither disguised expressions of Chinese popular religious sentiment nor late “Western” arrivals on the Chinese Christian scene. Rather, the distinctively charismatic character of Chinese Protestant practice arose out of a complex web of negotiations between sacred texts, exegetical traditions, existing religious practices, languages, cultures, and individuals’ personal desires. The intimate and sometimes fraught interaction between Bernt Berntsen and Wei Enbo in Beijing (1915–1919) sheds light on the border crossings and exchanges that have shaped Pentecostal and charismatic modes of Chinese Christianity. Berntsen, a Norwegian American, had personally experienced the Pentecostal revival at Azusa Street in 1906. It was in Berntsen’s Apostolic Faith Church 信心會 in 1915 that Wei Enbo absorbed the Pentecostal doctrines and charismatic practices that would later define Wei’s True Jesus Church 真耶穌教會.

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