Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Black Consciousness

in Journal of Pentecostal Theology
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This article offers a historical argument that a cultural program existed among the Sanctified churches in the first half of the twentieth century. This cultural program cultivated a distinct form of black consciousness around three elements: 1) a rehabilitation of slave religion; 2) an embrace of Ethiopianism as a global vision of pan-Africanism; and 3) an effort at Black uplift through education. One can detect features of this consciousness among important figures like Charles H. Mason, Charles Price Jones, Blind Willie Johnson, and Mother Rosa Horn. With it’s distinctive fusion of Pentecostal ecstasy and Wesleyan holiness with the concerns of Sanctified churches, this cultural consciousness must be placed alongside other visions offered by persons such as W.E.B. Dubois as seeking to advance a theology addressing the concerns of the Black Church.

Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Black Consciousness

in Journal of Pentecostal Theology




James BaldwinCollected Essays (The Library of America; New York: Penguin Putnam1998) p. 306.


Cheryl J. SandersSaints in Exile: The Holiness-Pentecostal Experience in African American Religion and Culture (New York: Oxford University Press1996) p. 113.


 See SandersSaints in Exile pp. 113–14.


Lawrence W. LevineBlack Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 13th anniversary edn2007) pp. ix–xxviii.


Charles H. Mason‘Tennessee Evangelist Witnesses’Apostolic Faith 1.6 (February–March 1907) p. 7. Mason repeats this part of his testimony in a longer account. See ‘Elder Mason Tells of Receiving the Holy Ghost’ in Alexander (ed.) Black Fire Reader pp. 77–79.


Brakefield and GovenarDeep Ellum p. 120.


 On this point see Ogbu KaluAfrican Pentecostalism: An Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press2008) pp. 32–35.


Dale T. Irwin‘Charles Price Jones: Image of Holiness’ in Portraits of a Generation: Early Pentecostal Leaders (ed. James R. Goff and Grant Wacker; Fayetteville ar: University of Arkansas Press 2002) p. 48–49.


JonesAppeal to the Sons of Africa p. 15.


AlexanderBlack Fire pp. 220–21.


 See Dale M. Coulter‘The Spirit and the Bride Revisited: Pentecostalism, Renewal, and the Sense of History’Journal of Pentecostal Theology 21 (2012) pp. 301–13.


 See Christine A. OrgenThe American State Normal School: ‘An Instrument of Great Good’ (New York: Palgrave MacMillan2005).


Daniels‘Cultural Renewal of Slave Religion’ p. 61.


AppiahLines of Descent45–82.


Du Bois‘Talented Tenth’The Negro Problempp. 33–34.


OgrenThe American State Normal School pp. 60–61.


Cheryl J. Sanders‘Wanted Dead or Alive: A Black Theology of Renewal’Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 36.3 (Fall 2014) pp. 407–16.


Mahalia Jackson‘I Can’t Stop Singing’Saturday Evening Post 232 (December 5 1959) pp. 19–21 98–100.

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