Pentecostal History, Imagination, and Listening between the Lines

Historiographic Creativity for Writing Histories of the Marginalized

in Pneuma
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

As Pentecostals have historically lived, ministered, and led from the margins, their histories often challenge the historian. Reading the religious and social histories contemporaneous to the beginnings of many pentecostal churches and movements is often not enough to discover the complex tapestry of pentecostal voices. Not only oral but also, and particularly, aural historical elements play a key role in the recovery of the “unheard” protagonists in pentecostal histories. The example of Richard Green Spurling and the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) provides an opportunity to imaginatively reconstruct the influences of African Americans on a white Appalachian Baptist-turned-pentecostal preacher. Investigating sung moments of African American prisoners working on a local railroad could shape the religious pedigree of this classical North American pentecostal denomination. This article will explore pentecostal historiography by investigating Spurling and the sung music of African American prisoners as a case study of imaginatively rereading pentecostal histories.

Pneuma

The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies

Sections

References

1

Alan Lomax, “Murderous Home” and “What Makes a Work Song Leader?” in Prison Songs: Historical Recordings from Parchman Farm 1947–48, Vol. 1, Murderous Home (Cambridge, MA: Rounder Records Corporation, 1997 [1947]); David Daniels, “‘Gotta Moan Sometime’: A Sonic Exploration of Earwitnesses to Early Pentecostal Sound in North America,” Pneuma 30 (2008): 26.

2

Charles W. Conn, Like a Mighty Army: A History of the Church of God, Definitive Edition (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 1995); Deborah McCauley, Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 277–280; Wade Phillips, “Richard Spurling and Our Baptist Heritage,” Reflections: Newsletter of the Hal Bernard Dixon Jr. Pentecostal Research Center 2, no. 4 (Spring 1993): 1–3; “The Church of God in the Light and Shadow of America,” unpublished research paper (Cleveland, TN, 2002); “The Significance of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Movement (1895–1900) in the Historical and Theological Development of the Wesleyan-Pentecostal-Charismatic Metamorphosis,” paper presented to the Second Annual Meeting of the Historical Society of Church of God Movements (Cleveland, TN: May 24, 2003). Hereafter “Church of God” will be used to refer specifically to the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). For more on the different groups with the name Church of God see Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997), 68–83; and Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 51–57.

3

See Conn, Like a Mighty Army, 5. For a critical deconstruction of these isolationist perspectives see Henry D. Shapiro Appalachia on Our Mind (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1978), 77, 80.

4

H. Paul Thompson, Jr., “On Account of Conditions That Seem Unalterable: A Proposal about Race Relations in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) 1909–1929,” Pneuma 25, no. 2 (2003): 247; see also: David G. Roebuck, “Unraveling the Cords that Divide,” paper presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (Memphis, TN: March 2011), 3–5; Conn, Like a Mighty Army, 112–117; Bill George, Until All Have Heard (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2010), 19–20.

6

McCauley, Appalachian Mountain Religion, 277–280; Wade Phillips, “Richard Spurling and Our Baptist Heritage,” Reflections: Newsletter of the Hal Bernard Dixon Jr. Pentecostal Research Center 2, no. 4 (Spring 1993): 1–3; “The Church of God in the Light and Shadow of America,” and “The Significance of the Fire-Baptized Holiness Movement (1895–1900) in the Historical and Theological Development of the Wesleyan-Pentecostal-Charismatic Metamorphosis.”

7

Conn, Like a Mighty Army, 5.

8

Shapiro, Appalachia on Our Mind, 77, 80.

11

Roebuck, “Unraveling the Cords that Divide,” 3–5; Conn, Like a Mighty Army, 112–117; George, Until All Have Heard, 19–20.

12

John C. Inscoe, Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2008), 105. William H. Turner, “The Demography of Black Appalachia: Past and Present,” in Blacks in Appalachia, ed. William H. Turner and Edward J. Cabbell (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1985), 239; Frederick L. Olmsted, A Journey in the Backcountry (New York: C.A. Alvord, Mason Brothers, 1860), 217.

13

Richard B. Drake, “Slavery and Antislavery in Appalachia,” in Appalachians and Race, ed. John C. Inscoe (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2001), 17; Turner, “The Demography of Black Appalachia: Past and Present,” 237–261.

14

Wilma A. Dunaway, Slavery in the American Mountain South (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 5; and Conrad Ostwalt and Phoebe Pollitt, “The Salem School and Orphanage: White Missionaries, Black School,” in Appalachians and Race, ed. John C. Inscoe (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2001), 235.

15

Daniel C. Crews, Faith and Tears (Winston-Salem, NC: Moravian Archives, 2000), 3; and Claudio Saunt, Black, White, and Indian (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 64–65.

16

See Cecelia Conway, African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1995); and Alan Lomax, The Land Where the Blues Began (New York: Pantheon Books, 1995).

17

Mickey Crews, The Church of God (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1990), 10; Conn, Like a Mighty Army; A.J. Tomlinson, Last Great Conflict (Cleveland, TN: Press of Walter E. Rodgers, 1913); E.L. Simmons, History of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN: Church of God Publishing House, 1938); “History of the Church of God, Second Edition,” unpublished typescript, 1949, accessed and used by permission of Dixon Pentecostal Research Center Archives: Cleveland, TN; M.S. Lemons, “History of the Church of God,” unpublished history, ca. 1937, accessed and used by permission of Dixon Pentecostal Research Center Archives: Cleveland, TN.

18

For the 1886 first congregation see Conn, Like a Mighty Army, 12; Tomlinson, Last Great Conflict, 185. The exact location of the Second Christian Union congregation is still ambiguous, but a dated photograph is in the private collection of Wade Philips. Most likely the congregation was in Cherokee County, NC or Monroe County, TN, as Spurling’s itinerant church planting and preaching ministry was within this walking distance. “Marie Spurling Crook Interview” (Cleveland, TN: October 27, 2010), interview conducted by author. See also: G.P. Spurling, “Biographical Sketch of the Reverend R.G. Spurling,” unpublished typescript, accessed and used by permission of Dixon Pentecostal Research Center Archives: Cleveland, TN.

22

Daniel G. Woods, “Daniel Awrey, the Fire-Baptized Movement, and the Origins of the Church of God,” Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research 19, http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/cyberj19/woods.html, accessed May 30, 2013.

24

James Beaty, R.G. Spurling and the Early History of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN: Derek Press, 2012), and Wade H. Phillips “The Church of God in the Light and Shadow of America.”

25

Phillips, “Richard Spurling and Our Baptist Heritage,” 1–3.

28

Mary E. Curtin, Black Prisoners and Their World, Alabama, 1865–1900 (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2000), 13; and Milfred C. Fierce, Slavery Revisited (New York: Africana Studies Research Center, 1994), 9, 77.

29

H.G. Monroe, “Hook and Eye Division,” in Railroad Magazine (June 1940), 9, accessed and used by permission of: University Archives and Records Center, University of Louisville: Louisville, KY.

30

Fierce, Slavery Revisited, 77.

31

Ibid., 10; and Alex Lichtenstein, Twice the Work of Free Labor (New York: Verso, 1996), 46–47, 64.

32

See Douglas Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name (New York: Anchor Books, 2008).

34

E.g., David Martin, Tongues of Fire (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 175–176; and Bernardo Campos, Experiencia del Espiritu (Quito, Ecuador: CLAI, 2002), 79.

36

Terry L. Cross, “The Divine-Human Encounter: Toward a Theology of Experience,” Pneuma 31, no. 1 (2009): 3–34.

40

John Lomax, “‘Sinful Songs’ of the Southern Negro,” The Musical Quarterly 20, no. 2 (April 1934): 180.

49

Coulter, “The Development of Ecclesiology in the Church of God,” 64.

50

Spurling, Lost Link, 17.

52

Eld. R.G. Spurling, “Dangers and Hindrances to the Cause of Christ,” The Way 1, no. 6 (June 1904): 1.

53

R.G.S., “The Glory of the Cross,” The Way 2, no. 9 (September 1905): 4.

54

Spurling, Lost Link, 37.

55

Ibid., 43–44.

56

Ibid., 47.

59

Spurling, The Lost Link, 47.

65

David G. Roebuck, “Restorationism and a Vision for World Harvest,” Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic Research 5 (February 1999), http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/cyberj5/roebuck1.html, accessed June 4, 2013. Coulter, “The Development of Ecclesiology in the Church of God,” 62.

67

Aponte, “Coritos as Active Symbol in Latino Protestant Popular Religion,” 61–62.

68

Ibid., 63.

Figures

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 6 6 3
Full Text Views 2 2 2
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0