August Davis and the Free-Free

Pentecostal Phenomena among the Swedish Evangelical Free

in Pneuma
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August Davis (1852–1936) led a group of Swedish Free Mission Friends in America known as the Free-Free, an early branch of what is today the Evangelical Free Church of America. Davis and his followers were known for such phenomena as falling down in the Spirit, having ecstatic visions, uttering unintelligible sounds, communicating the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, and teaching the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace. Such activities occurred mostly in Chicago, Illinois, and throughout western Minnesota between 1885 and 1900. Davis and the Free-Free had direct organizational ties in the Scandinavian Mission Society U.S.A. to emerging Swedish-American Pentecostals in Minnesota and South Dakota such as John Thompson, Mary Johnson, and Jacob Bakken. This group known pejoratively as the Free-Free is another of several impulses that birthed a distinctly Pentecostal form of Christianity in America.

Pneuma

The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies

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References

1

David M. Gustafson, “Swedish Pietism and American Revivalism: Kindred Spirits in the Evangelical Free Tradition,” in The Pietist Impulse in Christianity, ed. Christian T. Collins Winn, Christopher Gehrz, G. William Carlson, and Eric Holst (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011), 199–214.

2

Arnold T. Olson, The Significance of Silence (Minneapolis: Free Church Press, 1981), 151.

5

Ibid., 39–40.

6

Darrin J. Rodgers, Northern Harvest: Pentecostalism in North Dakota (Bismarck: North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God, 2003), 12–17; Roger E. Olson, “Pietism and Pentecostalism: Spiritual Cousins or Competitors,” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 34, no. 3 (2012): 332–334.

8

Ibid., June 23, 1936.

9

Philip J. Anderson, A Precious Heritage: A Century of Mission in the Northwest, 1884–1984 (Minneapolis: Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, 1984), 66.

11

Frank T. Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years: Over the Rise and Progress of the Swedish Evangelical Free Church of America (Minneapolis: Lindberg, 1935), 12.

12

Ibid., 21.

13

Ibid., 8. David M. Gustafson, “J.G. Princell and the Waldenströmian View of the Atonement,” Trinity Journal 20, no. 2 (Fall 1999): 191–214.

14

Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 13.

17

Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 13.

18

Ibid., 14.

21

Ibid., 14–15.

22

Ibid., 15.

23

K. Olsson, By One Spirit, 329.

25

Brolund, Missions-vännerna, 114.

26

Ibid., 115.

30

Ibid., 148–149. In Sweden, radical Pietism was also influenced by the Holiness movement and characterized similarly as lively (livliga). See Joel Halldorf, Av denna världen?: Emil Gustafson, moderniteten och den evangelikala väckelsen (Skellefteå: Artos, 2012), 166, 248–252.

34

Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 23.

37

Josephine Princell, J.G. Princells levnadsminnen (Chicago: J.V. Martensons Tryckeri, 1916), 198–199.

38

Ibid., 198; Chicago-Bladet, July 21, 1936.

47

Ibid., Apr. 21, 1885.

50

Ibid., October 20, 1885.

55

Princell, J.G. Princells levnadsminnen, 175.

56

Ibid., 176.

58

Ibid., 176–177.

59

Ibid., 177.

61

Princell, J.G. Princells levnadsminnen 178; Minnesskrift, 18–20, 79; Lindberg states that C.O. Sahlström, a pastor of the Mission Church in Princeton, Illinois, “was baptized with the Holy Spirit and began to preach sanctification.” Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 12–16. At Elim Free Mission, A.A. Anderson “received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” A.A. Anderson, Twenty Years in the Wild West (Minneapolis: Free Church Publications, n.d.), 18.

62

Princell, J.G. Princells levnadsminnen, 178–179.

63

Ibid., 179.

67

Ibid., December 7, 1886.

73

August Davis, Herde-rösten. En samling af kärnfriska och lifliga sånger egnade för väckelse och uppbyggelse (Minneapolis: August Davis, 1891). Herde-rösten was used for many years in Free congregations. Chicago-Bladet, June 23, 1936.

74

August Davis, Herde-rösten. Till guitar (Minneapolis: August Davis, 1902).

75

Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 58.

77

Johnson, History of the Swedish-Americans, 236.

80

Ibid., 51.

81

Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 58, 60, 66.

86

Halleen, Sunshine and Shadow, 100.

87

Ibid., 142. For example, when some of Skogsbergh’s students visited the Twelfth Avenue Church, Davis, seeing them sitting against the wall, remarked: “Look here, you Skogsbergh’s boys, that’s as close to heaven as you’ll ever get.” P. Anderson, A Precious Heritage, 139.

94

Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 58, 62–63. In 1907, “on the basis of testimony heard” at a meeting concerning August Davis, the brothers found him not qualified to serve in the Scandinavian Mission Society. Chicago-Bladet, November 10, 1907. Davis continued in the publishing business and travelled as an itinerant preacher. The exact reason for Davis’s removal is not recorded, but certainly there were reasons, such as E.A. Halleen’s statement that he became “a man that fed more on gall than on honey.”

95

Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 62–63. William Melin attended the Swedish Evangelical Free Mission meeting in Minneapolis, June 6–10, 1900. The periodical Bref-Dufvan advertised Pingströrelsen och dess förkunnelse by A.A. Holmgren, published in 1919 by S.V. Publishing House in Minneapolis. One chapter deals with “speaking in tongues in light of the Bible’s teaching.” Bref-Dufvan, January 1920.

96

Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 218.

100

Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 218; Lindberg, Looking Back Fifty Years, 34–35.

101

Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 12.

102

Peter B. Thompson, “Pentecostal Outpouring of Thirty-four Years Ago,” Pentecostal Evangel (November 27, 1937), 8, in Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 12–13, 216.

104

Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 217.

107

Naemi Reinholdz, “En Guds plöjersak: Mary Johnsons liv och verksamhet,” Trons Segrar, in Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 13–14. Ida Anderson was from the Swedish Evangelical Free Church in Kost and later joined Davis’s Twelfth Avenue Church in Minneapolis. Golden Jubilee, 118.

109

Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 217; Bref-Dufvan, April 1918.

112

Rodgers, Northern Harvest, 5.

115

Peter B. Thompson, “A Pentecostal Outpouring of Thirty-Four Years Ago,” Pentecostal Evangel (November 27, 1937), 8.

116

Brolund, Missions-vännerna, 112. The more conservative element of the Free, the Evangelical Free Mission, had more success than the Free-Free and the Scandinavian Mission Society of the U.S.A. and mostly absorbed the more radical brethren. Johnson, History of the Swedish-Americans, 236.

118

A. Olson, The Significance of Silence, 151.

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