Perfect Harmony: Interracial Churches in Early Holiness-Pentecostalism, 1880-1909
Joseph L. Thomas


Asbury Theological Seminary Series:

The Study of World Christian Revitalization Movements in Pentecostal & Charismatic Studies


Paperback Edition: ISBN 978-1609470784    Retail: $33.00


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This compelling examination of the theological roots of early Pentecostal interracial thought, worship, and witness is must reading for serious scholars of the movement. Thomas demonstrates that radical holiness churches and black theological leaders employed a Wesleyan understanding of the Christian’s “second blessing” to build “sanctified unity” across the color line. Their ecclesiological vision and multiethnic pastoral practices derived not in the main from the doctrine of Spirit baptism but from sanctification and the call to genuine holiness. Their remarkable season of interracial harmony, which peaked most famously on Azusa Street, owed much of its impetus to the Wesleyan tradition--and lost some of that impetus as Pentecostals succumbed to the pressures of Jim Crow and divided over intramural doctrinal disputes.

--Douglas A. Sweeney, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


What made it possible for Frank Bartleman to say that 'the color line was washed away in the blood!' at Azusa Street? Joseph Thomas uncovers how the interracialism of early modern Pentecostalism was inspired by the sanctified unity ecclesiological vision of older Wesleyan, Holiness, and other restorationist traditions of the late 19th century. Perfect Harmony is mandatory reading now not only for historians and theologians of these movements but also for those engaged in contemporary discussions – even debates – in ecumenical theology and theology of race.

--Dr. Amos Yong, Fuller Theological Seminary



About the Author:

Joseph L. Thomas, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of History of Christianity at Urbana Theological Seminary. His expertise is in American Evangelical history with a particular interest in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. He teaches a seminary level course on the “History of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements” and speaks often on Pentecostalism in the local church. Joe has also brought Christian history to a popular audience through his work with the Christian History Institute.





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