Azusa Street Revival

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The world's Pentecostals and charismatics trace their roots to a sacred event, the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. William Seymour (1870-1922), who held electrifying revivals in 1906-1909 at the Azusa Street AME church in Los Angeles. This revival was marked by great emotional excitement, interracial harmony, and an obsession with speaking in tongues and healing. It was touched off by the preaching of Seymour, an African American who had absorbed the teachings of Charles F. Parham in Texas.[1]

However the origins go back further. Baer (2001) explores the significance of ideas of divine healing to the emergence of Pentecostalism from the radical holiness movement in the late 19th century. The careers and ministries of Maria B. Woodworth-Etter, John A. Dowie, and Charles F. Partham all demonstrate a commitment to notions of divine healing, where faith and belief in Christ and his atoning sacrifice on the cross could bring about a complete healing of the body and the soul.

Pentecostalists participated in a broader evangelical culture in which divine healing was a key element in a program that could include ecstatic religiosity and a belief in Christ's imminent return. Newspapers reported the purported healings of these three ministers in revival meetings during the 1880s-1900s.

See also

Further reading

  • Baer, Jonathan R. "Redeemed Bodies: The Functions Of Divine Healing In Incipient Pentecostalism." Church History 2001 70(4): 735-771. in JSTOR
  • Synan, Vinson, ed. The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal, 1901-2001, (2001)
  • Synan, Vinson. The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century. (1997). 340 pp.
  • Wacker, Grant. Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture. (2001) 380pp


  1. Joe Creech, "Visions of Glory: The Place of the Azusa Street Revival in Pentecostal History," Church History, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Sep., 1996), pp. 405-424 in JSTOR