• William Snider

Student thesis: Phd


ABSTRACT The University of Manchester William Snider Doctor of Philosophy The American Holiness Movement Confronts the Challenge of the Emerging Pentecostal Movement (1901–1919): An Analysis of Proximity and Confrontation This thesis examines the emergence of the modern Pentecostal Movement from the American Holiness Movement in the first two decades of the twentieth century. It argues that the reaction of the American Holiness Movement in its confrontation with Pentecostalism resulted in a tripartite response. The confrontation is introduced in its historical setting through a literature review and then placed in the social context of the Gilded Age. The Introduction further identifies a research gap to which the research contained in this thesis is directed, explains the narrative methodology of the historiography adopted, and gives a preview of the line of argument through a synopsis of the four chapters. The initial chapter places the American Holiness Movement and Pentecostalism in juxtaposition at the outset of the confrontation in 1901. Three subsequent chapters identify and analyse the three-part reaction of the American Holiness Movement. First, the segment of the movement resistant to glossolalia is recognised and supported by research identifying reasons for objecting to glossolalia and processes by which the resistance evolved in representative entities of the American Holiness Movement. Second, an accommodating portion of the American Holiness Movement is identified, and their effort to remain neutral concerning glossolalia is explored and analysed. The research highlights a fluidity of personnel and ideas that emerged from this attempted neutrality, which resulted in the loss of identity with the American Holiness Movement and Pentecostalism. Finally, the segment of the American Holiness Movement that accepted glossolalia is identified, and the process of arriving at this conclusion, which conflicted with their erstwhile fellows, is followed. An examination of the antagonistic, accommodating, and acceding responses by different groups within the Holiness Movement demonstrates that the different reactions were partly determined by theological considerations, partly by scriptural interpretation, partly by evaluating the claimed deeper spirituality, partly by concerns about worship practices, and partly by concerns about the stability of the denominations already established. Without claiming to establish the legitimacy of the responses, the reactions and their rationale are identified. The two-decade period examined begins with an event in Topeka, Kansas, in 1901, when tongues speaking was introduced to the American Holiness Movement. It concludes in 1919 when the self-identification term ‘Pentecostal’ passed from its historical roots in the American Holiness Movement to becoming the self-identifying term for persons espousing tongues-speech. It then became the common designation for tongues speaking in the public understanding. The removal of the word ‘Pentecostal’ in 1919 from the official name of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene signals that this transition in identification had occurred. The American Holiness Movement and Pentecostalism were separated, with the primary focus of disagreement being the practice and theological implications of glossolalia. They would remain two different movements, each with a worldwide constituency, and formally linked only by their common membership in the National Association of Evangelicals.
Date of Award6 Jan 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester

Cite this