Baptists and the Holy Spirit
The Contested History with Holiness-Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements
584 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9781481310062
- Published: July 2019
The record is clear that Baptists, historically, have prioritized conversion, Jesus, and God. Equally clear is that Baptists have never known what to do with the Holy Spirit.
In Baptists and the Holy Spirit, Baptist historian C. Douglas Weaver traces the way Baptists have engaged—and, at times, embraced—the Holiness, Pentecostal, and charismatic movements. Chronicling the interactions between Baptists and these Spirit-filled movements reveals the historical context for the development of Baptists’ theology of the Spirit.
Baptists and the Holy Spirit provides the first in-depth interpretation of Baptist involvement with the Holiness, Pentecostal, and charismatic movements that have found a prominent place in America’s religious landscape. Weaver reads these traditions through the nuanced lens of Baptist identity, as well as the frames of gender, race, and class. He shows that, while most Baptists reacted against all three Spirit-focused groups, each movement flourished among a Baptist minority who were attracted by the post-conversion experience of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." Weaver also explores the overlap between Baptist and Pentecostal efforts to restore and embody the practices and experiences of the New Testament church. The diversity of Baptists—Southern Baptist, American Baptist, African American Baptist—leads to an equally diverse understanding of the Spirit. Even those who strongly opposed charismatic expressions of the Spirit still acknowledged a connection between the Holy Spirit and a holy life.
If, historically, Baptists were suspicious of Roman Catholics’ ecclesial hierarchy, then Baptists were equally wary of free church pneumatology. However, as Weaver shows, Baptist interactions with the Holiness, Pentecostal, and charismatic movements and their vibrant experience with the Spirit were key in shaping Baptist identity and theology.
Search every Baptist library you can find and you will not discover anything comparable to this well-written, groundbreaking history on the interaction of the Baptist people with those Christians who lay great stress on the Holy Spirit. Weaver tells us what we did not know, and he describes what we did not expect. Arguing that personal experiential faith unites the two groups, he also notes that interpretation of that experience often divides the parties. Impressive, skillful, and relevant.~Walter B. Shurden, Minister at Large, Mercer University
C. Douglas Weaver’s Baptists and the Holy Spirit is the definitive account of Baptists’ responses to Pentecostalism and its immediate antecedents and successors. The book is a model of learned, judicious scholarship, but it reads like a thriller. If you have assumed that Baptists, with their intense commitment to personal religious experience, unreservedly welcomed the equally experiential Pentecostalism, this book will constrain you to revisit that assumption.~Fisher Humphreys, Professor of Divinity, Emeritus, Samford University
A comprehensive and riveting account of the complex relationship of Baptists to the charismatic movement. Attentive to issues of gender, race, and economic class, Weaver has illuminated key competing threads in Baptist and Pentecostal theology which sought to delineate ‘Who is most faithful to the New Testament?’~Molly T. Marshall, President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation, Central Seminary
Oftentimes books of genius are unpredictable, confounding, and cut across the grain of inherited wisdom. Those adjectives describe Douglas Weaver's tremendously important institutional and intellectual history of Baptist interactions with Holiness, Pentecostal, and Charismatic waves of Christian thought. Whatever glib assumptions readers bring to this book will quickly be dispelled by the reality that unfolds in its pages.~Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus of History, Auburn University
Doug Weaver’s lively prose narrates an absorbing and surprisingly diverse tale of holiness and charismatic Baptists, or bapticostals. The book corrects an imbalance in Baptist scholarship, which has tilted toward the Calvinist side of the story, often leaving African Americans and women behind, but it also shows how Baptists shaped Pentecostalism. Scholars arguing between the pentecostalization or the baptistification of American religion will discover a masterful work that brings these two seemingly disparate worlds together, complicating previous assumptions.~Elizabeth Flowers, Associate Professor of Religion, Texas Christian University