Pentecostalism in America

by R. G. Robins


Since the mid-century rise of the Charismatic movement, Pentecostalism, a diverse and evolving religious faction, has become increasingly difficult to distinguish from related or overlapping groups, especially with the "pentecostalization" of evangelicalism. Paradoxically, the trends that have produced a heightened public awareness of Pentecostalism in the United States have also made defining its theology a complex challenge.

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August 2010


Pages 161
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/Comparative

This book offers a chronological and historical overview the many forms of Pentecostalism within the United States.

Pentecostalism is a poorly understood theological movement, despite its recent growth in popularity as well as social and political importance. More and more Americans are encountering neighbors, friends, coworkers, and even political leaders who are aligned with one of the many varieties of American Pentecostalism. In spite of this proliferation, no complete survey of 2lst-century American Pentecostalism exists.

In Pentecostalism in America, author R. G. Robins offers an accessible survey of Pentecostalism in the United States, providing a clear, nontechnical introduction and making this complex and rapidly changing movement comprehensible to the general reader. A historical approach to the topic is presented, guiding the reader through the theological, social, and liturgical variants within American Pentecostalism and its major branches, organizations, and institutions; the movement's relation to its offspring; as well as how Pentecostal groups compare to parallel movements in contemporary American Christianity.


  • Provides a much-needed documentation of the history of Pentecostalism and is an up-to-date source of information about modern-day activity that goes far beyond the content of religious encyclopedias or general surveys of American religion
  • Written to be easy-to-read for general audiences while still containing a vast amount of information useful to religious scholars
Author Info

R. G. Robins, PhD, is a Fulbright Scholar and associate professor with specialization in American Studies at the University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Robins' published works include A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist. He is the son of a Pentecostal minister.



"As much a work of cultural as of religious history, this slim book ranks as one of the definitive studies of the movement.
It is hard to say which is most impressive: the breadth of the research, the elegance of the writing, or the astuteness of the insights. It represents the art of critical empathy at its best."Christian Century

"This easy and delightful read should prove accessible for general audiences and undergraduate students."Religious Studies Review


"Robins's work ranks as the definitive study of the history of American Pentecostalism. It is hard to say which is most impressive: the breadth of the research, the beauty of the writing, or the astuteness of the insights. And it represents the art of critical empathy at its best. We are not likely to see another book of this quality on this subject for years to come."—Grant Wacker, Professor of Christian History, Duke University

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