The core tenets of Pentecostal belief---personal salvation, Holy Ghost baptism, divine healing, and anticipation of the Lord's imminent return---took root in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Wacker examines the various aspects of Pentecostal culture, including rituals, speaking in tongues, the authority of the Bible, the central role of Jesus in everyday life, the gifts of prophecy and healing, ideas about personal appearance, women's roles, race relations, attitudes toward politics and the government.
Tracking the daily lives of Pentecostals, and paying close attention to the voices of individual men and women, Wacker is able to identify the reason for the movement's spectacular success: a demonstrated ability to balance idealistic and pragmatic impulses, and adapt distinct religious convictions in order to meet the expectations of modern life.
More than twenty million American adults today consider themselves Pentecostal. Given the movement's major place in American religious life, the history of its early years---so artfully told here---is of central importance.Heaven Below was chosen as the Outstanding Book in the History/Biography Category of the Christianity Today Book Awards and was given the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Historical Studies Category.Grant Wacker is Professor of Church History, Duke University.