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David D. Daniels: They Had a Dream

David D. Daniels, “They Had a Dream: Racial harmony broke down, but the hope did not,” Christian History, Issue 58, Vol. 17, No. 2, p. 19.


David Daniels, Henry Winters Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary, speaking at the Society for Pentecostal Studies convention on March 6, 2014.

David D. Daniels provides an insightful look at the uniquely interracial roots of early Pentecostals and some of the problems they encountered. He begins with a brief look at each of the three main renewal movements within the black church in America: the black Holiness movement, the black Restorationist movement, and the healing movement. All three of these movements had a goal of seeing blacks and whites worship together. By the early 1900’s these three groups had joined with parallel movements in the white renewal groups to set the stage for the Azusa Street Revival with it’s mix of interracial worshippers. The fact that Pentecostalism was seen as having two founders, one black (William Seymour) and one white (Charles Parham) was not lost on the early observers of the movement, including the press. Spurred on by these early successes many of the largest black Pentecostal fellowships began including white members and churches in their fellowships and vice versa. Unfortunately, according to Daniels, the power of the Jim Crow laws and racism of the day had started to erode what had been accomplished at Azusa and before. With the result that some black congregations started withdrawing from these new multiracial denominations as early as 1908 (due to the fact that some would not allow for black leadership in the denomination). As time progressed more white and black fellowships began to withdraw and form their own denominations until what remained was just a shadow of what had taken place only a decade earlier in the revival meetings. Daniels notes that by and large the two groups remained separated until the late sixties when some Pentecostal denominations began a new course of racial reconciliation and healing.

This article by David D. Daniels appeared in issue 58 of Christian History. The entire issue was titled, “The Rise of Pentecostalism,” and it included a number of articles on all aspects of the early Pentecostal movement. This excellent non-technical introduction to Pentecostal history had articles ranging from “The Pentecostal Tradition” by Stanley M. Burgess to articles about the ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson and other women. Several articles and departments looked at the controversial doctrines that aroused heated discussion earlier in this century, including pacifism and oneness. There were also interviews with Pentecostal historians and perspectives on why being a Pentecostal is more than just speaking in tongues. This particular issue would make an excellent addition to any church library or pastor’s study.

Reviewed by Joseph Joslin

Read “They Had a Dream” online at: [available March 17, 2014]


Joe Joslin and Raul Mock at a editorial committee meeting on March 11, 2014.



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Category: Church History, Pneuma Review, Winter 1999

About the Author: Joe Joslin is a Christ follower, husband, father of twins, MRI Imaging Applications Coordinator, entrepreneur, and avid traveler. Joe has been a contributing editor to since its inception. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter: @JoeJoejos

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