Azusa Street and Racial Reconciliation

I had heard of the Azusa Street revival and the story of Bishop C H Mason and his role within Pentecostalism and a movement towards racial reconciliation that eventually failed, and I had heard of William J. Seymour but never had I encountered as much detail as Ekaputra Tupamahu gave in one of his latest posts. I was not aware of the racist theology that was being advanced by many folks in the South (of course I know of their segregationist interpretation of Scripture) but not the anti-Judaic, white supremacist theology known as Anglo-British-Israelism. This theology represents the worst of all pseudo-sciences and part of the back of 19th century Western imperialism. It is remarkable that God could take a person, such as Mason, educated in that context, and preach and practice an anti-racist  Christianity.

Thank you, Ekaputra, and please keep blogging, brother!

A few thoughts: perhaps it would be best if someone looked at the history of Dispensationalist theology, which developed during the late 1800s as a reaction to the cultural religion in the United Kingdom. Although some of its proponents today among are the largest enthusiasts of war, what if, and I am just thinking what if, Dispensationalism was a response to British Israelism, as an anticolonial, anti-racist corrective? It would explain Israel’s high place in Dispensational theology but not its modern popularity within the Bible Belt where British Israelism once held sway.

For man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

Truth and Peace,

Rod

0 thoughts on “Azusa Street and Racial Reconciliation

  1. Joel

    Rodney, welcome to the world in which I came from. This is the garbage behind the KJVO movement as well. Not just dispensationalism, but other things.

    Reply
    1. Rod

      Joel,

      I could not believe my eyes as I was reading British Israelism. That is just outrageous, and its history needs to be exposed It could very well have implications for supercessionism today.

      Reply
        1. Rod

          I was thinking in terms of modern 21st century supercessionism. Especially in the Reformed and Calvinist theologies that are popular in the bible belt.

          Reply
  2. Antony solomon

    BI had very respectable credentials in Britain in the early 20th century. It was part of what was known as hot prot: anti-catholic, pro-‘christian’ monarchy etc. Obviously a spurious theology on a par with vonDaniken, but very appealing in the decline of Empire, and providing lots of intellectual excitement to it’s participants. It’s very appealing to think your race were the lost ribes of Israel, so that’s why we must have been blessed with the gospel, and the mission to the world.

    Dispensationalism’s prophetic roots are in a scotch prophetess whom Darby was acquainted with. Brethrenism was a reaction to the state of the churches at the time (as were the oxford movement, the calvinistic baptists, and other groups), all part of the after glow of romanticism, and back to the original NT church – interesting you have posted on the move to EO, a new romanticism. Darby thought the church had died just after Acts, and we were in an interregnum until Israel was re-established. Dispensationalism became the defining doctrine, and it’s effect was to stutify the political and social commitment of Evangelicals who bought into it – why do anything, the world’s going to end soon; and it’s all evil anyway.

    Disp, and BI were never meant to be racist as such, but it was easy to believe, back then, that the White Man’s Burden was a call from God. It gave the US manifest Destiny, as well as less savoury things, such as bringing democracy to the world.

    Reply
    1. Rod

      I wonder if someone in the future will write on book on the history of these two movements, or on Christian theology in general, and some of its more racist elements. Thanks for the food for thought, Antony!

      Reply
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