Abstract

Preaching across the United States and around the world, the evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson built an unprecedented ministry between 1915 and 1944, an era typically remembered for Christian discord. In the formative years of her ministry (1915 to 1926), McPherson resisted the divisiveness of fundamentalism and modernism, instead continuing to preach in the evangelical style popular within American Christianity since the Great Awakening. Because fundamentalism and modernism prized science, rationality, and intellect, and tended to offer propositional logic that articulated the nuances of Christian doctrine, those discourses typically emerged in denominational conflicts and civil and ecclesiastical trials. Close analysis of McPherson’s public discourse, however, reminds us that evangelicalism endured in its more natural habitat—sermons and revivals. McPherson’s discourse can be characterized as the Foursquare Gospel of Aimee Semple McPherson: McPherson the prophet, evangelist, storyteller, and performer. Her example highlights how evangelicalism, fundamentalism, and modernism can be defined as rhetorical styles rather than institutions, groups of people, or individual leaders.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5238
Print ISSN
1094-8392
Pages
pp. 291-326
Launched on MUSE
2011-06-10
Open Access
No
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