A critical review of Bernard Weisberger’s article, Pentecost in the Backwoods.
This paper examines Weisberger’s article on the beginnings of Pentecostal religion in the United States. It examines how social factors, as well as previous religious movements, led to mass revivalism and the origins of Pentecost religion. The paper describes ethnic immigrant communities of the Kentucky Revival of 1800. The author also critiques Weisberger’s writing style.
In the article, Pentecost in the Backwoods, author Bernard A. Weisberger attempts to examine the origins of this religious sect beginning with an event called the Kentucky Revival of 1800. Numerous and characteristic religious variety existed by this time in American history and each sought to perpetuate their expression within our culture. The established religious doctrines of colonial America, concerned about rumors and tales of a lawless, godless western frontier, sent missionaries to re-establish the traditional values and beliefs thought to be lacking there. It was this extraordinary combination of pioneer hardships, primitive need for spirituality, and devout charismatic leaders that gave rise to mass revivalism. The resulting religious fervor was not expected, and would eventually become a permanent part of American Protestantism.