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Strangers and Friends at the Welcome TableContemporary Christianities in the American South$
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James Hudnut-Beumler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640372

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640372.001.0001

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Rattlesnakes, Holiness, and the Nearness of the Holy Spirit

Rattlesnakes, Holiness, and the Nearness of the Holy Spirit

(p.63) 3 Rattlesnakes, Holiness, and the Nearness of the Holy Spirit
Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table

James Hudnut-Beumler

University of North Carolina Press

Although the outside image of southern Pentecostal Holiness is often sensationalized by associations with serpent handling believers, that actual practice is confined to roughly a thousand individuals in an Appalachian crescent in the South. The story of Wesleyan Holiness belief in the nineteen century transforming in the twentieth to a wide variety of Pentecostal bodies is an important one that gains importance in the contemporary era wherein the South’s growing number of “bapticostal” black churches and other churches effecting the prosperity gospel far outnumber the formal number of Pentecostal churches. Furthermore, the convictions that the Holy Spirit is nearby and waiting on believers’ calling have come to characterize even many mainline and evangelical churches’ practice to the point where one can speak of the Pentecostalization of southern Christianity.

Keywords:   Pentecostalism, Holiness, Serpent handling, Pentecostalization of southern Christianity, Prosperity Gospel, Full Gospel, Church of God in Christ, Church of God (Cleveland, TN)

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