Pentecost Bands as Advocates for Social Purity

Historically, Free Methodism was tied to numerous social causes (and still is to this day). Its founding principles emphasized care and inclusion for everyone, strong abolitionist ties, and an emphasis on returning to the “old time Methodist” principles, such as entire sanctification. However, like any social movement, as Free Methodism transitioned from a movement to a denomination, the interpretation of those founding principles began to vary widely. As my research on women’s ordination and the Free Methodist Deaconess order has illustrated, there wasn’t universal agreement about what radical Holiness living and social action looked like. The Pentecost Bands are just … Continue reading Pentecost Bands as Advocates for Social Purity

Michigan Pentecost Bands Cause Local Uproar in 1886

Because the Pentecost Bands were essentially traveling revivalists, their members had the opportunity to influence countless individuals, It wasn’t unusual for a young adult to attend a band meeting, become saved, and then feel called to become a band member. However, the religious enthusiasm the bands fueled wasn’t without controversy. In this blog post, I’ll share some accounts of controversies surrounding their ministry in St. Joseph and Lawrence, Michigan in 1886. The Influence of the Bands When young adults felt called to join the bands, it didn’t always go over well in their local communities, particularly when young women felt … Continue reading Michigan Pentecost Bands Cause Local Uproar in 1886

Pentecost Band Leaders Embrace Marital Purity

While Free Methodists during the Progressive Era were known for following stringent Holiness lifestyle guidelines. (For example, simple dress, no instrumental music during services, refraining from any leisure activity that was deemed “worldly.”) Many Pentecost Band members took Holiness living to an entirely new level.  One of the most fascinating and controversial of these beliefs was the practice of marital purity (more commonly called social purity).  Most band workers were single and served in bands with workers of the same sex. However, a few married couples co-led different bands, including Vivan and Ida Dake, Minnie Baldwin Shelhammer and E.E. Shelhamer. … Continue reading Pentecost Band Leaders Embrace Marital Purity

Dake’s Influence on Pentecost Band Theology

While the Pentecost Bands were loosely affiliated with the Free Methodist Church (mostly through connections of leaders such as Vivan Dake and the mentorship of Free Methodist General Superintendent Benjamin Titus Roberts), they diverged from mainstream Free Methodist theology on several key points. One of the most significant was the bands’ beliefs in the process of spiritual sanctification. The 1890 Free Methodist Book of Discipline, the articles of religion outlines that the path to salvation is justification through faith. Even after justification, an individual can still fall into sin if they fall away from their faith. However, IF, after justification, … Continue reading Dake’s Influence on Pentecost Band Theology

Pentecost Band Initial Organizational Guidelines

  While the Pentecost Bands did eventually branch into overseas mission work (Africa, India, and Europe) in the mid-1890s onward, from 1885-1889 the bands ministered in the midwestern United States, traveling around Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.   Guidelines for band membership and the purpose of the Pentecost Bands were outlined in 1885 by Band One in Parma, Michigan. This is the first organizational step that set the bands apart from the Free Methodist Church, where their founder Vivan Dake was an ordained elder.   Purpose of the Bands & Basic Organizational Structure   Guidelines for Membership Membership in any … Continue reading Pentecost Band Initial Organizational Guidelines

A Brief History of the Pentecost Bands

In 1882 Free Methodist elder Vivan Dake along with his wife Ida, J.B. Newville, Henrietta Muzzy Abbie Dunham, and J.L. Keene formed an evangelistic outreach group they named the Pentecost Band. The six were based in Iowa at the time, and God called them to devote their lives to winning people to Christ. Unfortunately, the band was short-lived, dissolving in less than a year as members were pulled in various directions. However, in 1885 while appointed the Michigan Conference evangelist, Dake restarted the bands as a tool to encourage young adults to devote themselves to ministry.[i]   The 1885 Pentecost … Continue reading A Brief History of the Pentecost Bands

Shiny Happy People Podcast

I’m happy to share that my spouse, Andrew, myself and our friend Jeff are hosting a podcast review of each episode of the new Prime Duggar documentary Shiny Happy People. The documentary was released on Amazon Friday, June 2, 2023, and is a four-part series looking into not only the Duggar family, but the underlying theology of their show and the influence of conservative, Christian leaders such as Bill Gothard. Continue reading Shiny Happy People Podcast

Jinger Duggar’s Book Illustrates the Toxicity of Complementarian Theology

Duggar’s book is brave, and she has no allusion that what she is saying is going to be easy for IBLP families to believe or that those who didn’t grow up in conservative Christian culture will fully understand the impact of leaders like Gothard. Continue reading Jinger Duggar’s Book Illustrates the Toxicity of Complementarian Theology

Christian Media & Complementarian Theology: This Partnership isn’t a New Thing

As today’s media landscape extends into every area of life, we are more connected through technology than ever before. The pseudo-community created through social media, television, radio, and print recreates an experience like what Christians encounter when attending church. Continue reading Christian Media & Complementarian Theology: This Partnership isn’t a New Thing

Covering the Body: Requiring a Deaconess Uniform

While the Free Methodist Deaconess Order was geninunely supported by most delegates at the 1907 Free Methodist General Conference, there was one point of contention– should the Free Methodist deaconess have a required uniform? Some Free Methodists worried a uniform would be perceived by the public as a pro-Catholic endorsement and seen as too similar to the habit worn by nuns. [i] Yet, supporters of a uniform argued that by requiring deaconesses to wear a specific outfit or certain colors, the public would be able to easily distinguish their mission and affiliation. Free Methodist Discussion on the Uniform Before the 1907 General … Continue reading Covering the Body: Requiring a Deaconess Uniform