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

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