Revivalism and restorationism : the Brownsville Revival and its leaders’ paradoxical defense.


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This study examines the Brownsville Revival, a Pentecostal revival of religion that took place at the end of the twentieth century at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida. The church belonged to the Pentecostal denomination of the Assemblies of God. Pentecostals are restorationists, seeking to bypass history and to restore the church to New Testament practices, particularly in their literal reading of scripture and the emphasis on restoring spiritual gifts and miracles. This dissertation shows that the leaders of the Brownsville Revival took a paradoxical approach of advancing restorationist themes while appealing to revival history in an effort to legitimate their religious movement. This dissertation takes a thematic approach and offers a chronological account of this religious movement. On Father’s Day 1995, a revival of religion started at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida and lasted for five years. As news of the revival spread, visitors came from throughout the United States and from across the world. The revival leaders, Steve Hill, John Kilpatrick, Lindell Cooley, and Michael Brown, stressed restorationist themes in their messages—spoken, written, and sung— while appealing to revival history. It was reported that over three million people attended the revival and over one hundred thousand claimed conversion experiences. As with previous revivals of religion, the Brownsville Revival experienced its share of difficulties, both from outside critics and insider conflicts. In the end, denominational influence due to financial involvement expedited the end of the revival.



Religion. Revival. Pentecostalism.