Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in Religious Studies
Assemblies of God, pentecostalism, pentecostal newspapers, missionaries, Chinese Civil War, Communism, China
Classical Pentecostalism emerged out of Christian fundamentalism popular at the turn of the twentieth century in the United States. True to their roots, early Pentecostals maintained an otherworldly focus and eschewed political involvement or advocacy. A defining characteristic of early Classical Pentecostalism was its missionary zeal; by 1906, Pentecostals had arrived in one of the leading missionary destinations, China. Correspondence from missionaries of the Assemblies of God (AG), the largest of the Classical Pentecostal denominations, told supporters of the great potential for Christianity in the newly formed Republic of China. As the government collapsed, missionaries used stories from China as examples of Christian faith during the hardships of 1914 through 1949. However, following the tumultuous events of the World War II and the Chinese Communist revolution in 1949, AG missionaries added political anti-Communism into their story. In this study, I contend that following 1949, the story of China moved from a spiritual lesson for Christians to a spiritual-political warning for Americans. In other words, the narrative of missionary correspondence shifted from saving souls to saving Uncle Sam. The political turn in the narrative of China is one of the best examples of the post-war realignment by Classical Pentecostals, such as the AG, towards American political ideology. Despite official statements of neutrality, AG missionary writings about China have paralleled American policy towards China from 1949 through the present.
© Jason Marc Pudlo
Pudlo, Jason Marc, "The Cautionary Tale of Communist China: Missionaries and the Pentecostal Shift Towards Anti-Communism From 1914 Through 1951" (2012). MSU Graduate Theses. 2586.