Holy Jumpers, Batman!

Paul Harvey

One more review of interest from Choice for you. For whatever reason, I had never heard of (or maybe I just forgot about) the Metropolitan Church Association, but they seem to fit into the kinds of cantankerous enthusiasts that Randall wrote about so memorably in his book The Fire Spreads. Anyway, perhaps some of you will want to check out this fun-looking book, below:

Kostlevy, William. Holy jumpers: evangelicals and radicals in Progressive Era America. Oxford, 2010. 240p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780195377842, $65.00. Reviewed in 2010dec CHOICE.
Based on extensive archival research, Holy Jumpers presents a significant study of the Metropolitan Church Association (MCA; "Burning Bush"), a radical faction of the holiness movement. Kostlevy (Tabor College) balances the MCA's utopian vision with its fanaticism and disruptive strategies, revealing a story of conflict in pursuit of harmony. Rejecting the conservatism of the National Holiness Association, the MCA embraced a faith for the new world of the 20th century that included holiness, communalism, premillennialism, and faith healing. Kostlevy commendably situates the MCA within other radical expressions of the Progressive Era, including populism and the Industrial Workers of the World. Known for their demonstrative worship characterized by extreme physical exercises, MCA adherents fostered divisions within families and communities, and frequently provoked violence and legal action. Using modern media with sensational content, the MCA censured and rejected almost all other denominations. Most importantly, the MCA played a decisive role in the Azusa Street Revival of 1906-1909 and the emergence of Pentecostalism. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. -- B. W. Hamilton, Northeastern Seminary


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