The pentecostalization of christian zionism

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This essay highlights U.S. pentecostals' and charismatics' cultivation of more experiential forms of identification with Jews and with Israel that in turn played a crucial role in the global growth of Christian Zionism. Already at the turn of the twentieth century, key figures experimented with "Judeo-centric" forms of ritual and dress, merging eschatological concerns inherited from nineteenth-century Protestantism with British Israelite ideas equating Anglo-Saxons with the lost tribes of Israel. In subsequent decades these racial notions were pushed to the fringes of the pentecostal movement, but the intense sense of identification with Israel remained. Building on the emergent mythology in the midcentury U.S. of a shared "Judeo-Christian tradition," adherents increasingly stressed their religious and cultural (as opposed to racial) connections with God's "chosen people." And by the late twentieth century, the 1960s counterculture, a burgeoning emphasis on the therapeutic, and growing religious diversity all facilitated pentecostals' and charismatics' renewed experimentation with "exotic" Israel-themed rituals. Significantly, believers' appropriation of Jewish-based religious practices and identities transcended nationalistic categories, and reinforced post-American sensibilities in important respects. As such, U.S.-based evangelists and broadcast ministries were able to disseminate pentecostalized expressions of Christian Zionism well beyond North America, and help catalyze a transnational, global movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-194
Number of pages36
JournalChurch History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 5 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies


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