William Seymour: archetypal hero Holy Spirit used to lead Azusa Street

Zielicke, Seth (2022). William Seymour: archetypal hero Holy Spirit used to lead Azusa Street. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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In early 1906, in the midst of Jim Crow segregation, a one-eyed black preacher named William Seymour arrived in Los Angeles, California (United States) where he began holding interracial prayer meetings at the home of Richard and Ruth Asberry. After the crowds became so large that they collapsed the Asberry’s porch, Seymour moved the meetings to 312 Azusa Street. Today, millions of Pentecostals trace their roots back to Azusa Street. Yet, despite how important understanding the dynamics of Azusa Street is to the Pentecostal movement, surprisingly little has been written about Seymour’s leadership. Only recently have scholars begun to acknowledge Seymour’s leadership contribution. This thesis builds upon this trend by revisiting the Azusa Street story, in an attempt to better understand how Seymour partnered with the Holy Spirit to lead the Azusa Street Revival. This aspect of charismatic leadership is not addressed by secular analyses of charismatic leadership, yet it is vitally important to understanding how leaders partner with the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s purposes on the earth.

To accomplish this task, Chapter 1 contends that Seymour’s story should be revisited because many scholars in the 20th Century downplayed Seymour’s leadership. Chapter 2 explains the narrative methodologies used in this thesis and why they might be better than existing methodologies at highlighting Seymour’s leadership contribution. Chapters 3 & 4 outline why viewing Seymour as a hero on a heroic journey is important to understanding Seymour, his theology and the central conflict of the Azusa Street story. Chapter 5 examines the theology of central conflict in greater detail, and Chapter 6 compares Seymour’s strategy to Martin Luther King, Jr., and suggests that Seymour is a leader in the same way Civil Rights leaders were leaders. Hopefully understanding Seymour’s story and theology in this way will benefit contemporary charismatic leaders.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13068


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