The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism

By Ralph W. Hood, Jr.; Peter C. Hill et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Fundamentalism in a Pentecostal Denomination

The Church of God (of Prophecy)1

Live by the Bible or die by the Bible, yea, whether we live
or die, if we obey Him we are true soldiers of Jesus Christ:
and we are His for service because we have enlisted in His
army…. Let the enemy raise his war whoop and turn his
gatling [sic] guns of false teaching and a hireling ministry
against us, we must and will march right up to the
ramparts and over the breastworks, snatch the sword
(Word of God) out of the giant's hands, and with it cut off
his head.

—TOMLINSON (1984, pp. 26, 27)

This chapter is concerned with fundamentalism in the Church of God (COG), one of the most significant Pentecostal denominations to emerge in the Southeastern United States at the beginning of the 20th century. Some may find it puzzling at first to examine fundamentalism in such a group, particularly since social scientists among both nonfundamentalists (Ammerman, 1991; Barr, 1977; Marsden, 1980, 1990) and self-proclaimed fundamentalists (Beale, 1986; Dollar, 1973; Sidwell, 1998) have tended to deny that such groups are part of the tradition. COG members are typically labeled by fundamentalists as heretics for their doctrinal stand on charismatic gifts—glossolalia, for example—and as such are distanced from evangelicals. Ammerman (1991) bases this distinction on speculation that “Pentecostals trust the revelatory power of experience more than do the more rationally oriented fundamentalists who seek to confine revelation to scripture alone” (p. 4), thus adopting what Carpenter (1997) identifies as a narrow definition of fundamental-

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