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Four Decades of “Discreet” Charismata: The Catholic Apostolic Church in Australia 1863-1900

Elliott, P. (2018) Four Decades of “Discreet” Charismata: The Catholic Apostolic Church in Australia 1863-1900. Journal of Religious History, 42 (1). pp. 72-83.

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For some years, the historiography of Australian Pentecostalism has been dominated by the belief that Pentecostalism came to Australia in 1909 through the agency of Sarah Jane Lancaster who had, in turn, been influenced by news of overseas events. There had, apparently, been little or no influence in the Australian context by such groups as the Catholic Apostolic Church, which formed in Britain in 1835, in the wake of Edward Irving's proto-Pentecostal theology. Although members of the Catholic Apostolic Church arrived in Melbourne in the 1850s, the general view was that they had by then abandoned their earlier pursuit of the charismata. In 2012, I argued (based on a limited sample of evidence) that the adherents of the Catholic Apostolic Church in Australia both taught and practised the charismata throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. This evidence is contained in the Angels' Report Books, located in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Since then, the Bradford collection has been fully digitised, thereby allowing a comprehensive review of the Catholic Apostolic Church's charismatic activity and further evaluation of the Lancaster hypothesis. The significance of this research is that it allows a considerable re-framing of the pre-history of Australian Pentecostalism, demonstrating that the Catholic Apostolic Church taught and practised glossolalia, prophecy and divine healing through the last four decades of the nineteenth century.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley Online
Copyright: © 2017 Religious History Association
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