Christian History Home > 131 Christians > Movers and Shakers > Phoebe Palmer
Mother of the holiness movement
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Palmer was also deeply concerned about social ills. She was an ardent supporter of the temperance movement and one of the founding directors of America's first inner-city mission—New York's Five Points Mission.
A prominent religious woman in such an age was met with suspicion. Actually, she agreed with critics that it was not right for women to engage in "women preaching, technically so called." But, she added, "it is in the order of God that women may occasionally be brought out of the ordinary sphere of action and occupy in either church or state positions of high responsibility."
Such an example inspired other women, like the Salvation Army's Catherine Booth and the Women's Christian Temperance Union's Frances Willard.
Though she considered herself simply a "Bible Christian" who took Scripture with absolute seriousness, her theology is her legacy. Considered the link between Wesleyan revivalism and modern Pentecostalism, her "altar covenant" gave rise to denominations like The Church of the Nazarene, The Salvation Army, The Church of God, and The Pentecostal-Holiness Church.
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