Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924)


Pre-Pentecostal herald of "signs and wonders"

Many shouted, others wept with a loud voice," wrote Maria Woodworth-Etter about one of her meetings. "Other times the power would sweep over the house in melting power. In a few minutes, everyone in the congregation would be weeping, saints and sinners." But Woodworth-Etter's meeting occurred years before the Pentecostal movement began.

At these meetings, congregants would fall into trances or experience visions that could last for hours. Woodworth-Etter often went into trances, too, standing perfectly still with her hands in the air while the service continued. She called the experience "the power," but critics dubbed her the "voodoo priestess."

A frequent charge was that she hypnotized the people. Two doctors in St. Louis tried to have her committed as insane during a meeting she conducted there in 1890.

Born near Lisbon, Ohio, she had a rough first 35 years—five of her six children had died, and her first husband was caught in adultery. Distraught, she turned to the Quakers and became a preacher at a revival meeting. In 1912, at age 68, Woodworth-Etter joined the larger Pentecostal movement when she accepted Pentecostal pioneer F. F. Bosworth's invitation to speak at his Dallas church. She stayed for six months, gaining favorable publicity in Pentecostal publications as far away as England.

Woodworth-Etter became one of the best known Pentecostal evangelists at the turn of the century, and her ministry made it more possible for later woman preachers and healers, like Aimee Semple McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman, to minister publicly.

Charles H. Mason (1866-1961)


Seeker of slave Christianity

Charles Mason grew up hearing about the passionate Christianity ...

Subscriber Access OnlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Already a CT subscriber?
or your full digital access.