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Out of the Mouths of BabesGirl Evangelists in the Flapper Era$
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Thomas A. Robinson and Lanette D. Ruff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199790876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199790876.001.0001

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Criticism and Decline

Criticism and Decline

(p.135) Chapter 14 Criticism and Decline
Out of the Mouths of Babes

Thomas A. Robinson

Lanette D. Ruff

Oxford University Press

As the number of girl evangelists increased and more attention came their way, some criticism developed. The more liberal religious press condemned girl evangelists often because they did not like revivalists of any stripe. They also had concerns about child labor. Some elements in the conservative religious press did not like female preachers – young or old. Such was Frank Bartleman, famous for writing a history of the Pentecostal Azusa Street revival. Then came concern from leaders in the Pentecostal movements, where most of the girls were located, that such was an exploitation of the girls. As well, Aimee Semple McPherson, the protégé of many of the girl evangelist, was involved in a number of scandals. All of this helped cause the decline of the phenomenon of the girl evangelist. A different kind of damage to girl evangelists was done as they were adopted into popular culture and its literature, where a sexual element was introduced. This would have tainted the image somewhat. The chapter discusses, too, how the rigorous workload led to a decline in girl evangelists.

Keywords:   Frank Bartleman, Azusa Street revival, religious press, revivalism, Aimee Semple McPherson, workload

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