Pentecostal Research Collection

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Grant Wacker, professor of Christian history at Duke Divinity School and a prominent American religion historian, has placed his Pentecostal research collection at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center located in the Assemblies of God national offices in Springfield, Mo. It is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world.

The Grant Wacker Collection was dedicated Oct. 11 in a special service at Evangel University, also in Springfield, led by Evangel University President Robert Spence. The collection consists of 13.75 linear feet of files plus numerous books, which together constitute the raw materials from which Wacker crafted his scholarly assessments of the Pentecostal movement.

"There are few scholars who have left a greater mark on the landscape of American religious history than Dr. Wacker," said Spence.

Wacker, an Assemblies of God pastor's son, was raised in Springfield. He is the grandson of Ralph Riggs, who served as general superintendent of  the Assemblies of God from 1953 to 1959. Wacker earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University and has taught American religious history at Duke Divinity School since 1992.

Pentecostal history has been one of Wacker's primary research interests, and his 2001 book, Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture, has become a standard text on the subject. He is now writing a book entitled Billy Graham and the Shaping of Modern America, under contract with Harvard University Press, but retains interest in developments in Pentecostal histo­ry.

When Wacker began his Pentecostal historical research in 1979, he made a visit to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (then known as the Assemblies of God Archives). He became friends with the center's director, and the staff has provided camaraderie and scholarly assistance to Wacker since then.

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