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Aesthetics, Pentecostals and

  1. Edmund J. Rybarczyk

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1522

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Rybarczyk, E. J. 2011. Aesthetics, Pentecostals and. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


The Pentecostal worldview is an amalgam of pragmatism, a rather literal biblical hermeneutic, anti-traditionalism, and an impulse toward apostolic restorationism. Each of these features has contributed toward a Pentecostal aesthetic. Most early 20th century Pentecostal congregations were comprised of people from the lower and middle classes. This meant that their financial resources were limited to pragmatic concerns (e.g. supporting the minister, paying the church mortgage, funding missionaries), so that things like art and architecture were barely on the horizon of their thinking. Biblical literalism led them to believe that aesthetics and art were secondary concerns at best. After all, the New Testament does not immediately testify to any early Christian aesthetic. And for its part, the Old Testament prohibitions of idolatry apparently precluded any serious aesthetic reflection; this characteristic the Pentecostals share with other low-church, free-church Protestants.


  • aesthetics, pentecostals and;
  • pentecostal worldview, amalgam of pragmatism;
  • pentecostal emphasis on the gifts of the spirit;
  • abiding pentecostal anti-traditionalism