The End of History at the Museum of the Bible

Lapham's Quarterly

When I was in high school, I went with a couple of friends to their Assembly of God church’s revival week.

Assembly of God churches are Pentecostal congregations, but I think of them as Pentecostal light. My friends were not required to wear long skirts or keep their hair uncut, as did members of stricter Pentecostal fellowships in my rural Arkansas hometown, Clinton. We were all cheerleaders together, and they were even allowed to show their legs off in front of a stadium. But they were still fundamentalist Christians, their beliefs strict and unyielding. The Bible was the word of God, written by a divine hand. When they prayed, they held their hands to the sky and sang songs that were not in hymnals. They were visited by the Holy Spirit, and sometimes spoke in tongues. They did not, as we did in my staid Methodist church, have to be quiet during the long sermon or obligingly recite creeds.