The Kaleidoscopic City: Hong Kong, Mission, and the Evolution of Global Pentecostalism

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The Kaleidoscopic City explores the development of Pentecostalism in Hong Kong between 1907 to 1942. Focusing primarily on Pentecostal missionaries and the Chinese leaders who worked alongside them, Alex R. Mayfield analyzes how changes within the social structures and ideological frameworks of global Pentecostalism dramatically impacted the movement within the colony. As such, Mayfield helps us to better understand both the spread of Pentecostalism in China and the evolution of global Pentecostalism in the first half of the twentieth century.

Throughout the book, Mayfield delves into specific facets of Pentecostalism’s development in the colony. First, he explores how Pentecostal’s changing relationship to the space of Hong Kong reflected both historical happenstance and deep-rooted evangelical narratives. Second, Mayfield traces how the move from faith mission models to denominational models in Hong Kong marked a dramatic shift in Pentecostal aims, identities, and approaches. Third, he examines the ways Pentecostal evangelistic practices remained, for the most part, "un-Pentecostal" in their conformity to evangelical missionary norms. Fourth, Mayfield considers how Pentecostal spirituality gradually evolved to better respond to the competitive religious marketplace of Hong Kong. Finally, he studies the important roles of Chinese and Western Pentecostal women in Hong Kong and how their perceptions and enactments of gender changed as they fulfilled those roles.

With each turn of the kaleidoscope a different vision comes into view. In some places, Pentecostalism looked like standard evangelicalism; in others, it was a radical, ecstatic departure. It was urban one moment and then rural the next; it was liberating for women but then again not; it was a move of the Spirit; it was careful planning. This unique volume marks a step forward at an attempt of making sense of the paradoxical early Pentecostal movement in China concentrated in the vibrant colonial city of Hong Kong.

Editorial Reviews

Review

This groundbreaking and innovative study pushes the history of Pentecostalism in new, fresh, and compelling directions. By combining qualitative and quantitative data, focus on the spatial, network theory, and close reading of historical texts, Alex Mayfield maps the chronology of Pentecostalism as a transnational movement in the first half of the twentieth century. Mayfield?s study also sheds new light on the formation of Hong Kong as cosmopolitan space in relationship with missionary networks. I highly recommend this excellent work to all scholars of Pentecostalism and of Global Christianity.

-- Dana L. Robert, William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Boston University

The Kaleidoscopic City illuminates the colorfully intertwined histories of Hong Kong, modern China, and Pentecostalism in transnational spaces. Alex Mayfield?s impressive research and engaging narrative brings previously overlooked perspectives to the fore, enriching our understandings of Chinese Christianity?s local and global development?and the lives of women and men who played crucial roles in it. This book expands the field with its groundbreaking explorations of Pentecostal networks, communities, and experiences in conversation with twentieth century China.

-- Joseph W. Ho, Associate Professor of History, Albion College

Alex Mayfield?s innovative research on the history of Pentecostal missions in Hong Kong from 1907 to 1942 draws our attention to the often neglected methodology of spatial analysis. His meticulous study, both qualitative and quantitative, of Pentecostal writings, including numerous journal articles in Pentecostal periodicals, correspondence, and sermons of the time, sheds light on the dynamics of missionary Pentecostalism in Hong Kong in and beyond its formative years. This text offers an important vantage point for re-understanding the history of Pentecostal missions?its theology, institutions, and gender dynamics among other aspects?both locally and globally. A must-read for historians of Christianity in Hong Kong and global Pentecostalism.

-- Naomi Thurston, Assistant Professor, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Review

Alex Mayfield’s innovative research on the history of Pentecostal missions in Hong Kong from 1907 to 1942 draws our attention to the often neglected methodology of spatial analysis. His meticulous study, both qualitative and quantitative, of Pentecostal writings, including numerous journal articles in Pentecostal periodicals, correspondence, and sermons of the time, sheds light on the dynamics of missionary Pentecostalism in Hong Kong in and beyond its formative years. This text offers an important vantage point for re-understanding the history of Pentecostal missions―its theology, institutions, and gender dynamics among other aspects―both locally and globally. A must-read for historians of Christianity in Hong Kong and global Pentecostalism.

-- Naomi Thurston, Assistant Professor, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Baylor University Press (November 1, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 306 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1481318977
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1481318976

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