Azusa Street Revival was just concluded in 1915 and the Assemblies of God denomination was just founded in 1914 when a few years later the 1918 Influenza pandemic hit which lasted to the summer of 1919:

My question is: what did the nascent Pentecostal churches taught their members to interpret the pandemic, specifically connecting recovery / death with faith, healing gift, expectation of protection, or other factors (such as God's judgment or eschatological expectations)?

Answers need to include documented quotes from primary materials (such as church bulletins / sermons) or from secondary materials that reference primary materials.

  • I think similar questions could be asked of 21th century charismatics in relation to the COVID pandemic, +1.
    – user50422
    Feb 22, 2022 at 0:25
  • I think another good question would be that of whether Pentecostals were against the wearing of masks.
    – Jess
    Feb 22, 2022 at 4:14
  • @Jess - or an even more general question would be to ask Pentecostals about their views on medicine.
    – user50422
    Feb 22, 2022 at 4:41
  • 1
    @SpiritRealmInvestigator Well, I remember, back when the pandemic was starting, the minister at my (Charismatic/Evangelical) church mentioning the non-Biblical story of the man who stood on the roof of his house as flood waters came rising, and when people in boats came to rescue him, he waved them off, saying "God will save me" until he drowned. When he stood before God in Heaven, he asked why he wasn't saved from the waters, and then God said, "Who do you think sent the boats?"
    – nick012000
    Feb 23, 2022 at 11:57
  • 2
    @nick012000 in the version I heard God also sent a canoe and a helicopter :-). In Covid time that would be social distancing, mask, and vaccine. Feb 23, 2022 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


Because its movement was primarily charismatic rather than doctrinal, Early Pentecostalism does not seem to have had a defined policy regarding the providential significance of the epidemic and how Pentecostals should respond to it. Moreover, by 1918 there were already two major Pentecostal denominations in the USA as well as many smaller or informal groups. This article reports several pertinent facts based on the articles from the Christian Evangel, the newspaper of the Assemblies of God:

  • Although they believed in healing, Pentecostals did not claim that their faith in God would necessarily protect them from the disease. However there were exceptions, as some Pentecostal ministers taught that God had miraculously protected a particular congregation (at least in the beginning of the pandemic).

  • The Christian Evangel published many healing accounts from ministers. However, it also included a list of prayer requests, many asking for prayer for themselves or their children who were dying of influenza.

  • Churches and ministers complied with health department mandates to close their meetings and quarantine those who were sick. They recognized that they needed to protect people in the cities they lived in. On several occasions, ministers canceled revival meetings because influenza was spreading across the town.

  • Yet, believers also went to the homes of those who were sick to pray. Some reported miraculous answers to prayer. They also ministered to the dying.

Unfortunately the OPs questions cannot be completely answered based on the information readily at hand. However the above summary gives a general sense of the matter: like other Christians, early Pentecostals responded to the influenza pandemic of 1918 through healing ministries, prayer for the sick and comforting the dying. They complied with health regulations, including canceling church services and evangelical meetings. They believed in the power of healing prayer but did not generally insist that their faith would protect them from the disease.

The OP asks for primary sources. Please refer to the linked article above for several of these.

This article deals with the response of overseas Pentecostal missions associated with the Faith Tabernacle Congregation.

This article deals with Indigenous African Pentacostalism

I was not able to find anything from the Church of God in Christ about this.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .