At the beginning of the twentieth century, Pentecostalism disrupted the U.S. religion market. Charismatic beliefs and practices, particularly the emphasis on baptism of the Holy Spirit and miraculous physical healing, comingled with the Wesleyan holiness movement. Soon, divisions arose between holiness and Pentecostal movements. Divisions also occurred within Pentecostalism giving rise to distinct types. Within this fluid religion market, with doctrinal debates and controversies, Pentecostal, holiness-Pentecostal, and holiness missionaries entered Guatemala openly competing with existing mainline Protestant, holiness, and evangelical missions. Without regard for doctrinal orthodoxy, independent missionaries proselytized their beliefs throughout the country, converting existing congregations and introducing Pentecostal beliefs. Likewise, the new denominations’ mission boards were complicit in creating doctrinal heterodoxy by hiring individual missionaries whose beliefs contradicted the denomination’s doctrinal position. A major legacy of the heterodoxy is the highly schismatic (heterogeneous) nature of the Guatemalan religion market.
Rachel M. McCleary is Lecturer, Economics Department, Harvard University, and nonresident Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute.
Rachel holds a doctorate in moral philosophy, University of Chicago. Rachel’s scholarly work in philosophy focuses on issues of moral agency, consciousness, and reasoning. Her most recent work on the topic is the nature agency for beatified and canonized children and youth by the Catholic Church as martyrs. Her contributions to the study of the political economy of religion examine the influence of religious beliefs and practices on human productivity, economic growth, and the maintenance of political institutions such as democracy.