Pentecostalism first appeared as a global movement, built with both modern and antimodern materials provided by the American holiness missionary movement. On the anti-modern side, radical holiness spirituality and theology infused the worldviews of its advocates with supernaturalism, primitivism, and an apocalyptic eschatology. It resisted modern trends toward systematization, bureaucratization, and centralized control. Furthermore, radical holiness minimized the significance of modern categories of nation, ethnicity, race, and civilization. On the other side, radical holiness depended on the modern disintegration of traditional religious deference, used modern techniques for promoting audiencedriven or democratized patterns of authority, and effectively equipped its followers for the pragmatic methodologies of modernity by skillfully making use of transportation networks, fund-raising techniques, and mass media to reach large audiences.
American holiness missionaries carried these characteristics overseas, where non-American advocates adapted them to their particular circumstances. Both American and non-American adherents promoted radical holiness in ways that confounded reigning categories of identity, power relations, and conceptions of East and West. Radical holiness granted religious authority to Chinese men, Indian girls, spirit-filled Zulus, working-class Chileans, female evangelists, and African-American leaders, as well as white American males, without consciously mobilizing its followers along lines of national, ethnic, gendered, racial, or class identity. It demanded that its followers leave "heathenism," but it did so without utilizing the imperialist era discourse of civilization that upheld western cultural superiority and non-western cultural inferiority. In terms of its national or racial characteristics, then, early leaders from diverse backgrounds used tools from the American holiness movement to bring a non-American movement, world Pentecostalism, into existence.