1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

Cross Examined, a novel about Christian apologetics, Christianity, and atheism109-year-old Rose Cliver, the oldest survivor of San Francisco’s great earthquake, has recently died, leaving only two survivors of the event. The Huffington Post article of the event includes some great photos of the aftermath.

While a little off-topic for this blog, this is squarely on topic for my book, set in 1906 Los Angeles in the aftermath of the earthquake. The Azusa Street Revival, which launched the Pentecostal movement, began with a reasonably successful prediction on the front-page of the LA Times the morning of the earthquake.

Someone within the Azusa Street church saw the people of Los Angeles “flocking in a mighty stream to perdition” and saw “awful destruction to this city unless its citizens are brought to a belief in the tenets of the new faith.”

This was too cool an event to ignore, and I launched my story with this earthshaking and historic prediction.

Photo credit: Berkeley Seismological Laboratory

Related links:

  • Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey on Amazon.

Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible (3 of 3)
8 Tests for Accurate Prophecy and Why Bible Prophecies Fail
How Decades of Oral Tradition Corrupted the Gospels
Who Would Die for a Lie? (Another Weak Christian Argument)
About Bob Seidensticker
  • Rick Townsend

    Bob,

    What’s your reference for “Someone within the Azusa Street church saw the people of Los Angeles ‘flocking in a mighty stream to perdition’ and saw ‘awful destruction to this city unless its citizens are brought to a belief in the tenets of the new faith.’”

    I assumed this was factual, but it appears you made it up to fit your novel’s premise? Just curious. Not sure where your history ends and your fiction picks up.

    Rick

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition, p. 97.

      • Retro

        I assumed this was factual, but it appears you made it up to fit your novel’s premise? Just curious. Not sure where your history ends and your fiction picks up.

        The interesting thing is that I was just thinking the exact same thing about the Bible…

        • Bob Seidensticker

          :-)

        • Rick Townsend

          The Bible’s much easier. No fiction except where it is labeled as such, like in the parables. Do your homework.

          The obscure reference to the world renowned Vinson Synan is much different. How can you be sure he got his facts right and didn’t make up the prophecy after the fact? I’m sure you are doing as much due diligence on his work as you are on that of Jesus and His followers.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          No fiction except where it is labeled as such, like in the parables.

          The majority of the world, the non-Christians, would not call it history. That’s not proof, of course, but it’s an interesting data point.

          How can you be sure he got his facts right and didn’t make up the prophecy after the fact?

          You’ve lost me. Let me make a guess at what you’re saying: that we have a discipline called History, with two candidates that want entry: (1) a fragment of The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition by Vinson Synan (William B. Eerdmands Publishing, 1997) and (2) the New Testament. Which, if either, warrant being cataloged as history?

          (1) Synan was quoting from the Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1906, page 1. You’ve caught me–I didn’t go verify this reference on microfiche. Given that this story (if not the quotation) is widespread, do you think I erred in using it above?

          (2) The New Testament claims to be history but is full of supernatural events, like fiction and mythology and clearly not like history. Indeed, I’ve never come across any supernatural event that is widely accepted within the domain of history that is supernatural in the least.

          After this brief analysis, I conclude that Synan is history and the New Testament is not.

          Is that what you wanted?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Rick:

          Well? Does that resolve it?

          Have I shown that this “obscure reference to the world renowned Vinson Synan” (as you put it) is actually relevant history? Did I meet your standards for historical research?

  • Rick Townsend

    Reference, “Well? Does that resolve it?”

    I have other irons in the fire. I don’t know if you have met my standards yet or not. I will let you know. Life does have other priorities than this blog, unfortunately. (Shocking, I know…)


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