In the course of the 20th century, Pentecostalism expanded from a small revival movement to a global presence comparable in its extent and variety to Roman Catholicism or Anglicanism. Yet few people in mainstream U.S. churches know much about it, and what little they do know relates more to Pentecostal practice than to Pentecostal thought.
During his only visit to America, theologian Karl Barth in 1962 visited three prisons: Bridewell House of Correction in Chicago, San Quentin in California, and Rikers Island in New York. He called Bridewell “Dante’s inferno on earth” and said it was a contradiction of the wonderful message on the Statue of Liberty. Barth wondered aloud why theologians weren’t denouncing the deplorable conditions in American prisons, calling out Reinhold Niebuhr in particular (Jessica DeCou, “The First Community: Barth’s American Prison Tours,” in Karl Barth and the Making of Evangelical Theology, Eerdmans).