Phoebe Palmer

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Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874), Methodist evangelist, amateur theologian, feminist and editor, was born in New York City. Involved in many church activities at a young age, Palmer began attending a weekly Bible study class in the early 1830s which was devoted to the promotion of holiness. It was here that she first began to develop a modified version of Wesley’s entire sanctification, believing that God would make one holy if they gave everything over to Christ and devoted themselves to Him entirely.

Palmer’s “alter theology,” while controversial, became extremely popular, and by the end of her life Palmer had participated in over three hundred revival camp meetings throughout North America and Britain and produced several publications on the topic. Additionally, Palmer promoted the cause of women’s ministries and was strongly committed to humanitarian aid. Her pioneering activities influenced many and contributed to the transition in revivalist activities from the small-town campaigns of Finney to the city-wide crusades of Moody.

For further reading see C.E. White, The Beauty of Holiness: Phoebe Palmer as Theologian, Revivalist, Feminist, and Humanitarian (Zondervan, 1986). 

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