Good day, and greetings from the “Church of Christ Celebrities” blog! I hope you’re enjoying your time here; if you are, let me know over at the Contact page and share with your friends on social media. Topic suggestions are always welcome through those same channels.
After several consecutive entries away, we return to the world of music today for a short post as we discuss the religious affiliations of crooner, occasional political commentator, and frequent product spokesperson Pat Boone (1934-). Boone was one of the biggest stars in pop music during the late 1950s and early 1960s–by one measure, at least, second only to Elvis himself in that era. Later in his career, Boone’s tastes gravitated toward country and gospel music, and he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2003.
(Oddly enough, Boone released a cover album of hard rock and metal songs performed in a jazz/standards style in 1997. This was not a major moment in his career, necessarily, but it’s every bit as strange as it sounds, and the cover art is equally bizarre.)
As you have undoubtedly surmised by now based on his appearance on this blog, Boone also appears frequently on lists of celebrities associated with Churches of Christ. Is there anything to the connection, and if so, what?
Historian David Edwin Harrell Jr.’s work, The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century, provides us all of the information we need to answer these questions. Harrell reveals that Boone was raised in Churches of Christ and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University) in the mid-1950s. (1) However, he also notes that Boone would eventually leave Churches of Christ for Pentecostal circles, where his beliefs about the Holy Spirit were more at home:
Even more disconcerting to most members of the churches of Christ was the 1969 defection of Pat Boone to the charismatic movement. Boone, the premier celebrity in the churches of Christ in the 1960s, was introduced to the charismatic movement by Clinton Davidson, who had befriended Pentecostal luminary David Wilkerson in the 1950s. When Boone and his wife, Shirley, reported that they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoken in tongues, they were ostracized by their former admirers. A few small bands of charismatics survived in the churches of Christ, but the movement remained a very hostile environment for Pentecostal ideas. (2)
The link between Pat Boone and Churches of Christ is CONFIRMED, then, at least for his earliest years and college education.
Also, because I couldn’t resist, here’s one of the songs off of Boone’s jazz/hard rock album. Take us down to the Paradise City, indeed, Mr. Boone, but bring us back in two weeks’ time for the next entry here at the “Church of Christ Celebrities” blog.
(1) David Edwin Harrell, Jr., The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey’s Personal Journey of Faith (Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 2000), 171.
(2 Harrell, Jr., The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century, 185.