by Grant McClung, ed.
Released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the famous 1906 Azusa Street Revival, this updated edition of Grant McClung’s 1986 book purports to “allow the reader to put one foot into the past and the other into the future” of the worldwide Pentecostal movement.
Bridge-Logos Publishers, P.O. Box 141630, Gainesville, FL 32614-1630, 360 pages, $11.99.
—Reviewed by Nicholas A. Venditti, co-founder and international co-director of Institute of Theology by Extension (INSTE).
Released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the famous 1906 Azusa Street Revival, this updated edition of Grant McClung’s 1986 book purports to “allow the reader to put one foot into the past and the other into the future” of the worldwide Pentecostal movement. Through the efforts of the contributors—a “Who’s Who” of Pentecostal leadership—and the skillful editing of McClung, the book delivers on its promise.
It begins with a historical review of the humble beginnings of the Pentecostal movement. In the first pages the names of Charles Parham, James Seymour and other pioneers are prominent. In succeeding articles, contributors emphasize the worldwide scope of the movement. What happened in the United States also took place in China, India and Latin America. The fire of the Holy Spirit moved throughout the world as Pentecostal missionaries spread the gospel. This section recaps the story of Pentecostalism up to the present day.
The next major section is a theological analysis of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. The special emphasis of early Pentecostalism was on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit through the manifestation of speaking in tongues and signs and wonders. Also prominent in this analysis is the emphasis on the priesthood of all believers in fulfilling the Great Commission. These chapters give a much broader perspective than just the initial sign of speaking in tongues. The theological questions and debate are dealt with in a profound yet straight-forward manner. These early pioneers turned the world upside down. They were people of zeal and faith, although few among them were well educated.
The third section of the book analyzes strategic issues facing the Pentecostal movement. The different authors emphasize the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit as a strategy on the way. As one walks in the Spirit and searches scripture, strategies unfold. The emphasis is on empowering the people and broadening the leadership pool to include those who are bi-vocational lay leaders, instead of simply professional clergy.
The last section of the book looks at Pentecostalism today. The movement is vibrant and thriving especially in the Majority World of Latin America, Asia and Africa. Missions in the third millennium should be the whole Church reaching the whole world together. The Pentecostal/Charismatic movement should emphasize interdependence and unity among its diverse communities to reach this goal.
Azusa Street and Beyond is a worthwhile book that can be used in the local church and in the seminary setting. The novice and scholar—anyone who wants to be informed about Pentecostalism—can benefit from the wealth of information and sources in this book.
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