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A definitive history for Pentecostals and Charismatics.
An intriguing ready reference for persons outside the movement.
Posted June 13, 2001
This volume covers the history the most spectacular Church growth phenomenon of the twentieth century-the global growth of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements to currently around 500 million adherents. Synan has provided us with a definitive history. Schooled as a secular historian (rather than a church historian) he has an eye for the broadest scope of this remarkable development. He is best at interpreting and uncovering the earliest roots of Pentecostalism and then probing their ecumenical ramifications. The book includes chapters by other experts on African-Americans, Catholics, Hispanics, Televangelists and Spirit-filled women. World renowned demographer, David Barrett, supplies helpful global statistics but then reveals a weird streak by concluding his chronology with 'possible future trends' from 2004 to 3781-stranger than science fiction! Synan's book is a major contribution to religious history. It is the first comprehensive overview of these movements and is destined to become the standard textbook in Pentecostal Charismatic history for the forseeable future. I expect it will be used on college campuses for at least 20 years. Synan has been the dominant scholarly historian of these movements from the beginning, being able to interpret them as a participant observer. This magnum opus has established his reputation permanently. Without having read The Century of the Holy Spirit no one will be able to claim that they are up to date on the development of Pentecostal and Charismatic movement of the twentieth century.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2001
This book perhaps is the magnum opus of Vinson Synan's life work. I heard him speak years ago in Pittsburgh and have read other work by him. It is a disappointment on many levels. First, it is an antiseptic presentation of Pentecostalism. Granted, issues are presented, but much raw vintage such as found in Robert Mapes Anderson's seminal work is sadly missing for someone so long inside the movement. Secondly, it is ecumenical to the point of overkill. Even non-Biblical religions are considered candidates for Pentecostalism, which prompts the question: If the Holy Spirit authored the Bible (which Christians believe He did) how can the same Spirit conceivably bring together in unity non-Biblical religions? Thirdly, the book misses passion and fire that Pentecostalism is known for. Maybe it is Vinson's writing style, but it is dry at points and soul-less. Give me the likes of Robert Mapes Anderson (who by self-admission was not an insider as Synan is) anyday.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.