Skeptics and Scoffers: The Religious World Looks at Azusa Street, 1906-1907 (The Complete Azusa Street Library, Vol. 8), compiled and edited by Larry E. Martin. Pensacola, FL: Christian Life Books, 2004.
Dr. Larry Martin has been my friend for many years and I have nothing but good things to say about him. We have been prayer partners, and one time we attended the Smithton Revival together. Another time Larry and I traveled to Indianapolis and Anderson, Indiana, tracing the footsteps of William J. Seymour and other early Pentecostals who sojourned there for awhile. Although now separated by distance, we have ongoing communication through emails and sharing of historical materials.
Larry has an outstanding ministry as an evangelist, teacher, and writer. He also has a profound interest in revival and its origins, which has led him to a deeper study of historical revivals such as the Topeka Outpouring, the Welsh Revival, and Azusa Street.
There are lessons to be learned from history, and the Azusa Street Revival is no exception. That sovereign move of God took place as individuals, united in purpose, yielded to the Spirit of God. With an uneducated African American at the helm, a simple building with makeshift seats, and eager participants, much was accomplished in that revival that spread and reverberated around the world. It serves as a model for revivalism today.
As with any great move of God, there is often some evidence of skepticism, misunderstanding, unbelief, animosity, vocal disagreement, and even counterfeit religion.
Larry has done a great service by compiling some rare and little-known testimonies from those who scoffed at or doubted the authenticity of early Pentecostalism. He has included a wide variety of articles, news clips, and personal accounts dating from the Azusa Street era (1906-1908)of a century ago.
Some reports come from people who at first challenged the message and then later accepted the Pentecostal ways of Azusa Street. Their eyewitness accounts are especially important in getting the full perspective of the revival. Larry has done a good job of tracking down articles that approach the revival from a number of different viewpoints, and he has tried to include something from most denominational persuasions.
Firsthand reports from important individuals such as A. G. Garr, Phineas Bresee, Charles Parham, and Alma White, as well as editorials from unknown authors help to round out this volume. He covers the gamut of left-wing understanding of Pentecostalism evidenced at Azusa Street.
I highly recommend this volume to anyone who wishes to gain a well-rounded understanding of the Azusa Street Revival, the currents of unbelief which surrounded it, and its impact on the world. This book is an important addition to The Complete Azusa Street Library which Larry has worked hard to produce. (from the foreword)
Reviewed by Glenn Gohr
Paperback, 306 pages, illustrated. $12.00 retail. Order from: Amazon.com