Review: The Life and Ministry of William J. Seymour

The Life and Minisrty of William J. Seymour

The Life and Ministry of William J. Seymour: And a History of the Azusa Street Revival (The Complete Azusa Street Library, Vol. 1), by Larry Martin. Joplin, MO: Christian Life Books, 1999.

Having read through this manuscript when in its formative stages, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is researching the Pentecostal movement or the Azusa Street revival of Los Angeles that began in the spring of 1906. It is also a good sourcebook for those interested in Black history as William Seymour figures prominently among African-Americans of the 20th century. Larry Martin has done an excellent job in ferreting out little known facts about William J. Seymour, the leader of the Azusa Street revival. He has also uncovered information regarding Seymour’s family and his early life in Louisiana and other places he traveled before arriving in Los Angeles in 1906. Some of the background information he gives regarding everyday life in Southern Louisiana and in Los Angeles near the turn of the century are essential to the understanding of William J. Seymour and the role he played in the Black community and in the beginnings of the Pentecostal movement. Having contacted a number of different religious and local archives, looking through old newspapers, census records, city directories, and the like, Dr. Martin has a clear understanding of who William J. Seymour was. This is the most complete biography of William J. Seymour which has been written to date. When combined with his reflections and documentation of the famed Azusa Street revival, this makes an excellent backdrop for understanding the Pentecostal movement and current revivalism around the globe.

Reviewed by Glenn Gohr.

Paperback, 382 pages, illustrated. $12.99 retail. Order from:

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