Who Else … But God!, by Fred Smolchuck. Springfield, MO: The Author, 2006.
Almost eighty years ago, Fred Smolchuck felt God’s call to the ministry. Following that call led him around the world, and he became a leader within Slavic Pentecostalism, both in the United States and in eastern Europe. Smolchuck’s strong voice and mind, his smoldering passion for souls, and his leadership gifts continue to make their mark on the Pentecostal landscape.
Smolchuck, the son of Ukrainian immigrants to America, was a founding member of the Ukrainian Branch of the Assemblies of God (USA), he served as a pastor and district official in Michigan, and he authored sixteen books. Most of his books, published in the Ukrainian and Russian languages, offer practical advice and theological training to believers in eastern Europe and to immigrants in North America. His 1992 book, From Azusa Street to the U.S.S.R.: A Brief History of Pentecost Among Slavic Immigrants, 1900-1991, provides a valuable overview of the people, places, and themes in Slavic-American Pentecostal history. Now, in Who Else … But God!, he has told his own story, which is inextricably intertwined with the emergence of the Slavic churches in the Assemblies of God. His story is significant, as he traces not only his family’s spiritual pilgrimage, but the development of Pentecostalism among the Slavic peoples in the U.S. from the 1920s until the present. Importantly, Smolchuck has served as a bridge between an earlier generation of Slavic Pentecostals and the more recent waves of Slavic Pentecostal immigrants to North America.
Relatively little has been written about the ethnic aspects of the growth of the Assemblies of God in the United States. Historians, church leaders, and people in the pew are indebted to Smolchuck for enriching their understanding of Pentecostalism’s development among the Slavs. Who Else … But God! confirms that one man, working within the fabric of the Christian community, can make a difference that affects eternity. This volume is a valuable contribution to the literature on Pentecostal history. It belongs in every college and seminary library with a focus on Pentecostal or Slavic-American history.
Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers.
[This review was originally posted February 22, 2007. Smolchuck passed away on February 23, 2008.]