Los Carpinteros de Dios, by Samuel Santana. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Concilio Evangelico Asambleas de Dios de la Republica Dominicana, 2006.
Samuel Santana, the Director of Public Relations for the Assemblies of God of the Dominican Republic, recently authored Los Carpinteros de Dios, a Spanish-language history of the Assemblies of God in the Caribbean island nation.
Los Carpinteros de Dios (which translates in English as The Carpenters of God) is divided into five chapters. Chapter one recounts the introduction of Christianity to the Dominican Republic, from Christopher Columbus’ 1492 landing through the arrival of the Baptist and Methodist faiths in the early nineteenth century. Chapter two traces the development of evangelical churches (primarily various Wesleyan groups) in the nation throughout the nineteenth century. Chapter three tells the story of the emergence of Pentecostalism in the Dominican Republic. Sanatana notes that most historians believe that Salomon Feliciano introduced the movement to the nation in 1916. A number of other successful Pentecostal missionaries, many from Puerto Rico, soon followed.
Chapter four documents the history of the Asambleas de Dios de la Republica Dominicana, which was organized in 1942. The Assemblies of God initially built upon the work of another organization, Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana. A Bible school, Instituto Biblico de Santiago, was opened in 1944. Santana details the leaders and institutions important to the development of the church, including historical essays on 24 departments such as Escuela Dominical (Sunday school) and Embajadores de Cristo (Christ’s Ambassadors). Chapter five tells of the origins of the Assemblies of God, exploring its roots in the various turn of the twentieth century revivals, with particular emphasis on the Azusa Street revival and the development of the American church. In 2006, the Assemblies of God in the Dominican Republic claimed over 200,000 members from diverse social classes, and it sponsored nineteen theological schools.
Appendices at the end of the volume include: biographical sketches of the superintendents (Enrique Suarez served the longest, from 1942 to 1968); minutes of the first convention (1942); a timeline of important events; and a bibliography.
Los Carpinteros de Dios is an important work that documents a significant and growing Christian denomination in the Dominican Republic and should be in the library of every seminary and major university.
Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers.
Paperback, 143 pages, illustrated. $5 plus postage. For ordering information, contact the author by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).