Review: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission

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Visions of Apostolic Mission: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission to 1935, by David Bundy. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Historico-Ecclesiastica Upsaliensia, 45. Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University Library, 2009.

Scandinavian missionaries have played an important role in the spread of Pentecostalism both in Europe and in the southern hemisphere. That is one of the major conclusions of David Bundy’s recently-published dissertation: Visions of Apostolic Mission: Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission to 1935. Among many other things, Bundy underscores the achievements of T.B. Barratt, the Norwegian pastor and Pentecostal pioneer.

The Pentecostal revival spread across the globe following the Azusa Street outpouring in 1906. From the very beginning Scandinavians took part in this process. By 1906-1907 a foothold had already been established for the revival in Sweden and Norway. In contrast to the development of the movement in North America, the advent of Scandinavian Pentecostalism did not initially cause splits and the founding of new denominations. Many viewed the new revival as a continuation of the earlier international Holiness movement, which in the Scandinavian countries was influenced by Lutheran pietists, Methodists and Baptists. In Sweden the largest Baptist denomination became the center of the Pentecostal revival.

Bundy shows how Scandinavian pietism influenced not only the character of Pentecostalism in Scandinavia, but also Pentecostalism in other parts of the world through the work of Scandinavian Pentecostal missionaries. One of the characteristics developed by Scandinavian Pentecostalism was an emphasis on the autonomy of the local church. This peculiarity arose from the heritage of Baptist congregationalism in Sweden. Through the missionary strategy of the emerging leader of Swedish Pentecostalism, Lewi Pethrus, this ecclesiology was exported with remarkable success, particularly to Brazil. Bundy’s research using early Pentecostal primary sources in the native Scandinavian languages is unparalleled. His painstaking scholarship has resulted in a great narrative of early Pentecostal revival and missions and is recommended reading for everyone interested in the formative years of global Pentecostalism.

Reviewed by Torbjörn Aronson, Livets Ord University

Paperback, 562 pages. To order, contact the publisher: Acta@ub.uu.se

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