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Review: Assemblies of God in New Zealand

Pentecost at the Ends of the Earth: The History of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand (1927-2003), by Ian G. Clark. Blenheim, New Zealand: Christian Road Ministries, 2007.

The Assemblies of God in New Zealand, the largest Pentecostal organization in that country, traces its origins to the ministry of legendary healing evangelist Smith Wigglesworth. Despite its storied past and significant growth (claiming 30,000 adherents in over 200 churches in 2007), a history of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand had not been written. That is, until now.

Ian G. Clark, a seasoned Assemblies of God pastor and educator, has authored Pentecost at the Ends of the Earth: The History of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand (1927-2003). This well-written volume consists of 274 pages covering 76 years in 50 chronological chapters, documented with 483 footnotes. The author scoured a variety of sources – most significantly the New Zealand Evangel, denominational records, written memoirs, personal recollections, written histories, and his own memories – in the production of this admirably-researched history.

New Zealand’s relatively isolated island locale – described in the title – suggests the reason why it took until the 1920s for Pentecostalism to find firm reception. This breakthrough came when English plumber-turned-evangelist Smith Wigglesworth made a splash upon his arrival in Wellington, New Zealand in May 1922. His meetings, the first large-scale Pentecostal campaign in the country, led to the establishment of Pentecostalism in New Zealand. While Wigglesworth was preceded by other Pentecostal evangelists and isolated groups, Continue reading

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