We’ve Come This Far: Reflections on the Pentecostal Tradition and Racial Reconciliation, edited by Byron Klaus. Springfield, MO: Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, 2007.
The history of racial unity and division within the Pentecostal movement has been addressed in a recently-published book, We’ve Come This Far: Reflections on the Pentecostal Tradition and Racial Reconciliation, edited by Byron Klaus. The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary has been a leader within its denomination in its efforts to better include voices of ethnic and racial minorities. This has been evidenced by its increasingly multicultural and international student body, the dedication of the William J. Seymour Chapel, and — now — the publication of We’ve Come This Far.
We’ve Come This Far contains the proceedings of a 2006 lecture series at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary that encouraged reflection about the “missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential” for the Assemblies of God to be an agent of racial reconciliation. The volume notes that the Assemblies of God — like many predominantly-white Pentecostal denominations — “has experienced some challenges in acknowledging its multicultural roots,” as well as its “years of ambiguity about the inclusion of African-Americans in its ministerial ranks” (back cover).
We’ve Come This Far juxtaposes the lives of two notable 20th century American religious leaders — William J. Seymour and Martin Luther King, Jr. — while reflecting on the lessons that can be drawn from them concerning African-American preaching and leadership. The book also features a selection of historical materials — including an account of Assemblies of God minister Robert Harrison (who successfully challenged a policy denying ordination to African-Americans) and a history of the struggle to overcome racism within the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa. Continue reading