Tag Archives: Histories

Review: Ministry to the Disabled

Compel Them to Come In: Reaching People with Disabilities through the Local Church, compiled and edited by Tom Leach. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2010.

Fifty-eight million Americans live with some form of disability. Yet many churches have seemingly ignored this large and diverse population. A new book, Compel Them to Come In, provides a guide to ministry to people with physical and mental disabilities. This book – an anthology of essays by Assemblies of God leaders in disability ministries – is the first of its kind to be written by Pentecostals. Its solid, ministry-tested approach means that it will be welcomed by the broader Christian community.

Compel Them to Come In seeks to introduce pastors and people in the pew to some of the issues and strategies regarding ministry to people with physical and mental disabilities. The book offers practical suggestions regarding the adaptation of specific ministries (e.g., evangelism, Sunday school, the worship service) to the needs of the disabled. It also addresses how to minister to people with specific disabilities (e.g., mild intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, blind and visually impaired). The volume also discusses the importance of providing encouragement to caregivers, and points out that the disabled have a valuable role in ministry to the body.

The authors write from experience. Tom Leach, the editor, was born with mild cerebral palsy. His mother, instead of aborting Tom, gave birth and placed him for adoption. At age 25 while a student at Trinity Bible College (Ellendale, North Dakota), he survived a car wreck that left him paralyzed from the chest down as a C-6, 7 quadriplegic. He is now an Assemblies of God evangelist serving with Special Touch Ministry, a para-church organization that serves the needs of people with disabilities and which helped to develop this book.

Additional contributors include: Charlie Chivers, a nationally appointed Assemblies of God missionary to people with disabilities and founder of Special Touch Ministry; Larry Campbell, also a nationally appointed Assemblies of God missionary to people with disabilities; Paul Weingartner, the executive director of the Assemblies of God Center for the Blind; and Sarah Sykes, who works with the Assemblies of God Center for the Blind.

I had the privilege of meeting Tom Leach in his Ellendale home this summer. Within the course of an hour, Tom changed my views about people with disabilities. He shared his testimony and showed me Compel Them to Come In and another book he had authored. This was the first conversation I can recall having with a quadriplegic. When I previously came into contact with people who had lost use of their limbs, I generally looked away, partly because I did not want to stare and partly because I felt embarrassed. Tom burst my stereotypes and demonstrated an incredible passion for life and for Christ. He was articulate and I clung onto his words. And I still cannot grasp how Tom was able to produce two books – even with a computer adapted to his disabilities and with the assistance of his wife, Gayle, and a handful of ministry colleagues.

Tom completed this book after having spent 26 years as a quadriplegic and 18 years in ministry to people with disabilities. Tom wrestled with the problem of suffering, human weakness, and feeling unlovely and unwanted. He wrote, “People with disabilities live in a raw, harsh reality. They are painfully aware that their conditions and circumstances are often ugly and distasteful to others, and that their lifestyle and behaviors are sometimes interpreted as being weird, abnormal, and bizarre.” Tom then reminded readers that Jesus embraced “the ugly, dirt-encrusted feet of his disciples in His holy hands and washed them” (p. xvii). The book’s title was inspired by a parable of Jesus where the master ordered his servant: “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame…Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:21, 23). The message in Compel Them to Come In, and in scripture, is unmistakable – Christ gave a mandate to the church to minister to those with disabilities. This is a message that Pentecostals – and the broader church – need to hear.

Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers

Paperback, 237 pages, illustrated. $29.95 retail. Order from: amazon.com

Tom Leach also wrote Firestorm: State of the Union, a novel about extremists on both sides of the abortion issue who threatened to engulf the United States in a firestorm of violence. Tom has significant credibility when speaking on the value of life because of his life story. For more information or to purchase the book, go to: amazon.com


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Review: Mel and Corliss Erickson

Living the Call: Mel and Corliss Erickson, by Karen Koczwara. Beaverton, OR: Good Book Publishing, 2010.

For more than 40 years, Mel and Corliss Erickson have been synonymous with Assemblies of God ministry to Native Americans in North Dakota. Mel, a native of Kulm, North Dakota, and Corliss, from Hallock, Minnesota, met at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis and married in 1967.

The trajectory for their lives was set on one Sunday evening in August 1966, when Mel received a distinct call to minister to Native Americans. He recounted, “I suddenly felt God say to me, ‘I want you to go to minister to the American Indians.’ I was so shocked I nearly bolted out of my seat.” He had little exposure to Native Americans, and he asked God three times whether he had heard correctly. He reasoned that he should go to Africa, India, or South America, instead of remaining so close to home. God confirmed this call, and Mel remained true to it.

The Ericksons spent the first twenty years of their ministry as pastors of Tokio Assembly of God, located on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation near Devils Lake, North Dakota. Mel became the coordinator of the North Dakota District’s outreach to Native Americans. After resigning from the Tokio church in 1987, Erickson oversaw the planting of All Tribes Assembly of God in Bismarck and the construction of new church buildings for Native American congregations in Belcourt and Fort Totten.

Living the Call tells the engaging, faith-inspiring story of the Ericksons and their six children, as they learned to live and minister in their cross-cultural calling. This book will be of interest to those who knew the Ericksons and to those who desire to know more about life and ministry in the rural Great Plains and among Native Americans.

Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers

Paperback, 230 pages, illustrated. $15 plus postage. Order from: Dakota Missionary Evangelism

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Review: Revival in the Dominican Republic

Marcados por la Unción : La Crónica de un Gran Avivamiento desde David García hasta Luis Urbáez, by Samuel Santana. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Concilio Evangelico Asambleas de Dios de la Republica Dominicana, 2010.

A great revival in the Dominican Republic in the 1950s dramatically impacted the development of the Assemblies of God in that Caribbean nation. Marcados por la Unción tells the story of that revival and two evangelists — David Garcia, under whose ministry the revival began; and Luis Urbaez, a convert of Garcia’s who became a significant evangelist.

Samuel Santana, the Director of Public Relations for the Assemblies of God of the Dominican Republic, researched and authored this important book, which details the events surrounding the 1954 revival and the lives of these two legendary preachers.

The revival started in March 1954 under the ministry of two men who had recently arrived from Puerto Rico — David Garcia and Jaime Cardona. The crowds at the revival meetings in Santo Domingo initially numbered 8,000 people, causing the local newspaper, El Caribe, to cover the story. With the added publicity, attendence swelled to 15,000, with many people accepting Christ and receiving healing.

The revival sparked fierce debate — causing Catholic leaders to deny that real healings and miracles were taking place. Interestingly, a famous Dominican doctor, Heriberto Pieter, defended the Pentecostals and stated that prayer for the sick had been shown to be beneficial. One of the converts in this revival, a young criminal named Luis Urbaez, went on to become a significant evangelist who traveled across Latin America.

Marcados por la Unción provides insight into Pentecostal history in the Dominican Republic, but also illustrates broader themes — such as the relationship of Pentecostals to other churches and the movement’s international character — that are important to the emerging global Pentecostal movement.

Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers.

Paperback, 111 pages, illustrated. $8 plus postage. For ordering information, contact the author by email (ssantana5@hotmail.com).

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Review: Good News in the Amazon

Good News in the Amazon: Heavenly Adventures in a Primitive Green Hell, by David E. Hansen. Rockleigh, NJ: The Author, 2010.

David Hansen, an Assemblies of God missionary, gives a firsthand account of the mission work to unreached remote tribes in Peru in his interesting memoir, Good News in the Amazon. You will discover the challenges and personal sacrifice of missionaries. You will read about the development of a partnership made up of missionaries, evangelists, Bible translators, and the incredible giving of many Christians in Assemblies of God churches. The result is that there are churches in villages where there once was no church and there are Christians whose lives are living miracles of God’s work.

–Adapted from endorsement by John Bueno, Executive Director, Assemblies of God World Missions

Softcover, 88 pages, illustrated. $15.00 postpaid on U.S. orders. Order from:  David Hansen, 11 Haring Farm Rd., Rockleigh, NJ 07647 (email: demhansen@msn.com)

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Review: We’ve Come This Far By Faith

We’ve Come This Far by Faith: Readings on the Early Leaders of the Pentecostal Church of God, by Larry Martin. Pensacola, FL: Christian Life Books, c2009.

This is the best-documented history of the founding and early days of the Pentecostal Church of God. Based on Martin’s earlier book, In The Beginning, this work contains much new information on the church’s founders and is well documented. He covers the backdrop of the founding of this movement, tracing its roots back to Charles F. Parham at Topeka and influences from John Alexander Dowie, William Durham, William Piper, George Brinkman, John Sinclair, and many others. Several of the early leaders also had close ties with the Assemblies of God.

Originally called the Pentecostal Assemblies of the USA, the organizational meeting took place at George Brinkman’s Pentecostal Herald Mission in Chicago on December 29-30, 1919. John Sinclair was elected the first chairman, an executive committee was formed, a constitution was formulated, and Brinkman’s Pentecostal Herald was established as the official paper of the group. The denomination was reorganized as the Pentecostal Church of God in 1922.

Larry Martin has done extensive research on the origins of the movement, particularly on its early leaders. He covers the years when the denomination’s headquarters and printing operation were located in Chicago and then gives some information about when the offices moved to Ottumwa, Iowa in 1927. Beginning in 1934, the group was headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, and those years are scheduled to be treated in a forthcoming sequel.

He then includes chapter biographies of each of the early leaders and chairmen of the Pentecostal Church of God. These notables include: George Brinkman, John Sinclair, Edward Matthews, John B. Huffman, Silas Shepard, Osborn Gilliland, Rik Field, A. D. McClure, and Alfred Worth. His information is augmented with photographs and footnotes. Photographs of some of these early leaders are published for the first time.

One chapter includes a Who’s Who of the founders of the denomination which provides brief biographical information on these additional leaders: R. E. McAlister, James A. Bell, Ida Tribbett, W. C. Thompson, Wilmer Artis, Herbert J. Wilson, Fred O. Price, Watson E. Tubbs, Thomas B. O’Reilley, and Eli DePriest.

Not only is this an important history of the beginnings of the Pentecostal Church of God, Inc., now headquartered in Joplin, Missouri, but it is noteworthy that many of these individuals had a wider influence that impacted the broader Pentecostal movement as a whole.

Reviewed by Glenn W. Gohr

Softcover, 216 pages. $11.99 plus $3.99 shipping. Order from Amazon.com or from azusastreet.org/.

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Review: Chit-Chat

Chit-Chat, by Dorothy Fae (Tubbs) Noah; edited by J. Naaman Hall. Springfield, MO: J. Naaman Hall, 2010.

Chit-Chat, by Mrs. Dorothy Noah, is a behind-the-scenes look at the people and goings on at Oak Cliff Assembly in Dallas during the last eight years that her husband, H. C. Noah, pastored the church (1970-1978). Each week in the church bulletin she would report on bits and pieces of news regarding various people and families in the church. She recorded engagements, weddings, births, deaths, visitors, and many humorous events in the daily lives of the church family. She maintained the idea that a church is not just composed of a pastor, or a few leaders, but the entire body itself. This is not just a running diary of events. It is a heart-felt retelling (told in conversational style) of important happenings among the Oak Cliff family over several years. In addition to the “chit-chat,” the book includes a chapter on how the Noahs met (written by their daughter), a memoir by Sister Noah, a farewell column written just before the Noahs retired as pastors, photographs from the 1970s, and an index of names. For those who were members of this well-known church in the Assemblies of God or have some familiarity with the church or any of its members, it will bring to life many interesting happenings from the past.

This is part two in a trilogy of books that center around Oak Cliff Assembly of God in Dallas, Texas (now The Oaks Fellowship). The first book, produced by J. Naaman Hall in 2009, is called “And the Latter Days.” It is an excellent history of Oak Cliff Assembly, not only covering important events, pastors, and people connected with the church, but it also relates to the broader Pentecostal movement.

The third book in the series will include additional historical photographs, along with further stories and memories of people from Oak Cliff’s rich history, culled from the collected volumes of The Old Fashioned Camp Meeting Newsletter, an email newsletter that has gone out to past members of Oak Cliff Assembly for over five years.

Reviewed by Glenn W. Gohr

The first two books in the trilogy are available from: John Hall, 209 North Summit St., Red Oak, Texas 75154:

“And the Latter Days.” Softcover, illustrated, 424 pages. $24.90 (includes shipping).
Chit-Chat. Softcover, illustrated, 392 pages. $25.00 (includes shipping).

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Review: Healing Hands

Healing Hands: Touching the Suffering through Medical Missions, by Peggy Johnson Knutti. Springfield, MO: Access Group, 2010.

It seems to be a common assumption in some quarters that, about 100 years ago, there occurred in American Protestantism a division between those who truly believe and those who truly care. The former (evangelicals, fundamentalists, and Pentecostals) became the standard-bearers of orthodoxy, while the latter (mainline Protestants) sought to perfect society instead of saving souls, embracing a “Social Gospel” that set out to apply Christian ethics to social ills. If one listened only to contemporary politicized rhetoric (e.g., Glenn Beck’s condemnation of churches that embrace “social justice”), it might seem like concern for the eternal and the temporal are mutually exclusive. However, a careful examination of history demonstrates a more complex story.

In her new book, Healing Hands: Touching the Suffering through Medical Missions, Peggy Johnson Knutti documents efforts within one Pentecostal denomination to share both compassion and the message of Christ. This history of HealthCare Ministries sheds light on why the Assemblies of God has come to view compassion as an essential part of its mission, and how medical missions are being utilizing to achieve this goal.

The first chapter provides an overview of humanitarian work in Assemblies of God missions prior to the 1980s. Some of these stories are worth recounting here. Marie Stephany and Nettie Nichols began orphanages in China in the early 1920s. Anna Tomaseck opened a children’s home near the Nepali border in northern India, which led to the formation of the Pentecostal work in Nepal. Lillian Trasher’s famous orphanage in Assiout, Egypt, gave credibility to the Assemblies of God in that Muslim nation. Florence Steidel, a missionary nurse, arrived in Liberia in 1935 and committed herself to working with lepers — those who had been abandoned by the rest of society. Mark and Huldah Buntain opened the six-story, 120-bed AG Hospital and Research Center in Calcutta, India, in 1977. In 1963, El Salvador missionary John Bueno started Latin America ChildCare, which is now the largest private school system in the world and has served over seven hundred thousand students. Knutti’s account demonstrates that compassion has been a very visible aspect of Assemblies of God missions since the earliest years of the denomination. When the Assemblies of God, at its 2009 General Council, added compassion as its fourth reason for being (in addition to worship, evangelism, and discipleship), this was an affirmation of an existing tradition within the Fellowship of helping the suffering.

The Assemblies of God did not sponsor a systematic attempt to support medical missions until 1983, when the Assemblies of God Foreign Missions Board approved the Medical Missions Program. The name HealthCare Ministries was adopted in 1984. Chapters two through six recount the story of the early years of HealthCare Ministries and its founder, Paul R. Williams. Knutti does not shy away from sharing the struggles of trying to establish a medical missions program in a denomination that often harbored suspicion of  efforts that seemed to resemble the so-called Social Gospel movement in liberal mainline denominations. The balance of the book shares the testimonies of HealthCare Ministries directors and missionaries, including: Joe and Eloise Judah, JoAnnn Butrin, Peggy Johnson Knutti, Terry and Diana Dwelle, Bob and Twyla McGurty, Deborah Highfill, and many others.

Healing Hands is a valuable contribution to the understanding of how the Assemblies of God has come to embrace medical missions as an important way to share the love and message of Christ around the world. Importantly, this volume will challenge the assumptions of two audiences: outsiders unfamiliar with Pentecostal social concern who incorrectly think that Pentecostals don’t care; and Pentecostals who may conflate compassion with a dilution of the church’s charge to share the gospel. Healing Hands is an engaging read and will be warmly welcomed by those who care about Assemblies of God medical missions, those who appreciate missionary stories, and those who wish to better understand the role of compassion in Pentecostal churches.

Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers

Softcover, 184 pages, illustrated. $15.00 postpaid on U.S. orders. Order from HealthCare Ministries by phone: (417) 866-6311.

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Review: In Jesus’ Name

“In Jesus’ Name”: The History and Beliefs of Oneness Pentecostals, by David A. Reed. Blandford Forum, England: Deo Publishing, 2008.

David Reed’s book, “In the Name of Jesus,” is possibly the best study on the origins of Oneness Pentecostalism – that segment of the Pentecostal movement that rejects traditional Trinitarian formulas in favor of an emphasis on the name of Jesus. Reed’s own spiritual journey (he was reared in a Oneness Pentecostal church in New Brunswick, Canada, but is now an Anglican minister and educator) provided the impetus for his study of the Oneness movement, which has become his life’s work.

Reed divides his work into three sections – 1) the Pietist and evangelical legacies within Oneness Pentecostalism, 2) the birth of Oneness Pentecostalism, and 3) the theology of Oneness Pentecostalism.

Reed opens with a spotlight on the Pietist emphasis on searching out the truths of Scripture. Pietist leader Philip Jacob Spener (1635-1705) gave priority to moral living over correct doctrine. Pietism tended to focus on spiritual process and growth, asking questions such as “Are you living yet in Jesus?” (pp. 13-14n).

The author traces the spirit of Pietism through the ministries of August Hermann Francke (1663-1727) and Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf (1700-1760) with their emphasis on a heart religion that came about through repentance, conversion, weeping, practical piety and rejoicing. Zinzendorf was Christocentric, giving great value to the suffering and bleeding of Jesus. Reed states that Pietist devotion included an emphasis on the name of Jesus, which should come as no surprise. John Wesley later made his mark on the religious world with a two-fold emphasis on conversion and holiness of life.

Puritan clerics of the seventeenth century believed nearly the same as Pietists in the matter of experiential religion. According to Reed, “Pietism was a stream of spirituality that emphasized the affective and practical aspects of faith…it contributed to the working out of the distinctive doctrine of Oneness Pentecostals” (italics mine) (p. 32).

Reed argues that Oneness Pentecostalism arose from this evangelical Pietist and Puritan heritage. Whereas Pietists narrowed Spirit-baptism to a stream of spirituality that emphasized the affective and practical aspects of faith, Oneness Pentecostals extended this Pietistic hermeneutic to “the name of Jesus.” Oneness Pentecostals claimed that there is power in the Name if you have faith in the Name (and if you are buried by baptism in His Name). Further, it appears that Oneness Pentecostalism is a child of Jewish thought—a radical monotheism stressing one God and one Name. This Oneness belief maturated in the Holiness and early Pentecostal movements.

Wherever one found devotional literature, hymnody, and continued teaching by Pietist descendants, one often encountered the name of Jesus. “The phrase ‘Jesus’ and ‘Jesus Only’ became commonplace among Keswick and Holiness writers” (p. 40), such as Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911).

Reed, in the second part of his book, deals with the birth of Oneness Pentecostalism, stating that it had two birthplaces: Topeka (1901) and Azusa Street (1906). “White Pentecostals, especially those in the Assemblies of God, have pinned their Pentecostal identity on Parham’s doctrine of glossolalia. Black Pentecostals, on the other hand, have identified with the Azusa Street Revival” (p. 81). He contends, however, that it is difficult to substantiate this claim. He further observes, “Oneness doctrine and practice may be more compatible in its core with an Afro-centric worldview than with that of non-Pentecostal white evangelicals” (p. 82).

Reed asserts: “The ‘Jesus Name’ or ‘Oneness’ paradigm is a radical (emphasis mine) soteriology constituted by: a non-trinitarian modalistic view of God, the name of Jesus as the revealed name of God, and the threefold pattern for full salvation set forth in Acts 2:38” (p. 113)—blood, water and Spirit [repentance, baptism in water in the name of Jesus, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit].

“For the uninformed outsider, Oneness Pentecostalism is a conundrum. Like other Pentecostal groups, it should be emphasizing the Spirit,” Reed states. “But it speaks about Jesus and denies the Trinity” (p. 338).

Reed’s book covers such topics as: Finished Work, Secret Rapture (Manchild Doctrine and Bride of Christ), Restoration Movement, New Issue, Re-baptism, Champions of the Trinitarian Cause, Old Testament Names of God and much, much more. It is a work that is based on rare and extensive research. At times, it seems that Reed tries to cover too much ground, but he is so full of information that he has to have an outlet. A pulpit is set up in every reader’s realm, from which Reed dispenses thoughts and opinions.

“The challenge of the future,” Reed concludes, “is hidden in its name and its inheritance: oneness. The earliest appeal to oneness in 1910 was that the Pentecostal movement be united. A decade later that appeal was applied sharply to racial unity. By 1930 it became a descriptor for the movement. Throughout its history, lack of oneness with full Pentecostals and other Christians has become enigmatic: for some a mark of doctrinal purity, for others, a sign of sin” (p. 363).

Reed emphasizes that the Oneness movement needs to receive fair and judicious treatment. However, Oneness Pentecostals may take offense at Reed’s statement that “There is within Scripture potential for developing a theology of the Name” (emphasis mine) (p. 356). He goes on to further point out particular weaknesses in Oneness theology, while fully supporting Trinitarianism.

The first part of the book leads one to believe that Reed fully supports the Oneness Pentecostal belief; however, as I perused his continuing discourse, I experienced opaque visions of Oneness Pentecostals as being inferior, and that they were not the norm.

“In Jesus’ Name” is the result of excellent research; it delves into scores of themes related to Oneness Pentecostalism; its common thread is the Name; and the reader, whether Trinitarian or Oneness, will enhance his knowledge of the Jesus’ Name doctrine.

Reviewed by Patricia P. Pickard, Independent scholar, Bangor, Maine

Softcover, 394 pages. $39.95 retail. Order from: amazon.com

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Review: Dalit Pentecostalism

Dalit Pentecostalism: Spirituality of the Empowered Poor, by V. V. Thomas. Bangalore, India: Asian Trading Corporation, 2008.

Dr. V. V. Thomas is one of the leading historians of Indian Pentecostalism.  His book, Dalit Pentecostalism: Spirituality of the Empowered Poor, is an excellent study, which in a creative manner interprets the history of Pentecostalism in Kerala from the point of view of the Dalits experiences and perceptions.  The study is not only based on valuable new historical material with regard to the issue of Pentecostalism in Kerala but also interrogates it with a subaltern perspective.

In a focused way the material is systematically approached and presented which shows original thinking.  The author’s critical ability is evident throughout the book in that he has critically used several primary sources available both in Malayalam and English.  Bot analysis and narration are combined in a balanced way while looking at the historical developments without losing sight of the socio-cultural contexts within which the Dalits experienced Pentecostalism in Kerala.  The author’s arguments are strong in many ways basically because of his being a personal witness to the problems, in addition to the overall knowledge of people’s history and the Church in Kerala that he possesses.

The author rightly argues with substantial data that Dalit Christians in Kerala had a prominent role in shaping the history of Pentecostalism in Kerala although it has been ignored hitherto.  The author’s historiographical evaluations in the book is very valuable as it exposes the dominant community’s views and perceptions with regard to Dalits’ place in the history of Christianity and especially Pentecostalism in Kerala.  The sustained effort of the author to keep methodological approaches has helped the author to conclude strongly that there is an entity within the larger Pentecostalism in Kerala which may be described as Dalit Pentecostalism.

Although the author had to face the problem of a lack of sources, he has overcome that difficulty by re-reading the existing sources and also by taking into account the oral sources seriously.  Orality, which is a strength of Dalit people’s way of keeping memory has helped the author to a great extent.

This book will no doubt stand as another valuable source in the library of Dalit history in India and especially in Kerala.

Adapted from the Foreword by Rev. Dr. George Ommen, Former Professor of History of Christianity, United Theological College, Bangalore, India

Softcover, 432 pages. $20.00 plus shipping. Available from: Asian Trading Corporation

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Review: Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada

Streams of Grace: A History of the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada, by Linda Wegner. Edmonton, AB: New Leaf Works, 2006.

The Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada (ACOP) is possibly unique in North America. With roots in the early twentieth-century Pentecostal revival, the ACOP holds to the doctrine of eternal security and has transitioned in recent decades from identification with the Oneness movement to a Trinitarian understanding of the godhead. The ACOP ties with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador as the second-largest Pentecostal denomination in Canada, each with approximately 26,000 adherents. The largest, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, claimed 233,400 adherents in 2008.

Linda Wegner’s history of the ACOP, Streams of Grace, traces the intriguing history of this church. Frank Small, a leading Canadian Pentecostal pioneer, and ten others who had withdrawn from the infant Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC), in 1921 received a Dominion charter to form the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada. Small and the ACOP held to a Oneness position, while the PAOC (which affiliated with the Assemblies of God in the U.S.) was Trinitarian. Both the PAOC and the ACOP embraced William Durham’s Baptistic “Finished Work” doctrine, which stated that sanctification is a progressive work in the life of a believer (as opposed to the Wesleyan belief that perfection is possible following a crisis experience of sanctification). However, the ACOP extended Durham’s Baptistic theology from sanctification to soteriology, holding to a position of eternal security. This Calvinistic position was very rare among early Pentecostals in the U.S. The only other major early U.S. Pentecostal group to teach eternal security was an informal network of churches best known by the name of their periodical, Grace and Glory, published in Kansas City, Missouri.

In 1953, another Canadian group, the Evangelical Churches of Pentecost (ECP), merged into the ACOP. The ECP was organized in 1927 as Full Gospel Missions. Full Gospel Missions, like the ACOP, preferred that baptism be administered using the formula “in the name of Jesus” instead of using the Trinitarian “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Unlike in the ACOP, many Full Gospel Missions ministers did not reject the doctrine of the Trinity. Full Gospel Missions identified its position as “Tri-unity of the godhead” as opposed to Oneness. Both groups embraced a Calvinist perspective. Interestingly, a number of ECP ministers, most notably Ern Baxter, were amillenial.

Following the 1953 merger of the ECP into the ACOP, the ACOP tolerated Oneness and Trinitarian (Tri-unity) positions on the godhead. Over time, the Trinitarian position became dominant within the ACOP and, within the last decade, the ACOP has officially declared itself to be Trinitarian by joining the Pentecostal World Fellowship and the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America, two organizations with Trinitarian statements of faith.

Wegner highlights the lives and testimonies of the ACOP’s pioneers and recounts the events and theological debates surrounding the development of the ACOP and the ECP. Streams of Grace is an important volume, providing a much-needed update to Robert Larden’s 1971 history of the ACOP, Our Apostolic Heritage. Streams of Grace is essential to understanding how the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada arrived where it is on the pilgrimage of faith. This book will be warmly received by those who lived the history and belongs in the library of every Bible college and seminary.

Reviewed by Darrin J. Rodgers

Softcover, 350 pages, illustrated. Cost: $20.00 plus shipping. Order online from the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada. For more information, contact the ACOP International Office #119 – 2340 Pegasus Way NE,  Calgary, Alberta, Canada  T2E 8M5.

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