Britt-Mills on Kay and Dryer, 'Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies: A Reader'

William Kay, Anne Dryer, eds.
Robert Britt-Mills

William Kay, Anne Dryer, eds. Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies: A Reader. London: SCM Press, 2004. 492 pp. $39.99 (paper), ISBN 978-0-334-02940-3.

Reviewed by Robert Britt-Mills (Department of Religion, Florida State University) Published on H-Pentecostalism (September, 2007)

A Reader in Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies

In Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies: A Reader, William Kay and Anne Dryer provide an encyclopedic account using mostly primary sources of both the origins of and theological developments within the Pentecostal movement in the early twentieth century. The text also includes primary accounts of the developments and spread of the Charismatic movement in the 1960s. Since the editors attempt to provide broad historical and theological accounts of these movements, all the texts are in English and focus on the North American and European locations for these movements. The book can be characterized as a classic reference work useful for anyone interested in learning about the growth, beliefs, and practices of these two spiritual movements from the men and women most influential to their development. In order to include the widest possible range of voices that characterize Pentecostalism and Charismatic groups the editors have significantly edited each article down to its most basic essence.

The book is divided into four parts: history, theology, theology in practice, and issues. History, the first part, has two relatively short sections comprised of nine articles. The first section contains three essays on the "Precursors of Pentecostal and Charismatic History" and includes Gordon Strachan's account of the theology of Edward Irving, an essay on the Welsh Revival as reported in newspaper accounts, and A. J. Tomlinson's short history of the Church of God. The second, comprised of six articles, focuses on the history of the two movements. The articles are written by founders of these movements like Charles F. Parham, originator of the tongues-as-initial-evidence doctrine, William J. Seymour, leader of the Azusa Street Revival, and Frank Bartlemann, an eyewitness to the Azusa Street Revival. The section also includes A. A. Boddy's account of the Third International Sutherland Convention (1908-14), Guy Shields's article about the 1933 Amarillo, Texas camp meeting, and George R. Hawtin's letter from 1987 recounting the desire for a Pentecostal renewal in 1945.

The second part addresses Pentecostal and Charismatic theology and contains three sections with some thirty articles. The three sections are Pentecostal eschatology, healing, and baptism in the Spirit and charismatic gifts. The section on eschatology has articles by Boddy, G. Polman, Elizabeth Sisson, Aimee S. McPherson, David Allen, J. Rodman Williams, David Wilkerson, and Peter Hocken. The next section on healing is comprised of ten articles by Boddy, Smith Wigglesworth, H. Horton, G. Jeffreys, F. F. Bosworth, C. L. Parker, T. L. Osborn; K. Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, and J. Wimber with K. Springer. The third section is the largest, with twelve articles on Spirit baptism and charismatic gifts composed by Edward Irving; William Durham; J. Roswell Flower; Donald Gee; D. Petts; Dennis Bennett and Rita Bennett; the 111th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (1971); Frank D. Macchia; Peter Hocken; T. B. Barratt; Mike Bickle with Michael Sullivant; and Paul Yonggi Cho with R. Whitney Manzano.

The third part, on theology in practice, is the largest, with five sections: holiness, worship, church life, evangelism and missions. The section on holiness contains six articles by Jonahan Paul, Durham, Grant Wacker, the International Pentecostal Church of Holiness, J. White, and Colin Urquhart. Twelve articles make up the section on worship, by Boddy; Gee; M. B. Woodward Etter; Niels P. Thompson; the Assemblies of God (AG) Hymnal Committee; C. H. Morris and H. Tee; Joel Edwards; Chris Bowater; G. Kendrick; Jack W. Hayford; John Wimber; and finally Darlene Zschech. The next section on church life includes contributions from authors like the Apostolic Church UK, Arthur Wallis, two by Larry Christenson, Derek Prince, David Tomlinson, and Bickle with Sullivant. Evangelism is addressed by Gee, Jeffereys, Reinhard Bonnke, W. H. T. Richards, L. Steiner, D. Watson, John Wimber with Kevin Springer, and David Yonggi Cho. The final section on missions has six articles, including two by C. Polhill, W. F. P Burton, H. Womersley, Melvin L. Hodges, and C. Kraft.

The fourth and final part focuses on a conglomeration of issues within Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. It has eleven sections, each representing its own issue. Section 1 has two articles on pacifism by Arthur Sydney Booth-Clibborn and the General Council of the AG (1920). Section 2 has one article on generations by J. Roswell Flower. Ecumenism is the next section, with two articles by David J. du Plessis and Michael Harper. Sections four through seven are on prosperity (Kenneth Copeland), women (E. N. Bell and Arthur Wallis), social concerns (David Wilkerson), and morality (Statement by the Executive Presbytery of the AG, 1987). Section 8 has five articles on exorcism and spiritual warfare by du Plessis, Don Basham, Terry Law, G. Otis Jr., and A. Walker. Section 9 addresses the Toronto blessing with articles by John Arnott and Margaret Poloma. Sections 10 and 11 focus on community and mega churches, with three articles on community by Noel Stanton, the Mother of God Community, and Cardinal Suenens and one article on mega churches by Colin Dye.

This reader presents a wonderfully rich overview of the historical and theological developments of both the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in North America and Europe. It is a quality reference work with a great depth of edited sources which will provide a great starting place for additional research of unedited texts on the various characters and characteristics critical to the growth of these movements. William Joseph Seymour, the founder of the Azusa Street revival, is one example of the degree of editing and limitation of the sources within the reader. The Apostolic Faith newspaper he published contained hundreds of his articles, prayers, and sermons and yet this reader devotes less than half a page to his words. Yet because the editors are so concise with each author they chose to include they were able to reprint some one hundred articles and essays which present a rich and diverse account of these two spiritual movements.

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Citation: Robert Britt-Mills. Review of Kay, William; Dryer, Anne, eds., Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies: A Reader. H-Pentecostalism, H-Net Reviews. September, 2007. URL:

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