This book is one in a series of ‘short histories’ by Cambridge University Press. The series will also include a short history of Pentecostalism, by seminal scholar Edith Blumhofer. That history, however, is some little way off, and while this book – by Mark Hutchinson (University of Western Sydney) and John Wolffe (Open University) – seeks to avoid many of Blumhofer’s key interests, it remains an important ‘back story’ to the emergence of Pentecostalism. It offers an authoritative overview of the history of evangelicalism as a global movement, from its origins in Europe and North America in the first half of the eighteenth century to its present-day dynamic growth in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. Starting with a definition of the movement within the context of the history of Protestantism, it follows the history of evangelicalism from its early North Atlantic revivals to the great expansion in the Victorian era, through to its fracturing and reorientation in response to the stresses of modernity and total war in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It describes the movement’s indigenization and expansion toward becoming a multicentered and diverse movement at home in the non-Western world that nevertheless retains continuity with its historic roots. The book concludes with an analysis of contemporary worldwide evangelicalism’s current trajectory and the movement’s adaptability to changing historical and geographical circumstances.
Jim O’Rourke, Sydney Morning Herald, December 12, 2010
It turns out that this is an article about physiotherapist and trainer, Johnny Munro – it does show, however, how deep the language of healing and touch (which would be dismissed as charlatanry if applied to pentecostals) runs in the culture. The symbolic is fine – as long as it just stays… symbolic.
I opened my e-mail this morning to discover an invitation to review an article for a major journal in the United States. It was on 19th century charismata in Australia. Those who know the field will realise the importance of the event. Twenty years ago there was precisely one person in Australia who might be categorised a “Pentecostal historian”. That was Barry Chant, whose real contribution was to define the area, and write a brilliant thesis at Macquarie University (soon to be published) tracing the history of the first 50 years of organised Pentecostalism in Australia. Ten years ago, there were two of us – myself and Barry. My contribution has been to expand the source base, and to train the next generation. In the last five years, there has been a little ‘flurry’ of activity with regard to Australia Pentecostalism — no doubt in part because of the growing importance of that movement in the Australian religious scene. Some of these publications have appeared due to other interests (for instance, Shane Clifton’s use of Australian Pentecostal history in order to reflect upon a practical ecclesiology); others because of denominational crossovers (for instance, Glen O’Brien’s Methodist interests led him to write “They Made a Pentecostal Out of Her: The Church of God (Cleveland) in Australia,” Lucas, new series No. 1, 2010.) There is yet another literature emerging from the Australian academy (some of it unfortunately not well-informed).
This site will act as a window on to this developing world. It will trace the development of Pentecostal history, connect readers to resources, and act as a support site for the further development of Pentecostal historiography. If you’re interested in this area, please register your interest through the subscription service — it will help us keep you informed as to forthcoming events, and the state of play in this dynamic field.