This collection of essaysan updated and expanded edition of a book originally published in 1986is like a good strip-mall buffet. Despite plain design, eclectic content, and uneven presentation, this fine missiological meal satisfies on two levels. First, it is a celebration of church growth, and second, it is a critical engagement with Pentecostalism's perennial tension between the Spirit and human mechanism.
The strong seasoning of triumphalism has certainly been addedparticularly in some of the earlier, historical chapters. But as you move along the buffet, you find many dishes fresh with humility and self-criticism. You also begin to see less of the heavy Western fare and more authentic cultural contextualization, which reflects a growth within the movement.
The book's topical organization ("Historical Perspectives," "Theological Motivations," "Strategic Issues," and "Future Choices and Challenges"), helpful introductions, and brief author profiles not only make it easy to navigate, but also give us the sense of listening in on the conversation of a living community.
True, you'll find the flies of disappointing editing buzzing all along the buffet. But don't let this keep you from this fine introduction to Pentecostal missions. I recommend this restaurant without reservation.
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Grant McClung is author of "Pentecostals: The Sequel," Christianity Today's cover story on the 100th anniversary of Pentecostalism.
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