‘Joi Bangla’; ‘Joi Jesu!’
Christ in Bangladesh, by James and Marti Hefley (Harper & Row, 1973, 109 pp., $4.95), On Duty in Bangladesh, by Jeannie Lockerbie (Zondervan, 1973, 191 pp., $4.95), and Daktar/Diplomat in Bangladesh, by Viggo B. Olsen with Jeanette Lockerbie (Moody, 1973, 347 pp., $5.95), are reviewed by Russell Chandler, journalist, teacher, and pastor, Columbia, California.

From the tip of Bengali land that wriggled into Burma to the top that reared into northern India, Bangladesh rejoiced on the seventeenth of December, 1971. Christian missionaries in the world’s 139th (more or less) nation (Christians make up less than 5 per cent of the population) joined in thundering the liberation slogan: “Joi Bangla!” (“Victory to Bengal!”). The new nation is the world’s seventh-largest in population and is the second-largest Muslim state.

Sheik Mujibur Rahman, proclaiming himself prime minister, acknowledged tearfully that the nine months of bloody war for independence from the ruling military junta of West Pakistan had taken a terrible toll: 3 million dead; 300,000 women raped; 30 million destitute (including 10 million refugees returning from India). The national treasury was bare, 75 per cent of the country’s industry was wrecked, and transportation and communications were crippled.

As they had after the disastrous cyclone of 1970, world Christians opened their hearts and their hands to help ease the distress.

Bangladesh is out of the headlines now, but not out of the hearts of those who continue to provide relief and rehabilitation; they hear the infant nation’s cries of hunger mixed with its lusty squalls of growth and new freedom.

These authors bring it all closer home. From their particular points of involvement they tell the story the newspapers didn’t publish. It is a story of the triumph of the love of Christ against tremendous odds, of cooperation and understanding across religious bounds. It is the story of how forty-five relief and missions agencies have worked together to help 75 million people who need everything.

Begin with the Hefley book. Jim and Marti Hefley give an overview with the eyes of seasoned journalists. “Bangladesh was to us only a distant boil on the backside of the world,” they write, until Ray Knighton, then president of Medical Assistance Programs, put them onto the scent of a great, untold story. Shortly, they were winging thirty hours “to the shattered little country that has grabbed the heartstrings of the world.”

The other two books depict the heroic service of individual missionaries, while Christ in Bangladesh highlights what all missionaries and church-related relief groups did “amidst the crimson backdrop of unprecedented atrocities and human suffering.”

The Hefleys first sketch the debilitating effects of the “storm of the century,” the 1970 cyclone, then outline Indo-Pakistani political and religious conflicts since 1948. They imaginatively transpose the situation to the United States: Most Muslims would inhabit watery “Florida” and the western deserts and mountains of “California, Nevada, and Arizona”; most Hindus would live between. The British solution would be to divide their possession into three sections and grant independence to two nations. “Florida” and the western region where Muslims were in the majority would become Pakistan. The larger middle section where Hindus predominated would remain India. This partition would lead to religious riots, mass killings, and migrating waves of people as politicians jockeyed for power and battles raged over boundaries.

The west dominated the east; the Bengalis—60 percent of the total population living on 15 per cent of the land area—felt that the ultimate indignity was President Yahya Khan’s callous disregard of Bengali suffering after the terrible cyclone. The Bengalis voted Sheik Mujib’s party a clear majority. This was unacceptable to President Khan. A frenzy of resistance, violence, and finally, all-out war broke loose.

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The Hefley book’s section called “Profiles in Courage” gives a bird’s-eye view of the details spun out in the main part of Jeannie Lockerbie’s On Duty in Bangladesh and Dr. Viggo Olsen’s autobiography, Daktar/Diplomat in Bangladesh.

Miss Lockerbie, a missionary translator and nurse with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), was stationed in the port city of Chittagong on the Bay of Bengal in early 1971 when tension erupted into bloodshed. Sixty-five miles to the south, Dr. Olsen was in charge of ABWE’s Memorial Christian Hospital.

Miss Lockerbie’s account of the perilous days when, nevertheless, “God watched over all” is both exciting and moving. In contrast to the Hefleys, who came into the country to assess, Miss Lockerbie writes from the inside as a participant.

Eventually, she and the others in the mission house in Chittagong were forced to evacuate to the hospital at Malumghat, and from there, to Bangkok. But, through what Christians saw as a miraculous turn of events, she and the other evacuees were allowed to return when fighting simmered down:

Once again God rewarded our little bit of faith by opening His storehouse of good things. Every one of us … was given the cream of all visas. That four-year multiple-entry visa meant we could come and go without having to have visas renewed over and over again. Some of our newer missionaries had never had these.

Meanwhile, Drs. Olsen and Donn Ketcham remained at the missionary hospital, which came through unscathed. As the end of 1971 approached, the Mukti Bahini, Bengali freedom fighters, became better mobilized, and it was apparent that with the intervention of India, the Bengalis would best the West Pakistanis.

All three books bring out the sentiment against U. S. policy that surfaced during the conflict. Miss Lockerbie puts it succinctly:

According to [our loyal friends], the United States, long upheld as a citadel of freedom, had failed the Bengalis in their hour of need. Not only had they failed to recognize Bangladesh and come to her aid, but they had actually supplied the weapons and conveyances which the enemy had used to rain death upon the Bengali race. And then when India stepped in to end the massacre, the United States turned nuclear warships against her! Never had anti-American feeling been more intense.

Readers of this review, noting that the co-author of Dr. Olsen’s book is Jeanette Lockerbie, may suspect that there is a connection to On Duty in Bagladesh. There is; Jeanette is Jeannie’s mother, and, I surmise, the polished writer of both books. Idioms, graphic detail, and good techniques of narrative suspense abound in them both.

The first two-thirds of Dr. Olsen’s book would have been tedious for me, however, had I not been pulled along by the promise that he would, at last, get on with the Bangladesh conflict of 1971. Eighteen chapters deal with the doctor’s youth, medical training, conversion to Christ, and decision to found the hospital in East Pakistan. The unfolding life-plan for Vic and Joan Olsen is a fantastic spiritual pilgrimage, though, and impressive evidence of God’s guidance of the dedicated.

Unmistakable in all three books is the theme that, in Christ, “Joi Bangla!” finally becomes the exultant shout, “Joi Jesu!”

Better Questions Than Answers

The Historical Jesus: A Continuing Quest, by Charles C. Anderson (Eerdmans, 1972, 271 pp., $3.95 pb), is reviewed by David E. Aune, chairman, Department of Religion and Theology, St. Xavier College, Chicago, Illinois.

In a previous volume entitled Critical Quests of Jesus, Professor Anderson used six central questions to analyze various higher-critical contributions to life-of-Jesus research. In the present sequel, he clearly summarizes his own evangelical presuppositions (in which he sees absolute historical trustworthiness as a necessary implication of the conservative views of inspiration), and then gives his own answers to the six questions. He devotes a chapter to each question and approaches the solutions from two vantage points: (1) How should the question be answered from a biblical perspective? and (2) How well have modern critical movements done in answering the question from the biblical perspective? Since by “biblical perspective” Anderson means the evangelical stance on revelation and inspiration together with historical accuracy as a necessary correlate, the critics whom he considers end up with very low marks. In effect, our author argues that non-evangelical gospel research is based on non-evangelical presuppositions, a fact of which presumably both we and they were already aware.

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The six key questions, together with my brief summary of Anderson’s answers, are: (1) Is it possible to write a biography of Jesus? (The real question, says the author, is, Are the Gospels trustworthy historically? The answer is an emphatic Yes!) (2) What is the place of miracles in the life of Jesus? (They are actual events that occurred as narrated, functioning in both a revelatory and an evidential way.) (3) How should the resurrection of Jesus be interpreted? (As an actual “historical” event, yet in view of the presuppositions of scientific historiography it might be classified better as a “suprahistorical” event.) (4) What is the nature and place of mythology in the New Testament? (There are no myths in the New Testament; God would not have revealed himself in such a cryptic and non-historical way.) (5) What is the historical value of the Gospel of John in comparison with the Synoptic Gospels? (John is equal in historical value to the Synoptics; all the canonical Gospels are absolutely trustworthy historically.) (6) What is the central significance of Jesus? (The incarnation of the God-man is, in every respect, the central revelatory event of all history.)

In many respects the book will sorely disappoint evangelicals, though certainly not in the author’s basic theological stance nor in many (if not most) of the positions he takes. The book appears to be mistitled, since most of the major contours of Jesus’ life and teaching as presented in the four Gospels are passed over in silence. Anderson appears uninterested both in the ways in which some of the results of critical life-of-Jesus research might be incorporated mutatis mutandis into an evangelical framework and in the major contributions of evangelical scholars themselves to the subject. It is painfully apparent that he does not have control over the more important aspects of either the primary sources (his opinions are almost never buttressed by sound and careful exegesis of relevant gospel texts), or the secondary scholarly literature on the subject, whether evangelical or non-evangelical. The one happy exception to this general criticism is his careful and discriminating discussion of the relation between John and the Synoptics.

Unfortunately, Anderson’s refutations of critical positions all too often take the form of either a cavalier dismissal or a line-up of conservative opinion through the excessive use of quotations (apparently with the supposition that if another position is possible, the critical view must be wrong). The book shows little awareness of the more important literary, historical, and exegetical studies of such conservative scholars as F. F. Bruce, G. E. Ladd, M. C. Tenney, Ned Stonehouse, E. E. Ellis, G. R. Beasley-Murray, I. H. Marshall, and R. Meye, not to mention the more conservative of non-evangelicals such as T. W. Manson, O. Cullmann, J. Jeremias, or R. Schnackenburg.

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Similarly, in his critiques of the contributions of major critical scholars, Anderson fails to make use of many of the more significant works of his opponents. For example, in his discussion of the resurrection of Jesus, not only does he pass over M. C. Tenney’s The Reality of the Resurrection, but he also neglects the important critical works of Hans Grass, Hans von Campenhausen, Willi Marxsen, and Reginald Fuller. Such omissions in a book of this type are inexcusable.

One consequence of Anderson’s lack of familiarity with primary literature is that he misrepresents critical views. For example, the form-critical fragmentation of the narrative framework of the Gospels was due not to Wrede’s work on the messianic secret but to K. L. Schmidt’s influential book Der Rahmen der Geschichte Jesu, 1919. Anderson’s contention that form criticism and existentialism are inseparable is contradicted by the many form-critical scholars who are clearly not enchanted with existentialism (among them K. L. Schmidt, M. Dibelius, M. Albertz, E. Käsemann, J. Jeremias, and V. Taylor).

NEWLY PUBLISHED

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, by Harold Lindsell (Canon [1014 Washington Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20005], 227 pp., $4.95). The editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY shares his thoughts on such topics as lying, sex, and society together with suggested general principles to guide Christian behavior.

Archaeology of the Jordan Valley, by Elmer Smick (Baker, 193 pp., $4.95 pb). For both the scholar and the non-specialist, a summary of modern archaeological discoveries. Includes maps and photographs.

Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 6: The New Man, by D. M. Lloyd-Jones (Zondervan, 313 pp., $6.95). Sermons on the sixth chapter of Romans that see the chapter as a parenthesis to explain justification. Part three of an ongoing series on Romans. Disagrees with many of the present commentaries.

The Persecutor, by Sergei Kourdakov (Revell, 254 pp., $5.95). Dynamic story of the conversion of a Russian youth who had brutally persecuted Christians for the Soviet government. Honest and apologetic recounting, aimed at awakening Westerners to the plight of Soviet Christians. (Kourdakov accidentally shot himself to death New Year’s Day, 1973, shortly after completing his autobiography.)

Stop the World I want to Get On, by C. Peter Wagner (Regal, 136 pp., $1.95 pb). A portrayal of cross-cultural missions as a vital part of Christian involvement. Authoritative and very readable.

Introduction to Theological German, by J. D. Manton (Eerdmans, 112 pp., $2.95 pb). For those who need to learn to read theological German but have little or no prior knowledge of the language.

Satan in the Sanctuary, by Thomas S. McCall and Zola Levitt (Moody, 120 pp., $3.95). Examination of biblical prophecies of the end times of Jerusalem. Sees the end coming soon in light of the Israeli acquisition of the temple site through the Six Day War.

The Freedom of God, by James Daane (Eerdmans, 208 pp., $5.95). Study on divine election in an attempt to revitalize preaching on the topic. Stresses the election of Israel, of Jesus, and of the Church as support of his view.

The Persistence of Religion, edited by Andrew Greeley and Gregory Baum (Seabury, 160 pp., $3.95 pb). Thirteen essays reflecting on the failure of secularization to be as all encompassing as its celebrants proclaimed.

The Velvet Covered Brick, by Howard Butt (Harper & Row, 186 pp., $5.95). Examination of the place of authority and submission in the Christian’s life by a prominent evangelical businessman. Conclusions based on personal experience and Scripture. Challenging views.

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Dwight L. Moody: American Evangelist, 1837–1899, by James Findlay, Jr. (Baker, 440 pp., $4.95 pb). Dozens of books have been written on one of the most influential Christians of the last century, but this supersedes them all. It was first published in 1969 by the University of Chicago Press; Baker is to be thanked for making it more widely available.

Architecture For Worship, by E. A. Sovik (Augsburg, 128 pp., $3.50 pb). Minnesota architect begins by questioning the need for church buildings and ends with rather modest proposals for design changes. Reflects modern ambivalence on the purpose of the church and the nature of worship.

The Love Fight, by David Augsburger (Herald, 176 pp., $1.25 pb). Sees conflict as neither good nor bad, just natural. Looks at possible reactions to conflicts and provides a constructive approach to dealing with them honestly, gathered from biblical examples. Helpful suggestions.

Church Fights: Managing Conflict in the Local Church, by Speed Leas and Paul Kittlans (Westminster, 186 pp., $3.50 pb). Two professional consultants survey methods for dealing with church conflicts. Written in manual style, the book draws on information from the behavioral sciences, conflict and management studies, and the authors’ own training and experience as pastors. Well organized.

The English Reformation 1529–58, by David H. Pill (Rowman and Littlefield, 224 pp., $3.50 pb). A concise study of the turbulent period involving the disestablishment of Catholicism and the beginnings of Anglicanism. Good bibliographies and helpful glossary of ecclesiastical terms.

The Inquisition, by John O’Brien (Macmillan, 233 pp., $6.95). Honest look at the religious cruelties of the Middle Ages with a view to showing the underlying reasoning without excusing the evil. Shows that violence never converts.

Dancing at My Funeral, by Maxie Dunnam (Forum House [1610 LaVista Rd., N.W., Atlanta, Ga. 30329], 112 pp., $4.95). An unconventional autobiography of a Methodist minister. “Dancing” signifies the present joy of life over the “funeral” of damaging forces of the past. Catchy illustrations.

Introducing the Bible, by William Barclay (Abingdon, 155 pp., $1.45 pb). Brief survey of the Bible and its function in society. Helpful guides for conducting a Bible study. Especially good for the young Christian.

The Gospel According to Andy Capp, by D. P. McGeachy III (John Knox, 132 pp., $2.95 pb). Excellent comments on the human condition and the grace of God as seen through the antics of the cartoon character Andy Capp. Humorous, and yet profound in biblical truth.

The New Agenda, by Andrew M. Greeley, (Doubleday, 312 pp., $6.95). A thorough, well-written examination of the shift in thinking among Catholics since Vatican II and the “moderning” of the church. Thought-provoking observations on contemporary religious questions.

Who’s in Charge Here?, by Kenneth Conners (Judson, 124 pp., $2.95 pb). A helpful catalogue of guidelines for meaningful and satisfying Christian living.

Japanese Religion, edited by Hori Ichiro et al. (Harper & Row, 272 pp., $10). An interesting description of the several religions of Japan and their various organizations. Aids in understanding the values and ways of thinking of the Japanese people.

Romans, by Matthew Black (Attic, 191 pp., $9). The latest addition to the “New Century Bible” is a treasury of exegetical information. The author lays great stress on the Old Testament background of Paul’s theology.

A Sociology of Religion, by Michael Hill (Basic Books, 285 pp., $10). An evaluation of the literature dealing with central issues in the sociology of religion. Comprehensive bibliography for the serious student.

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Christians Alive, edited by Cliff Pederson (Augsburg, 112 pp., $1.95 pb). Twenty-one articles from various evangelicals designed to guide thinking toward Christian maturity by generating further thought on spiritual and practical problems. Sound beginning.

The Politics of Love: The New Testament and Non-Violent Revolution, by John Ferguson (Attic, 122 pp., $2 pb). A reverent and dispassionate discussion of the New Testament data that have led many Christians down through the ages to be pacifists. A beautiful and deeply moving book. Should be read by all who seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, especially those who are not pacifists.

C. S. Lewis: Images of His World, by Douglas Gilbert and Clyde S. Kilby (Eerdmans, 192 pp., $12.95). Short biography and large collection of pictures of all phases of Lewis’s life. Good photography. Will be welcomed by those who have come to appreciate Lewis through his writings and want to add a further dimension.

Rethinking Church Music, by Paul W. Wohlgemuth (Moody, 96 pp., $1.95 pb). Discussion of the sane, scriptural, professional use of music (popular or classical) in the Church. Stresses the spiritual dimension of music.

Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom, by Samuel Fisk (Loizeaux, 175 pp., $3.95). A helpful compendium of quotations from recent generations of expositors, gathered under topics such as predestination or passages such as Romans 9–11. Promotes a middle ground pleasing to neither staunch Calvinists nor Arminians, but the compiler is seeking to present the teaching of Scripture rather than of systematicians.

Woman in Christian Tradition, by George H. Tavard (University of Notre Dame, 257 pp., $9.95). Theological view of women based on biblical and patristic sources. Major survey, but with rather vague conclusions.

Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon, by Clifford M. Drury (two volumes, Arthur H. Clark [Box 230, Glendale, Calif. 91209], 848 pp., $38.50). Comprehensive biography of the Whitman missionary endeavors in Oregon. Functions as a historical overview of the period as well. Of value to students of American history and of missions history.

Tales From Eternity, by Rosemary Haughton (Seabury, 186 pp., $6.95). Survey of various aspects of myths and fairy-tales as they relate to spiritual reawakening and search. Well written and scholarly, yet easily understood. Reveals fantasy as a means of seeing reality objectively through illustrations from various tales and characters.

The Minister in His Study, by Wilbur Smith (Moody, 128 pp., $3.95). Recommendation of books most helpful to the pastor, with some chatty excurses that will be appreciated by those who know this preeminent evangelical bibliophile.

Shakespeare’s Religious Background, by Peter M. Ward (Indiana University, 312 pp., $12.50). For the literature student, a study of the religious implications in Shakespeare’s writings. Scholarly, comprehensive, well written.

At least part of the problem in Anderson’s use of primary literature is attributable to the great gulf he fixes between evangelical and non-evangelical scholarship. While this gulf certainly exists at the theological level, it is less clearly visible and operative at the level of concrete literary, historical, and exegetical research. To hear Anderson tell it, evangelicals have learned nothing from critical scholarship; the supposition is belied by his own acceptance of the two-source theory, a hypothesis of source criticism taken over by an increasing number of evangelical scholars from higher criticism. While Anderson rightly insists on the historicity of the basic revelatory facts upon which Christianity rests, he runs into serious problems in denying the validity of the historical method apart from its contextual location within a conservative view of inspiration. He asserts:

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We deny the possibility of setting up adequate historical criteria in the twentieth century to arrive at anything approximating historical truth relative to the life of Jesus based on the Gospels, if we once throw out the view of inspiration we have presented here.

Again,

If … we are placed at the mercy of the historical sciences in order to know anything certain about the Jesus of history, we find ourselves in the position of … recognizing that only a few people are capable of such endeavor.… Moreover, what would Jesus presented to us by this means prove to us?

Martin Kähler notwithstanding, evangelicals must recognize that the constituent aspects of the Christ-event are not historically verifiable because of their inclusion in the gospel record; rather, it is because of the actuality of these events that they are included in a gospel record that provides an accurate (inspired) theological interpretation of them. For example, historical research is limited in that while it can tell us that Jesus was crucified at the hands of the Romans, only the inspired interpretive record can provide us with the theological datum that Jesus’ death was redemptive. The historical method is an absolutely indispensable tool for the evangelical New Testament scholar, though its limitations as well as advantages must be recognized (cf. G. E. Ladd, The New Testament and Criticism). When Anderson asserts that “we agree that if historical research is necessary to faith, this would make faith basically a ‘work,’ ” it seems to me that he has unnecessarily swallowed the artificial dichotomy between faith and history advocated by Kähler, Bultmann, and others.

Anderson’s positive answers for the six questions he poses are of a markedly uneven quality. In discussing the possibility of writing a biography of Jesus, he skirts the historical and exegetical problems and turns the question into the theological issue of the general historical reliability of the gospel narratives. Similarly, on the subject of the resurrection of Jesus, he avoids commenting on the difficult problem of reconstructing the historical sequence of the resurrection appearances, and never once mentions the old tradition of the “first” appearance to Simon Peter (1 Cor. 15:5; Luke 24:34), widely regarded as historical by critical scholars. A major strength of Anderson’s discussion of the miracles of Jesus is his treatment of Jewish traditions of Jesus as a magician and deceiver, a fact that underscores the historicity of the miracle tradition. His discussion of the nature of myth is uninformed; he could have profited greatly from portions of A. B. Mickelsen’s Interpreting the Bible, particularly in the area of “literal” and “figurative” interpretation. In dealing with the central significance of Jesus, a crucial topic with a great potential for development, Anderson is more concerned with integrating the witness of the Gospels into a systematic theological discussion of Christology (a not unimportant task) than with seeing the unique contribution the Gospels make when viewed from the perspective of “biblical realism” (a term of O. Piper and G. E. Ladd) so necessary to the biblical theologian.

The questions Anderson raises should stimulate other scholars to treat them in a more adequate and comprehensive way.

Setting Sun

The Johannine Epistles, by Rudolf Bultmann (Fortress, 143 pp., $11), is reviewed by F. F. Bruce, professor of theology, University of Manchester, Manchester, England.

A commentary originally published in the German “Meyer” series now appears in English translation in the “Hermeneia” series. When comparing this work with Bultmann’s magisterial commentary on the Gospel of John, one is reminded of the comparison between the Iliad and the Odyssey made by an anonymous Greek author: the Iliad, he says, is like the sun at noonday; the Odyssey, on the other hand, is like the setting sun—“but still the sun … and still, Homer.” So Bultmann’s commentary on the Johannine Epistles, first published when the author was eighty-three, is the work of an old man—but still Bultmann.

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The question of joint authorship of the three letters is left open. He says that Third John is a real letter, but that the letter-form of Second John is artificial. Second John is dependent on First John, and First John in turn is the work of someone who had the Gospel of John before him and “was decisively influenced by its language and ideas.” Whereas the Gospel is opposed to “the world,” which stands over against the believing community as its antithesis, the First Epistle is concerned about the infiltration of the world into the believing community in the person of false teachers who claim to represent authentic Christianity, and therefore he says it belongs to a period later than the Gospel. As in the commentary on the Gospel, so here Hermetic and Mandaean parallels are adduced in elucidation of the text.

One symptom of the burden of years is Bultmann’s frequent reference to the work of others for aspects that he does not cover himself. In this regard it is specially pleasing to see how respectfully Rudolf Schnackenburg is cited—welcome sign of a new age of Protestant-Catholic cooperation in German-speaking theology.

Spiritual Awakenings

The Flaming Tongue: The Impact of Twentieth Century Revivals, by J. Edwin Orr (Moody, 1973, 241 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by Harold Lindsell, editor-publisher,CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

J. Edwin Orr has spent a lifetime as both an evangelist and a chronicler of revivalism around the world. This volume concentrates on spiritual awakenings in the twentieth century and ranges wide to include virtually every part of the globe. Most readers will be surprised to learn how many revival-like incidents have taken place in the last seven decades.

Orr’s work is annalistic and as such covers vast territory in small compass. This method does not lend itself to in-depth treatment, but it affords a good overview of the extensive movements of the Holy Spirit in a large variety of places. The author has researched the volume exhaustively, and future historians writing about the history of Christianity will be in his debt. Orr writes with some passion; the annals are never dull. Any preacher, teacher, or lay speaker will find many useful illustrations in the volume.

Perhaps Orr can now direct his efforts toward a magnum opus that would deal with revivalism throughout the history of the Christian Church. This is a work much needed right now.

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