Signs, Wonders and the Kingdom of God, by Don Williams (Servant, 158 pp.; $7.95, paper); When the Spirit Comes with Power, by John White (InterVarsity Press, 247 pp.; $8.95, paper); Christianity with Power, by Charles H. Kraft (Servant, 230 pp.; $8.95, paper); The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, by C. Peter Wagner (Servant, 133 pp.; $6.95, paper). Reviewed by Tim Stafford.
The Pentecostal and charismatic movements started among poor and uneducated people—the sort who do not write academic books to explain themselves. As the movements have spread, however, they have penetrated other social strata. They have now reached into academic society, converting some to their perspective. These four books are a good example. Fairly late in life, these writers have been transformed by their experiences in the Vineyard.
Middle-class, suburban, and evangelical, the Vineyard is both a charismatic renewal movement and a new denomination made up of mostly small, energetic, youth-oriented churches. Its relaxed, low-key style appeals to educated people. Led by John Wimber, it emphasizes lay faith healing and worshiping through the singing of choruses. The Vineyard aims to offer more than a new flavoring to evangelicalism, however; it seeks to convert. As Clark Pinnock puts it in his foreword to Charles Kraft’s book, “This book requires that we decide which camp [proor anti-Pentecostal] we belong to.”
So, in varying ways, do all four books. These academically oriented authors approach “signs and wonders” from various vantage points: psychiatry, biblical theology, church growth, and anthropology. The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, by C. Peter Wagner, is a popular introduction to the movement; the other three restrict themselves to narrower territory. ...1
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