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The Century of the Holy Spirit Hardcover – 4 May 2001


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The Pentecostal movement, the history of its origins, development, and spread worldwide are the subjects of this book, written from a Pentecostal perspective. The Catholic charismatic renewal and the Pentecostal movement among African-Americans and Hispanic communities are also described. Synan is dean of the School of Divinity at Regent U. He was

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ON JANUARY 1, 1901, a young woman named Agnes Ozman was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a small Bible school in Topeka, Kansas. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 10 reviews
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Good, but less than comprehensive 11 May 2001
By Tom Hinkle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Pentecostal/Charismatic phenomenon has turned out to be the most influential, far-reaching movement in Christianity in the 20th century. What once was considered a backwoods, wrong-side-of-the-tracks brand of religion has thrust itself into the mainstream, touching every Christian tradition from Roman Catholicism to mainline Protestantism to Orthodoxy, and everything in between. This book chronicles the rise of Pentecostalism, from its foundations in the late 19th-century holiness churches, through the Azusa Street revival, the formation of Pentecostal denominations, the unfortunate split between African-Americans and white Pentecostals, the postwar popularity of traveling healing evangelists, the permutation of Pentecostalism into the neo-Pentecostal or Charismatic movement as the Holy Spirit entered mainline churches, the explosion of TV evangelism, to the end of the 20th century where Pentecostalism is a true worldwide phenomenon. This is anything but a dry historical document; it seems as alive and vibrant in many places as the movement it covers. It deals with theological issues such as the controversy among the "second-blessing" and "third-blessing" advocates, the even more controversial "Oneness" doctrine, and other beliefs that both characterized and often divided Pentecostalism. Another controversy the book addresses is the Shepherding or Discipleship movement. Also controversial is the prosperity gospel of today's TV evangelists, although the book fails to acknowledge that it is, indeed, controversial (as fair and even-handed as this book is, I don't really expect them to say the health-and-wealth message is heretical, even though, in my opinion, it is).
One criticism I have of this book is that is gives very scant, almost non-existant coverage of significant movements such as the Vineyard. Even though there is more emphasis on healing, prophecy, and words of knowledge than there is on speaking in tongues, and Vineyard leaders eschew the Charismatic label, they still belong firmly in the Charismatic movement. Founder John Wimber is mentioned a few times in passing, but as influential as the Vineyard has, I think a little historical coverage there is in order, including Wimber's "Signs and Wonders" course at Fuller Theological Seminary, which had great impact on many. Totally ignored is the modern apostolic/prophetic stream led by such figures as Rick Joyner, Francis Frangipane, and Paul Cain. The popularity of the contemporary "praise and worship" music can also be traced directly to the Charismatic movement, as this is one phenomenon that has spread even to non-Charismatic churches, yet that also gets barely a mention. This lack of comprehensiveness blunted my enthusiasm for this book.
I owe a lot to the Charismatic movement, and the Pentecostal movement that spawned it. If not for the filling of the Holy Spirit in my own life, I doubt that I would be as fervent a Christian today. It is strange that, as theologically correct as I attempt to be, this movement that influenced me so much is based on what I regard as a doctrinal fallacy, namely that tongues is always the "evidence" of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. As much as I've tried to distance myself from the Charismatic movement in the past year or so because of some of the excesses and bad theology, I still have to admit that I am Charismatic to the core and always will be. That's one reason I found this book so interesting. It's part of my "roots", so to speak, and even if everyone doesn't share my experience, I still think that modern-day believers of every stripe will find this book quite enlightening.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
100 Years of Pentecost 7 July 2001
By KW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
History comes to life in a book that makes for compelling reading and a valuable reference tool. In addition to key data and timelines, it refers readers to a wealth of related background material. Though Vinson Synan wrote six chapters, it features nine other contributors. Yet the story flows with the coherence of a single author, enlivened by vignettes on such key figures as Kathryn Kuhlman, Carlos Annacondia, Oral Roberts and Bishop Charles Mason. The Century of the Holy Spirit builds a strong case for the authenticity of the Spirit-filled life. Examples: * The Bible college students in Topeka, Kan., who received the gift of tongues in 1901 spoke in 21 languages they had never studied. * During the budding of the Azusa Street revival, the future wife of leader William Seymour spoke in Hebrew and played the piano without benefit of lessons. * Church of God in Christ (COGIC) founder Mason parted ways with another leader over the issue of speaking in tongues. Today, COGIC is the nation's largest Pentecostal denomination. The other church has less than one percent as many members. Further strengthening this profile, Synan delves into Pentecostalism's historic roots. Among them are John Wesley's notes on the "Second Blessing" and important movements of the 19th century that paved the way for the latest outpouring. He also traces the rise of cessationist theories that maintain a grip nearly two millennia later - including at the Moody Bible Institute. Ironically, the book details Dale Moody receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and later teaching it at his Chicago-based ministry. Yet the truth is not glossed over. Conflict rages within these pages, from the disputes at Azusa Street to the tragic excesses of the shepherding/discipleship movement. Still, a crucial question remains: How long will the theological war between evangelicals and Spirit-filled believers continue? A century after its budding in the U.S., 500 million adherents worldwide vouch for the validity of this movement. So does the blood of 8 million martyrs. Perhaps books like this will help both sides recognize that our common enemy is Satan, not brothers and sisters in Christ.
--This review appeared in the July 2001 issue of Charisma magazine.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Concise, Readable, and Valuable History of a Movement 16 Nov 2001
By Todd Hudnall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Vinson Synan has compiled a concise, readable, and valuable volume tracing the one hundred-year history of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement. The book is a partisan overview of the key events and most significant personalities that contributed to this century-long religious phenomenon. Synan provides outstanding coverage of the enormous contributions of African Americans, and Hispanics, as well as females within the movement. Among other subjects, many pages are devoted to Pentecostalism's holiness roots, charismatic renewal among both Roman Catholics and the mainline Protestant denominations, along with a chapter devoted to faith healers and televangelists.
The book does contain weaknesses. Despite Gary McGee's excellent chapter on global expansion, Synan fails to include a full global prospective, which is actually the most impressive aspect of Pentecostalism. Though I appreciate much of the work of David Barrett in the final chapter, I found his statistical evaluation too inclusive and some of his futuristic predictions a bit bizarre.
This 492-page hardcover work contains an abundance of photographs, vignettes, and a colorful pullout timeline of key events. In addition to Synan, there are nine exceptional guest authors who contribute to the book. This is a well-done presentation that should be on the shelf of every enthusiast of Pentecostal and Charismatic history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is FUN! 7 Dec 2006
By M. B. Hancock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have yet to read all the way through Vinson Synan's book because I keep jumping from page to page... the stories! The pictures! If you were there in the charismatic days, you may find it striking you the way it strikes me...it's like looking at a yearbook! It is such a valuable memoir of great days in which I was privileged to participate.

I only got the book a few days ago but already have been telling friends about it. And I must say that people & events of whom I have some personal knowledge ring true in the way they are presented here.

Although there may be some points left out, it's staggering to see how much material Vinson Synan has tackled. If you don't agree with every single point he makes, you have to admire his effort. And there is much documentation of all his points.

One structural problem with the book is repetition, as in: several biographies of Aimee Semple McPherson; one in a chapter in the chronological rundown of events, and another in a chapter on women of significance during the century.

The one thing surprising is that there is no mention of the Messianic Jewish movement. I'm not sure how much of that was Pentematic, but at least some of it had to be.

Also another great point about this book is there is much, much material about events leading up to the 20th century. This book filled in so many holes I had in church history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Century of the Holy Spirit 20 Feb 2011
By AllCatsGoToHeaven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. It pulled me in the first time I read it. It was wonderful to read about what God has done through Pentecostalism and how it started. Awesome!
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