Aldwin Ragoonath, Preach the Word: A Pentecostal Approach (Agape Teaching Ministry, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 2004.) 246 pages, ISBN 9780973446807.
Preaching has always been central to the life of church life, and especially following the Reformation of Luther and Calvin. However, preaching can take on a different hue in the Pentecostal revival that has and continues to bring about change to the entire church world-wide.
In his book Preach the Word: a Pentecostal Approach, 2004 Aldwin Ragoonath makes the assertion, “Pentecostal and Charismatic preaching is a type of preaching that is different from all other forms of preaching.” He links this form of preaching back to Jesus and his apostles and in this book seeks to convince the reader of the uniqueness of the kind of preaching instinctive to the Pentecostal world and experience.
His definition of Pentecostal is a classic view: those who have what he calls “a Spirit worldview that includes ‘dreams, visions, revelations, curses demons roaming the world, spiritual guidance, angels guiding us, people speaking in tongues, miracles, exorcisms and things we cannot explain.'” For him it is important that Pentecostals understand the difference this form of preaching is to other forms for it is “through preaching that their doctrines and emphases are communicated.”
The book covers a rather wide selection of topics meant to encourage those of Pentecostal persuasion. He begins with what is called “Theology of Pentecostal Preaching” in which he moves from the preacher and message to the traditional feature—especially of older Pentecostal churches—the altar service.
In his chapter on the History of Pentecostal Preaching, the author takes us back into the lives and sermons of those who were instrumental in the early beginnings of the Pentecostal movement, at the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles of the early 1900s. He provides an analysis of the way Parham and Seymour preached and how they handled the Biblical text in their preaching. As well he provides suggestions on how to go about building a sermon from a text.
In preparation for preaching at healing and deliverance services he offers his logic as to the value of such services along with organization of the services. From there he provides counsel on outlining sermons and their delivery.
Throughout his writing, the author asserts that Pentecostals are not traditionally from educated classes: “Pentecostalism was born from working class people and reflects a simple view of the Word of God.” With this in mind then, his material may best refer to those Pentecostals who preach to people with limited education.
Aldwin Ragoonath has obviously spent much time considering the importance of preaching to those who serve within the Pentecostal and Charismatic community. As a world force, it is important that preachers from this community be equipped so as to impact this wider world with the power of Gospel of our risen Lord.
I am grateful for this opportunity of reading and reviewing Preach the Word.
Reviewed by Brian C. Stiller.