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Elijah Kim: The Rise of the Global South

What are the differences between renewal movements in Europe and America?

In addition to the cultural changes mentioned in the previous paragraph the author also notes other changes that took place. These changes were primarily ways of thinking or viewing life. Changes of this kind were society’s acceptance of secularism, humanism, rationalism, and pluralism. As the author points out humans and their intellect became the center and guiding principles of life (page xxv). Each of these “isms” that were mentioned in this paragraph moved some people away from believing in the authority of the Bible and the truth and exclusive claims of the gospel. But not all of the news is bad. As the author points out some churches grew during this time period when others were declining, the churches that grew were “fundamentalist, Bible-centered, and Pentecostal/Charismatic” (page xxxi).

The church is experiencing phenomenal growth in the global south.

Dr. Kim, in writing about the Global South, highlights the phenomenal growth of the church that is taking place there. This is wonderful news and we rejoice in it. That being said, this does not mean that the church in the Global South is perfect or does not have challenges or obstacles to overcome. In some places the church has to deal with syncretism (page 405), the blending together of biblical truth and elements that are not biblical. On the positive side one of the things that the author mentions a number of times in the book is that the Pentecostal/Charismatic churches are the ones experiencing tremendous growth (pages xxxii, 1). Citing Allan Anderson he also points out that some traditional churches in Asia have been “Pentecostalized” (page 374) meaning that they have adopted beliefs and practices that we might normally associate with a Pentecostal or Charismatic church. The Pentecostal Movement is without question a significant movement with great impact, the author says that no previous movement has had the impact that it has (page 7).

The reader will be exposed to a wealth of information in this book. Some of this information may cause the reader to rejoice at what God has done in the past and what He is currently doing in the Global South. Other information may cause some to do a bit of soul searching and possibly repenting. Pentecostals and Charismatics might especially like parts of this book because it presents these movements in a favorable light.

No previous renewal movement has had the impact that the Pentecostal/charismatic movement has had.

Hopefully all of us desire that the Lord will do a significant work in the Global North in our time. That is, that He will draw unbelievers to a saving knowledge of Himself and that He will stir the church to greater obedience and greater anointing in order to accomplish His will. In addition to desiring to see God move may we position ourselves to be participants in it. As Dr. Luis Bush points out in the Foreword “What this book communicates is how important it is for those from the Minority World and those from the Majority World to learn from one another” (page xvi). In closing Dr. Kim, I think rightly, believes that the global church needs church unity and revival movements (page xxiii). Amen to that! There is much food for thought in this volume. If you are interested in Christian history and what is happening in the contemporary Global church you will find this book very helpful.

Reviewed by John Lathrop


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Category: Ministry, Winter 2020

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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