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Michael Wilkinson: Canadian Pentecostalism

This broad collection from various perspectives offers a fine introduction to Pentecostalism in Canada and further contributes to an understanding of Pentecostalism in North America. The hefty price tag will unfortunately deter many individuals from purchasing the book. The essays are well-written, and the collection is superbly edited. A bibliography and index conclude a well-rounded collection that is sure to make a fine contribution to any library on Pentecostalism. What the book does not achieve is to do justice to its title. The essays in the collection illustrate once again that Pentecostalism is a global phenomenon that exists in various shades and voices in different localities. Canada shows itself as one place where Pentecostalism has found a home. Yet, Canada shares this experience with others who likewise display the emergence and transformation of Pentecostalism. There is nothing particular about Pentecostalism in this book that could be branded “Canadian,” just as there is no American Pentecostalism, Asian Pentecostalism, Indian Pentecostalism, English, German, or French Pentecostalism. However, the collection does show that there is a difference between being a Pentecostal in Canada as opposed to any other country. The particular social, cultural, religious, and ecclesiastical landscape of Canada forged its own character on Pentecostalism. At the same time, the final section also reveals that even this particularly “Canadian” character is in constant transition due to the global forces acting on the Pentecostal movement in all its global localities. As Peter Beyer points out in the final essay, “exactly the same conclusion applies to the study of Pentecostalism in all the other regions and localities of the world …” (270). Pentecostal scholarship faces the task of understanding the peculiar history, trends, and developments of Pentecostalism in the many parts of the world. At the same time, the forces of institutionalization and globalization seem to point to the emergence of Pentecostalism as a single phenomenon and Canada as one of its global representations. For this task, Wilkinson’s book offers a fine contribution.

Reviewed by Wolfgang Vondey

 

Preview Canadian Pentecostalism: books.google.com/books?id=ym8yoBPZFBQC

Publisher’s page: www.mqup.ca/canadian-pentecostalism-products-9780773537330.php

 

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Category: Church History, Winter 2010

About the Author: Wolfgang Vondey, Ph.D. (Marquette University) and M.Div. (Church of God Theological Seminary), is Reader in Contemporary Christianity and Pentecostal Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is an ordained minister with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). His research focuses on ecclesiology, pneumatology, theological method, and the intersection of theology and science.

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