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Global Awakening

Global Awakening avoids the common pitfalls of studies of world Christianity—a deficiency of constructive theoretical assessment on the one hand, or lack of contextualized (case) studies on the other. The result is a well-balanced treatment, one that meets the historical, cultural, and theological demands of the discipline. The case studies are appropriately placed and cover a range of twentieth century revivals from a geographical and historical vantage point. The studies support through specific examples the categories of “revival dynamics” used by Shaw, encouraging an integrative and holistic approach. With the exception of the chapter on North American revivalism, the case studies focus on the global South. This is less a methodological oversight, or a contrived attempt by Shaw to promote a liberationist agenda, than an honest effort to corroborate statistical evidence suggesting the bulk of twentieth century revivals occurred among Third World nations.

From the Korean revival to the rise of Chinese house churches in the 90s, revitalization movements are emerging from a network of changing spiritual, cultural, and historical dynamics. Though threatened by change, indigenous cultures are being renewed and are now expanding beyond local and national contexts. The impact of the Brazil revival on the United Kingdom suggests these movements also include “reverse missions.” This reflects an important paradigm shift. As the Majority World sheds their dependence on the West through revivals, “sending” countries are becoming “recipients” of missionary work.

Reviewed by Paul Palma

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2013

About the Author: Paul J. Palma, PhD, is Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry at Regent University. Paul’s research centers on global Pentecostal-charismatic movements. His work has been published in a number of national and international journals. His book, Italian American Pentecostalism and the Struggle for Religious Identity has recently been published with the Routledge Studies in Religion series. LinkedIn page. Facebook.

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