Pentecostal Mission And Global Christianity, By Wonsuk Ma, Veli Matti Kärkkäinen And Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu (eds.)

Pentecostal Mission And Global Christianity, By Wonsuk Ma, Veli Matti Kärkkäinen And Kwabena Asamoah Gyadu (eds.)

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Book Reviews

Wonsuk Ma, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu (eds.),Pen-

tecostal Mission and Global Christianity(Oxford,UK: Regnum Books International,

2014). 397 pp. $50.00 paperback.

Pentecostals had been doing mission since the beginning of the movement(s) and this book is a written recollection and reflection of the Pentecostal mis- sion. This work is a landmark in Pentecostal mission studies and fills the gap that was present in general mission studies. This edited volume (which is part of the Edinburgh Centenary Series) by Wonsuk Ma, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu introduces the readers to a Pentecostal mission in a context of Global Christianity. The book has a worldwide variety of thoughts from scholars such a Julie C. Ma, Opoku Onyinah, Miguel Alvarez, Tony Richie and others. The book has two major aims. First, to study the unique contribu- tion of the Pentecostal mission to Global Christianity in the last hundred years. Second, to map where the Pentecostal mission is heading in the context and complexities of Global Christianity, in which is it is very to hear the voices of the Majority World. The volume reflects the global diversity of Pentecostalism.

The book contains twenty essays that reflect on Pentecostal mission his- torically, theologically and missiologically. This reflection is made from the unique perspectives of the Global South and Global North. In Kärkkäinen’s chapter, “The Pentecostal Understanding of Mission,” he brings to the surface the dilemma that Pentecostals had been more “mission doers than mission reflectors.” One of the reasons is it was that their goal to spread the message of salvation tothe worldin the shortestpossible time. But it is the time tocontinue our missiological reflection that had been started and continued from scholars such as Melvin L. Hodge, Julie and Wonsuk Ma, Amos Yong, among others. It is necessary to notice that Pentecostal mission is unique and distinctive from the other Christian traditions. Some of that distinctiveness is: the emphasis on the Full Gospel, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the holistic view of salva- tion, the koinonia, and the imminent expectation of the return of Christ. These features are unique to Pentecostal mission and had been influencing mission praxis since the beginning.

In her chapter, “Pentecostal Evangelism, Church Planting and Church Growth,” Julie C. Ma deals with one of the most important topics in today’s Christianity, where we see a decrease of members in the Global North and a continuing growth of Pentecostalism in the Global South. This chapter shows how Pentecostals had been doing evangelism, church planting and church growth. Ma argues that the Pentecostal movement has some unique theolog- ical orientations that serve as their fuel for evangelism and church planting. Some of those features are: the extreme attention to soul winning, their way of


© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/15700747-04101021


Book Reviews


reading the Bible, their empowerment theology, their eschatological mindset that shapes their mission praxis, and their view of evangelism as an essential way of spreading the kingdom of God.

Intermsof churchplanting,forMa, Pentecostalshaveseveralunique charac- teristics, such as: an emphasis on supernatural manifestation, the importance of personal witnessing, the zeal for evangelism, and the promotion of indige- nous leadership. The described characteristics made Pentecostalism church planting successful. Ma clearly touches on the very missiological motivation for Pentecostals. The two chapters that were highlighted here are a snapshot of what the book offered. It provides the whole spectrum of what Pentecostal Mission looks like, it offers a historical perspective, and looks at what is really happening today: a Pentecostal theology of mission/religion and how Pente- costal mission praxis looks in African, Latin American, and Asian contexts. It is clear that Pentecostalism should be looked at as global phenomenon.

In general, the book is a good introduction to Pentecostal Mission in the context of Global Christianity. The great value of this volume could be seen in three ways. First, the incorporation of Majority World scholars. Pentecostalism is a global movement and most of the Pentecostals are outside of the Global North. Second, the topics presented deal with Majority World realities such as: spiritual world, interaction with Catholicism, interaction with World Reli- gions, among other themes.Third, this book is call to embrace our missiological uniqueness. Some of that uniqueness lies in the pneumatological approach to mission, the role of empowerment on mission, the Full Gospel, and our escha- tological urgency.

There some areas that are keys for the discussion of mission studies that were left out such as missional hermeneutics, biblical theology of mission, and the role of women in Pentecostal mission. One of the disciplines that is key for missiology is biblical studies.If Pentecostalmissiology is constructing along the way, these three areas could not be ignored. Theology informs praxis and vice versa. I think that Pentecostals can do more in these three areas. Also, the book left out the Pentecostal perspective of the Oceanian continent. This continent has some missiological uniqueness to add to the conversation of Pentecostal mission.

Overall, the book is recommended for those who want to have an introduc- tion to Pentecostal mission from a global perspective. It is important to note that Pentecostalism began just over a century ago and the movement continues toexpand.Thus,Pentecostalismis,bynature,amissionarymovement.Yet,little has been written of Pentecostal theology of mission. In recent years, however, Pentecostal theology of mission literature has been flourishing. This volume adds to the knowledge of Pentecostal mission studies. Pentecostal Missiology

PNEUMA 41 (2019) 111–185



Book Reviews

is still under construction and part of the key building blocks are coming from the Global South. Pentecostalism is a global movement and the voices of the global communities provided missiological richness and key features of Global Pentecostalism. In this book, it is evident that Pentecostals have a unique way of doing missiology and we have to embrace it and avoid the temptation of baptizing in the Holy Spirit or pentecostalizing someone else’s missiology.

Reinaldo I. Gracia Figueroa

Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky

PNEUMA 41 (2019) 111–185


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