Afro-Pentecostalism: Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture/Black Fire: One Hundred Years of African American Pentecostalism

Article excerpt

Afro-Pentecostalism: Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture. Edited by Amos Yong and Estrelda Y. Alexander. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2011. Pp. x, 261. $80; paperback $30.

Black Fire: One Hundred Years of African American Pentecostalism. By Estrelda Y. Alexander. Downers Grove, III: IVP Academic, 2011. Pp. 406. Paperback$30.

Amos Yong and Estrelda Y Alexander are both professors of theology at the Divinity School of Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The two books, though published by different presses, act as companions in one quest: to testify of the untold stories of African American Pentecostalism within the arena of religious history.

Afro-Pentecostalism, a collection of essays, pulls together a variety of academic approaches (ritual studies, missiology, ethics, cultural studies, gender studies, and autobiography). Serving as connecting threads in this tapestry are interaction with JamesCone (the founder of black liberation theology in the United States), the influence of Walter Hollenweger (historian of Pentecostalism), and critical engagement with the so-called prosperity gospel. One special note is that Hollenweger focused on the African American roots in Pentecostalism, shifting the attention from Charles F. Parham and the Topeka revival of 1901 to William J. Seymour and the Azusa revival of 1906-9. With Azusa serving as the larger narrative, the story of Pentecostalism has both a missio logical focus and an African American identity. In the final essay, Dale Irvin affirms that "a black church was at the center of an emerging global nexus" (p. 238).

Black Fire provides a much-needed narrative that completes, and at times corrects, the general histories of both American Christianity and the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. …

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