Recent surveys reveal that ever-increasing numbers of the faithful are attracted to the Pentecostal movement. While in the United States the popularity of this religious movement is strong, the global appeal of Pentecostalism has been nothing short of extraordinary. What accounts for the fact that Pentecostalism is the fastest growing religious movement in the world?
Drawing on Paul Alexander's scholarly work, religious upbringing, and rich personal experience in Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico, Malta, Palestine/Israel, Belgium, India, and the United States, Signs and Wonders offers a compelling view of the amazing growth and power of the worldwide Pentecostal movement.
As Alexander explains, Pentecostalism is attractive to seekers on many levelsthe lively services, the mystery of tongue talking, the promise of prosperity, and the draw of hope and joy. Pentecostalism is open to prophecy, dreams, and visions. Pentecostals believe that dreams and visions are ways that God can speak directly to human beings. These beliefs hold great appeal for the millions of people who take comfort in hearing God's voice when life gets difficult. Pentecostals live in a world where God is close enough to talk to and can be appealed to for miracles of all kindsfrom curing warts to keeping an eighteen wheeler from crushing a mini-van. The Pentecostal view of prosperity through faith has great allure for those living the American dream and for those who dwell in abject poverty. As one pastor put it "God wants you to prosper. You don't have to wait. You don't have to be tied down by your circumstances."
Signs and Wonders offers a unique view of the Pentecostal movement from Paul Alexander who has been both an insider and an outsider to the faith.
Drawing on personal experiences and numerous interviews with individuals who practice Pentecostalism, Alexander, who teaches at Azusa Pacific University, attempts to provide insights into why the Pentecostal faith continues to grow by leaps and bounds around the world. He examines such key elements of Pentecostalism as speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy and visions, and spiritual warfare and prayer in arguing that they provide freedom to hope for and experience a better life. Alexander's unfortunately superficial survey would have been strengthened by more attention to historical context. For example, his shallow chapter on the "prosperity gospel" espoused by many Pentecostals fails to point out the dangers-including fraud-of this version of the Christian message. This highly repetitious book would have been more successful as a short article. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.