Leading historical authority on early American evangelicalism, Vinson Synan in The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century addresses how a wide-range of charismatic movements in America during the 20th century experienced an "identifiable second blessing" that included Catholic and Anglican mystics. Likewise, he argues that the teachings of John Wesley were the crystallizing elements in this movement, and then shows how the movement grew from Wesley into the concrete realities of Asuza Street, and other Pentecostal/Charismatic revivals. Finally, Synan also documents ho the movement has affected other major Christian denominations, and how this movement has now become only second to Catholicism in size and must be accorded such respect by scholars, historians, and all members of the broader church.
Called "a pioneer contribution" by Church History when it was first published in 1971 as The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States, this volume has now been revised and enlarged by Vinson Synan to account for the incredible changes that have occurred in the church world during the last quarter of the twentieth century.
Synan brings together the stories of the many movements usually listed as "holiness," "pentecostal," or "charismatic," and shows that there is an identifiable "second blessing" tradition in Christianity that began with the Catholic and Anglican mystics, that was crystallized in the teaching of John Wesley, and that was further perpetuated through the holiness and Keswick movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the appearance of modern Pentecostalism. Synan then chronicles the story of the spread of Pentecostalism around the world after the heady days of the Azusa Street awakening, with special attention given to the beginnings of the movement in those nations where Pentecostalism has become a major religious force. He also examines the rise of various mainline-church charismatic movements that have their roots in Pentecostalism.
Because of the explosive growth of the Pentecostal movement in the last half of the century, Pentecostals and Charismatics now constitute the second largest family of Christians in the world after the Roman Catholic Church. "This could well be the major story of Christianity in the twentieth century," writes Synan. "Pentecostalism has grown beyond a mere passing 'movement' . . . and can now be seen as a major Christian 'tradition' alongside the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformation Protestant traditions."
The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition will continue to be an important handbook for shaping our understanding of this phenomenon.
Vinson Synan is distinguished professor of ChristianHistory at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Christianity Today, Number 15 on the Top 25 Books of the Year list (1998)
"As a historian, Synan offers powerful explanations and conclusions."
Christian Scholars Review
"An indispensable and highly readable account of the origins and growth of what is clearly the most significant movement in the twentieth-century church . . . With the growing 'charismaticization' of the contemporary church, this book should be of interest to Christians in all academic disciplines."
"A fine historical work that will interest those engaged in the history of the American church. . . This is a book that makes for fascinating reading and is well worth the investment of time and money."
"This revision of a book originally published in 1971 incorporates five new chapters and further strengthens Synan's detailed and highly readable history of the various 'second-blessing' movements that form a major branch of Christianity. . . Synan provides an authoritative, highly documented and nuanced survey of a tradition that continues to thrive worldwide."