The Spirit of Pentecost

the spirit of pentecost

Now an Australian classic, Dr Barry Chant’s, The Spirit of Pentecost, presents the largely untold and dramatic story of the early days of Australian Pentecostalism. It is a tale of bold pioneering, courage and sacrifice; of remarkable miracles; of grit and heroism; of dogged persistence; of faith, hope, love and compassion. Discover the distinctive qualities of the early Australian Pentecostal movement and its unique contribution to the Kingdom of God.

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What the reviewers say.

  • ‘A book that should be read’ – Professor Walter Hollenweger
  • ‘I highly recommend this book’ – Professor Vinson Synan.
  • ‘This is a great read’ – Dr Stuart Piggin.
  • ‘I could not put it down’ – Pastor Bill Vasilakis

The author says:

For years I have been fascinated by the origins of Australian Pentecostalism. I heard stories about it but there was no reliable published history. So I set about researching it myself. The result was an exciting story and some surprising outcomes.

Australian Pentecostalism exhibits distinctive elements which do not fit accepted theories. Neither the deprivation theories of the 1970s and 80s nor more recent sociological and psychological explanations are adequate to explain its development.

Generally the socio-economic status of Australian Pentecostal people was not, as is commonly believed, below the norm for the community: in fact, the reverse was true.

Pentecostalism grew from three major nineteenth century tributaries: the Wesleyan movement with its emphasis on entire sanctification; the ministry of John Alexander Dowie with its focus on divine healing and separation from the world; and the Evangelical movement, with its fervent and growing desire for revival.

Local leadership was both indigenous and multicultural. Sarah Jane Lancaster was the outstanding pioneer. She was responsible for establishing many local churches, she engaged in extensive welfare work during the Depression and there was a strong emphasis on experiencing the presence and power of God, especially through ‘tarry meetings.’

There were dedicated and determined efforts to take the gospel to the Aborigines. The Spirit was seen to be bestowed on both men and women equally and so, in the initial three decades, women had a unique freedom to preach, administer the sacraments and lead churches. Over half of the first thirty Pentecostal congregations were founded by women.
It was their experience of God through the Holy Spirit that motivated the early Pentecostals. Historically, it will be seen that the movement’s distinctiveness rested in its enshrining of the practice of glossolalia in an experiential encounter with God.

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