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.