About the Author
This is Dr. Noel’s second book (his first: Pentecostal and Postmodern Hermeneutics). He is the Director of Pentecostal Studies and Associate Professor of Christian Ministries at Tyndale University College and Seminary (Toronto). With two doctoral degrees: DTh (University of South Africa) as well as a DMin (Acadia Divinity College), he is more than able to speak towards the subject of culture and the post-Christendom era we live in.
Content and Purpose
Noel successfully helps us (most notably Pentecostals) navigate through significant changes in cultural attitudes and practices towards Christianity. He does so in three parts:
1) The story of Pentecostalism;
2) A case study of the PAONL; and,
3) Lessons and themes that will help us move forward.
Who’s the book for?
As culture moves away from Christendom and towards a secular and post-Christendom culture, we’ll need proper discussion and beneficial study if we want to strategically move forward. While this is an academic book, the practical information (especially in parts 2 and 3) will help keep the attention of anyone wanting to seriously navigate their Christian faith through a North American (in particular Canadian) context.
As I was reading, a few things jumped out. Maybe they will be of interest to you as well.
1. An honest case study of the PAONL (p. 87-110)
While this study may focus on a small Pentecostal denomination, the data seems to reflect a consistent trend found in Canada, and generally across North America. What is of particular interest is the honest reflection concerning the data collected and the desire to change the down-ward trend.
2. Overview of the different generations in our local churches (p. 113-130)
Our churches include varying ages. If you want to know how they interact and why, this section will certainty whet your appetite for understanding the dynamics at play. Further, Noel’s reflections on pages 122-125 are insightful and significant.
3. Taking healthy risks like Aimee Semple McPherson (p. 142-148)
We tend to avoid risk because of the potential problems that could follow. We could often learn a thing or two from Aimee Semple McPherson. Yes, her ministry was often like a roller coaster, but her ability to effectively think ‘outside the box’ could help us greatly in moving forward.
4. Discussion on beliefs versus values (p. 212-216)
If you don’t make a connection up to this point, you will after read these pages. I would almost suggest reading these few pages first and keep the idea in the back of your mind as you read the rest of the book. This discussion helps bring much of the book together as we try to understand how belief and practice collide.
Check it out here: Pentecostalism, Secularism, and Post Christendom