A MAN CALLED MR. PENTECOST

David du Plessis was a South African who rose to fame within Pentecostal churchcircles. He was one of the driving forces behind the improving relationships between churches worldwide (mainly World Council of Churches) and the fast growing pentecostal movement. 

He was born in 1905  near Cape Town. His parents joined the movement that was started by an English preacher David Fischer in South Africa in 1915. In 1917 David was converted, baptised, but he was of the conviction that he had not yet received the Holy Spirit. He gets involved with churchwork in Pretoria. Mrs. Herzog (her husband was prime minister) became a member of this local church. In 1927 David marries Anna and they decide to live by faith ( slang for: living with no fixed income). In the book there is however much attention paid to collections held for his upkeep. 

The story is one of growing reponsibilities within the pentecostal movement. He gets invited to speak in the United States and in European countries. He gets involved in consulations with the the International Missionary Council and the World Council of Churches and in the end the Roman Catholic Church as well. Long periods of time he spends away from home.

The family decides to leave South Africa and move to the United States. 

In this book  you find an overview of his life and his work. Do not expect too much historical information, analysis, theological discours or anything like that. There are even some historical inaccuracies: it is mentioned he had a meeting with the Dutch queen Wilhelmina, but at the time mentioned she was not the queen. He is present at the opening of the Vatican Council, but the Council itself was already opened earlier. In reference to 1936 the names of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin and mentioned and it is written that war had not started yet, but Mussolini had already invaded Ethiopia. 

At times you have to understand the special slang/jargon used by the writer: as I mentioned above “living by faith”. Another one is “dedication to God”, interpreted as “working for a church or a christian organization”. At times I get the impression that the bible is used as an illustration by the life of du Plessis. There is not much about the importance of the Bible, the Word of God, but it is more about direct revelations send by God to du Plessis.

Du Plessis has done important work and therefore he deserved a better book, in which he is better portrayed, in the context of his time and his theology.

Bob Slosser – A man called Mr. Pentecost – 1977 

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semper

I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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