Michael G. Moriarty

Recommendation:  5/5

Description of author:  Michael Moriarty is currently senior pastor of Hope Church in Mason, OH.

Comments:  This is an excellent introduction to the history and theology of the Charismatic movement.  As a former Charismatic, Moriarty is both kind and clear.  He does not tackle the tongues issue, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or the question of whether or not the gift of prophecy is valid today.  Rather he deals with dangerous trends within the movement including its tendency to be experience based rather than Biblical based, its tendency toward continually seeking something new, and its tendency toward spiritual elitism.  The first five chapters are an overview of the historical development of the movement beginning with the Pentecostal explosion at Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906.  He works through the Neo-Pentecostal deliverance revivals of the 1940s and 50s; the Latter Rain movement; the emergence of the Charismatic movement in the 1960s; and the New Charismatics of the 1980s and 90s, including the Third Wave.  Along the way he develops the theological roots of the movement in Wesleyan theology and 19th century revivalism.  The book is worth buying for this section alone.  My understanding of this movement was vastly improved by this historical overview.  In the remaining 11 chapters (6-16) he deals with specific theological issues within the movement including: restorationism, present-truth, dominion theology, the fivefold ministry, abuse of prophecy, abuse of power, and word of faith.  The appendix, “Did Jesus Die Spiritually?”  is an excellent discussion of the abuse of the doctrine of the atonement in some Charismatic circles.  I’m not sure why it is an appendix as opposed to a chapter.  The one draw back of this book is that it is nearly 15 years old.  He does not cover the Toronto Blessing (1994) or the Brownsville Revival (1995) because they had not happened yet.  Still this book gives a needed clarity regarding the historical and theological progression of the movement.