AE vol. 44, no. 6, June 1987
Denis and Gwen Smith, Available direct from Commonwealth Office, PO Box 95, St Agnes, SA 5097, 96pp, RRP $6.95, inc. p&p
This excellent book was expecially commissioned by the Executive Presbytery for release at Jubilee 50 Commonwealth conference and has been well received. Denis V. Smith and his wife, Gwen, have written a faithful history of the Assemblies of God in Australia. THis is no boring documentation of cold facts and figures but an inspirational reminder of the sovereignty of God, the power of the baptism in the Spirit, the continuous desire for souls, the sacrifices of the early AOG pioneers - their faith, tenacity and commitment to each other, their denomination and to extending the kingdom of God in Australia and overseas.
The book moves swiftly along, holding the attention all the way. The authors have deliberately avoided long personal descriptive details of most of the people they write about, yet the characters are very much alive as you read of their conversions, successes and disappointments. In the early chapters, the historical figures who prepared the way for the foundations of today's AOG in Australia are all there ... Janet Lancaster, Frederick Van Eyk, A. C. Valdez Snr, C. L. Greenwood, C. G. Greenwood, C. G. Enticknap, H. E. Wiggins, P. B. Duncan, A. T. Davidson, W. A. Buchanan, and so on. But this is just not a book about the past - it relates very much to the busy AOG activities of the 80s. There is no question that God has abundantly blessed the AOG in Australia over the years and in particular the past ten. TOday it is the largest Pentecostal movement in Australia with a new work starting every six days in the preceding two years.
The River is Flowing is prompt to honour God for all that has been achieved above honouring the men and women who many times paid the price to be the channel of that river. The authors, in being attentivee to detail, have been honest enough not only to share the successes but also the heartaches, frustrations, barriers and problems.
Denis and Gwen Smith personally refer to this as a devotional book, and it is just that. Here is an exciting but frank history of men and women who, despite differences in background, eduction and often opinions, were devoted to and united in a common cause - proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, winning Australia for Christ, unswervingly attesting to the baptism of the Holy Spirit with demonstrations of power, acknowledging the holiness of God, and displaying tremendous zeal to fulfil the Great Commission.
As the book concludes the river which began to flow in 1937 is still flowing, stronger than ever and the inspiration is unmistakably there in all these pages to challenge and encourage readers to be a vital part of that great river. Many photos are included (see advert p. 31)
W. R. McQuillan
Flying for God
by Harold Morton, 208pp., RRP$11.95, Distributors, Bio-Kingdom Enterprises.
This is really three books in one which makes it extra value reading.
Part one, Below Me the Mountains*, is one of the most thrilling and exciting tales of Australian missionary endeavour to come out of New Guinea.
It is the story of the inauguration of an air programme in a new part of New Guinea, of the difficulties encountered, of the reasons which made it so important to succeed and of the eventual outcome, it is also the story of the vibrant faith motivating the pilots who fly across the mountains and jungles of New Guinea to help forward the work of missions, a faith which pulsates on every page.
Part two of the book brings the reader into a totally new experience where the traditional MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) pattern ceases to be appropriate and a new way has to be found to serve relatively sophisticated and educated people. On Bougainville the people have been Christianised for over 50 years and the content of the work opens up new horizons of challenge hitherto unheard of and uncalled for. The author believes that the work pioneers on Bougainville is a prototype of the community orientated service that MAF is increasingly being involved in today's world.
In part three the reader is taken up to crisp, clear revolutionary heights of theological perception. The author has many years experience with MAF and, as expressed in the book, believes that for solid achievement in advancing the Kingdom of God, the MAF is unmatched. Sacrificial achievement, too costing blood and tears, danger and isolation, excitement, challenge.... all these ingredients are contained in this strong story guaranteed to grip you with its power -- and challenge you with its message.
Harold Morton is no stranger to AOG in Australia. He and his wife, Hope, fellowhsip at the Cornerstone Chapel, Epping West Assembly. Available direct from Bio-Kingdom Ministries (see advert p. 33)
W. Robert McQuillan