“The author convincingly portrays Seymour, an African American with little formal education, at the vital center of Pentecostalism, influencing scores of ministers and missionaries who passed through his mission or read his Apostolic Faith newspaper. . . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty.” — W. B. Bedford, Choice
“Readers deeply steeped in the historiographical fights over the relative influence of Seymour versus other figures will find here about as close to a definitive account as one is going to get. But even those who just want to learn about Pentecostalism’s early days generally, and perhaps don’t have a dog in the historiographical and in-church fight, will benefit greatly from the author’s strongly argued, impeccably researched, and cogently written account. This is church history at its best.” — Paul Harvey, Canadian Journal of History
"Espinosa’s detailed and careful analysis of Seymour’s role in the internal and external dynamics of the early Pentecostal movement explains much about its crucial decisions, and the contemporary strengths and weaknesses of this branch of Christianity." — Hans Krabbendam, History
"Gastón Espinosa’s William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism rigorously and thoroughly demonstrates the importance and significance of African American William Seymour’s and that of the Azusa Street Revival’s roles in the origins and development of global Pentecostalism." — Angela M. Nelson, American Studies
“Espinosa provides an appropriate challenge to evaluate the radical countercultural, socially transgressive nature of Azusa and the opportunity that such transgressive space gave to an emerging Pentecostalism.” — Zachary Michael Tackett, Pneuma
"This masterpiece of historical scholarship makes a compelling case for the unparalleled importance of William Seymour and the Azusa Street revival to the foundational period of U.S. and global Pentecostalism. The book is revisionist history in the very best sense of the term—restoring Seymour to his deserved place as the single most important leader in Pentecostal origins. It is sufficiently concise and accessibly, indeed beautifully, written to serve as an ideal introduction to those new to Pentecostalism, while also challenging specialists to rethink interpretations that have become accepted doctrines. This book is essential for understanding Pentecostalism."
— Candy Gunther Brown, Indiana University
"Gastón Espinosa has written a great book. His biography reinserts Seymour and Azusa back into the narrative of global Pentecostal origins. While spotlighting Seymour’s pivotal role, he resists an expansionist, missionary, imperialistic, and Eurocentric (North American-centric) narrative of global Pentecostal history by acknowledging the role of other leaders, revivals, and centers around the world. He directly challenges claims that Seymour and Azusa were just one of many important leaders and centers from 1906 to 1912 by focusing his argument on the degrees of separation between a movement’s first articulation and origin in a country and its subsequent spread, fragmentation, and development. This approach affirms both Seymour’s contribution and that of other missionaries and indigenous leaders. This superb history will have a profound impact on global Pentecostal studies for years to come."
— David Daniels, McCormick Theological Seminary
"This book marks a watershed in scholarship about the origins and early spread of Pentecostal faith and fire around the world. Espinosa's illuminating historical portrait of the one-eyed preacher and spiritual giant, William Seymour, is joined to an invaluable documentary history of theological topics and the drama of the Azusa Street revival movement. Espinosa has presented a truly multi-cultural portrait with early testimonies from Mexican-American, African-American, U.S. and European voices. Not by might but by Espinosa’s deep historical work and balanced insights will readers come to grasp the fuller human story of this twentieth century reformation story."
— Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University
“Gastón Espinosa’s incisive biography persuasively argues that Seymour is central to global Pentecostal origins and that race is a critical factor in explaining Seymour’s declining influence around the world. A must read for all scholars of Pentecostalism.”
— Amos Yong, Fuller Seminary
"Combining careful research with a deep feeling for the subject matter, Espinosa’s highly readable account has succeeded in placing William J. Seymour back where he belongs: in the eye of the public and of the scholarly world as one of the pioneers of Christian history."
— Harvey Cox, Harvard University
"The life story of black Pentecostal founder William J. Seymour is complex, ironic, engrossing, and little known, except among a small circle of scholars. Given the vast expansion of global Pentecostalism in recent decades, there has been a need for a new and thorough investigation of Pentecostal origins, one that reckons with both Charles Parham and William J. Seymour, the white and black pioneers of Pentecostalism who had a conflicted and, in many ways, tragic relationship with one another. Gastón Espinosa has put together the book we need, directly and judiciously addressing the conflict between Parham and Seymour."
— Michael J. McClymond, Saint Louis University