Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing

Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing

Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing

Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing

Synopsis

Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity is a global phenomenon that comprises a quarter of the world's two billion Christians and is growing rapidly. This volume reveals that the primary appeal of pentecostalism worldwide is as a religion of healing. Contrary to popular stereotypes of flamboyant, fraudulent, anti-medical "faith healing" televangelists who preach a materialistic, "health and wealth" gospel, handle serpents, or sensationally "exorcize" demons, this book offers a more nuanced portrait. The collected essays illumine local variations, hybridities, and tensions in practices on six continents, and depict the extent of human suffering and powerlessness experienced by people everywhere and the attractiveness to many of a global religious movement that promises material relief by invoking spiritual resources. This is the first book of its kind. Achieving the twin goals of thick description and comparative analysis of global practices is best achieved by bringing area experts into conversation. This volume's distinguished, international team of contributors includes sociologists, anthropologists, historians, political scientists, theologians, and religious studies scholars from North America, Europe, and Africa. Read together, these essays set the agenda for a new program of scholarly inquiry into some of the largest forces of change at work in the world today-globalization, pentecostalism, and healing-each of which is extremely powerful in itself and which together are reshaping our world in vastly significant ways.

Excerpt

Today, Christianity is living through a reformation that will prove to be even more basic and more sweeping than the one that shook Europe during the sixteenth century. That earlier reformation, which is now endowed by the definite article and a capital letter (“the Reformation”) was confined to one small corner of the globe. The questions in dispute then, though they seemed important to many at the time, now appear increasingly provincial. It was a European upheaval. The current reformation, however, is an earth-circling one. This is because the epicenter of Christianity is no longer in Europe (or in its North American extension) but in the “two-thirds world,” the global South, which we recently referred to as “the third world.” Further, the main bearers of this new reformation do not, by and large, represent the historic denominations that emerged from that sixteenth-century turmoil. Rather, they are the children of a powerful spiritual movement that appeared in its present form only at the beginning of the twentieth century, namely, the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement. This tidal wave, it is now estimated, constitutes at least one-fourth of all the Christians in the world, and it is still growing rapidly.

The old European Reformation brought several controversial issues to the surface, among them the authority of the Roman pontiff, the role of the laity, and the theology of justification—by faith or by works. The current reformation is not particularly concerned with these issues, which were more pertinent to the sixteenth century. It is more focused on the importance of experience in the Christian life, the restoration of healing as an integral part of the . . .

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