Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods

Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods

Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods

Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods

Synopsis

With its remarkable ability to adapt to many different cultures, Pentecostalism has become the world's fastest growing religious movement. More than five hundred million adherents worldwide have reshaped Christianity itself. Yet some fundamental questions in the study of global Pentecostalism, and even in what we call "Pentecostalism," remain largely unaddressed. Bringing together leading scholars in the social sciences, history, and theology, this unique volume explores these questions for this rapidly growing, multidisciplinary field of study. A valuable resource for anyone studying new forms of Christianity, it offers insights and guidance on both theoretical and methodological issues.

The first section of the book examines such topics as definitions, essentialism, postcolonialism, gender, conversion, and globalization. The second section features contributions from those working in psychology, anthropology, sociology, and history. The third section traces the boundaries of theology from the perspectives of pneumatology, ecumenical studies, inter-religious relations, and empirical theology.

Excerpt

With one estimate of 500 million adherents worldwide, converted in the course of one century, Pentecostalism has become one of the main branches of Christianity. a popular theory locates the origin of Pentecostalism in a 1906 revival meeting at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. in this community the gifts of the Holy Spirit—for example, speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy—were discovered and celebrated. There are reports, however, of the more or less simultaneous occurrence of similar movements in other parts of the world. Within a few years of the 1906 upsurge Pentecostalism had in fact established itself worldwide. Today the majority of Pentecostal believers are found in non-Western countries, especially in the Global South. in the short history of its existence, Pentecostalism has reshaped the face of Christianity and has also developed a rich and varied repertoire of doctrines, rituals, strategies, and organizations, which makes it difficult to generalize about the phenomenon.

Without losing its identity and despite its stereotypical reputation as a movement of conservative orthodox Christians, Pentecostalism has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to diverse cultural contexts. Through its adaptability, its impact has been global, both in its geographic distribution and in its presence as a religious movement capable of producing local versions of its universal message. As a successful global movement, it has served to give its many converts the possibility of integrating into the widening modernized world. in Pentecostalism they have found the means to facilitate their adaptation to the increasing scale of . . .

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