Countdown to Pentecost Sunday: Pentecostals, Greatest Global Movement?

Posted: May 26, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Discipleship/Sanctification, Pentecostal/Charismatic Interests, The Mysterious World of American Evangelicalism

Time magazine had recently cited the “New Calvinism” as one of the most important ideas in the world. While I am excited about such as a Calvinist myself, I was somewhat surprised by the omission of Pentecostalism.

Jenkins calls Pentecostalism,“the most successful social movement of the past century” (Jenkins 2002:8). Jenkins, P. (2002) The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. Oxford:Oxford University Press.

That is high praise. Not the most successful religious movement, or Christian movement, but the most successful social movement. I would recommend Harvey Cox’s (professor of Divinity at Harvard) book, Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the 21st Century”. He is pretty objective in his documentation and commentary of the Pentecostal movement.

Anyhow, on my list of ideas shaping the global scene, I would add “Pentecostalism” to the “New Calvinism”, much to the shagrin of most Calvinists and Pentecostals. However I, along with a growing consticuency, find myself planted with feet in both camps and predict that the Evangelical Church, not too far from now, will be filled with either Reformed Christians (confessional and neo-Calvinist TULIP types) or Pentecostal/Charismatics (or perhaps a hybrid of both). Recent polls that I have looked at suggest that the two growing sects within Christendom fall into these two groups, whereas all others are declining or holding par.

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