Skip to comments.More Than 1 in 4 Christians Are Pentecostal, Charismatic
Posted on 12/22/2011 4:48:07 AM PST by SeekAndFind
The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life published a demographic report this week on the size and distribution of the world's Christian population and revealed that Pentecostals and charismatics make up more than a quarter of all Christians.
Using estimates from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the report also showed that together Pentecostals and charismatics make up more than 8 percent of the worlds total population.
The study defines Pentecostals as members of Pentecostal denominations that teach that all Christians should seek a post-conversion religious experience called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These denominations also teach that those who experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit may receive spiritual gifts, including prophesy or speaking in tongues.
Charismatics are members of Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant denominations, who engage in some spiritual practices associated with Pentecostalism.
Both groups can be characterized as placing emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Greg Mundis, executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions, told The Christian Post, The biggest thing for us in our exegesis of Scripture is that we believe in baptism in the Holy Spirit Our understanding of the Scriptures is that upon salvation the Holy Spirit is sent to convict us.
Baptism in the Spirit empowers us to be His witnesses, he explained.
This foundational belief has drawn a large following particularly in the Global South, including Latin American countries, Africa and India. The Pew report revealed that 44 percent of the worlds Pentecostals reside in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mundis noted that Brazil has experienced the most growth worldwide with 15 to 20 million Assemblies of God Pentecostal believers there. According to the Pew report, the Protestant population in Brazil grew from 2.6 percent in 1940 to about 21 percent today and the fastest-growing Protestant community is overwhelmingly Pentecostal. Additionally, more than half of Brazilian Catholics identify with the charismatic movement.
Pentecostalism has taken hold in many of these cultures, Mundis explained, because there has been an outpouring of the Gospel through mission work and because of the experience-based emphasis of Pentecostalism. Societies that are more oriented to emotional experiences, like in Latin American cultures, take a bigger interest in the religion.
On a similar note, David Roozen of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research said, If someone is going to be religious in todays world, it (Pentecostalism) has a lot more pizzazz than sitting around reading an old book. With Pentecostalism [you] can call on the spirit; there is an element of control.
Roozen pointed out that many of the followers can be found among the marginalized.
Marginalized groups, he said, feel a draw toward a religion that gives them direct access to the Holy Spirit, thus giving the powerless power, in a sense.
Pentecostalism has grown in Latin American countries because many women are marginalized in those cultures, he noted. But as they bring their families to church, it starts creating order and discipline to their families lives and it gives women value in a culture where they dont have much power.
According to Roozen, the movement is also very counter-cultural in Latin American countries, where Catholicism is the dominant religion. It gives marginalized people, either socio-economically or politically, ways to be a part of the modern world.
Many also see it as God is actively here, we can touch Him, and feel Him, and see Him at work with healing and speaking of tongues, Roozen added. This notion sits well with many in countries where there is no middle class. The very poor in these cultures have very little access to anything personally that makes them feel powerful.
Interestingly, in the United States, the Hartford director pointed out that the Pentecostal and charismatic movement is spreading among middle class Americans a phenomenon that has puzzled many academics.
Whats attracting many in the middle class, Roozen observed, is the prosperity gospel the teaching that essentially God will bless you with health and wealth that preachers like Joel Osteen are spreading. This teaching is not affirmed by all in the Pentecostal movement.
The Pew report found that overall, the number of Christians around the world has more than tripled from historical estimates of approximately 600 million in 1910, to more than two billion today. Estimates for the number of Pentecostals worldwide are based on membership data from historically Pentecostal denominations, such as the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ.
Well, Jesse-boy also said "You, not God, decide when to live and when to die!"
Someone who’s truly filled with the Spirit and submitted daily to His guidance, instruction and conviction WON’T be emphasising Self. Paul writes ‘But be ye filled’ which in the Greek is ‘be being filled’ - a continual drawing on the Holy Spirit. And as an attribute of the Holy Spirit’s modus operandi is not self-glorification but pointing to Christ, so will the one who walks in the Spirit daily. Anyone who does the side-show glory-seeking, and there always are those since Time began, will be slapped down by God pretty quickly. God does not share His glory.
Additionally, an emphasis is on sound Biblical teaching and walking in holiness and righteousness.
As far as the attitude of the Pentecostal believer, it is one of fullness of life as Jesus desires for all believers.
The gifts of the Spirit are meant to empower and equip for good works NOT for glory-seeking. But sadly, Man has always let the ‘Me Me Look at ME’ pride creep in. I grew up in Assemblies of God and am Pentecostal. I’ve seen some people act as if THEY are special thus the gifts were given to them. That is an evil attitude. God gives freely to all men who seek Him and desire to please Him, regardless of station in life.
Be careful. Don’t mock what you don’t understand. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 “Though I speak of the tongues of men AND OF ANGELS...”.
In Romans and in 1 Corinthians he also specifically writes about those who have the gift of Prophecy not being understood (an utterance in another tongue) and therefore useless in the context of the assembly gathering, unless there is one to interpret.
You can find it in sources such as the Guardian (strange, but true) or you can travel in China as I do talking to Christians. BTW, official numbers are meaningless, and the 3 Self “Church” is not Christian.
If you search the Guardian, for example, you will find an article. The Reformed are by far the most influential Christians in China because they are well educated and often in “interesting” positions. I’ve seen this first hand during my travels in China (including the one that I just returned from).
Is Bavinck’s work a big seller in the US? It is in China.
No, AoG is a very Orthodox denomination. In fact, if I'm not badly mistaken, there's actually enough of a similarity between AoG doctrine and Eastern Orthodox doctrine that those who switch from AoG to EO often find the beliefs incredibly similar and easy to adopt.
RE: If you search the Guardian, for example, you will find an article. The Reformed are by far the most influential Christians in China because they are well educated and often in interesting positions
Are you referring to this link:
TITLE : Chinese Calvinism flourishes
The churches that follow Calvin are the third largest Christian grouping in the world. In China they hope to become the religion of the elite
I would wonder about it being so similar, but ok. In any case, the blanket statement about Pentecostalism is incorrect, thank you for confirming.
“But that does not explain why Calvinism should be the preferred theology of the house churches and the intellectuals now.”
Yes, and please note that the only real church in China is the house church movement. “Registered” churches are not Christian in their theology - no virgin birth, no Second Comming, No Resurrection, no Trinity, etc.
Well, let me clarify something here. My impression of the AoG doctrine being similar to EO doctrine is based upon reading about the conversion of one AoG member to the EOC. It may be a bit biased, but here's the link so you can choose for yourself.
I guess it depends on your definition of orthodoxy. I come from a reformed viewpoint.
That backhanded slap at Calvinists reveals a blatant lack of understanding of the subject.
No, not really. We of course disagree with them, but they do have some orthodox beliefs
Perhaps, however no more than saying Pentecostalism is “man-centered”
Denominations like Pentacostalism that are based in Arminianism take the position that mankind has the inate ability to love God without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Calvinism on the other hand takes the biblical positon that the ability to love God can only exizt in the regenerate heart. There is no puppetry involved. Just a humble reliance on God, knowing that without his grace we would have ZERO chance of pleasing him. Aminianism tends to put the emphasis on “our ability”, rather than the work of God. In that sense it is “man centered”.