Guest / Limited Access /
A New Kind of Pentecostal
Courtesy of lacc / Matt Love

To get into the minds of today's Pentecostals, visit a classroom of ministers in training, 20-somethings getting their first taste of practical ministry. Recently I posed several questions to a large group of them in one of my practicum classes: What are the changes going on among North American Pentecostal believers and Pentecostal churches today? In what ways does the new generation of Pentecostals differ from earlier generations? In what ways is it similar?

The first response was immediate. A young student named Emily said, "For years, Pentecostals had an inferiority complex. They felt as if they were the weird uncle of modern Christianity, as if they were not quite accepted by peer denominations. Today it is different. Pentecostal churches have become more accepted and now are part of mainstream Christianity. That may be good—in some ways, not so good."

Indeed, Pentecostalism in North America has come a long way. It has moved from a faith to and of the disenfranchised to one that is recognized if not fully accepted across the board among evangelicals. From the movement's origins among a few adherents in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles (1906), Pentecostalism grew to some 12 million adherents by 1970, and now incorporates some 600 million worldwide in its various expressions, a fourth of all Christendom. David Barrett's monumental World Christian Encyclopedia states that in 1900, only seven-tenths of 1 percent of Christians were Pentecostal; today, approximately 25 percent are.

Another theme emerged in my classroom. As a student named Ross put it, "There is a new Pentecostalism emerging, a more meditative movement, a more social justice movement, more concerned about the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Wilson's Bookmarks
Brief reviews of 'The Words of Others,' 'The Golden Empire,' and 'Building the Barricade.'
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only Gleanings: March 2017
Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our March issue).
RecommendedCover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church
Subscriber Access Only Cover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church
Some visitors claim to be healed. Others claim to receive direct words from God. Is it 'real'--or dangerous?
TrendingWhy Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Why Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Regardless of court fight’s final outcome, fewer persecuted Christians will make it to America under president’s plan.
Editor's PickChallenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Challenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Black Southern Baptists weigh in on the issues around removing Sho Baraka’s album.
Christianity Today
A New Kind of Pentecostal
hide thisAugust August

In the Magazine

August 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.