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Studying Global Pentecostalism

Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods

Allan Anderson
Michael Bergunder
André Droogers
Cornelis van der Laan
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Pages: 338
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  • Book Info
    Studying Global Pentecostalism
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94750-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Allan Anderson, Michael Bergunder, André Droogers and Cornelis van der Laan

    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.¹ 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...


    • 1 Varieties, Taxonomies, and Definitions
      (pp. 13-29)
      Allan Anderson

      Th is chapter is about defining Pentecostalism/s, in view of the fact that definitions are often static and prone to generate confusion. It seeks to give some clarity to the discussion of ways in which Pentecostalism can be described and analyzed, and it tries to offer direction through the maze of different shifting forms of Pentecostalism/s. In addition, it outlines some of the ways in which this movement can be identified by using the family resemblance analogy. It looks at the parameters by which we make categories, offers a flexible and overlapping taxonomy, and examines how various scholars have approached...

    • 2 Essentialist and Normative Approaches
      (pp. 30-50)
      André Droogers

      In this chapter the role of essentialist and normative elements in the study of Pentecostalism is discussed. These elements are part of any academic effort. In studying Pentecostalism, essentialist and normative tendencies may also stem from the identity of Pentecostalism itself and from its perception by others. Any scholar studying this form of Christianity must therefore reflect on them, especially when interdisciplinary work is proposed. The overview given in this chapter serves to raise scholarly awareness of the pitfalls connected with essentialist and normative approaches. Yet both essentialist and normative tendencies can be shown to have a challenging, useful side...

    • 3 The Cultural Turn
      (pp. 51-73)
      Michael Bergunder

      “Cultural studies” and similar designations mark a diverse field of related theoretical approaches, sometimes labeled “cultural turn,” that have deeply influenced the humanities and social sciences in the past three decades.¹ In general, studies on Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have not taken up these approaches in their research design, despite notable exceptions² and occasional reference in anthropological studies,³ as well as in reflections by Pentecostal and Charismatic theologians themselves.⁴ Nevertheless, it is worth taking a closer look at these approaches, because some of the pressing issues in the current research on Pentecostalism are reflected therein.

      The termcultural studiescan...

    • 4 Gender and Power
      (pp. 74-92)
      Elizabeth Brusco

      The goal of this chapter is to comment on the scholarship on gender in the Pentecostal movement and to provide some case contextualization from my own ethnographic field research with Pentecostals in Colombia. Since I began to explore the gendered nature of Pentecostal conversion in the beginning of the 1980s, there has been, not exactly an explosion, but at least some steady growth in scholarly interest in the area, across a range of disciplines. My own discipline, anthropology, and area specialty in Latin America bias my perspective, but I believe that some of the most significant publications on the topic...

    • 5 Conversion Narratives
      (pp. 93-112)
      Henri Gooren

      The emphasis in this chapter is onhowpeople tell the story of their conversion. I follow a historical and phenomenological approach to the conversion narrative, analyzing it as a social construction and not necessarily as a factual description of the main events in an individual’s life. A comprehensive conversion experience changes one’s self-image. This transformation, which is a process taking longer than just one day or one week, is gradually reflected in the most important indicator of conversion:biographical reconstruction.¹ People who undergo a conversion experience literally reconstruct their lives, giving new meanings to old events and putting different...

    • 6 Pentecostalism and Globalization
      (pp. 113-130)
      Birgit Meyer

      The title of this chapter couples two big terms around each of which a huge scholarly field has evolved over the past two decades. In brief, the concept of globalization signals a departure from the metanarrative of modernization, according to which ‘development’ would eventually render the second (socialist) and third worlds more or less similar to the first world, the modern West.¹ Globalization, with its vocabulary of flux and mix, diversity, fragmentation, multiple identities, postmodernity, and hybridity, registers a growing skepticism vis-á-vis such teleological narratives. Pertaining to the intensified encroachment of capitalism on the everyday lives of people all over...


    • 7 Psychology of Religion
      (pp. 133-155)
      Stefan Huber and Odilo W. Huber

      The psychology of religion investigates religious beliefs, experiences, and behavior in relation to psychological concepts and theories. It analyzes the psychological representation and functioning of religious content in the individual. This perspective is useful for revealing and describing aspects of religion that may not be captured otherwise, but obviously it is only one of a universe of perspectives that may be taken with respect to religion, each contributing in a different way to the investigation of the field—but, concurrently, each perspective submitted to specific restrictions.

      As an academic discipline, psychology is characterized by heterogeneity of approaches and fields of...

    • 8 Anthropology of Religion
      (pp. 156-178)
      Joel Robbins

      Mark Noll, discussing the early-twentieth-century emergence of Pentecostalism, refers to it as a development that “as is now well known, has had world historical significance.”¹ It is fair to say that Noll is right on both counts: Pentecostalism has changed and is changing the global landscape in world historical ways, and more and more people are coming to know that it is doing so. In reference to the first point, about global influence, it is hard today to dispute the claim that Pentecostalism, broadly understood throughout this chapter to include both Pentecostal and Charismatic groups, has been and continues to...

    • 9 Sociology of Religion
      (pp. 179-201)
      Stephen Hunt

      In the mid-1960s David Martin furthered the view that the prevailing sociological concept of secularization regrettably carried a strong ideological dimension—that religion was inevitably on the decline and, moreover, that this was to be welcomed. Put succinctly, humanity would eventually be liberated from the shackles of religion.¹

      The dominance of the “hard” secularization thesis in mainstream sociology clearly had implications for the subdiscipline of sociology of religion. In short, if the decline of religion was relentless, then so was the status of that specialism which sought to comprehend it as a sociocultural manifestation. In an increasingly religiousless world, the...

    • 10 Historical Approaches
      (pp. 202-220)
      Cornelis van der Laan

      In 1981, at the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Pentecostal Assembly of Amsterdam, an American missionary spoke about how the Pentecostal message had started in the United States and from there had come to Europe. Th e next speaker was Emmanuel Schuurman, the oldest living Dutch Pentecostal pioneer. The aged warrior corrected his American colleague by stating that Pentecost had not come from the United States but from heaven.¹ The sympathy of the audience clearly was with the latter, but for a historical reflection on European Pentecostalism neither of the two explanations suffices. But they illustrate how one’s...


    • 11 Pneumatologies in Systematic Theology
      (pp. 223-244)
      Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

      The aim of this chapter is to look at the state of Pentecostal theology. Surveying the literature available, I was reminded of the important piece written by the leading Pentecostal systematician Frank Macchia in the revised edition of theNew International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements,titled “Theology, Pentecostal.”¹ That article gives a succinct, balanced, and informative description of the main systematic contributions to developing Pentecostal theology. It discusses both the question of methodology and the main loci of Pentecostal theologies. Consequently, I came to the conclusion that attempting something similar but in a more modest way, focusing on...

    • 12 Missiology and the Interreligious Encounter
      (pp. 245-267)
      Amos Yong and Tony Richie

      Pentecostals have always been heavily involved in missions and hold missionaries in high esteem as extraordinary heroes of the faith.¹ But they have traditionally not given as much thought to the topic of theology of religions, or interreligious dialogue and encounter, as to other theological loci.² Why this is the case may be related in part to the fact that academic Pentecostalism is but a recent arrival to the theological scene, with its first generation of professionally trained theologians—as opposed to historians or biblical scholars—emerging only since the early 1990s.³ Yet Pentecostal scholars can no longer avoid giving...

    • 13 Practical Theology
      (pp. 268-285)
      Mark J. Cartledge

      The discipline of practical theology is one that appears to be in constant redefinition in recent times, although there might at last be some consensus emerging. It was once regarded as the crown of theological study, placed toward the end of theological education for the ordained ministry. At this point in the process all the necessary “tips and hints” were added under the rubricpastoralia.In this context it was closely aligned with education for ministry and by extension church education in a broader sense. Thus would-be clergy learned how to preach, lead worship, conduct pastoral conversations with the insights...

    • 14 Ecumenism
      (pp. 286-308)
      Cecil M. Robeck Jr

      Ecumenism is a topic that many Pentecostals find difficult to discuss. This is in part because most Pentecostals know very little about the subject, often just enough to condemn it. When asked why they are opposed to ecumenism, their responses are often anecdotal. Sometimes these anecdotes include personal experiences they have had, but more often than not they are stories they have received, stories passed on from pastor to parishioner, from parent to child, or from friend to friend. Generally there has been little or no attempt to assess their validity or to ask what events might lay behind such...

    (pp. 309-310)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 311-326)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-329)