Why this blog

Why talk about Pentecostalism?

Because Pentecostalism will 'reshape Christianity in the twenty-first century.' So says Harvey Cox of Harvard University.1 Vinson Synan of the University of Georgia has said, “The Pentecostal and charismatic movements have become the most vigorous and fastest-growing family of Christians in the world”. Since 1980 Pentecostals have been the largest family of Protestants in the world, not including the charismatic Pentecostals in the traditional mainline churches. Since 1995 the global number of Pentecostals and Charismatics have made them the second largest family of Christians in the world, after the Roman Catholicism. More recent figures have indicated that today there would be over half a billion Pentecostals and Charismatics worldwide.

The sheer size and the enormous growth rate of the Pentecostal movement alone means that Pentecostalism will affect everybody in one way or another, whether direcly or indirectly. But not only are numbers up, Pentecostal thinking is also increasingly widespread. This is a movement, not primarily interested in record statistics, but seeking a radical transformation of Christian thinking. Today's leading Pentecostals have acknowledged the goal of the Pentecostal movement as a universal transformation of the church, both theologically and practically. John W. Wyckoff has articulated this motive clearly:

"Thus far the twentieth-century Pentecostal movement has succeeded in restoring the experiential dimension of the Spirit's dynamic presence to a significant segment of the church. Pentecostals believe that recovery of the doctrine and experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit is comparable to the Reformation's recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith."2
Therefore, Christians need to understand Pentecostalism, not only because of an increasing number of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians in our midst, but also because the stated goal of the movement is an intentional change to traditional Christian thought. (See Defining Pentecostalism.)

People need to understand Pentecostalism in order to be aware of its affect on their own Christianity, or to their view of Christianity. Coupled with understanding the Scriptures themselves, understanding Pentecostalism is the best way to ensure you are responding rightly to this new influence in Christian history.

More on this topic

Welcome to Talking Pentecostalism

Defining Pentecostalism

The Famous Five


1 Vinson Synan (Ph.D., University of Georgia), “Pentecostalism”, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd Ed., Paternoster Press, 2001, p. 902.
2 John W. Wyckoff (Ph.D., Professor of Bible and Theology, Chair, Church Ministries Division at Southwestern Assemblies of God College), Systematic Theology, Chapter 13 “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit”, Logion Press, 1995, p. 454. | joe towns: christian discussion on pentecost, charisma, pentecostal and charismatic beliefs, the Bible and Jesus; including the origin and history of pentecostalism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, gifts and miracles, divine healing and word of faith, prosperity and wealth, praise and worship, guidance and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.