Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why then oh why can't I?

"And these signs shall follow them that believe": An overview of Pentecostalism

I am planning a series of posts on Pentecostalism in nine eleven parts, but I won't be surprised if it mutates significantly along the way. This is an extension of the research I've been doing on the root causes of the "witch children" phenomenon in parts of Africa (especially the Congo, Angola and Nigeria). I hope to have the first post ready to go within a day or three.

All of the images in this post are from the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center archives.

Part One: Azusa Street

Covers the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906, which is generally considered to be the starting point for modern Pentecostalism. There can be no question of the importance of this particular "outpouring of the Holy Spirit", but, like all historical events it must be understood in relationship to its contemporaneous context and also in relationship to its own past.

Part Two: Worldwide Anointing
The revivals in Wales (1904-1905), India (1905-1908), and Korea (1906-1907)

Part Three: Noncomformism
Focuses on the spirit of freedom and experimentation (and fragmentation and sectarianism) in Anglo-American Protestantism in the 18th century.

Part Four: Awakenings: Revivals, Evangelism, Sanctification, and Holiness
This focuses on both the phenomenology of revivalistic Christianity and on the theology that goes along with it.

Part Five: We are Spirits in a Material World
Today it is becoming increasingly obvious that one of the defining features of Pentecostalism, especially as a worldwide religious phenomenon, is its matter-of-fact acceptance of the reality of the "spirit world", that is, that human beings can, and do, interact with non-material beings who have some degree of intelligence and volition. This was a very widespread belief during the 18th and 19th centuries, and at that time, as it is now and has always been, this view is hardly unique to Christianity.

Part Six: Spiritual Healing
Spiritual (or "faith") healing was an important part of the religious landscape throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and it is another one of the signature features of Pentecostalism.

Part Seven: Spiritual Warfare and Christian History
Although Pentecostalists obviously believe in the Holy Spirit and in Angels, they also place great emphasis on the reality of Satan, along with his Demonic and human minions, with whom they actively wage spiritual warfare.

Part Seven: The Prophetic Tradition: Christian Mobocracy from Savonarola to Sarah Palin
Pentecostalism is not, in fact, characterized just by the frenzied expression of religious ecstasy, but more specifically by the ability to control and steer that frenzy in a certain way.

Part Eight: What's In A Name? Pentecostalism, Evangelism, Renewalism, Revivalism, Charismatic Christianity, etc
Pentecostalism is arguably the most important, even the core, component of Evangelical Christianity. It's important to look at various labels that have been used, going back for centuries, to designate different mutations of Christianity that are all related to the modern phenomenon of Pentecostalism.

Part Nine: Know Thy Enemy
Why Pagans, in particular, need to better understand Pentecostalism.

Part Ten: Meet the New Christianity, Same as the Old Christianity
On the current state of Pentecostalism and its future prospects.

Part Eleven: "Naming the Demon"
On how Pentecostalism is viewed by other Christians in Africa.