Pentecostal power


What is remarkable about this new strain of Pentecostalism is the heroic intensity of the ministries, which have not yet evolved into tired bureaucracies. The founders of these programs are driven by a sense of calling, a feeling of thankfulness for how God has intervened in their personal lives, and they are constantly reinventing their programs in response to what they perceive to be the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Through their research, Miller and Yamamori found Pentecostalism, like early Methodism before it, often improves the lot of the poor. Typically the mother of the household converts first, followed by her children. If her husband follows he is more than likely to stop drinking, gambling, womanizing and becomes more engaged in family life. Household income rises and the whole family is better off.

Pentecostalism is a religion of the people. Again, like early Methodism and evangelicalism generally, it is the democratization of the faith. Everyone has direct access to God, the scriptures, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Add to this a strong emphasis on the community of faith and human dignity, and social transformation is one of the unintended consequences.

Religion can be an opiate for the oppressed masses (Marx). More often evangelicalism in general, and Pentecostalism in particular, have proven to be powerful forces for change.

As Pentecostals become upwardly mobile—better educated and more affluent—they no longer see the world as a place from which to escape. They tend to want to make the world a better place to live.