Category : Pentecostal

(ARDA) David Briggs–Is there a point of no return for the resurgence of mainline Protestantism?

New research suggests that not only is there no end in sight, but there are few signs of hope for revival in rapidly aging, shrinking groups such as the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Consider these findings from two of the largest surveys of U.S. congregations:

Ӣ In just the last five years, the percentage of mainline Protestant congregations where more than one-fifth are ages 18 to 35 has decreased dramatically. In 2010, some 4.8 percent of mainline congregations reported having that large a proportion of young adults in the pews; by 2015, just 1.3 percent reported that high a percentage, according to initial findings from the 2015 Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey.
Ӣ Children made up just 16 percent of regular attenders in mainline Protestant congregations, compared to an average of 29 percent in other Christian traditions, according to a new analysis of the 2012 wave of the National Congregations Study (NCS).
”¢ Mainline Protestants recorded a nearly 30 percent decline ”“ from 24 percent in 1998 to 17 percent in 2012 ”“ in the proportion of its members filling U.S. pews, the NCS study found.
Ӣ In the 2005 FACT survey, a little more than half of mainline churches said fewer than 100 people on average were at weekend worship; in 2015, nearly two-thirds attracted less than 100 worshippers. Sociologist David Roozen, a FACT study director, reported the findings at the annual meeting of the Religious Research Association.

How serious are the numbers?

“It might already be beyond that point” where a significant recovery is possible, said Duke University sociologist Mark Chaves, NCS director and author of “American Religion: Contemporary Trends.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

(Economist) Why a more flexible, practical brand of Christianity is thriving

In the past migrating religious groups either merged into their host societies or else pickled the culture of the old country in aspic. Thanks to technology, today’s roaming worshippers have no such dilemma; a Nigerian or Brazilian in transit can adapt while maintaining contact with home. Globally dispersed Pentecostal churches meet both those needs. An outlying branch of the RCCG can offer job advice and a way to keep links with home. Global charismatic movements act as transmission belts along which ideas and worship styles can travel quickly. “A hymn can be composed in one continent and sung in another a few days later,” says Allan Anderson of Birmingham University.

Like water, charismatic religion takes the path of least resistance. Philip Jenkins, a scholar of global Christianity, cites several little-noticed examples. Dubai is now a bastion of Pentecostal-style worship, among migrants; the Muslim authorities do not mind as long as local Emiratis are not proselytised. Thanks to a shared language, Brazilian neo-Pentecostal churches do well in Angola and Mozambique. And though Filipino Christianity is almost entirely Catholic, the export variety, adapted to the diaspora’s needs, is intensely charismatic, offering a combination of mysticism and practical advice. One movement, El Shaddai, claims 8m members across the world. Worshippers at its Manila base wave their passports in the air as they pray for successful travels.

Politically, too, Pentecostal churches tend to be pragmatic rather than consistently conservative. Brazil’s globally successful Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) initially resisted the rise of the centre-left Workers’ Party, but went on to back its presidential candidates, including Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Archbishop Justin Welby on being filled with the Holy Spirit

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, speaks of his experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit as a 19-year-old new Christian.

In this video message, which was filmed for the centenary celebrations of the Elim Pentecostal family of churches, and shown during their 100th anniversary event in London on Saturday 31 October, Justin Welby says that he was “overwhelmed by the love of God” as he read John 3:16 two weeks after becoming a Christian.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(CSM) A top Nigerian export: fervent Pentecostal Christianity

The roads that wind north from Lagos, Nigeria, toward the headquarters of the Winners’ Chapel mega-church are lined with unusual testaments to Nigerians’ religious fervor.

There’s the Amazing Grace Hair Salon and the No King But God Driving School, My God Is Able Furniture Makers and God’s Grace Multipurpose Hall. And wedged between these omnipotently styled businesses are the churches themselves, hundreds of them, carrying on tenaciously in a sweltering tin shack or a room balanced atop a gas station, in the parking lot of a half-finished shopping mall or perched on stilts above Lagos’s thick, viscous lagoon.

But even in a country so devout, Canaanland stands out. The headquarters of one of the most powerful churches in Africa rambles out across 10,500 acres and includes not only a massive church ”“ the 50,000 seat Faith Tabernacle ”“ but a fully stocked company town complete with schools and a university, a bottled water processing plant, restaurants, shops, and residential neighborhoods. Every weekend, hundreds of bus loads of Nigerians, regally coiffed in vividly patterned, tailor-made suits and dresses, pour through its gates for Sunday service.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, History, Nigeria, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(CEN) Anglicans support Pentecostal church after Muslim attack

Malaysian Anglicans have rallied to the support of a Pentecostal church in Petaling Jaya after a Muslim mob disrupted worship services…[recently] and forced the congregation to take down a cross mounted on the church’s facade.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Malaysia, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Violence

Jon Zeiglar–Why I Am Becoming Anglican: a Brief Explanation for my Assemblies of God family

During this year past year, I made a very difficult decision to leave the only church I have known. I grew up in an Assemblies of God (AG) church. My family has been AG since the 1930s and is one of the oldest Pentecostal families in New Orleans. My father is an AG pastor and I have two brothers who are ordained AG ministers. I have held AG ministerial for a couple of years, but with the recent transition of the New Year (2015), my AG ministerial credentials have lapsed. God willing, I will be confirmed on January 25th into the Anglican Church by Bishop Todd Hunter at Holy Trinity in Costa Mesa.

I am not leaving with hurt, bitterness, or resentment. Quite the contrary, I maintain a deep love and respect for the church that taught me the name of Jesus. The last AG congregation I was a part of (in Pasadena, CA) was a wonderful group of people led by a theologically capable pastor that I appreciate greatly. I am excited about the direction of the AG (under George Wood) and I am confident that it will continue to thrive in the decades to come.

Because of my positive wishes toward my friends and family in the AG, I was not planning on sharing publicly my reasons for leaving. That is, I am not trying to convince people to leave the AG or even that it was a good idea for me to leave the AG. I actually want people to stay and make the AG even better. (I tried myself really hard to stay, and finally had to acknowledge that God was calling to the Anglican Church””or perhaps more accurately, God was making me into an Anglican). However, my friend (and fellow AG minister) Dan suggested that I give a public explanation for why I am leaving. His reasoning was that if people continue to leave silently, how will the AG address those issues which led to their exit from the church? I think Dan is right and so I am taking some time to explain how I became Anglican.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Theology

(Detroit News) Pentecostals will showcase 'a different side of Detroit'

Detroitis the destination this weekend for Pastor Stephen Shaw and more than a dozen members of his Alabama church.

They’re joining an estimated 7,000-10,000 visitors expected at the 99th annual convention for the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Inc., which begins Saturday at Cobo Center.

The mission is to learn, pray, find fellowship and more. But for Shaw and others, it’s also an opportunity to lift the city with spiritual support.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CC) Philip Jenkins on the Pentecostal Church–Astonishing Assemblies

The United States has spawned many Chris­tian de­­no­minations, some of which have gone on to thrive internationally. This year marks the centennial of one of the great success stories, the Assemblies of God. Not only have the Assemblies become a truly global church, but they have won far more followers outside their original homeland than within it.

The AG grew out of the famous Pentecostal revival that began on Los Angeles’s Azusa Street in 1906. In 1914, local congregations met in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to form the denomination. Mem­ber­ship reached only 50,000 by the 1920s, but then it proceeded to grow rapidly. The Assem­­blies of God in the United States reached 1 million members by 1971, rising to 3 million today. By comparison, the Episcopal Church since the 1960s has contracted from 3 million members to 2 million.

The church’s expansion in recent years is greater than we would think if we just counted signs explicitly using the Assemblies of God label. Many of the country’s thriving megachurches are affiliated with the AG, but use a more generic label. That practice is not intended to deceive but rather recognizes a popular sense that traditional denominational labels are divisive and sectarian. My own working rule is that mega­church signs should usually read “Com­munity Church (really Assem­blies of God).”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Globalization, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture

Greg Goebel–now that I’m an Anglican am I Still Charismatic?

Having grown up in and pastored in the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition, people often ask if I am still a charismatic, now that I’m an Anglican. Fortunately, to be Anglican does not require one to cease being charismatic, and I feel I’ve continued in that.

But being Anglican has changed my understanding of what it means to be charismatic. I tend to tell folks that I believe that most of the charismatic experience and renewal over the past century has been a move of the Holy Spirit, and has had a miraculously good effect. And yet at the same time, I tend to not agree with much of the theology and practice of the charismatic movement. When I share that, though, the reaction is often “Wait a minute. Can you do that? Can you be a charismatic who doesn’t wholly subscribe to charismatic practice or theology?”

I think so. Let me explain.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(ACNS) Historic Anglican, Pentecostal consultation "a flying start"

An historic consultation took place between Anglicans and Pentecostals earlier this week at High Leigh in Hertfordshire.

Initiated by the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, it took forward resolutions passed at successive Lambeth Conferences, and bore out Archbishop Justin Welby’s recent call for greater interaction between the two traditions.

Nine Anglicans and eight Pentecostals gathered for two days of dialogue, prayer and worship to explore their similarities and differences, and to chart a way forward for enhanced partnership in mission.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Theology

Dwight Longnecker–Tony Palmer ”“ the New Face of Anglicanism?

The most remarkable thing about the Pope’s message to American Pentecostal leaders was not the cordial, open-armed welcome from the Holy Father to a group of separated brethren”“in their own way all the popes in the last fifty years have done the same. Okay”“the informal use of a cell phone video was pretty amazing, but the real news story in all of this is not so much the moving welcome from the Holy Father, but the appearance of Bishop Tony Palmer on the world stage as an “Anglican bishop”.

This has been missed by every other commentator because I think they are unaware of the huge shifts within the world of Anglicanism. To understand this one has to first understand historic Anglicanism. We all know it was started by King Henry VIII because he wanted a divorce and Pope Clement wouldn’t give him one. Well, it was more complicated than that, but the fact is, this crisis precipitated the foundation of the Anglican Church. In the centuries to follow wherever the English went they took their church with them. Thus we find the Anglican Communion all over the world in what were English colonies.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

NPR: For Snake-Handling Preacher, 10th Bite Proves Fatal

Pastor Jamie Coots, a 42-year-old Pentecostal preacher and third-generation snake handler from Middlesboro, Ky., spoke to NPR in October about his unusual way of leading church services.

“We sing, we preach, we testify, take up offerings, pray for the sick, you know, everything like everybody else does,” he said. “Just, every once in a while, snakes are handled.”

On Saturday night, Coots was handling three rattlesnakes at his small church, the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, when one of them bit him on his right hand….
Read it all and there more comment at Christianity Today

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pentecostal

(BBC Mag.) An African Pentecostal Church now has over 700 parishes in the USA

One of Africa’s biggest Christian movements, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, is spreading across the US.

The Pentecostal movement started in Nigeria and opened its first American parish in Detroit in 1992.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Nigeria, Other Churches, Pentecostal

Dale Coulter– A Charismatic Invasion of Anglicanism?

The charismatic movement within the Church of England is a firmly established fixture. Several of the largest CoE churches are charismatic. The most well-known is Holy Trinity Brompton out of which the Alpha Course came and currently under the leadership of Nicky Gumbel. One of the newest theological colleges in London is St. Mellitus, which was formed by the bishop of London Richard Chartes, but also houses St. Paul’s Theological Centre from Holy Trinity Brompton. What is exciting about St. Mellitus is its combination of charismatic and Anglo-Catholic worship in a non-residential theological college. At St. Mellitus one will find highly liturgical services with incense and evangelical-charismatic services in which students raise hands and sing worship choruses. St. Mellitus tries to combine all the various emphases within Anglicanism rather than emphasizing one tradition over another. In a recent article for the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore suggested that St. Mellitus may be the way forward for the Church of England, no small praise.

In light of this recent history, Archbishop Justin Welby’s invitation to Chemin Neuf to be part of Lambeth Palace feels like a natural development, not an eruption. This move brings together Welby’s charismatic background, his interest in monastic spirituality and prayer, and his desire to foster ecumenical relations. Chemin Neuf is not only a Catholic Charismatic community, it has an ecumenical vocation and thus has many Protestant members, some of whom are part of the team at Lambeth. Thus it is a natural bridge between the charismatic, the Anglo-Catholic, and the ecumenical impulses within the CoE. In fact, as Graham Tomlin, the dean of St. Mellitus recently told me, one of the members of Chemin Neuf living at Lambeth is also a student at St. Mellitus.

If Pentecostalism is a form of Christian mysticism, then there is a natural affinity between it and Anglo-Catholicism, which has been the bearer of mysticism within the CoE. It also suggests that the Anglican charismatic movement could become a bridge between the Anglo-Catholic and evangelical sides of Anglicanism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(ABC Aus.) Tanya Riches–Why the media doesn't get Hillsong: Reflections of an Australn Pentecostal

It’s nice to be home in Australia for January, after completing two and a half years of a PhD program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles. One perk of being in Sydney, aside from reconnecting with family and friends, is attending my home church – Hillsong. I grew up in the congregation, and returned in 2010 before relocating to the United States. It’s the thing I missed most while away. (Of course, an announcement was just made about a new Hillsong plant in Los Angeles in 2014 – so if I do end up in Pasadena for dissertation writing, I can worship there.)

Because the new-ish Manhattan Hillsong plant is going so well, there’s growing interest in the United States in the church. Mainstream specialists in religion and religious movements are increasingly turning their attention to global Pentecostalism (or in this specific case, Oceanian charismatic evangelicals who really don’t like “tags” being applied to them). This fuels more interest in Australia. Reactions to a plea from an Australian theologian, some remarks during a sermon by Hillsong leaders Joel and Julia A’Bell after a particularly libellous “expose” on Today Tonight, along with a few other coincidences, raised recurring themes for me, so I thought it might be appropriate to reflect a little on what it meant for me to grow up a “Hillsonger.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture