There is Hope
Miller and Yamamori’s Global Pentecostalism vividly captures a growing trend among the global church today. He considers the buzzword of holistic development with a focus on social transformation in the church context. Interestingly while holistic development and social transformation in principle encompasses church’s mission, the church historically, either chosen to dichotomize it from the sacred or take an extreme stance of simply reacting to social needs.
Global Pentecostalism puts forth a present realization within the church expressed through ‘Progressive Pentecostalism’, where the sacred and the secular are undifferentiated in the church’s mission and the believers’ witness. In this new strain of Pentecostalism, “the attraction of Christianity is not simple the promise of a passport to heaven, where they can escape the travails of this world; rather they are reexamining the life of Jesus and seeing that his teaching was often manifested in his healing ministry and compassion for the poor, prostitutes, and children. And some…are even discovering the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament in which the pursuit of justice is seen as a prerequisite to the practice of worship” (Miller and Yammamori 2007, location 1521). Therein lies great hope.
In the post modern and post Christian era where Christians struggle often to define the relevance of the church, new expressions in the likes of ‘Progressive Pentecostalism’, I believe, exert a tri-fold influence on the psyche of the masses. Firstly, it re-establishes the fact that Christianity is not just an institutional religion but is a movement committed to a renaissance of life as it always as been in the past. Secondly, it helps people re-visit the dialogue between science and spirituality in a new light and determine best options for individual and corporate faith. And thirdly, paves an avenue for individuals to explore religious expression in daily living as opposed to simply conforming to a belief system divorced from practical application.
I believe the consequence of such an impact certainly creates a “new ethic” (Miller and Yammamori 2007, location 2019) that will reform a society at social, political and economic level. It may not seem to parallel ‘changing the world’, but it is radical enough to change one community at a time.
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