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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Global Evangelicalism and Global Pentecostalism

Written by: on January 26, 2019

Donald Lewis’ book Global Evangelicalism: Theology History and Cultural in Regional Perspective advances the conversation about evangelicalism. Both the definition of evangelicalism and the global perspective of this ideology are a significant contribution to this topic beyond what Bebbington brings up in his 2015 Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. One of the most important aspects for people to understand is that evangelicalism is truly a global ideology. Many in America are already saying it without even knowing how evangelical means something different than just Christian. But Evangelicalism has become predominant in more than just the North America and Europe, but also in the global south. Personally speaking, of the 10 or so countries I’ve been to, most of which I’ve attended a Pentecostal church during my visit, they have had a lot of common threads. While previously I attributed most of this to all of us simply just being Christian, there were actually more commonalities at play here because of the evangelical and Pentecostal crossovers. Even as we cross country borders, these similar theological frames help more be translated easily.

 

One of the highlights of this book for me was covering the review of Bebbington’s work and the four pillars of evangelicalism.[1] Remembering reading about the four pillars for the first time and the feeling of gaining a new understanding to an old overused word. Now reading a book which referenced and progressed Bebbington’s ideas was a neat moment for me to be able to proceed. In my original post about Bebbington’s work, I compared evangelicals to Pentecostalism. My major point of comparison was comparing the major pillars of each movement and pointing out that many scholars consider these two different entities. In this blog from last year I wrote, “Interestingly enough, Jame K.A. White writes in this his book Thinking in Tongues about the five tenets of Pentecostalism are White’s list consisted of Radical Openness, Enchanted Theology, a non-dualistic affirmation, an effective epistemology, and an eschatological orientation.[1] I bring this up to point to the fact that some theologians, such as Smith, actually categorize Pentecostalism in a different category as evangelicalism.”[2]

But the most important connection with me from Lewis came from Chapters one about and. In Chapter one of Lewis’ work he discussed how Pentecostals, fundamentalists, and charismatics add different ingredients to typical evangelicalism. As I will move forward and discuss Pentecostals and share if this distinction adds anything to my research or to the conversation for our cohort. As I write this I wonder if I will hear about Fundamentalists or charismatics from others in our cohort, since we come from a diverse background theologically in this group.

Lewis, not being a Pentecostal himself, shares a good outsiders definition and outsides perspective on what Pentecostals are to the rest of the world. Lewis describes pentecostalism as a sort additional seasoning to add on top of Lewis describes Pentecostals who also do other things. Lewis states that Pentecostals are just evangelical believes who “placed fresh stress on the active work of the Holy Spirit and on the restoration of the direct experience of God commonly reported in the New Testament.”[3] Lewis does mention classical Pentecostalism and that is an important distinction of those who attested to the core doctrine of Pentecost and specifically sought to speak of tongues. There are still classical Pentecostals today, but this is the first wave of the Pentecostal revival that happened at the turn of the 20th century with Azusa street. Today there has already been the 2nd and 3rd wave of Pentecostal revivals and most Pentecostals/charismatic (often used synonymously) are third wavers today (see charts).[4] This means they do not adhere to a typically Pentecostal denomionation with core Pentecostal doctrine, but their evangelical experience is still spiced with the eagerly desiring spiritual gifts and their faith experience is peppered with the manifestations of the Holy Spirit and usage of the gifts. Although many use Pentecostal and charismatic synonymously, the charismatic is what Lewis calls the non-pentecostal who still emphasis the Spirit and the move of the Spirit as a Pentecostal does.

 

 

Lewis was not exagreated when he said Pentecostal beliesfs and pracites hvee spread like wildfire. Harvey Cox, Harvard professor says of Spirit Empowered Christianity, is “the fastest growing Christian movement on earth.” [5]

 

Reading this book and being frustrating at my inability to engage as deeply in it as I wanted to, I am convicted to circle back around to this after graduation. By perhaps even more so, I am convicted to study my own denomation but from a more academic and global lens. Much of what I have learned from pentecostalism has come from North American voices, but being that the center of pentecostlaism and perhaps all Christian thought has now moved to the global south, I need a better understanding of global pentecostlaism and it’s needed, and that perhaps is my next action point that this program has revealed to me.

 

Works Cited

 

Bebbington, David W. Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: a History from the 1730s to the 1980s. Routledge, 2015.

Keyes, Dr. Sam. “How (Not) To Be Secular – a Review.” Bethinking.org, Last modified July 19, 2017. https://www.bethinking.org/culture/how-not-to-be-secular-review.

Lewis, Donald M., and Richard V. Pierard. Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective. IVP Academic, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014.

Smith, James K. A. Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2010.

 

[1] Bebbington, David W. Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: a History from the 1730s to the 1980s. Routledge, 2015.

[2] Smith, James K. A. Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2010.

[3] Lewis, Donald M., and Richard V. Pierard. Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective. IVP Academic, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014. 22.

[4] David Moore Lecture, Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Spring 2015.

[5] Harvey Cox Quote

About the Author

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Kyle Chalko

9 responses to “Global Evangelicalism and Global Pentecostalism”

  1. mm M Webb says:

    Kyle,
    Greetings and I always enjoy reading what you have to say on things. Good job highlighting the movement of Evangelicalism to the global south. When I was flying in Columbia a few years ago I was impressed with the evangelical influence in many denominations. Even though I could not speak Spanish I would sit in the back of an outdoor chapel and watch and listen to the music and the message of the priest and could sense the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in their midst.
    It sounds like you might do well to explore a pastoral exchange program in the global south if there is such a thing. For us, when God wanted to teach us about cross-cultural missions and leadership in global contexts He “moved” us to those areas for a season. It was amazing and a little scary, but the lifelong connections and relationships are what God continues to in our lives. One of those just came to visit the other day and is trying to recruit us to Zambia in a couple of years to help lead in their programs over there. God knows, and we do not feel a call yet, but we are wired for it and have the real life experiences of working and living there already.
    Excellent post, and I encourage you to watch for opportunities to extend your reach as you are led and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
    Stand firm,
    M. Webb

  2. Great post, Kyle!

    I found it interesting that evangelicalism is multifaceted and diversified based on cultural interpretation and interaction. You mention, “One of the most important aspects for people to understand is that evangelicalism is truly a global ideology.” I’ve worked with a few churches who deem globalization as problematic because they see it as the start of relativism. Many pastors refuse to have an online presence or interact with pastors and leaders from different states or different countries. What has been your experience directing Pathway? Do you find that you have to educate leaders on how to be globalized before ministering locally?

  3. mm Jean Ollis says:

    Hi Kyle!
    I also struggled to connect with this book. I am intrigued by your last paragraph where you discuss wanting to further study your denomination through an academic and global lens. This is especially important considering your dissertation topic. Do you believe millennials truly have a better global viewpoint or do we just believe they do?

  4. mm Jason Turbeville says:

    Kyle,
    I appreciate your desire to learn more globally about your denomination. I was intrigued as well about the global reach of evangelicals. I find it interesting when ever I travel and work with churches from many different denominations there is not the same separation as there is here in the US. AG and Baptist churches worship together and do life together in Venezuela and are not worried about little differences.
    We could learn something from them.

    Jason

  5. mm Dan Kreiss says:

    Kyle,

    While you come from a Pentecostal tradition you also share much with the charismatic movement that went across denominational lines and was found in churches throughout Protestantism, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. As a result the charismatic movement was more ecumenical and ethnically diverse than the initial pentecostal movement. Now that pentecostalism has grown so significantly in the global south this is changing. Yet, in your own blog you note that most of what you have learned has come from the North American context and probably largely white too. How has this program helped grow your perspective? How do you hope to use this broad learning experience in your work with young people to help them understand and engage with the diversity God designed?

  6. Chris Pritchett says:

    Hey Kyle, thanks for highlighting the connection between evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. It makes me wonder if all Pentecostals are Evangelicals even though not all Evangelicals are Pentecostal.

  7. Dave Watermulder says:

    Kyle,
    Nice work on this post. I thought it was really interesting the way that you parsed out the differences between “evangelicalism” and “pentecostalism”, and how they are also intertwined on the world stage. It definitely seems that the current surge in “evangelical christianity” has a charismatic or pentecostal flair, even among more denominational churches. In your context, is this an important relationship or connection? Are you somewhat at the intersection between these movements? How do the young people/millennials that you work with think about this?

  8. Shawn Hart says:

    Kyle, I am curious how you relate yourself in regard to the Evangelical guidelines; would you say that it is possible to be both an evangelical and a pentecostal? Furthermore, being that you specified different types of pentecostals today, would you say that one group identifies more as evangelicals than other groups may?

    Good post. It is good to reflect on the words of others and see if you feel their perspective accurately depicts your views.

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