Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pentecostals and the Ecumenical Future

John Allen has an interesting article over at the National Catholic Reporter titled, If demography is destiny, Pentecostals are the ecumenical future. The piece covers the nature of Pentecostalism, it's wolrd-wide explosion, and its current and future relationship with the Catholic Church.

Here are a few exceprts I found interesting - but make sure you click on the link above and read the whole thing.

"In Christian terms, the late 20th century will probably come to be known as the era of the “Pentecostal Explosion.” From less than six percent in the mid-1970s, Pentecostals finished the century representing almost 20 percent of world Christianity, ..."

"That would make Pentecostalism the second-largest Christian “denomination” on earth, lagging behind only Roman Catholicism. There are more Pentecostals today than all the Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans put together. "

"... Harvey Cox has dubbed Pentecostalism “Catholicism without priests,” meaning an expression of folk spirituality without the Roman juridical system or complicated scholastic theology. "
Assuming that the growth trend continues, what long-term effects do you think this will have on the Catholic Church? What would Ecumenical progress look like?


Malcolm XYZ said...

this is a great question. i grew up in Tennesee and Georgia and know the Pentacostal church very well. but then i went to college and studied church history and philosophy and became a kind of Catholic-Orthodox mix. I am deeply disturbed by the American triumphalism the Pentacostal preaches and its rampant disregard for the first two thirds of christian history. the thing is, there are sober and intelligent people among them, and those are the ones we must engage with.

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

It's interesting that you should mention this. One of my best, new friends is a Pentecostal from a Russian country. I've known others, too from other countries in Russia and they do follow the pattern that the article suggests. I have a lot in common (morally) with her but it was funny to think that when I first met her, I assumed she was Orthodox (Russian) by her expression of faith in our conversations (so that agrees with what the article states!). I think, mainly, the reason for the growth (of Pentecostalism) in some of the post-communist countries of Asia has to do with how thoroughly the Orthodox/Catholic churches were suppressed and for so many generations. Anyway, I find the whole thing so fascinating! I hope to bring her to a better knowledge of the roots of her faith and maybe learn something of hers in the process (except for the speaking in tongues thing, not happenin' here!).