Monday, August 26, 2013

The plague of Pentecostalism

I was thinking about this interesting thing that's sweeping not only the New World, but has overtaken Africa with full force - Pentecostalism.
Forty years ago something like 3% of Christians in Brazil were Pentecostals, now it's up to something like 30%.
But is this really a wave of true Christianity sweeping over them, or is it merely a reaction against a Catholicism culture? I wonder.

It used to be that you paid monies to the Church in the form of tithes, indulgences, etc.
Now make God pay you! He's concerned about not just the eternal, but the here and now right? He wants us to be happy and have stuff.

It used to be that you looked forward to heaven, and regarded the eye blink of life with suspicion and patience.
Now that's all well and good, but shouldn't we also let the good times roll?!

It used to be that you had to empty yourself of your own evil passions and sinful desires, and press toward the goal.
Now forget that empty business, just pour in the good stuff and don't worry about all that stuffy repentance business.

It used to be that you said quiet, and overly still, and had to exercise tremendous self control.
Now you don't have to do any of that, if you want to bark like a dog, go ahead. If you want to roll around on the floor, go ahead. Let it out.

So I'm not a Catholic, and I'm not an Charismatic either. While I'm at it, I'll just go ahead and admit I don't fully understand either from the inside. But I do wonder if this surge of popularity is one part a cultural change like a pendulum swinging, and one part a result of making the gospel more attractive in all the wrong ways.
Now it might be that the Spirit of the Lord is moving powerfully among them, in which case they will begin to export excellent theology, deep sermons, and tremendously Godly pastors to minister to the world. But I have my money on it being a culture change that's tantamount to running in place.

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