The Advisory Commission on Worldwide Ecumenism of the EKD – Protestant Church in Germany has for several years been following the development of Pentecostal churches and discussing the topic with numerous international experts. On this basis, a study paper entitled “Pentecostal Movement and Charismatisation. Approaches – Suggestions – Perspectives” was drawn up and published in German in 2021. It is now also available in English.
“The study paper opens a new access to Pentecostal churches and their theology. After a long history of mutual prejudice and rejection it encourages us to engage in constructive dialogue,” says Petra Bosse-Huber, EKD Bishop for Ecumenical Relations. However, it also mentions critical issues and draws borderlines where necessary. “The rapid spread of Pentecostal churches is changing the denominational scene in many countries of the Global South and increasingly also in Europe: about a quarter of worldwide Christianity already belongs to Pentecostal or charismatic groups,” Bosse-Huber adds.
The aim is to take Pentecostal churches seriously as partners in theological talks, explains Professor Ulrike Link-Wieczorek, who chaired the EKD Advisory Council for Worldwide Ecumenism during the term of office of the previous Council. “In order to avoid a too one-sided approach, Pentecostal theologians also participated in drafting the study paper. The document is meant to motivate us all to seek encounters and critical engagement with one another.”
The study paper starts with an overview of the historical development and different forms of the Pentecostal movement, as well as of existing ecumenical relations. It sheds light on theological policy issues, on commonalities and differences arising in the dialogue with the Pentecostal churches, and on practices of social and political commitment. A large number of case studies from all over the world demonstrate that the Pentecostal movement, despite its global reach, is not a uniform phenomenon, but takes very different cultural forms. Supplementing the description are practical recommendations for ecumenical relations, encouraging readers to enter into conversation and learn from one another.
The study paper is available for downloading at www.ekd.de/en/pentecostal-movement. Printed copies can be ordered from Evangelische Verlagsanstalt GmbH https://www.eva-leipzig.de/ at a cost of €12 each.
Hanover 12 May 2022
EKD Press Office