Pentecostal Movement and Charismatization
Approaches – Suggestions – Perspectives
Globally speaking, Christianity is a growing religion. That is noticeable particularly in the countries of the South. However, the ones enjoying an upsurge are not the traditional churches but mainly Pentecostal and charismatic churches in all their forms. About a quarter of Christians worldwide already belong to them. In Europe too they are increasingly changing the denominational landscape. In traditional circles, however, very little is known about what these churches are really like. That is why the EKD Advisory Commission on Worldwide Ecumenism has produced this study paper. It is above all directed at those with responsibility within the EKD and is intended to open up a new approach to the Pentecostal churches and their theology. The aim is to overcome prejudice and spark a constructive dialogue that engages seriously with the theology of the Pentecostal churches, but does not overlook critical issues. In order to avoid a one-sided approach, Pentecostal theologians were also involved in drafting the study. The document is meant to motivate readers to seek encounters and critical engagement with one another and to be there for each another.
Getting into conversation
The study paper first gives an overview of the historical development and different forms of Pentecostalism and of existing ecumenical relations. It sheds light on basic theological issues as well as on the commonalities and differences arising in dialogue with Pentecostal churches, along with practices of social and political engagement. It takes a critical look at, e.g. the commercialism and attitude towards miracle cures and religious leaders in some Pentecostal churches. Many different examples from all over the world illustrate that Pentecostalism, despite its global dissemination, is not a uniform phenomenon but takes very diverse cultural forms. Practical recommendations for ecumenical relations supplement the description and give encouragement to get into conversation and learn from one another.
Whom does this paper seek to address?
The paper is meant for those with responsibility at different levels in the EKD, its member churches and agencies, its partner churches and institutions worldwide.
- Church leaders and heads of church institutions
- Staff of educational institutions
- Staff of ecumenical institutions
About one quarter of Christians worldwide already belong to Pentecostal or charismatic groupings. And yet mostly little is known about them in traditional church circles. This study paper offers those with responsibility in the EKD relevant background information. The book gives, inter alia, a historical overview illustrating it with many examples. Practical recommendations encourage people to reach out to one another and overcome prejudice. The aim is to spark a constructive dialogue that addresses the theology of the Pentecostal churches seriously but does not brush aside critical issues.