Avortul, subiect de dezbatere în campania prezidențială din SUA dintre Hillary Clinton și Donald Trump
HotNews.ro menționează în cadrul unui articol faptul că „unul din subiectele cele mai fierbinți ale celei de-a treia dezbateri electorale dintre Hillary Clinton și Donald Trump l-a constituit tema „dreptului la avort al femeilor”
„Declarații pe tema avortului:
Clinton: Sunt pentru acest drept al femeilor. Decizia de a întrerupe o sarcină este foarte dificilă pentru o femeie. Nu cred că guvernul SUA ar trebui sa se implice și să ia aceste decizii mai degrabă personale. Este doar o treabă de sfat medical, iar statul nu trebuie sa intervină. Avortul poate fi reglementat, atâta vreme cât se ține seama de viața și sănătatea mamei. (…)
Trump: Eu susțin dreptul la viata. Dacă voi ajunge președinte, voi nominaliza la aceasta instanta un judecător „pro-viata” ( termen asemănător cu „anti-avort”).
Trump: Nu sunt de acord și mi se pare groaznic ce susține Clinton. Ea zice practic că este în regulă să smulgi fătul din pântecele mamei. Este doar o treabă de sfat medical în a interveni asupra unui făt cu doar câteva zile înainte de naștere?”
„Patruzeci și trei de bărbați au fost președinții Americii, acoperind 57 de mandate. Mai mulți dintre ei au avut două mandate prezidențiale, iar Franklin Delano Roosevelt a fost ales de patru ori, în anii 1932, 1936, 1940 și 1944. Când ei sunt prezentați în ordinea mandatelor, Barack Obama este numit cel de al 44-lea președinte, deși este de fapt al patruzeci și treilea bărbat care a ocupat această funcție. Aceasta fiindcă Grover Cleveland a fost ales de două ori, dar nu succesiv: el a fost cel de al 22-lea și cel de al 24-lea președinte.
Numărul celor care au fost Primele Ladies ale țării, este de 44, fiindcă James Buchanan a fost celibatar și Woodrow Wilson s-a recăsătorit în timpul președinției.
În a doua zi a convenției democrate, Hillary Clinton a făcut istorie, fiind prima femeie nominalizată candidata la președinție a unui partid politic major. Dacă ea va fi aleasă, istoria președinției americane va înregistra alte două premiere: în scaunul prezidențial va sta o femeie, iar soțul ei va deveni Primul Gentleman al țării. ”
The Situation: According to theAssociated Press, a group called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is urging the Pentagon to court martial officers whose subordinates feel they’re being proselytized. MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein says even a Christian bumper sticker on an officer’s car or a Bible on an officer’s desk can amount to „pushing this fundamentalist version of Christianity on helpless subordinates.” Weinstein and other leaders of his foundation met with top officials at the Pentagon last week.
The Backstory: Weinstein and his group met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23. He told Fox News that U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished to stave off what he called a „tidal wave of fundamentalists.” „Someone needs to be punished for this,” Weinstein told Fox News. „Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior.”
„If a member of the military is proselytizing in a manner that violates the law, well then of course they can be prosecuted,” he said. „We would love to see hundreds of prosecutions to stop this outrage of fundamentalist religious persecution.”
„[Proselytizing] is a version of being spiritually raped and you are being spiritually raped by fundamentalist Christian religious predators,” Weinstein told Fox News.
The Pentagon confirmed to Fox News that Christian evangelism is against regulations. „Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense, LCDR Nate Christensen said in a written statement. He declined to say if any chaplains or service members had been prosecuted for such an offense.
Threat Level: Unclear. Michael L. „Mikey” Weinstein, who served as White House Counsel in the Reagan administration and general counsel to H.Ross Perot, is an anti-religion extremist who is not taken seriously by anyone that is not on the secular political left. But if Pentagon officials become convinced that his peculiar anti-evangelism perspective is indeed within the bounds of military regulations, it could mean that members of the military could be prosecuted from sharing their faith—or even having a faith-based bumper sticker on their car.
Why It Matters: In a recent article for The Huffington Post, Weinstein provides an example of his bizarre hatred of Christianity,
I founded the civil rights fighting organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to do one thing: fight those monsters who would tear down the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the technologically most lethal entity ever created by humankind, the U.S. military.
Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.
And as with most threats to religious freedom, at the core is the incompatibility between Christianity and normalization of homosexuality:
We should as a nation effusively applaud Lt. Col. Rich for his absolutely correct characterization of anti-gay religious extremist organizations as „hate groups” with no place in today’s U.S. military. But we are compelled to venture even further. We MUST vigorously support the continuing efforts to expose pathologically anti-gay, Islamophobic, and rabidly intolerant agitators for what they are: die-hard enemies of the United States Constitution. Monsters, one and all. To do any less would be to roll out a red carpet to those who would usher in a blood-drenched, draconian era of persecutions, nationalistic militarism, and superstitious theocracy. Human history is all too festooned and replete with countless examples of such bleak and forlorn tragedies.
If these fundamentalist Christian monsters of human degradation, marginalization, humiliation and tyranny cannot broker or barter your acceptance of their putrid theology, then they crave for your universal silence in the face of their rapacious reign of theocratic terror. Indeed, they ceaselessly lust, ache, and pine for you to do absolutely nothing to thwart their oppression. Comply, my friends, and you, too, become as monstrously savage as are they. I beg you, do not feed these hideous monsters with your stoic lethargy, callousness and neutrality. Do not lubricate the path of their racism, bigotry, and prejudice. Doing so directly threatens the national security of our beautiful nation.
There was a time—just a few years ago, in fact—when we could laugh off such views by extremists like Weinstein. But the political climate has become increasingly hostile to religious liberties and all threats must be watched more carefully.
The issue, of course, is not that Weinstein’s views will be adopted wholesale by the military. The concern is that when the outer boundary of what is considered legitimate opinion expand, what is considered the „center” shifts away from commonsense and rationality. When folks like Weinsten are taken seriously when they call evangelicals „pathologically anti-gay, Islamophobic, and rabidly intolerant agitators” it makes it easier for the public to say, „That’s going a bit far. Why not just call them bigots?”
Știrea a fost preluată și de cei de la semneletimpului.ro cu titlul bombastic Decizie incredibilă a Pentagonului: interzicerea prozelitismului religios
„Pentagonul a confirmat pentru sursa citată că, în cazul adoptării noilor reglementări, prozelisimul ar fi scos în afara legii, ceea ce i-ar cataloga drept trădători ai Statelor Unite ale Americii pe credincioşii care vorbesc despre credinţa lor la locul de muncă.”
Deci, chiar în cadrul articolului, care este unul în care nu se precizează clar faptul că este vorba de un grup care se intitulează the Military Religious Freedom Foundation și nu de unul care apără libertatea religioasă, scrie că Pentagonul nu a adoptat încă noile reglementări.
Mi-a atras atenția numele acelui grup precum și pretextul lor de a lupta pentru libertate religioasă, când în fapt aceasta este îngrădită.
The source for this article is http://thegospelcoalition.org
A new report from Barna Group ranks how 96 of the largest cities in the nation on how they view the Bible.
The Background: The study, based on 42,855 interviews conducted nationwide, attempts to determine the overall openness or resistance to the Bible in the country’s largest markets. The report ranks the most and least „Bible-minded” cities based both on weekly Bible reading and who strongly asserts the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches.
The Takeaways: Some of the more interesting findings from the survey include:
• The top ranking cities, where at least half of the population qualifies as Bible-minded, are all Southern cities.
• The least Bible-oriented markets include a mix of regions, but tend to be from the New England area.
• Among the nation’s largest 30 cities, 10 of them are in the top half of the Bible-minded market rankings, while 20 of them are in the bottom half.
• Generally speaking, the more densely populated areas tend to be less Bible oriented.
• Markets having a higher percentage of Hispanic Catholics are less likely to engage the Bible.
• The cities with the highest percentage of the population being defined as ‘Bible-minded’ are:
1. Knoxville, TN (52%)
2. Shreveport, LA (52%)
3. Chattanooga, TN (52%)
4. Birmingham, AL (50%)
5. Jackson, MS (50%).
6. Springfield, MO (49%)
7. Charlotte, NC (48%)
8. Lynchburg, VA (48%)
9. Huntsville-Decatur, AL (48%)
10. Charleston, WV (47%)
• The cities with the lowest percentage of the population being defined as ‘Bible-minded’ are:
85. New York, NY (18%)
86. Las Vegas, NV (18%)
87. Buffalo, NY (18%)
88. Cedar Rapids, IA (18%)
89. Phoenix, AZ (17%)
90. San Francisco, CA (16%)
91. Boston, MA (16%)
92. Hartford, CT (16%)
93. Portland, ME (16%)
94. Burlington, VT (16%)
95. Albany, NY (10%)
96. Providence, RI (9%)
adjunctul secretarului american al Apararii, ianuarie 2001 – iunie 2005
secretar american al Apararii, ianuarie 2001 – decembrie 2006
consilier pe probleme de securitate nationala, ianuarie 2001 – ianuarie 2005; secretar de stat ianuarie 2005 – ianuarie 2009
The evangelical movement in America emerged in the twentieth century as conservative Protestants sought to perpetuate an intentional continuity with biblical Christianity. While the roots of the movement can be traced through centuries prior to its emergence in twentieth century America, its organizational shape appeared mainly in the years after World War II. And, as anyone who considers the movement with a careful eye understands, evangelical definition has been a central preoccupation of the movement from the moment of its inception.
The word “evangelical” long predates the coalescence of the evangelical coalition of the last century. The word has been applied to Methodism in the eighteenth century, to nonconformists and low church Protestants in Great Britain in the nineteenth century, and to a host of groups, churches, and movements ever since. As early as the nineteenth century, frustration and confusion arose over the use and misuse of the term. The seventh Earl of Shaftesbury expressed the late-nineteenth century frustration when he declared, “I know what constituted an evangelical in former times . . . I have no clear notion what constitutes one now.”
In this light, one is tempted to identify with the late Justice Potter Stewart, who during deliberations of the U. S. Supreme Court in a 1964 case concerning pornography, simply declared: “I know it when I see it.”
In the most common usage of the term, it works in almost this very sense. An evangelical is recognized by a passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by a deep commitment to biblical truth, by a sense of urgency to see lost persons hear the Gospel, and by a commitment to personal holiness and the local church. In any event, this is what we should hope to recognize as authentically evangelical.
But there is more to the question, of course. Honesty requires that the term be defined by its necessity. In this sense, evangelical has been and still remains a crucial term because we simply cannot live without it. Some word has to define what it means to be a conservative Protestant who is not, quite simply, a Roman Catholic, nor a theological liberal. While Catholics and liberal Protestants may speak of themselves in terms of an evangelical spirit (and both have), the term makes no sense as applied to a movement unless it is held to be clearly distinct from both Roman Catholicism and Protestant Liberalism. Yet, there is more to the story of course, since the evangelical movement was also born out of a deep concern to identify a posture distinct from that of Protestant Fundamentalism.
There have been attempts to replace the term with something more useful, but such efforts have met with little success. The reason for this is quite simple – the word really does accomplish what it sets out to do. It functions as a descriptor for many millions of Christians for whom no other aggregate denominator is appropriate. The word has enduring value precisely because we cannot operate without it.
That is not to say that its use is uncontroversial. Dissatisfaction with the term was evident among many of the young leaders of the “New Evangelicalism” which emerged with such energy in the years just after World War II. Driven by a determination to distinguish themselves from separatistic Fundamentalism on the one hand, and Protestant Liberalism on the other hand, these ambitious founders of contemporary evangelicalism laid hold of the only term that seemed to describe their identity and aspirations. What other term would serve so well?
During the 1970s and 1980s, laments over the word and its usage led figures such as William J. Abraham to argue that the word is an “essentially contested concept” – a concept borrowed from the world of philosophy. Abraham, a leading intellectual figure on the evangelical left, argued that the term was almost always used in the context of theological judgment. Yet, he asserted, “There is no single essence or one particular condition that captures the achievement concerned or will be agreed upon by all evangelicals.” Of course, even in making his argument, Abraham had little choice but to use the term “evangelicals” even as he argued that the concept is “essentially contested.”
In my view, evangelical definition must be placed within three distinct but overlapping contexts. We should consider evangelicalism in historical, phenomenological, and normative senses. None of these can stand alone, and I will argue that all three are needed in order to understand evangelicalism and to consider the question of evangelical identity.
In its historical usage, in the English-speaking world the term goes back at least to the early eighteenth century. D. W. Bebbington traces evangelical history to the spiritual awakenings of that era and to and to the famed ministries of figures such as George Whitefield and the brothers John and Charles Wesley. In this sense, the earliest evangelicals were British Methodists and their spiritual cousins, whose infectious love for the Gospel, concern for social justice, and commitment to holy living shaped the religious life of both the British Isles and North America.
Later, the term was applied to the nonconformists and low church Anglicans who stood apart from the influence of Anglo-Catholicism in the Church of England and from the developing theological liberalism that had already reached into both Anglican and non-conformist churches and institutions. In this sense, a figure like Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of nineteenth century London, is seen as a paradigmatic evangelical type – and one who was already deeply concerned about theological compromise within evangelical circles.
In the United States, the term was often applied as it had been in European contexts – as a synonym for Protestant. The heirs of the Reformation were simply described as evangelical as a way of stressing a positive identity other than just being known as non-Catholic.
In the early twentieth century, the term was often applied to a spirit of evangelism and Gospel energy. But, as the nation was rocked by the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversy in so many churches anddenominations, the word caught the attention of some conservative Protestants who steadfastly opposed theological liberalism, but who also wanted to distinguish themselves from Fundamentalism.
The controversies and church battles between the Fundamentalist and Modernist forces in the early decades of the twentieth century revealed rival understandings of the Christian faith. The Modernists claimed to be saving Christianity by accommodating Christian theology to the anti-supernaturalism that increasingly shaped the thought life and worldview of the intellectual classes. They adopted higher-critical approaches to the Bible and its interpretation, revised virtually all of Christianity’s core doctrines, and transformed the life of denominations, institutions, and churches that had formerly held to far more conservative beliefs. They relativized the creeds and gained control of the organizational infrastructures of most of the mainline Protestant denominations.
The Fundamentalists pledged themselves to oppose this theological revolution and return to the “fundamentals of the faith.” They sought to resist and to reverse the liberal trends within their churches and denominations, and battle after battle ensued. The Fundamentalists mounted a massive movement, holding Bible conferences and establishing networks of preachers and laypersons. But, in the end, battle after battle was lost. The governing structures of the mainline denominations were filled with either liberals or their “moderate” supporters.
In the years between the two great wars, the Fundamentalists generally separated from the established denominations, forming their own universe of Bible colleges, seminaries, publishing houses, and even denominations. After the public humiliations of the Scopes Trial and other developments, Fundamentalism began to drop out of the nation’s intellectual conversation. Liberals controlled the denominations, the established denominational colleges and seminaries, and the prestigious pulpits. The Fundamentalists were relegated to a constellation of Bible colleges, newspapers, Bible conferences, and publishing houses. They also seized upon new technologies, particularly radio, in order to get their message to a mass audience.
After World War II was over, a movement of young leaders, pastors, theologians, evangelists, and organizers came together in an effort to create a new conservative alternative to Fundamentalism. They were, in fact, the founding fathers of modern evangelicalism – men such as Billy Graham, Harold John Ockenga, Carl F. H. Henry, and Charles Fuller. Some, such as Carl Henry, E. J. Carnell, Gleason Archer, and Kenneth Kantzer, pursued doctoral degrees at prestigious universities in order to gain access to the larger intellectual conversation. These “New Evangelicals,” as they styled themselves, were determined to maintain a clear and unquestioned commitment to theological orthodoxy and to oppose theological liberalism in all its forms. Yet, they also wanted to distinguish themselves and their movement from Fundamentalism, which they identified with anti-intellectualism, a lack of serious theological engagement, a withdrawal from social responsibility, and an eccentric list of theological preoccupations.
Over time, these leaders created their own constellation of churches, evangelistic associations, colleges and universities, theological seminaries, publishing houses, and mission agencies. They sought to unify conservative Protestants into a coherent and credible movement. In their view, the movement should appeal to conservatives still remaining within the liberal denominations, as well as to Fundamentalists who had grown weary of the debates and factionalism of the Fundamentalist movement. They established a central periodical, Christianity Today, launched in 1956 as a conservative alternative to the liberal The Christian Century. As founding editor Carl F. H. Henry made clear, Christianity Today would engage the issues of the day from a posture of intellectual engagement and credibility.
Over the last half of the twentieth century, these leaders and their heirs had built a massive evangelical movement that, by the last quarter of that century, had captured the attention of the larger public, even if it failed to make much headway toward the recovery of the mainline denominations. Through their colleges and seminaries, publishing houses and periodicals, media empires and extensive networks, the evangelicals created a major “third force” in American life, distinguished from both a newly-assertive Catholicism and the mainline Protestant denominations even then in marked numerical decline.
By the 1970s, it was impossible to speak knowledgeably about religion in America without acknowledging the existence and influence of the Evangelicals. This did not mean, however, that observers of the movement had a clear grasp of what constituted evangelical identity. Frankly, it did not even mean that the leaders of the movement shared a common understanding of evangelical identity among themselves.
The challenge of defining evangelical identity remains one of the most important challenges for the movement – and one that entails no small amount of controversy. This much is clear – there is no way for any responsible evangelical to avoid this challenge. To do so is to consign the word to eventual meaninglessness, and to deny evangelicals the right and responsibility to define themselves in theological terms. That is far too high a price to pay.
Adapted from R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s weblog at www.albertmohler.com.
As Americans prepare to reflect on the physical and emotional scars left behind by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Awakening America Alliance and Cry Out America are leading a national effort to pray for God to usher in a spiritual awakening in the United States.
(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)The entrance to the Pentagon Memorial is shown near Washington, August 23, 2011. The United States will commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks next month.
In addition to asking churches to pray during Sunday morning services on Sept. 11, the date of the 10th anniversary of the attacks, there are also prayer gatherings scheduled to take place in thousands of different counties across the United States later that same day.
Billy Wilson, executive director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal and the chair of the Awakening America Alliance (AAA), describes 9/11 as “one of the greatest wake-up call days of our generation.” Cry Out America was formed with the hope that God would lead the country into an even greater spiritual awakening.
Colegii lui C.J. Williams sunt convinși că au asistat la un miracol, după ce fundașul echipei de fotbal american din North Augusta, diagnosticat cu cancer, a fost declarat sănătos de medici.
C.J. a fost anunțat că are cancer după ce s-a prezentat la un control fiindcă avea o umflătură pe gât. „Am fost foarte rănit,” a spus C.J despre aflarea veștii. „Credeam că asta va pune capăt carierei mele de fotbalist (…) M-am ținut tare, a trebuit să fiu tare, pentru ceilalți,” a mărturisit tânărul.
BeliefNet.com relatează că, la aflarea diagnosticului inițial, întreaga comunitate din Fox Creek (North Augusta) s-a rugat pentru ca tânărul licean să se facă bine. Le-a venit greu să creadă atunci când tânărul le-a spus că la analizele ulterioare medicii nu au mai putut identifica celulele tumorale în corpul lui.
După o săptămână de analize amănunțite, tânărul care se pregătise deja să înceapă tratamentul chimioterapic a aflat cu stupoare că nu mai este nevoie. „Unii spun că i s-a pus un diagnostic greșit,” a declarat antrenorul lui C.J. „Eu vă spun, n-a fost diagnosticat greșit. A fost vindecat.”
Mai multe grupuri de credinciosi lupta cu suferinta si dezastrele provocate de uraganul Irene in SUA
Mai multe grupuri de credinciosi lupta cu suferinta si dezastrele provocate de uraganul Irene in SUA.
În urma puternicului uragan Irene, care a traversat estul Statelor Unite, în perioada 27 – 28 august 2011, mai multe grupuri de credincioşi au fost mobilizate pentru a întreprinde eforturile de ajutorare a celor mai afectate comunităţi, informeaza Agentia de stiri Lacasuri Ortodoxe, conform unor rapoarte sosite din zona New York, USA.
Furtuna a provocat mai mult de 20 de decese, pierderile fiind estimate la un total de 3.1 miliarde $, iar lipsa electricităţii a afectat mai mult de cinci milioane de locuinţe şi o serie de întreprinderi.
Mai multe grupuri, cum ar fi Grupul presbiterian de Asistenţă în Caz de Catastrofă, Organizaţia Evreiască Nechama, Asociaţiile de Caritate Islamică din America de Nord (ICNA) şi Grupul Episcopal de Dezvoltare Suferinţă şi Alinare, şi-au oferit serviciile în toate cele 12 state afectate de uragan, informeaza Agentia de stiri Lacasuri Ortodoxe.
Vestea că liderii religioşi nu vor avea un punct oficial în programul de comemorare a atacurilor de la 11 septembrie 2001 i-a luat prin surprindere pe cei mai mulţi dintre ei, scrie Christian Post. Criticii deciziei spun că liderii religioşi au avut un rol cheie în vindecarea de după tragedie şi că ar trebui să fie şi ei incluşi.
Fost adjunct al primarului din New York, Rudy Washington, aflat în funcţie la momentul atentatelor şi-a exprimat puternic nemulţumirea într-un interviu acordat Wall Street Journal. „Suntem în America, a ţine o comemorare fără rugăciune mi se pare o nebunie,” a declarat Washington.
Un purtător de cuvânt al primăriei a replicat că nici aniversările anterioare nu au cuprins servicii de rugăciune, citează aceeaşi sursă.
Pastorul Fernando Cabrera, de la biserica New Life Outreach International susţine că liderii religioşi au fost unii dintre pilonii redresării după tragedie, motiv pentru care nu ar trebui excluşi. „Când oamenii caută sensul, când ceva îi depăşeşte, când eşti într-o criză de acest nivel, privirile se îndreaptă spre oamenii bisericii,” a subliniat Cabrera.
În ediția de vară a revistei Facts & Trends, editorul Thom Rainer prezintă 5 mari schimbări în bisericile americane.
1. America va fi martora celui mai mare câmp misionar compus dintr-o singură generație. Astfel, generația născută între 1980-2000 va avea cea mai slabă reprezentare creștină. Conform estimărilor aceasta va fi de maxim 15%. Cu alte cuvinte aproximativ 70 de milioane de tineri născuți între 1980-2000 sunt necreștini.
2. Atitudinea dominantă a acestei uriașe generații față de creștinism va fi una de indiferență. Numai 13% consideră că lucrurile spirituale au vreo importanță în viețile lor. Nu sunt dușmani ai creștinismului, ci pur și simplu ignoră creștinismul pentru ceea ce ei percep a fi lipsa de relevanță a religiei creștine pentru viața cotidiană.
3. Departamentele din biserici care sunt administrate de adulți seniori vor cunoaște un declin considerabil. Una dintre cauze este aceea că adulții care îmbătrânesc se adaptează greu la ideea că devin seniori. De asemenea bisericile se adaptează greu la noi programe pentru o altă generație.
4. Generația părinților tinerilor de acum, generația celor numiți Baby-Boomer și născuți după război va deveni mai receptivă la Evanghelie. Ironia sorții este că aceștia, după ce în anii 60-70 au încercat orice era posibil, acum se întorc la speranța Evangheliei.
5. Familia este un element cheie, fiecare dintre reprezentanții generațiilor afirmă că familia are un loc important în viața sa. Dacă bisericile reușesc să ajungă cu mesajul lor despre familie la ambele generații, atunci vor avea succes.
Studiile au fost realizate la LifeWay Research. Aceste două generații sunt cele mai numeroase generații în viață din America.
It’s no longer just about raising a hand to God. It’s also about reaching out a hand to the needy.
To get into the minds of today’s Pentecostals, visit a classroom of ministers in training, 20-somethings getting their first taste of practical ministry. Recently I posed several questions to a large group of them in one of my practicum classes:What are the changes going on among North American Pentecostal believers and Pentecostal churches today? In what ways does the new generation of Pentecostals differ from earlier generations? In what ways is it similar?
The first response was immediate. A young student named Emily said, „For years, Pentecostals had an inferiority complex. They felt as if they were the weird uncle of modern Christianity, as if they were not quite accepted by peer denominations. Today it is different. Pentecostal churches have become more accepted and now are part of mainstream Christianity. That may be good—in some ways, not so good.”
Indeed, Pentecostalism in North America has come a long way. It has moved from a faith to and of the disenfranchised to one that is recognized if not fully accepted across the board among evangelicals. From the movement’s origins among a few adherents in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles (1906), Pentecostalism grew to some 12 million adherents by 1970, and now incorporates some 600 million worldwide in its various expressions, a fourth of all Christendom. David Barrett’s monumental World Christian Encyclopedia states that in 1900, only seven-tenths of 1 percent of Christians were Pentecostal; today, approximately 25 percent are.
Another theme emerged in my classroom. As a student named Ross put it, „There is a new Pentecostalism emerging, a more meditative movement, a more social justice movement, more concerned about the outside of the church rather than [what goes on] inside.”
Ministry practitioners, denominational leaders, and scholars whom I have talked to have noted three prominent trends in North American Pentecostalism: a marked decrease in speaking in tongues in public worship; fresh developments in Pentecostal eschatology; and a broader engagement in compassionate ministry and social concern.
All three trends deserve comment, but I want to highlight the last trend: On numerous fronts and in an increasing number of ways, Pentecostals are engaging in compassionate ministries and social change.
A Different Kind of Awakening
„There is a huge awakening for social concern today,” says noted Pentecostal leader Jack Hayford, „especially from age 30 and down. It is profoundly present, and it is a welcomed renewal.”
But, says Hayford, this isn’t the first time Pentecostalism has seen such a groundswell of compassionate ministry. Hayford, a leader in the Foursquare Church, cites the hugely successful „commissary ministry” of Pentecostal revivalist Aimee Semple McPherson: „It touched millions during the Depression. It has significantly marked our movement. It spread over the first half of the 20th century.” McPherson’s compassionate work was carried out from the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles and through numerous „lighthouses” that sprung up across the nation.
Still, for many years North American Pentecostals were gunshy about using terms like „social concern” and „social justice.” Some feared losing a spiritual edge by embracing the „social gospel,” identified with Walter Rauschenbusch and mainline theology. Many worried that a social justice emphasis would undermine the message of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In addition, some felt the idea was too politically volatile and smacked of socialism.
Modern society frequently challenges the Bible as the actual word of God. However, a recent Gallup poll reveals that three in 10 Americans interpret the Bible literally, saying it is the actual word of God to be interpreted literally, word for word.
Gallup polls have tracked whether Americans take the Bible literally for the past 40 years.
The overall findings from Gallup show that the percentage of Americans taking a literal view of the Bible has declined over time, from an average of 38 percent from 1976-1984 to an average of 31 percent.
However, highly religious Americans, particularly those of Protestant faiths, still commonly believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.
Fifty-four percent of those who attend religious services on a weekly basis believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, which is more than twice the percentage of those who attend church less often, according to Gallup. (…)