Pentecostalism, secularism, and post-Christendom
LE3 .A278 2014
Doctor of Ministry
Acadia Divinity College
The purpose of this practical study is to assist the efforts of North American Pentecostalism as it seeks to navigate the significant changes in cultural attitudes and practices towards Christianity. Via a literary search we will first explore contemporary Pentecostalism, observing its history, global spread, interaction with the Charismatic movement, and particular theological emphasis. Chapter three will investigate changes in Western culture, focusing particularly on the Canadian scene. We will observe the shift from Christendom to post-Christendom, and note the increase in secularism, before concluding with an introduction to postmodern thought. Having provided a foundation for our study, chapter four tells the story of one classical Pentecostal denomination and its struggle to adapt to changing cultural norms in the face of numerical decline. The thesis then seeks to interact with eight themes that Pentecostalism should seriously consider as it seeks to understand and adapt to post-Christendom. Pentecostals must first consider the varying impact of these changes on the six generation currently worshipping together. The story of Aimee Semple McPherson and her willingness to embrace creativity and risk is the subject of chapter six. We discuss the lessons Pentecostalism might learn from the Missional and emergent church movements, before considering appropriate Pentecostal responses to Postmodernism and post-Christendom in chapter eight. Chapter nine concludes our study with a plea for Pentecostals to reframe their understanding of Spirit-baptism including careful consideration of the key differences in their beliefs vs. values.
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