10/05/2006 - By all accounts, pentecostalism and related charismatic movements represent one of the fastest-growing segments of global Christianity. According to the World Christian Database, at least a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians are thought to be members of these lively, highly personal faiths, which emphasize such spiritually renewing "gifts of the Holy Spirit" as speaking in tongues, divine healing and prophesying.
Even more than other Christians, pentecostals and other renewalists believe that God, acting through the Holy Spirit, continues to play a direct, active role in everyday life.
Despite the rapid growth of the renewalist movement in the last few decades, there are few quantitative studies on the religious, political and civic views of individuals involved in these groups.
To address this shortcoming, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, with generous support from the Templeton Foundation, recently conducted surveys in 10 countries with sizeable renewalist populations: the United States; Brazil, Chile and Guatemala in Latin America; Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in Africa; and India, the Philippines and South Korea in Asia. In each country, surveys were conducted among a random sample of the public at large, as well as among oversamples of pentecostals and charismatics.
In this report, the term pentecostal is used to describe individuals who belong to classical pentecostal denominations, such as the Assemblies of God or the Church of God in Christ, that were founded shortly after the famous Azusa Street Revival in the early 20th century, as well as those who belong to pentecostal denominations or churches that have formed more recently, such as the Brazil-based Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
Read the full report Pentecostal Power on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.