Recently, Religion Unplugged published a story by Julia Duin featuring PCPJ. It’s titled “Meet The Evangelicals Who Are Anti-Trump”, and while I personally don’t wear “anti-Trump” as a label it is true that we have been critical to President Trump for not promoting peace and justice very well.
We follow Jesus and see peace and justice as something very central to the Gospel message. We’re sad to see how many of our fellow Pentecostals and Charismatics, particularly in the West, argue for things like:
- that everyone should have weapons,
- that refugees should be deported to war and misery,
- that man-made climate change does not exist,
- that economic inequality is good,
- and that gender equality has gone too far.
These are not things that Jesus stands for in the gospels, nor are they things that the Pentecostal movement originally stood for. Early Pentecostal friends were pacifists, included women preachers and were committed to poverty reduction and a sustainable environment.
They tried to resurrect all of Pentecost in Acts 2, not just the tongues part. We at PCPJ wish to do the same.
An excerpt from the article:
Pentecostals and charismatics belong to an evangelical sub-group that believes that the supernatural “gifts of the Holy Spirit” are operative today. Of those who are active in politics, the best-known is televangelist Paula White, who says she led President Donald Trump to the Lord before his 2016 presidential run and is known for her fiery sermons on everything from prosperity to “satanic pregnancies.”
But she has been years ahead of her white counterparts on race issues. Earlier this year, White was named as adviser to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.
“Paula was a no one in denominational Pentecostal circles for a long time,” says Erica Ramirez, the Texas-born academic who is the president of PCPJ and director of research at Auburn Seminary in Manhattan. “Just like the election of Trump changed the game in national politics, the elevation of Paula has changed the game in Pentecostalism and evangelicals.”
Trump’s religious cabinet has plenty of detractors, but none were from the same theological camp until the PCPJ — whose members also lay claim to spiritual gifts like prophecy and speaking in tongues — emerged a few years ago.
Although the group was founded back in 2001, it took on new life after Trump arrived at the White House and PCPJ leaders will wryly admit that Trump’s election has hugely benefited them. Pentecostals have earned a reputation for conservative politics and – here in the United States – have acted as mirror images of Trump’s policies. In Brazil, Pentecostals supported one of their own – right winger Jair Bolsonaro – for his successful 2018 run for the presidency.
But worldwide, PCPJ leaders say, Pentecostalism is more focused on racial justice, immigration, peace, gender equality, creation care and economic justice. The last two winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and surgeon Denis Mukwege, were both African Pentecostals.
Micael Grenholm is a Swedish pastor, author, and editor for PCPJ.
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!