In their book Global Pentecostalism, sociologists Donald E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori study what they label “Progressive Pentecostals”, Spirit-filled Christians who have an active social ministry to help people around them.
This is a growing phenomenon, especially in the Majority World. We have previously interviewed Dr. Miller about the exciting potentiality of Pentecostals and Charismatics to promote peace and justice.
The fourth chapter of the book looks at how Pentecostal faith transforms individuals and societies. Miller and Yamamori describe their visit to St. Stephen’s Society, Jackie Pullinger’s ministry in Hong Kong that shares the Gospel and helps drug addicts.
They were astonished to see what appeared to be supernatural intervention in the lives of these people:
”The remarkable thing in the testimony of these ex-addicts, however, was that they often reported the withdrawal process to be painless, or nearly painless, which is completely different from the wrenching process that addicts typically experience in prison or even in a hospital.” (p. 100)
”Something was happening to these individuals at the deepest level of their being. In our interviews with them, they claimed that the Holy Spirit had entered their bodies and a process of spiritual transformation was initiated.
They confessed that they didn’t know what was happening when they first spoke in tongues, but the fact that they came off drugs with little or no pain was so unusual that they acknowledged that a divine power was at work.” (p. 104)
Continue reading How the Holy Spirit Supernaturally Helps Drug Addicts in Hong Kong
Throughout Christian history there have been stories of great heroes of the faith. These heroes ranged from those who conquered social and systemic injustice and oppression, those who preached the Gospel courageously, those who taught children, and those who wrote theological tomes. But what truly made these individuals heroes? Aside from the fact that God greatly blessed these women and men and allowed them the opportunity to shine, the main reason these people changed the world, is because they lived into the calling and giftings that God assigned for them.
There are two main lists in the Bible looking at Spiritual gifts. These are Romans 12:1-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Although there may be many additional gifts that didn’t exist in Biblical times (such as an uncanny use of social media and promotions for church work), the basics have stayed the same millenia later. To give an idea of the various gifts which one can possess, there are gifts of EDIFICATION (including: prophesy, teaching, exhortation, and encouragement), COMPASSION AND SERVICE (practical service, generosity, hospitality, mercy), and LEADERSHIP (apostleship, teaching, preaching, and evangelism).
Now in the church, the majority of gifts are not debated. For example, both men and women can be able administrators, both can be encourage, and both can be generous with time, talents and treasures. Yet, the issue arises when it comes to matters of leadership. In some churches both men and women are able to accept roles such as deacon, elder, pastor or bishop, but in many others these roles belong solely to men. Does that mean then that women were somehow bypassed when it came to giving out the spiritual gifts or does it mean that women are somehow inferior and therefore not eligible for these roles? Continue reading Is the Spirit Gender-Blind?
By Elizabeth D. Rios, EdD, DMin (ABD)
I started this article a week ago, but felt something was missing. Today, I found it. I think it was holy indignation!
What sparked this holy anger?
Hearing a well-known, popular, nationally recognized Pentecostal preacher share (on an Instagram clip) on his pulpit that he hates politics. How he doesn’t give a rip about it. How he doesn’t care who is in charge.
He then goes on to say, “You know how we find our help, through Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, the power of the holy ghost. You get involved in that mess, you get involved in offenses. ‘That offends me, well I can’t believe…’ Who gives a rip what they say? I want to know what God says. I’ve lived long enough to be in a place where I am asking the question, is it going to be politics or Pentecost?”
To which you hear the congregation break out into applause. Although it wasn’t overwhelming applause there were still people who actually thought this was responsible preaching. Albeit, he’s been a pastor for decades (and I actually like and know him) but I had to hear it over a few times because I was sad and yes, mad over it. Continue reading Pentecostal Spirituality: The Power to Practice (Not Just Believe)