there is an article at the pew forum with Donald Miller (not a Pentecostal) on the topic of “Progressive Pentecostalism” that is pretty good and informative. I encourage you to read it.
I know Pentecostals get a bad rap but at least if you read this it will better inform you since, well, there are more of us than there are of you! lol! But to be sure, it’s as concise and accurate an answer to the question “Who are Pentecostals” as you’ll ever read. Here is an excerpt:
Finally, why should people who don’t particularly care about religion be interested in pentecostalism? Why are pentecostals important for global politics and world affairs?
Thanks for ending with an easy question! My first response is that pentecostalism is reshaping Christianity. Numerically, Christianity is being turned upside down. The growing edge of Christianity is in the global South, not in the West — even though that is the origin of the missionary movement. Indeed, we may even be witnessing a reverse missionary movement of sorts, with Christians coming from places like Rwanda and Nigeria to evangelize “the heathens” in the United States. Some of the current tensions in the Anglican Communion reflect this reversal.
At the risk of offending my liberal colleagues, I also think there is another interesting dimension of pentecostalism. Rather than thinking of it as being anti-modern, it is possible that pentecostals may actually be culturally avant-garde. Why? Because pentecostals never made the mind-body separation that characterized much of Western Christianity since the Enlightenment. Today there is an increasing interest in affirming the unity of mind and body, and therefore the validity of religious experience. Equating religion with beliefs is viewed as artificial and excessively cognitive by many Gen-Xers. In contrast, pentecostal worship combines beliefs and experience in a rather postmodern way that gives authority to individual interpretation and validation.
Feel free to let me know what you think. 🙂