The University of Southern California Center for Religion & Civic Culture is currently working under a grant studying Pentecostal religion. In 2007 they published a 263 page volume called “Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement”. This is the press release notes for the book; “How and why is Christianity’s center of gravity shifting to the developing world? To understand this rapidly growing phenomenon, USC Firestone Professor of Religion and CRCC Executive Director Donald E. Miller and CRCC Senior Fellow Tetsunao Yamamori spent four years traveling the globe conducting extensive on-the-ground research in twenty different countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. The result is this vividly detailed book and accompanying DVD, which together contain the most comprehensive information available on Pentecostalism, the fastest-growing religion in the world”. Link: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520251946 . The first chapter is in PDF form for reading.
It examines why and how Pentecostalism is the fastest growing religion in the world. While here in North America and Europe it is contracting in numbers, below the equator, it is experiencing rapid growth. It is interesting to note the methodology of the faith in these regions. “Pentecostals no longer see the world as a place from which to escape—the sectarian view—but instead as a place they want to make better. Reading the Bible from this perspective, Pentecostals have begun to model their behavior after a Jesus who both preached about the coming kingdom and healed people and ministered to their social needs. Consequently, an emerging breed of Pentecostals are putting their faith to work in highly practical ways: establishing medical clinics, ministering to orphans, caring for widows; the list goes on and on, and varies from country to country, depending on the social needs that confront Pentecostals in their local context”.
This study is produced by a secular source with secular funding. However, no one can deny what is happening across the earth from these reports, and where the spirit of the living God is blowing.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Jas 2:26)