Charismatic Christianity and globalization
This book has shown that within a century of its commencement, Charismatic forms of Christianity existed in most countries and affected all forms of Christianity in our contemporary world – however we regard or manipulate the statistics on affiliation. I have attempted to demonstrate the complexity of what we call ‘Pentecostalism’, both in terms of its origins and of its distinctive characteristics. As the subtitle of Cox’s Fire from Heaven declares, religion itself in the twenty-first century has been ‘reshaped’ through the ‘rise of Pentecostal spirituality’. Whatever our opinion or personal experience of Pentecostalism, it is a movement of such magnitude that Christianity itself has been irrevocably changed. The mushrooming growth of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and the ‘Pentecostalization’ of older, both Protestant and Catholic churches – especially in the Majority World – is a fact of our time. Ghanaian theologian Cephas Omenyo writes that the Pentecostal experience is becoming ‘mainline’ Christianity in Africa, ‘not merely in numbers but more importantly in spirituality, theology and practice’. This observation applies to other continents too, as we have seen. With all its warts and wounds, this composite movement continues to expand and increase across the globe.