Debunking some Pentecostal stereotypes

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Pentecostalism and related “Spirit-filled movements” are rightly seen as a hard-driving engine fueling the global spread of Christianity, but their adherents are often wrongly seen as apolitical, otherworldly enthusiasts bent on “speaking in tongues,” according to two separate studies on the century-old phenomena.

A groundbreaking survey of such believers in 10 countries, including the United States, where they account for 23 percent of Americans, was released this month by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Pentecostal and charismatic Christians still hold conservative views on the Bible, end-times prophecies, faith healing and traditional morality. But in six countries at least four of every 10 Pentecostals surveyed say they never speak or pray in tongues—the utterances unintelligible to the believer that were commonly ridiculed in the past by Christian and non-Christian critics.


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