While visiting friends in east Texas my wife saw a message on the sign of the Assemblies of God church in which she had grown up. It declared, “The Bible Says the Land Belongs to Israel.” This was during the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005.
Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have voted not to hire professors or administrators who promote charismatic Christian practices, such as speaking in tongues. The board overwhelmingly adopted a statement October 17, two months after a fellow trustee noted his personal use of tongues during a sermon in the chapel of the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary.
The tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero is all but hidden in the basement of the national cathedral in San Salvador. Though the memorial was recently beautified to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1980 assassination, no signs point to its location. Of course, San Salvador is not known for being tourist friendly; it has few signs pointing to anything.
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.
The images abound in stock video footage accompanying stories on evangelicals, the religious right, megachurches and the culture wars—the obligatory shots of middle-class worshipers, usually white, in corporate-looking auditoriums or sanctuaries, swaying to the electrified music of “praise bands,” their eyes closed, their enraptured faces tilted heavenward, a hand (or hands) raised to the sky.
As the message of Pentecost spread, it adapted to fit existing cultures. Korean Pentecostals, for instance, frequently climb “prayer mountains” for pre-sunrise prayer services, a reflection of a pre-Christian past.