In the course of the 20th century, Pentecostalism expanded from a small revival movement to a global presence comparable in its extent and variety to Roman Catholicism or Anglicanism. Yet few people in mainstream U.S. churches know much about it, and what little they do know relates more to Pentecostal practice than to Pentecostal thought.
No one knows how many child preachers there are in Brazil, but estimates run to the thousands. Most of them are Pentecostal. Alani is an 11-year-old who, according to her father, performed her first healing miracle when she was only 51 days old. Convinced that Alani had healing powers, her father placed her infant hand on a woman’s distended stomach—and it immediately deflated. Even within Pentecostal circles, some observers believe that child preachers like Alani are exploited by their parents and other adults (New York Times, June 11).