So HeIp Us, God


Answering the Anti-PentecostaI Bias


When Sarah Palin became the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008, reports quickly surfaced saying she had long been a member of a Pentecostal church. With that news, any grand American tradition of religious tolerance for her vanished. More than simply being disrespected for her Pentecostal beliefs, Palin was derided for them with smears that were close to bizarre in their misuse of the facts. 

She was a heretic, bloggers claimed, and under the hypnotic sway of modern Elmer Gantrys. She was robotically devoted to the cult of a witch hunter. She attended a church in which people ranted in tongues, raised Nazi salutes and trained their children to be Christian versions of suicide bombers.

The truth was, Palin was a member of one of the fastest-growing movements in Christian history, one that must be considered mainstream today by any standard. From a handful of adherents when modern Pentecostalism began in the early 1900s, Pentecostals now number more than 580 million worldwide. They are growing by more than 19 million a year, some 54,000 per day, and researchers predict by 2025 there will be more than 1 billion Pentecostals and charismatics in the world, most located in Asia, Africa and Latin America.


The Rising Tide of Influence

How Pentecostalism is gradually changing the dynamics of American politics

A phenomenon is emerging in politics today, one off the radar of most political observers. This movement hasn’t come crashing on the scene all at once, but instead has been steadily forming like a tsunami, untraced by most and even ignored by those aware of its potential yet who dismiss it out of personal bias. As this wave surges, its rising water line can lift political candidates to new heights of influence almost overnight. 

The tsunami I speak of is the new wave of proactive involvement among Pentecostal/charismatic Christians in the American political system, and it is becoming an increasingly powerful force with enough potential to change a nation. Donald Miller, professor of religion at the University of Southern California, has said that “Pentecostalism is reshaping the face of Christianity.” I would argue it is also reshaping the face of American politics and represents a significant part of a larger movement to return America to its Judeo-Christian values.

According to the World Christian Database, there are almost 80 million “renewalists” in the U.S., which would include Pentecostals, charismatics and neo-charismatics (often referred to as the “Third Wavers”). Yet to understand just how influential the Pentecostal political movement is becoming, we must first understand how far charismatics (a term that, for the sake of brevity, I’m using interchangeably with Pentecostals) have come regarding politics.


The Truth About The New Apostolic Reformation

They make an odd couple—Christian conservatives and secular media. Yet they’ve locked arms in charging that the New Apostolic Reformation is a shadowy cult seeking to control the outcome of the 2012 U.S. presidential elections. Here’s my answer to their claim.


The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has recently become a topic of discussion in the political media. I noticed some mention of it in connection with Sarah Palin’s run for vice president, but I considered it relatively insignificant. Then more talk of NAR surfaced around Michele Bachmann, but it soared to a new level when Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican nomination for president in August.

On Aug. 24, NPR aired a story (and published it elsewhere) titled “The Evangelicals Engaged in Spiritual Warfare,” naming me as NAR’s architect and tying Perry and other politicians to NAR in a negative light. Since then, I’ve been observing how the media has sought to taint Christian political candidates with false notions about the movement.

The best I can discern, NAR has become a tool in the hands of certain liberal opponents of the conservative candidates designed to discredit them on the

basis of their friendship with Christian leaders supposedly affiliated with NAR. To bolster this attempt, they accuse NAR of teaching false doctrine and paste on it the label of “cult.”

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