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Pentecostalism

Abstract : Pentecostalism emerged in the early 20 th century from a "revival" within the context of North American Protestantism. These Protestants, concerned about the new ways of thinking that accompanied urbanisation and the development of the railways, opposed the theory of evolution, the historico-critical biblical exegesis and the Social Gospel then in vogue among the urban churches of the Northeast. They sought a "new blessing" capable of bringing both deeper individual sanctification and a new missionary impulse to meet the challenges of their time. Like Fundamentalism, Pentecostalism was at its outset a conservative moral reaction, but it differs by its emphasis on charismatic experience. Its distinctive identity has indeed been built on the "baptism in the Holy Spirit", a "speaking in tongues" (or glossolalia) interpreted as a visitation of the Holy Spirit, in reference to the day of Pentecost described in the New Testament (Acts 2). More generally, Pentecostalism claims that the "gifts of the Holy Spirit" (charisma) are available today: glossolalia, but also divine healing, prophecy, and the discernment of spirits. This charismatic dimension implies a set of necessary emotions, within the frame of a subjective experience focused on the "immediate" (without visible mediation) communication with God: emotions felt by the believer express his/her involvement in this "personal relationship" with a god who intervenes here and now, through religious apparatuses of socialisation and regulation (Fer, 2010). The combination of charisma (in a theological sense) and emotion has led many sociologists to describe Pentecostalism as mainly a system of charismatic authority, dominated by the figure of the pastor-prophet, in contrast with more institutional and rational forms of religion. However, the charismatic theology of Pentecostal churches embraces more diverse types of leadership and institution that the simple Weberian ideal-type. Thus, classical Pentecostalism still values the institutional control of individual practices. At the contrary, since the 1980s, the rise of new charismatic currents fostering more radical experiences (trance, exorcism, or delivrance) has produced an ambivalent process of desinstitutionalisation: through the spread of a less hierarchized and more flexible sociability,
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Yannick Fer. Pentecostalism. Bryan S. Turner; Chang Kyung-Sup; Cynthia F. Epstein; Peter Kivisto; William Outhwaite; J. Michael Ryan. The Encyclopedia of Social Theory, Wiley Blackwell, pp.1725-1727, 2018, 9781118430873. ⟨halshs-01720345⟩

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