The Assemblies of God: Godly Love and the Revitalization of American Pentecostalism

Overview

The Assemblies of God (AG) is the ninth largest American and the world's largest Pentecostal denomination, with over 50 million followers worldwide. The AG embraces a worldview of miracles and mystery that makes“supernatural” experiences, such as speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy, normal for Christian believers. Ever since it first organized in 1916, however, the “charismata” or “gifts of the Holy Spirit” have felt tension from institutional forces. Over the decades, vital charismatic experiences have ...

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The Assemblies of God: Godly Love and the Revitalization of American Pentecostalism

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Overview

The Assemblies of God (AG) is the ninth largest American and the world's largest Pentecostal denomination, with over 50 million followers worldwide. The AG embraces a worldview of miracles and mystery that makes“supernatural” experiences, such as speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy, normal for Christian believers. Ever since it first organized in 1916, however, the “charismata” or “gifts of the Holy Spirit” have felt tension from institutional forces. Over the decades, vital charismatic experiences have been increasingly tamed by rituals, doctrine, and denominational structure. Yet the path towards institutionalization has not been clear-cut. New revivals and direct personal experience of God—the hallmarks of Pentecostalism—continue as an important part of the AG tradition, particularly in the growing number of ethnic congregations in the United States.

The Assemblies of God draws on fresh, up-to-date research including quantitative surveys and interviews from twenty-two diverse Assemblies of God congregations to offer a new sociological portrait of the AG for the new millennium. The authors suggest that there is indeed a potential revitalization of the movement in the works within the context of the larger global Pentecostal upswing, and that this revitalization may be spurred by what the authors call “godly love:” the dynamic interaction between divine and human love that enlivens and expands benevolence.

The volume provides a wealth of data about how the second-largest American Pentecostal denomination sees itself today, and suggests trends to illuminate where it is headed in the future.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814767832
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/23/2010
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret M. Poloma is Professor Emeritus at the University of Akron. She is the author of many books, including Main Street Mystics,and (with Ralph W. Hood, Jr.) Blood and Fire: Godly Love in a Pentecostal Emerging Church (NYU Press, 2008).

John C. Green is distinguished professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Akron. He is the author of The Faith Factor: How Religion Influences the Vote, among other works.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Congregational Overview 19

2 Charisma and Structure in the Assemblies of God: Theoretical Overview 45

3 Pentecostal Identity and the Charismata: Mixed Motivation and Religious Experience 61

4 Structure and Charisma: Doctrine, Power, and Administration 79

5 Spirit Baptism and Spiritual Transformation: An Exercise in Socio-Theology 102

6 Spiritual Empowerment: Pray-ers, Prophets, and Healers in the Pews 121

7 Law of Love and Love of Law: Beliefs, Mores, and Faces of Love 144

8 Ushering in the Kingdom of God: Religious Values, Godly Love, and Public Affairs 171

9 Covenants, Contracts, and Godly Love Matthew T. Lee 188

Appendix A Statistical Tables (Pastors Survey) 207

Appendix B Congregational Measurement Scales 211

Appendix C Statistical Tables (Congregational Survey) 219

Notes 225

References 239

Index 249

About the Author 259

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