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Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        
"Pentecostals have not always felt comfortable with relating to the wider society, but this is something that is gradually changing. the history and theology of Pentecostalism certainly makes room for engagement with society, especially because of the freedom bring about by the Pentecostal experience. One of the results of the experience of the Spirit is what I term a 'Pentecostal theology of liberation'. On issues of discrimination or equality on the basis of race, class or gender, Pentecostals and Charismatics have sometimes led the way, but they have also faltered between extremes and capitulated to the prevailing society. Pentecostals have been accused of a spirituality that withdraws from 'worldly' issues like politics and the struggle for liberation and justice, and of proclaiming a gospel that either spiritualizes or individualizes social problems. The result, some say, has been a 'pie in the sky' approach that has encouraged accepting present oppressive conditions or has led to the 'health and wealth' gospel that makes material gain a spiritual virtue. The dichotomization of church and state into 'secular' and 'spiritual' spheres has continued in recent years. ... All this betrays the ethos of the beginnings in an impoverished black mission at Azusa Street, which defied so many social mores of the time. Pentecostal roots in the socially active revivalist and Holiness movements of the nineteenth century resulted in a commitment by some early Pentecostals to the the struggle for social transformation. But in the USA this soon changed. ...

"There is an increasing awareness of the potential in Pentecostalism for a politically and socially relevant engagement, particularly because of its tendency to attract the marginalized and working class people. ... Many Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders still need to be convinced of the need to be more involved in social protest, and that this will not deflect them from their central 'spiritual' focus. ...

"The Spirit of God brings a liberation that is holistic, not only in that which is confined to the 'spiritual' sphere. If freedom is always the result of receiving the Spirit, then true freedom or liberation is an integral part of Pentecostal experience. ...

"Early Pentecostals were involved in socio-political criticism, including opposition to war, capitalism, and racial discrimination. African American Pentecostals have been at the forefront of the civil rights movement. Throughout the world today Pentecostals are involved in practical ways caring for the poor and the destitute, those often 'unwanted' by the larger society. ... We must not write off Pentecostals and Charismatics as hopeless, otherworldly, only concerned with private morality and irrelevant as far as society's needs are concerned. They may have only just begun, but an enormous transformation is now taking place."

An Introduction to Pentecostalism by Allan Anderson (Reader in Pentecostal Studies, U. of Birmingham), Cambridge Univ Press, 2004, p. 261, 264, 266, 269, 276, 277.

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