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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pope and the Pentecostals

No papal visit would be complete without the obligatory New York Times article about the challenge posed to the Catholic Church by Pentecostalism, complete with photos of frenetic worshippers:

As Pope Benedict XVI completes his visit to the United States on Sunday with a Mass at Yankee Stadium, in a borough that has been home to generations of Latinos, he does so facing something of a growing challenge to the church’s immigrant ranks.

For if Latinos are feeding the population of the church, many have also turned to Pentecostalism, a form of evangelical Christianity that stresses a personal, even visceral, connection with God.

Today, it has more Latino followers in the United States than any other denomination except Catholicism; they are drawn, they say, by the faith’s joyous worship, its use of Latino culture and the enveloping sense of community it offers to newcomers. As the Pew survey revealed, half of all Latinos who have joined Pentecostal denominations were raised as Catholics.

Of course, being the New York Times, all of this is chalked up to "populism." There is no reference at all to theology in the sense of anyone's actual beliefs, only the feelings of belonging that people have. The Times seems to give voice to the sentiment of some that more Mariachi masses will stem the exodus. Is this analysis?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the faint at heart and those stuck in apostasy come see God tugging at their hearts? I missed the day of evangelism in 2008. My heart was not ready. I am a backslider without a public confession. From the earliest Revival in Connecticut in 1735 - 1742 God has sent witnesses like Rev. Jonathan Edwards from Enfield Connecticut. I asked Jesus in my heart in 1972 after getting counseled by some good Christians from California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. But till I got on my knees on a ship off the coast of South Vietnam that day in 1972, God was not real to me as a Savior. I can go to all the Seminars, Conferences, Small Group, Large Group, attend every church, go to every shrine in the world, go to all the sacred sites in the world affiliated with my Savior Jesus Christ, talk to every person in the world, write papers and articles for speeches, newspapers, and books, or any other thing outside of a confession of faith; I am not ready in my heart of hearts to do the Father's Will. God has been constantly trying to get my attention. Especially after my last personnel bout with a closure of the windpipe by some sort of asthma. I raised the hackles of the women I married to withdraw from me. I felt the numbness that is written about by the scriptures when one is supposed to get numbness of the heart when God has to withdraw from a non-repented and unforgiving heart. On the last day of life, God will take what belongs to him. In scripture he cannot look at SIN. I say SIN is like a giant sore or Zit or boil, or pimple, or disfigurement that hides on the inside so only you can notice. If it did hide on the outside, what a difference in society of God's faithful would dwell. Remember the world help and industry we have to offer for getting relief from all outside the skin and bone disfigurements. I pray God reaches every one with his small voice to pay attention to his most precious heart in each of his most prized creations. God loves you; God loves me with an everlasting love. I will live forever; I have to make a choice while I am living now. I do not know how long I can live now. I am given FREE CHOICE for that cause of picking that eternity that HE supplied for everlasting love, or that eternity for everlasting debt where nothing can be repaid. When confession is given, there is a flood of help, council, and industry that is supplied by God’s sensitive world to heal all that is made known. Remember God has his own time. We think we can do things on our time. Yes, there is plenty of help and industry in this world for helping out those that repent of all that afflicts them through the sin of this world. But first we must ask that ever living, loving voice that has trying to speak to us for this short life, like a vapor as the scriptures tells it, to surrender every thing inside your mind and heart and body that you know and/or do not know, that is making you not ready to live that full life right now and forever in eternity. There is a blindness and super naturalness to this new life in Christ. It is real. Look in the scriptures. Look in your Bible resources and computer networks. Remember what Elijah had to do in 1st Kings, Without that confession we cannot see all that God through the Holy Spirit has for us now, and in the eternity to come. In the Scriptures, Lot’s wife did not for fill that truth. It proves the blindness we have live by. Remember Lot’s wife was not dumb. She was educated her husband and family to listen to others and to do the things requested of them. This proves God’s love will be provided to his creation to all their needs. Thank You Lord Jesus for your grace. Amen