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Global Awakening

Shaw points to the role of justice in global revivals through a case study of Brazil (chapter 7). Far from an “American export,” Brazilian Pentecostalism emerged from locally-led indigenous movements who translated Christian values through acts of mercy, changing their world in key ways. The Ghanaian revivals of the 80s and 90s illustrate the role of eschatological vision (chapter 8). Mensa Otabil’s positive theology of the cosmic lordship of Christ and the cross-cultural currents of neo-Pentecostalism enabled Ghana to break free from Western dependency. Lastly, the Chinese house church movement is included as an example of the role of conflict resolution (chapter 9). By appealing to the intellectual and spiritual attraction of cultural elites to Western Christianity, house churches are increasing their political space and improving prospects for future growth.

Revivals result from the dialectical tension between global forces and local contexts. After facing the economic and cultural currents of Western globalization, indigenous movements are now translating and transforming these forces into their own worldviews and systems. Global revivals are not progressive, explains Shaw, but result from the interplay of a series of advances and declines. Secular forces use renewed structures to achieve worldly aims (decline), and kingdom forces redirect worldly goals in the advancement of one ultimate aim—the dissolution of power monopolies. Revivals disrupt current systems through the pluralization of power creating “communities of counter power and religious choice” (p 212). Global revivals do not indicate a return to theocracy, nor is their legacy Christendom, Shaw concludes, but the expansion of religious freedom through pluralism.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2013

About the Author: Paul J. Palma, PhD, is Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry at Regent University. Paul’s research centers on global Pentecostal-charismatic movements. His work has been published in a number of national and international journals. His book, Italian American Pentecostalism and the Struggle for Religious Identity has recently been published with the Routledge Studies in Religion series. LinkedIn page. Facebook.

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