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Originally posted at PCPJ.
I used to think that Pentecostalism started with the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles 1906, preceded by events at Charles Fox Parham’s Bethel Bible College in Kansas 1901. From the US, Pentecostalism then spread rapidly across the world, impacting Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America so that it became the global phenomenon we know of today.
I know realize that I was severely wrong.
To be fair, the Azusa revival had a tremendous impact and is surely among the roots of Pentecostalism. But it’s not the only one. In fact, it is not the earliest. Frank Bartleman, one of American Pentecostalism’s most important pioneers (and a pacifist), acknowledged that “The present world-wide revival was rocked in the cradle of little Wales. It was ‘brought up in India, following; becoming full-grown in Los Angeles later.” While the Welsh revival was quite different than what Pentecostalism became known for, the Indian revival wasn’t. (more…)
For too long, the wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been destroying millions of lives. It is the deadliest conflict since World War Two, fuelled by conflict minerals used in our electronics and cars. Rape is a weapon of war; eastern Congo is one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a woman.
In the midst of this chaos, darkness and death, a bright light is shining. That light will now receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Denis Mukwege is the son of a Pentecostal pastor who has a strong and robust faith in Jesus. The Swedish Pentecostal Mission funded his medical studies and, together with organizations, helped him build and run the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital of the conflict-ridden South Kivu province. Over 50,000 survivors of sexual violence have been treated at the hospital during the last 20 years. (more…)
One of my favourite Pentecostal saints of all times is Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922), Indian activist, evangelist and holy roller. Over a hundred years before Malala she campaigned for women’s right to education, and she was extremely active in helping the poor and discriminated. Born in a Brahmite family in what is now the state of Karnataka, she started to study in an early age and learned Sanskrit along with sacred Hinduist texts, astronomy, physiology and more. This was controversial since she lacked a penis, but her father encouraged her as she learned more and more about society, religion and activism.
In 1883 she went to England and taught Sanskrit at an Anglican monastery in Wantage. There she was saved. “I realized,” she later wrote, “after reading the fourth chapter of St. John’s Gospel, that Christ was truly the Divine Saviour he claimed to be, and no one but He could transform and uplift the downtrodden women of India.”
As she returned to her home country, she bought a piece of land outside Pune and started a Christian social community for young widows called Mukti, Sanskrit for Liberation. She also helped people who were orphaned, disabled or homeless, and when a famine hit India in 1896, Ramabai rescued over a thousand people and brought many if them to the Mukti mission.
I am grateful and encouraged when I see the massive activism for women’s rights and an end to violence that is going on in India right now as a response to the horrible rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi. Having relatives from India and several Indian friends, I feel solidarity with the people and share their distress and there demand for change. However, as a follower of the non-violent Christ who taught us to love our enemies and forgive our transgressors, I feel pain when I see the demands for vengeance, punishment and execution that are frequent in the protests.
When Jesus hang upon the cross, He prayed “Father, forgive them” (Luke 22:34). This does not defend the sins of the murderers, but it brings them love and healing instead of hate and destruction. Something is severely broken in them that Jesus came to restore. He didn’t go to the holy and healthy but to the sinful and sick (Matthew 9:12). And when His Holy Spirit performs miracles among us, even the worst sinner can be completely transformed.
Christopher Alam is an international revivalist born in Pakistan who preach the gospel at big campaigns in Africa and Asia, where he has seen astonishing miracles. He shares in his great book All Things Are Possible how the Holy Spirit changed the heart of a murderer in the late 1980’s, at a campaign meeting in the Indian state of Odisha. Christopher was praying for the sick and the blind saw, the deaf heard and the lame walked – just like in the video above. The people that were gathered were shouting and praising the Lord for the amazing miracles He did.