Academic Programs 

Global Pentecostalism (RS-681) NEW
Fall 2009

Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century a diverse expressivist Protestant religious movement labeled as Pentecostalism has revolutionized Christian religion around the world. This movement has altered mission efforts, reshaped indigenous worship practices, reformed religious organizations and in some cases even transformed governments and the directions of nations. This course will look at the origins of this movement and then trace its effects across the continents and influences in different layers of society. It will also examine how these changes are felt in local congregations of many different non-Pentecostal traditions.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., beginning Sept. 10

Scott Thumma
Professor of Sociology of Religion

Contact Information:

(860) 509-9571


Course Syllabus

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, the student will have:

  1. A greater understanding of the broad reaching impact of the Pentecostal movement, in the United States and as a worldwide phenomenon.
  2. An appreciation for the movement’s incredible appeal globally, including its impact on the wider religious community.
  3. Engaged the Pentecostal experience through video, church visits and dialogue with practitioners. The latter will especially help the student study how leadership is carried out in this movement.
  4. Discussed the social implications of Pentecostalism, especially its multi-cultural appeal and its lessons for other religious traditions in the U.S. and globally as it interacts with other world religions.

Course Requirements

  1. Attendance & participation - Required for all classes (no absences without a reduction of half a letter grade) given the seminar style in which the class will be conducted.
  2. Reading

    Required Books:
    Cox, Harvey. 1995. Fire from Heaven. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
    Miller & Yamamori, 2007. Global Pentecostalism: The face of Christian Social Engagement Univ. Of CA. Press
    Anderson, Allan 2004 An Introduction to Pentecostalism. Univ. of Cambridge.
    Martin, David 2002 Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish. Blackwell Publishers.

    Recommended Books:
    Martin, David Tongues of Fire 1990
    Dempster, Klaus & Petersen. 1999. The Globalization of Pentecostalism: A religion made to travel. Regnum Books.

    Required Articles:
    Four articles/chapters negotiated with the professor from the list below and online collection.
  3. Writing & Speaking
    • 1 in-class report on one of the four shorter articles you read with two 1-2 page summaries (with copies for all classmembers).
    • Visit & verbally report on a Pentecostal or charismatic church.
    • Final 15 page paper on some aspect of Pentecostalism’s sociological dynamic. Discussion with the professor on selection of this topic is essential. Due January 22, 2010

Course Schedule

Thursday 2:30-4:30 plus additional consultation, discussion and email interaction with professor and other students.

Sept 17th - Introduction to Course & Study of Pentecostalism

October 1st – Harvey Cox, Fire from Heaven. 350 pages.

October 29th – Allen Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism. 297 pages.

November 12th – Don Miller & Tetsunao Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The face of Christian Social Engagement. 250 pages plus DVD contents.

November – before Dec 3rd – visit Pentecostal/charismatic worship service and talk with a leader of the congregation. See observation and interview guide and review Hartford Seminary research policy.

December 3rd - David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish 190 pages.

December 10th – Four articles or chapters of your choosing, in consultation with the professor. Present on one of the articles, 1-2 page summary of two of the articles (see guideline handout) and discussion of your field work.

December 17th – Conclusion to the course – Further discussion of your field work, and exploration of the social and religious implications of Pentecostal movement globally. What might the future hold?

Possible readings resources (others coming):
Origins, History & Themes of Holy Spirit Movements

Synan, Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the U.S., 13-54;
David Daniels in Globalization of Pentecostalism, 222-252;
Russell Spittler in Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism, 3-19.

The Egalitarian Impulse in Pentecostalism: The “Leveling” Effect

Eldin Villafañe, The Liberating Spirit, 84-110;
Janet Everts Powers in Globalization, 313-337.

The Evangelistic Impulse: Missions & the Apocalyptic

Steven Land, Pentecostal Spirituality, 58-181
Donald Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, 115-171.

The Experiential Impulse: Practice over Doctrine

Steven Land, Pentecostal Spirituality, 15-57;
Jackie David Johns in Globalization, 70-84.

Pentecostal Paradox – Form & Spirit: Denomination vs. Movement

Smidt,, in Pentecostal Currents, 111-130;
Robert Anderson, Vision of the Disinherited, 137-194.

White Pentecostalism (Assemblies of God; Church of God; Foursquare Church)

Poloma, “A/G at the Crossroads;”
Thumma & Poloma, “The A/G Now.”

Black Pentecostalism (The Church of God in Christ)

Mel Williams, Community in a Black Pentecostal Church, 3-27; 82-108.

U.S. Hispanic/Latino Pentecostalism

Villafañe, Liberating Spirit, 41-119;
Samuel Solivan, The Spirit, Pathos and Liberation, 15-46.

Diffusing the Spirit: The Charismatic Movement & the Third Wave

Quebedeaux, The New Charismatics II, 1-82.
McGuire, Pentecostal Catholics, 1-48;
Miller, Reinventing American Protestantism, 80-107;

Pentecostalism Worldwide

Africa – Japie LaPoorta in Globalization, 151-169;
Latin America – Martin, Tongues of Fire, 49-112, 113-134;
Edward Cleary in Globalization, 131-150;
Any article in Power, Politics and Pentecostalism in Latin America;

Pentecostalism Worldwide

Asia – Martin, Tongues of Fire, 135-162;
Martin, Pentecostalism, 153-166;
Jungja Ma, Globalization, 183-202.
Europe/US – Jean Daniel Pluss, Globalization, 170-182.

Karla Poewe On the Metonymic Structure of Religious Experiences: The Example of Charismatic Christianity

Margaret Poloma The Spirit Bade Me Go: Pentecostalism and Global Religion

David A. Smilde "Letting God govern": supernatural agency in the Venezuelan Pentecostal approach to social change From Sociology of Religion, September 5, 2000

Pentecostal-Charismatic Theology Inquiry International A web site dedicated to the subject of Pentecostalism with an excellent collection of online publications and articles.

Hispanic Pentecostals: Azusa Street and Beyond

An article by Carmelo Alvarez in the Cyberjournal for Pentecostal-Charismatic research.

Margaret Poloma
Mysticism and Identity Formation in Social Context: The Case of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement

Reviving Pentecostalism at the Millenium: The Harvest Rock Story

"The Pentecostal Movement"
A Chapter in "Christian Millenarianism: Themes and Perspectives" edited by Stephen Hunt

The Spirit and The Bride: The "Toronto Blessing" and Church Structure
Manuscript prepared for the Evangelical Studies Bulletin (July, 1996).

Gamaliel's Admonition and the Toronto Blessing: A Theo-Sociological Report
Article prepared for Rev. Dr. David Hilborn’s edited collection on the "Toronto Blessing."

ONLINE Pentecostal Journals A large collection of online articles on Pentecostalism exists at the web sites for the:

Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies.

Cyberjournal for Charismatic-Pentecostal Research

Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies


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