The Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California is funding research in 23 countries on charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. Grants totaling $3.5 million are being awarded to five centers and another 16 scholar teams to conduct research in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet Union.
“Global Pentecostalism is one of the most dynamic and potentially transformative religious movements in the 21st century,” says Kimon Sargeant, vice president of human sciences at the John Templeton Foundation, which is supplying the grant for the research. “Researchers selected have a unique opportunity to help scholars and the broader public understand how this Movement — inspired by powerful worship and religious experience — is changing the cultural, social and religious landscape around the world.”
Philip Jenkins, professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University, welcomes the news.
“For years now, observers have recognized the enormous significance of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity worldwide, but the topic has never received the attention it deserves in the academy as a whole, and especially in teaching,” Jenkins says.
Grants from this research initiative will support research centers in Nigeria, Russia, Indonesia, El Salvador and Brazil. In addition to documenting the growth of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity, a number of projects are focused on investigating its impact on civil society and politics.
“Some of the most creative faith-based programs in the world are being developed by fast-growing Pentecostal and charismatic congregations,” says Donald E. Miller, executive director of USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture.
(Source: Assemblies of God News)