Jun 7, 2022 • 55M

Theory of Change #039: Elle Hardy on how Pentecostalism is displacing other forms of Christianity

How Pentecostal Christianity is taking over the world of religion, and why it matters


Appears in this episode

Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? History is filled with stories of people and institutions that spent big and devoted many resources to effect change but have little to show for it. By contrast, many societal developments have happened without forethought from anyone. And of course, change can be negative as well as positive. In each episode of this weekly program, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield delves deep with guests to discuss larger trends in politics, religion, media, and technology.
Episode details
[Article Image]
Former Director of the Domestic Policy Council Brooke Rollins, Pentecostal pastor and former Donald Trump adviser Paula White Cain, former Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and Erin Elmore speaking with attendees at the 2021 Young Women’s Leadership Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. June 11, 2021. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Episode Summary

We’ve talked a lot on Theory of Change about the political manifestations of fundamentalist Christian viewpoints in American politics, but the religious origins of these ideas are also important to understand. And right now there is no bigger force within American Christian fundamentalism than Pentecostalism, a movement of unaffiliated churches that together represent the fastest growing Christian sect in the world.

But Pentecostalism is a broad movement with no centralized authorities handing down doctrines and many church organizations with history of labeling themselves as Pentecostalism now are refusing to do so. To the extent that many people know anything about Pentecostalism , it’s through ministers who are famous for scandals or for their feel-good music.

Joining the program to talk in much greater depth about Pentecostalism, its origins, and its rapid growth is Elle Hardy. She’s a freelance journalist whose book Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity is Taking Over the World has just been published here in the United States.

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