Pentecostalism isn't the problem, per se (a recommendation)

Levison, Fresh Air

Levison, Fresh Air

Carly Gelsinger's article "Pentecostalism and Spiritual Abuse" has caused a bit of a stir among several of my friends on Facebook, many who are Pentecostals or former Pentecostals. On the one hand, there are some who find little value in Pentecostalism after their negative experiences. On the other hand, there are some who gloss over the abuses of Pentecostalism with the emphasis that not all Pentecostal Churches are prone to the abuse experienced by many. I want to acknowledge both perspectives. While I myself am no longer Pentecostal (see my various writings on this subject: Transitioning away from Pentecostalism), and though after a decade away from Pentecostalism I continue to detox from abuses related to forced-charismata, the oppressive doctrine of "initial evidence", and (in North America, at least) the odd marriage between Pentecostalism and the Religious Right/Moral Majority, amongst other things, I can't deny that many elements of Pentecostalism continue to influence me, especially ideas related to pursuit of the Spirit, the freedom of expression in worship, and how Pentecostalism is often "the people's Christianity". 

Cox, Fire from Heaven

Cox, Fire from Heaven

There are two books that I frequently recommend to others that I have read that have allowed me to reconcile my departure from Pentecostalism with the elements that I still find to be good and beneficial to all Christians: (1) Jack Levison's Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Lifewhich is more of a Wesleyan take on the subject that is deeply informed by scholarship on the subject of ancient pneumatology, yet readable and extremely relevant for modern people seeking to experience the Holy Spirit in ways that aren't connected to some of the overzealous missteps of traditional Pentecostalism. (2) Harvey Cox's Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century, because Cox's thesis, though imperfect, reminded me that Pentecostalism has often welcomed and given dignity to the marginalized, which is why I said it can be "the people's Christianity" as it is in many parts of the world where it continues to expand as a furious rate. I recommend these easy (and on Kindle quite cheap) books for anyone trying to find their way post-Pentecostalism, but also for active Pentecostals who notice the need for various reforms in their own ranks.