▪ Abstract 

Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity (P/c), the form of Christianity in which believers receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, is rapidly spreading and can be counted as one of the great success stories of the current era of cultural globalization. Literature on P/c presents a paradoxical picture of the cultural dynamics accompanying its spread. Many scholars argue that P/c is markedly successful in replicating itself in canonical form everywhere it spreads, whereas others stress its ability to adapt itself to the cultures into which it is introduced. Authors thus use P/c to support both theories that construe globalization as a process of Westernizing homogenization and those that understand it as a process of indigenizing differentiation. This review argues that approaches to P/c globalization need to recognize that P/c posesses cultural features that allow it, in most cases, to work in both ways at once. After considering definitional and historical issues and explanations for P/c's spread, the review examines how P/c culture at once preserves its distinctness from the cultures into which it comes into contact and engages those cultures on their own terms. Also discussed are the conceptions that allow P/c to establish locally run and supported institutions in a wide range of settings. A final section considers the nature of the culture P/c, in its homogenizing guise, introduces, examining that culture's relation to modernity and its effects on converts' ideas about gender, politics, and economics.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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