Back to the future- I write about the Pentecostal movement in The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll, and how it ties back to the ancient Dionysian Mysteries in ways that its followers would never dare to admit. But it is by far the fastest-growing denomination in Christianity, and may be the fastest-growing religion in the world. It's spreading like wildfire all across the developing world.
But few people are familiar with it. Secular people hear that Pentecostalism is exploding all across the world and think it's just another kind of Evangelicalism. These videos are typical of Pentecostal services and will disabuse outsiders of any illusions as to what is going on in those nondescript buildings you see sprouting up in urban and industrial neighborhoods.
Evangelicalism as we've understood it is dying, only more slowly than the old liturgical churches. The mainline Protestant churches are dead, they just haven't been buried yet. The Catholic Church has been mortally wounded by its own transgressions, it's just that most people are too embarrassed to point out the gaping chest wound behind the vestments.
When your grandchildren hear the word Christian, it will be exactly what we see in these videos that they will picture, if indeed they picture anything at all. There is no doubt in my mind that the rise of Pentecostalism is forcing legions of moderate Evangelicals away from Protestantism, maybe even away from religion itself. As exhilarating as it may be for its followers, it's anathema to more besides, especially those in the educated classes.
Most importantly when you read conspiracy literature, and stories about "spiritual warfare" with demonic cabals, be very aware that this is the precise environment from which it all is springing. These are the faces behind those stories. This is what they believe and this is how they practice their faith. I'm not going to editorialize here, I just want the facts to be known.
You can't separate the apocalyptic worldview of religious conspiracy theory from the culture from which it has sprung. They know that they are the future of Christianity, and they are the future of Christianity as a globalizing force. Again, no editorializing here. Just the facts.
But no one will be able to say they can't rock and roll.