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Spirit and PowerThe Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism$
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Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199920570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199920570.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Pentecostalism and Democracy

Pentecostalism and Democracy

Is There a Relationship?

(p.119) 6 Pentecostalism and Democracy
Spirit and Power

Robert D. Woodberry

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the possible association between Pentecostalism and democracy. Although recent research suggests that the global spread of Pentecostalism has a moderate positive impact on the spread and stability of democracy, this relationship is not without problems. For example, a number of Pentecostal political leaders have been involved in vote selling and corruption, and initial Pentecostal forays into politics are often clamorous, as is often the case with movements that traditionally have been excluded from power. However, Pentecostalism has expanded civil society among groups and in areas where civil society has historically been weak. It seems to limit corruption at a non-elite level, leads to moderate economic and educational improvements among non-elites, and has expanded both religious liberty and the rights of organizations outside of state control. Moreover, the threat of Pentecostal conversion has forced other religious groups—such as the Catholic Church—to focus more intentionally on helping the poor and ethnic minorities. Thus while the spread of Pentecostalism may not be a panacea for democracy, it is unlikely to hamper the process and is more likely to make moderate positive contributions of its own to the development of democratic processes.

Keywords:   Pentecostalism (and): democracy, corruption, social impact, reformers

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