How Pentecostalism is gradually changing the dynamics of American politicsf-Stemberger-RisingTide-


A phenomenon is emerging in politics today, one off the radar of most political observers. This movement hasn’t come crashing on the scene all at once, but instead has been steadily forming like a tsunami, untraced by most and even ignored by those aware of its potential yet who dismiss it out of personal bias. As this wave surges, its rising water line can lift political candidates to new heights of influence almost overnight. 

The tsunami I speak of is the new wave of proactive involvement among Pentecostal/charismatic Christians in the American political system, and it is becoming an increasingly powerful force with enough potential to change a nation. Donald Miller, professor of religion at the University of Southern California, has said that “Pentecostalism is reshaping the face of Christianity.” I would argue it is also reshaping the face of American politics and represents a significant part of a larger movement to return America to its Judeo-Christian values.

According to the World Christian Database, there are almost 80 million “renewalists” in the U.S., which would include Pentecostals, charismatics and neo-charismatics (often referred to as the “Third Wavers”). Yet to understand just how influential the Pentecostal political movement is becoming, we must first understand how far charismatics (a term that, for the sake of brevity, I’m using interchangeably with Pentecostals) have come regarding politics.