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Nov 06, 2006

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SelahV

Peter: Knew I was born again to be a Pentecostal. Only thing I'm really surprised about is that they are more prone to vote Democratic. Doesn't that go against a pro-life position since the Democratic Party is the party of choice? Wonder...do these two researchers explain this? selahV

Keith Schooley

Thank you, Peter, for a generous assessment of the Pentecostal movement. It's rare to see a member of one branch of the church give a positive assessment of another. (I know you're just sharing what you found in the book, but many people would simply have sat on such information.)

While I might like to crow and preen on the positive statistics regarding my own branch of the Christian tree, I think it's only fair to note that the relative youth of our movement may have significant influence on the stats. We largely escaped the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversies of the early 20th century that embroiled most of the established denominations at that time; probably for that reason, we don't have much of a "liberal wing" to speak of. Plus, there are a lot of people who will self-identify as Baptists or Presbyterians or Methodists, etc., largely because their families have identified themselves that way from generations back. Even ethnicity plays a part. Pentecostals are only recently beginning to slip into the "generational-identification" game; most Pentecostals self-identify that way because they have made a conscious choice to do so. So these differences, related to the youth of our movement, may have something to say regarding the stats.

The one thing that genuinely surprised me was the stat that Pentecostals vote largely Democratic. I feel a bit sheepish in saying so, but this may reflect a larger-than-typical proportion of African-Americans in the Pentecostal movement.

One thing that y'all may consider: the rap on Pentecostals is usually that we're mainly experience-oriented, as opposed to Bible-oriented. But the ancestors of the Pentecostals were committed to discovering something more than their Christian experience was currently giving them. (It wasn't tongues, in the beginning, that they were looking for.) They came to the conclusion, based on their reading of the book of Acts, that the Bible was right and their present experience was deficient, and so they sought to correct their experience in light of what they considered to be Biblical truth, and they felt that eventually they received what they had been looking for.

I know the arguments against the Pentecostal interpretation of Scripture, and I'm not, at present, trying to make the case that we're right about that. I'm only trying to argue that rightly or wrongly, we really are trying to follow what we believe Scripture to be saying; we're not trying first to get hyped up on an experience and then look to scripture for support as an afterthought. We might be wrong, but the attempt is seriously to be Biblical.

peter

SelahV,

Interestingly, no explanation is offered as to the reason for the surprise likeliness that Pentecostals tend to vote Democratic. They simply say: "However, the biggest surprise in this analysis is how the Pentecostals vote. One would expect that, since they are the 'super-Conservative' Christians, they would be more likely to vote for Republican candidates than Democratic in the Presidential elections." They qualify it by saying the numbers are only "slightly significant" (p.171).

Keith,

Thank you for your very helpful self-portrayal of the Pentecostal movement. One thing the authors may have addressed that you raised pertains to African-Americans.

Throughout the book, there are four categories within Christianity the authors compared, focusing mainly on Conservative Protestants. The other three were Mainline Prostestant, Catholic and Afro-American Prostestants. Thus, I'm not sure precisely how they parsed African-American believers overall out of Pentecostal Prostestantism or even if they did.

They do make a statement at the end of the chapter about Pentecostals voting similarly to African-American Protestants (that is, more Democratic), perhaps, not only implying they parsed them out--at least denominationally, but also lending credibility to their reservations about joining too closely Conservative theology with Conservative politics. In their view, that's not a wedding made in Heaven.

Grace to you SelahV and, Peace to my Brother Keith. With that, I am...

Peter

volfan07

this is not said in a derogatory way. i have a lot of family that are church of God....anderson, ind. type. so, when i say what i do...i say it out of love and respect.

maybe pentecostals read more, pray more, etc. because they do so to not lose thier salvation. they live scared of losing it. my great grandma was a dear saint of God who loved the Lord with all her heart. yet, she always lived in fear of losing her salvation in a weak moment. she lived to be 96 yrs old. she saw the light about assurance of salvation and being preserved by the Lord the last two years of her life. i thank God that she died with full assurance.

pentecostals voting democrat....the south was long time yellow dog democrats....with the poorest people always voting democrat. pentecostals tend to be poor people. they seem to think that republicans are for rich folk. thus, they tend to vote democrat....tradition and teaching from the past. some are starting to come around and realize that the democratic party is very much not in line with what a society ought to be. but, there are still many yellow dog democrats amongst them.

well, i am off to the polls to vote.


from the hills of tn,

volfan007

SelahV

Peter: It all goes back to individuality. No matter what denomination one is part of. Not all Pentecostals are fully conservative, neither are all SBC'rs or Calvinists.
Conservative, liberal, moderate...are labels given to folks when one's conservative bend leans further right than another's moderate bend. I can't for the life of me figure out who is what. Been trying to do that since the late 70's and 80's. It changes with every sentence one speaks and every topic one broaches. I've had close friends in almost every faith (but several in the pentacostal faith). None of us can seem to fall in line with our papal institutionalized voice. I think that particularly true of SBC and the autonomous voice of a church. Even said autonomous church differs in its voice. So, for me, I just vote values...as I see the Lord telling me to vote. And I try to live values in the same way. The greatest force in my thought program is not to judge. It keeps me from getting all worked up over differences in faith. Now, politics...it's usually the lesser of two evils. selahV

Bob

VolFan,

Just to clarify, the Church of God, Anderson, IN is NOT pentecostal. They split with the CoG, Cleveland, TN over the issue of pentecost. I went to Anderson University as an AoG pentecostal and trust me, I was a curiosity to them. That being said, the CoG, Anderson has a very strong Wesleyan Holiness tradition, which can sometimes encourage that kind of "lose your salvation" paranoia. However, that is not the explicit doctrine of the CoG or most pentecostals.

Most pentecostals don't believe you can "lose" your salvation, but you can reject the salvation that you once accepted. Assurance isn't the topic of Peter's post so I won't go further with this, but the constant fear of "losing your salvation" is another stereotype of pentecostals that isn't very accurate, in my experience.

volfan007

bob,

maybe i should have written more clearly. i know that the coG of anderson is not as pentecostal as the coG of cleveland, or like that assembly of God, or like the pentecostals. but, they are arminian, and they are of that line....ie. coming out of the coG of cleveland. my great grandmother also went to pentecostal churches as well as old time methodist churches at times. so, i know the difference. but, i also know that you can call it what you want, but i know people who are pentecostals and assembly's and coG's of all sorts and other pentecostal type groups....they believe that you can lose it.

now, yall might think there's a huge difference in losing it and rejecting it where you go to church, but it's still being lost again. right?

maybe your people in the pews dont understand it the way you are trying to explain it here?

anyway, thats just my humble opinion.

from the hills of tn,

volfan007

ps. love...love....love...love... love...love ...peace...love... peace....this is for those who think that i might be being mean.

peter

Dear Bob,

Welcome! I am glad you stopped by, my Brother. And thank you for making the distinction clear between Anderson and Cleveland. We Baptists are chocked full of subtle distinctions as I know you are aware.

My understanding of many Arminians, Bob, employing your distinction between "losing" salvation on the one hand and "rejecting" salvation on the other is similar to Baptist theologian Dale Moody's understanding of "apostasy" (rejecting).

And in Moody's view, based upon the warnings passages in Hebrews and other places, once salvation is rejected--apostasy occurs--there is no turning back. The salvation bell, so to speak, cannot be unrung. Lost forever.

Is that the view of most Pentecostals in your experience?

Have a great day, my Brother. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Volfan,

No one, of course, Brother Volfan, thinks you mean--a little hilly--but not mean :) (of course, if I wrote like I talked, Volfan, folks would swear I ate possum belly for lunch. Thus I am quite "hilly" myself).

Some Arminians do not believe in a saved-lost-saved-lost pattern you seem to assume, Volfan. Some believe (compare my comment to Bob about Moody)that apostasy is possible--and, if it happens--there is no going back.

Personally, I adhere to what Baptists have called "eternal security". However, even so, I believe a distinction exists between salvation as a reality and assurance of it.

Have a great afternoon, Volfan. With that, I am...

Peter

Bob

VolFan,

No offense taken here. There's almost always a disconnect between what is taught in seminaries and what is understood in the pews. Yes, the end result is "losing" your salvation, but I tend to avoid the term since it gives the impression that you can lose your salvation in the same way you might lose your car keys. I wholeheartedly reject that idea.

Peter,

Unfortunately, sometimes the terminology gets in the way. You hear the term "backsliding" a lot in pentecostal circles. Some equate "backsliding" to apostasy. I don't. I believe a believer can "backslide" into carnal behavior without immediately being apostate. Carnal behavior can lead to a "seared conscience" and eventually to apostasy, but individual sins do not put salvation at risk.

The idea that the apostate are in a hopeless state is not universal among pentecostals. Personally I tend to agree with Moody's position on that based on the warning passages of Hebrews and 2 Peter, etc., but there are those who would disagree.

Lynn

Thanks for posting this article. It was very informative. It's nice to know that I'm not the only Pentecostal that votes democrat! Even if it was barely statistically significant, it is interesting to note that it is split nearly 50/50.

Peter Kwiatkowski

The elections are fixed. God Himself sees to it that Satan puts the "right" person on the "throne." When the antichrist arises it will be easy to look back and see that he never would have arisen without the policies of George Washington, George Bush and others --it must be this way

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