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Watchman on the Wall, from Jennifer LeClaire
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Friday, October 25, 2013
Secularism Sucking the Pneuma Out of Spirit-Filled Christianity
worship Fewer Pentecostals are speaking tongues. Fewer Baptists are getting baptized. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. But what are we to make of the decline of baptisms in water and in the Spirit? I'll get to that in a minute.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a column entitled, "Are We Pentecostals Losing Our Religion by Holding Our Tongue-Talking?." In it I referenced an AP report about a small Assemblies of God congregation that looks just like every other Pentecostal church service-except nobody is speaking in tongues.

What I didn't include are the stats from the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world with 66 million members. At the General Council meeting in August, the AG talked about the decline baptisms in the Spirit.

According to the denomination's statistics, tongue talking decreased by about 3 percent to less than 82,000. That's the lowest rate since 1995. How is that even possible, given that Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing sectors of Christianity? The Pew Research Center reports that at least 25% of the 2 billion Christians in the world are connected to the Pentecostal or charismatic movements.

"This is a long-developing phenomenon," Harvey Cox, an expert in Pentecostalism and professor of religion at the Harvard Divinity School, told the Associated Press. "They don't want what appears to be objectionable to stick out or be viewed with suspicion."

And it's not just the  Pentecostals  that are straying from the defining characteristics of their faith. The Baptists are also reporting a decline in Baptisms. Indeed, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) reports  water baptisms  read more
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