Although charismatics are the biggest buyers of Christian books, Pentecostal and charismatic works remain underrepresented in the theological offerings of evangelical publishers.
In Books & Culture (May/June), Arlene Sanchez-Walsh writes that a combination of remaining anti-intellectualism among Pentecostals and a rationalistic bias among evangelical gatekeepers has excluded the publication of scholarly work from Christians of this tradition. In interviewing charismatic and Pentecostal scholars, Sanchez Walsh writes that most “agree that evangelical presses do not seem interested in having Pentecostals write for their academic divisions because they view Pentecostal theology as inferior.”
Although Pentecostals and charismatics are branching out to write scholarly works on a host of theological issues, particularly evident in the flourishing Society of Pentecostal Studies, evangelical presses and journals are “content with funneling those authors into categories that presumably only Pentecostals can write about. Baker Books, for instance, has a division called Chosen Books, where popular charismatic authors can ply their trade on topics such as revival, prophecy, spiritual warfare, and other assorted experientially based subjects.
It is not unlike the ghettoization of ethnic minorities in the evangelical press.” Sanchez Walsh adds that evangelical publishers are using their academic book divisions to “dilenate what is and is not orthodox.” But she concludes that the rapid growth of Pentecostalism will likely challenge evangelicals to make more room for works explaining and exploring this phenomenon.
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