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Changes in Clergy Belief and Practice in Canada’s Largest Pentecostal Denomination

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In 1985/86, Carl Verge conducted a survey of clergy belief and practice within The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC). In 2014, Adam Stewart and Andrew Gabriel conducted a follow-up survey of PAOC clergy to determine if any changes to belief and practice had occurred within this group during the last three decades. In this article we, first, describe the methodologies used in both surveys, second, compare and discuss the relationship between graduate education in religion and clergy belief and practice in 1985/86 and 2014, and, third, describe the overall decrease that has occurred in clergy commitment to traditional Pentecostal belief and practice since 1985/86. Finally, we conclude by proposing a theoretical framework developed by the sociologist of religion Peter Berger that helps to explain the change in commitment to traditional modes of pentecostal belief and practice among PAOC clergy as part of much broader realignments occurring across numerous religious traditions in late modern society.

Affiliations: 1: Crandall University ; 2: Horizon College and Seminary ; 3: Environics Research Group


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