Oro, “South American Evangelicals’ Re-Conquest of Europe”

Oro, Ari Pedro. 2014. South American Evangelicals’ Re-Conquest of Europe. Journal of Contemporary Religion 29(2): 219-232.

AbstractThis article focuses on networks of South-American preachers, led by charismatic characters such as the Argentinean pastor Carlos Annacondia, who export themselves not only to countries within the Americas but also to Europe. The prevailing justification among Latin-American Evangelicals for undertaking this ‘reverse mission’ (Freston) is in the view that especially the ‘old’ Roman Catholic Europe is spiritually ‘cooled down’ and that the time is ripe for re-evangelizing it. This study analyzes the way in which network-based charismatic entrepreneurship has encouraged transnational imaginaries of re-conquering Europe spiritually, more specifically in terms of the meanings the members of these networks attribute to the ‘spiritual re-conquest’. I conclude by suggesting that, similar to flows from other regions in the global South, such as Africa, the much vaunted ‘reverse mission’ to Europe is vested with meanings that transcend the spiritual re-conquest as such. In the case of Latin America, this article argues, the chief motivation is symbolic: to strengthen the status of local churches and their leaders against the backdrop of a highly competitive religious market on the Latin-American sub-continent.

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