Nigerian Pentecostalism: Book Review

Wariboko, Nimi.  2014.  Nigerian Pentecostalism. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

By: Jörg Haustein (SOAS, University of London)

Wariboko’s book is an important contribution to the by now substantial array of studies on Nigerian Pentecostalism, and yet it is one of a kind. Instead of providing another historical, political, or socio-economic analysis of the “Pentecostal explosion” in Africa’s most populous country, Wariboko seeks to unlock its secrets from within, by producing a philosophical analysis of Nigerian Pentecostal spirituality and theology. His closest conversation partner is Ruth Marshall, whose influence is acknowledged at the outset and implicitly or explicitly engaged throughout the book.

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Haustein, et al. “Roundtable – Pentecostalism and Development Practice”

Haustein, Jörg, Carole Rakodi, Daniel Akhazemea, Mike Battcock, Rick James, Claudia Währisch-Oblau. Roundtable – Pentecostalism and Development Practice.  PentecoStudies 14(2): 241-260.

Abstract: This article revisits central questions arising from Pentecostal actors’ development practices. These were raised during the final panel discussion of the 2014 GloPent conference on “Pentecostalism and Development”. The four panel participants, all development actors from various organisational and religious backgrounds, considered whether Pentecostal approaches to development work are distinctive, as well as identifying various benefits that can be gained from the engagement of Pentecostal churches in development and some challenges that arise during collaboration between development actors and Pentecostal churches. The discussion was conducted through two rounds of statements by the panel participants, complemented by editorial comments and reflections. It concludes that neither the Pentecostal approach to development nor Pentecostal churches’ links with development actors are necessarily distinctive. However, more exchanges are needed between Pentecostal organisations and their members, development practitioners working with Pentecostal churches and scholars of the Pentecostal movement to improve development work among Pentecostals, links between Pentecostals and other development actors and scholarly awareness of the most salient issues.

Haustein, “Embodying the Spirit(s)”

Haustein, Jorg. 2011. Embodying the Spirit(s): Pentecostal Demonology and Deliverance Discourse in Ethiopia. Ethnos 76(4): 534-552.

Abstract: The article explores Pentecostal embodiment practices and concepts with regard to Holy Spirit baptism and demon possession. The studied material is connected to a specific and highly controversial debate in Ethiopian Pentecostalism, which revolves around the possibility of demon possession in born-again and Spirit-filled Christians. This debate runs through much of Ethiopian Pentecostal history and ultimately is concerned with whether or how Christians can be seen to host conflicting spiritual forces, in light of the strong dualism between God and evil in Pentecostal cosmology. The article shows that the embodiment of spirits and/or the Holy Spirit is related to theological concepts of the self, because these concepts define what may or may not be discerned in certain bodily manifestations. Moreover, the article contends that this debate thrives on a certain ambiguity in spirit embodiment, which invites the discernment of spiritual experts and thereby becomes a resource of power.