Jennings, “Great Risk for the Kingdom”

Jennings, Mark Alan Charles.  2017. Great Risk for the Kingdom: Pentecostal-Charismatic Growth Churches, Pastorpreneurs, and Neoliberalism.  In, Multiculturalism and the Convergence of Faith and Practical Wisdom in Modern Society, Ana-Maria Pascal, ed.  Pp. 236-249.

Abstract: Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity (“PCC”) has successfully navigated the challenges modernity poses to religion, growing rapidly in the twentieth century. Toward the end of the twentieth century, however, neoliberalism began its ascent to its current hegemonic status. Neoliberalism reconfigures social institutions as marketized practices with a measurable ‘payoff’. PCC adapted to this challenge in the form of a “growth churches,” adopting many of the characteristics of neoliberalism. In adopting a homogenous model and method of ‘best practice’ in order to facilitate growth; offering a ‘prosperity’ theology that fits well with the development of human capital; and endorsing the universalization of risk through modelling “pastorpreneur” leadership, it is argued in this chapter that growth churches are a paradigmatic example of a late modern religious phenomenon accommodating neoliberalism in a largely uncritical manner. The chapter concludes with some observations that critique this association between neoliberalism and growth churches.

Davie-Kessler, “‘Discover Your Destiny’: Sensation, Time, and Bible Reading among Nigerian Pentecostals”

Davie-Kessler, Jesse. 2016.  “Discover Your Destiny”: Sensation, Time, and Bible Reading among Nigerian Pentecostals. Anthropologica 58(1):1-14.

 Abstract: Pentecostal Christians in southwest Nigeria claim to experience divine revelations of personal destiny by reading scripture. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, this article argues that members’ sensual reading practices are entangled with perceptions of time. Church members use bodily experience to construct a near future that they understand as continuous with the lived present. To examine the production of embodied religious temporality, I use a stage-based analysis of Pentecostal hermeneutic development. Church members gradually progress from “beginning” to “advanced” stages of Bible reading, generating new relationships to the self and to a Christian cosmology.

Marshall, “Destroying arguments and captivating thoughts”

Marshall, Ruth.  2016. Destroying arguments and captivating thoughts: Spiritual warfare prayer as global praxis. Journal of Religious and Political Practice.
Early online publication.

Abstract: This paper focuses on contemporary charismatic Christian practices of spiritual warfare and its techniques of warfare prayer. The paradigm of “global spiritual warfare” with its apocalyptic visions, violent language and its obsession with enemies, appears as a particularly polemical instance of Christian supersessionism and expansionism. Drawing on material from Nigeria and the United States, I briefly explore two related axes in order to bring to light the centrality of prayer conceived as a form of political praxis. First, the ways in which charismatic Christianity self-consciously and antagonistically constructs itself as a global force. In this global expansion, prayer as an embodied form of inspired speech is central both to the construction of militant subjects and the occupation of public space. Secondly, since the violence of spiritual warriors is mostly effected through their prayers and testimonies, we are led to question the place of an activist, pragmatist, or even performative model of truth for a political problematics of emancipation and democratization.

Gaiya, “Charismatic and Pentecostal Social Orientations”

Gaiya, Musa A. B. 2015. Charismatic and Pentecostal Social Orientations in Nigeria.  Nova Religio 18(3): 63-79.

Abstract: This article identifies two responses to social challenge by charismatic Pentecostal churches in Nigeria. I argue that churches taking a centripetal position are either socially passive or they collude with corrupt leaders and groups who undermine efforts toward political, social and human improvement; yet, in their engagement with society they offer spiritual solutions to myriad social and political problems. Conversely, churches taking a centrifugal approach try to confront political and social problems, but these churches are relatively few and located primarily in Lagos, although they are growing in influence. I conclude that charismatic Pentecostalism in Nigeria currently is shifting from strictly spiritual solutions to sociopolitical problems to an emphasis on meeting social needs in practical ways.

Burgess, “Pentecostalism and Democracy in Nigeria”

Burgess, Richard.  2015. Pentecostalism and Democracy in Nigeria: Electoral Politics, Prophetic Practices, and Cultural Reformation.  Nova Religio 18(3): 38-62.

Abstract: This article examines the political dimensions of Pentecostalism in Nigeria, beginning with the historical development of Pentecostal political engagement since independence in 1960. A common observation is that much of global Pentecostalism is apolitical, but an assessment of Nigerian Pentecostalism shows a diversity of political orientations in response to inter-religious competition, as well as changing socio-economic contexts and theological orientations. Herein, I focus on the “third democratic revolution” involving the struggle for sustainable democracy (the first two being the anti-colonial struggle that brought independence and the 1980s-1990s challenge to one-party and military rule). As well, I examine different political strategies employed by Nigerian Pentecostals and assess their impact on direct political behavior, civil society practices and political culture.

James, ed. “A Moving Faith: Megachurches Go South.”

James, Jonathan, ed. 2015. A Moving Faith: Megachurches Go South. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Publishers’s Description: A Moving Faith captures the dynamic shift of Christianity to the South and portrays a global movement that promises prosperity, healing, empowerment, and gender equality by invoking neo-Pentecostal and Charismatic resources. It postulates that neither North America nor Europe is the current center of the Christian faith.

The book provides a detailed overview of how migration of Christians from the South enriches the North, for instance, Pope Francis brings newness, freshness, and the vigor characteristic of the South. While describing Christianity’s growth in the South, it suggests that, in fact, there is no center for this global faith. It explores this great move of Christianity by focusing on representative mega churches in South Korea, Brazil, Peru, Ghana, Nigeria, Australia, India, and the Philippines.

Onuoha, “‘Exit’ and ‘Inclusion'”

Onuoha, Godwin. 2013. “Exit” and “Inclusion”: The Changing Paradigm of Pentecostal Expression in the Nigerian Public Sphere. In Topographies of Faith: Religion in Urban Spaces, Edited by Irene Becci, Marian Burchardt, and José Casanova, 207-226. Leiden: Brill.

Film, “Enlarging the Kingdom”

Butticci, Annalisa and Andrew Esiebo. 2013. Enlarging the Kingdom: African Pentecostals in Italy. 35 min.

Filmmaker’s Description: Enlarging the Kingdom explores the encounter, interactions, and conflicts between Catholicism and African Pentecostalism. By putting in conversation Nigerian and Ghanaian Pastors and Catholic Priests the documentary looks at their diverse understanding of evil forces, authorized and unauthorized forms of relating to the Divine, the making of idols and icons, religious leadership and authority, women access to the pulpit and religious politics of the Italian Nation State. Enlarging the Kingdom offers a unique insight into the challenges of African Pentecostals in Italy and the role of Pentecostal Churches for African immigrant communities.

Coleman and Maier, “Redeeming the city”

Coleman, Simon and Katrin Maier. 2013. Redeeming the city: creating and traversing ‘London-Lagos.’ Religion 43(3): 353-364.

Abstract: The authors focus on strategies and aesthetics of urban expansion in Lagos and London by members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. On the one hand, these two metropolises represent very different forms of urban governance and religious context. On the other, they are juxtaposed and conjoined in significant ways as believers seek to fulfill spiritual and economic aspirations. ‘London-Lagos’ becomes a stretched city space that is created but also traversed as members negotiate diasporic linkages in the remaking of their lives as both believers and urban citizens.

McCain, “Metamorphosis of Nigerian Pentecostalism”

McCain, Danny. 2013. The Metamorphosis of Nigerian Pentecostalism: From Signs and Wonders to Service and Influence in Society. In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.