Cezula, “Reading the Bible in an African Context”

Cezula, Ntozakhe. 2015. Reading the Bible in the African context: Assessing Africa’s love affair with prosperity Gospel. Stellenbosch Theological Journal 1(2): 131–153.

Abstract: The aim of this article is to examine Bible reading in the African context and the willingness and enthusiasm to embrace prosperity gospel in Africa. To achieve this objective, a discussion on the developments in biblical interpretation in Africa will first be presented. This will be done by examining three historical periods: colonial, independence and democratisation periods. This will be followed by an outline of migrations that have taken place from traditional religions to different versions of Christianity in different times in Africa. These migrations will be examined in connection with Bible translation. The relationship between prosperity gospel and African people in Africa will be discussed by considering the tools prosperity gospel uses to appeal to African people, namely the religio-cultural and socio-economic factors. The article will then provide its assessment of contextual reading in the prosperity gospel and a conclusion will follow.

Løland, “The Position of the Biblical Canon in Brazil”

Løland, Ole Jakob.  2015. The Position of the Biblical Canon in Brazil: From Catholic Rediscovery to Neo-Pentecostal Marginalisation.  Studies in World Christianity 21(2): 98-118.

Abstract: This study analyses the historically significant shifts in the diffusion and reception of the bible in Brazilian Christianity. It questions whether Brazil is turning Protestant, given the marginalisation in Brazilian neo-Pentecostalism of scripture, which is the fundamental pillar of Protestant faith. While scripture has traditionally been marginal to Brazil’s popular Catholicism, it was regarded as the primary medium for access to the sacred in classical Pentecostalism. Whilst Brazilian Catholicism rediscovered the bible through the liberation theology movement, a contrary trend of marginalisation of scripture is evident in the Brazilian neo-Pentecostal church Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (IURD). Although there is a performative use of the bible in IURD, the original meaning of the biblical texts is given little weight within this performance. Based on this evaluation of the bible’s position, the article suggests that neo-Pentecostalism stands in continuity with popular Catholicism and discontinuity with classical Pentecostalism in relation to the biblical canon.