Abstract: The background to this article is the controversy caused in 1980s South Korea when some theologians accused Yonggi Cho’s Full Gospel theology of syncretizing “shamanism” with Christianity. In this article, I shall problematize the use of both “shamanism” and “Pentecostalism” in this controversy. Instead, I shall set the episode in the wider context of what might be called Korean traditional religion, which has an animistic cosmology. By pointing to an affinity between Korean Protestantism more generally and Korean traditional religion that goes back at least to the 1907 Korean Revival, I shall argue that the Pentecostal–Charismatic and the liberationist strands of Korean Protestantism together represent a developing understanding of what it means to do Christian theology in the context of animism – or in a land of many spirits.
Abstract: This research article explores how expressions of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity in Tanzania have taken shape through a complex entanglement with African traditional religion and traditional healing. On the one hand, Tanzanian Pentecostals/Charismatics conceive of figures associated with the world of tradition (witches, traditional healers, different kinds of spirits) as the main adversaries in the spiritual warfare they understand themselves to be engaged in. At the same time I show how many of the beliefs that we might lump under the category of “tradition” constitute something of a common cultural ground that cuts across ethnic and religious divides. While Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity does in some ways represent a particular religious culture, I argue that we are also well served by considering Pentecostals/Charismatics as participants in a common and highly vibrant religious/spiritual/medical field where different kinds of interchanges, overlaps and mutual inspirations occur. For instance, I show how a concern with healing inspires multifaceted practices of positioning as Pentecostals/Charismatics both demonize traditional healers, and simultaneously take pains to highlight similarities between the power of God and the powers of traditional healing. Finally, I argue that processes of adaptation and the highlighting of similarities also imply a risk of confusion, as it sometimes becomes difficult to distinguish the power of God from the powers of healers and witchcraft.
Abstract: Although Christianity and kastom can be opposed in many important respects, ni-Vanuatu are far from limited by the different opportunities that they each offer. Here, I draw on gender as an ethnographically derived form of description to stress that the relations composing encounters of Christianity and kastom, church leader and chief, allow ni-Vanuatu to imagine and create possibilities for engaging these alternatives in order to share, exchange or take on their specific capacities. I consider the example of an event in which a Church leader offered to extend an emplaced island identity, through the Anglican Church, in exchange for a kastom chief’s assistance to scale-up the appearance of his clan support during his ordination ceremony. In this case gendered difference, and not opposition or conflict, characterises kastom and Christianity’s relationship.
Abstract: The neo-Pentecostal Oodlání movement is on the rise among Diné (Navajo) of the US South-West, characterized by independent Navajo-led churches and charismatic worship. In this article, I focus on the experiential nature of neo-Pentecostalism to argue that its growth, over and above other forms of Navajo Christianity, capitalizes on a type of resonant rupture with traditional Navajo spirituality. Specifically, I focus on the Oodlání relationship with non-human (supernatural) actors. While experientiality provides an avenue for deeply felt continuity, a close look at Oodlání non-human actors (and the options for interacting with them) demonstrates that neoPentecostalism fundamentally forges cultural rupture.
Oye-Laguda, Oguntola. 2015. African Religious Movements and Pentecostalism: The Model of Ijo-Orunmila, Ato. In, Contemporary Perspectives on Religions in Africa and the African Diaspora. Ibigbolade Aderibigbe and Carolyn M. Jones Medine, ed. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Pp. 49-59.
Abstract: In Nigeria, Christian Pentecostals are dominating the scene, and it seems that Pentecostalism is now the strongest of religious traditions in the country. The reason for this is, primarily, that the people are still living in a religious world dominated by spiritualities, and powers that are perceived to possess capacity that can wreak havoc on humanity. The current belief is that these elements can only be challenged spiritually through prayers and, fasting, as well as vigil. The scenario posits that for any religious group to seek patronage from the people, it must pose to possess some basic characteristics that seem peculiar to Christian Pentecostals. Therefore, Pentecostalism has become the main evangelical strategy for all religious groups in Nigeria as a whole and Lagos, a cosmopolitan and commercial hub, in particular. African religious groups’ response has been to reorganize its liturgy, spirituality, and sociology to conform to the situation.