Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal for the Study of Religion]]> vol. 34 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Changing the Narrative Language of Prosperity in Africa: A Pentecostal Hermen√©utica! Challenge</b>]]> Pentecostals' central theme in proclamation and practice since the beginning of their movement is holistic healing and wellbeing, resulting from what they term the "Full Gospel". At first, it did not include a prosperous lifestyle. However, a new emphasis on prosperity since the 1980s characterized a part of the African independent church movement with affinities to Pentecostal worship practices, designated as the Neo-Pentecostal movement. The research question for this article is why the narrative language of prosperity within the Pentecostal context changed in Africa and how the damages that it caused can be reversed, and the answer is found in hermeneutical challenges and solutions. <![CDATA[<b>The Influence and Legacy of the Shepherding Movement on the Current Neo-Pentecostal Movement in South Africa</b>]]> This essay focuses on the history, theology, and demise of the Shepherding movement, a discipleship network pioneered by five teachers, Charles Simpson, Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham, and Ern Baxter, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. These leaders aimed to provide meaning and order through house churches and cell groups to address the spiritual maturity of the Charismatic believers. Some key concepts of the Shepherding movement that impacted the Neo-Pentecostals will be discussed, namely submissions to authority; male leadership; ecclesiology; pastoral training and formation; and church polity, emphasizing the apostolic and prophetic ministries. The second part of the essay highlights the current Neo-Pentecostal movement and how it has taken over the legacy of extra-biblical revelation from the Shepherding movement. This reveals the influence that the Shepherding movement has left, after it has been inherited by the Neo-Pentecostal movement. <![CDATA[<b>'If this is of God': Choosing to Curse in Ghanaian Charismatic Christianity</b>]]> African Christianity takes the challenges from their enemies and the evil forces seriously. There is hardly a call to love the enemy. Moreover, it is about destroying physical or spiritual beings that oppose one's wellbeing. In the African Pentecostal/Charismatic ministries, one finds pastors and prophets who are cursing their colleagues openly. This essay reflects on the cursing prayers of Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, the founder and Presiding Bishop of Lighthouse Chapel International, and Pastor Kelvin Elson Godson, founder of Zoe Outreach Embassy, Ogbodjo, Accra to explore their religious, ethical, and cultural justifications in contemporary neo-Charismatic ministries in Ghana in light of the African religious and cultural values. It uses the African cultural hermeneutics and paradigmatic approach in biblical ethics to show why the Akan of Ghana do not allow leaders of society to curse others. It shows that it is not only the motive and intention of the one at prayer but also the cultural and religious values that make cursing prayers legitimate or illegitimate. <![CDATA[<b>Fluid Theologies: Shifts and Changes of African Pentecostalism</b>]]> The claim of 'being led by the Holy Spirit' has caused African Pentecostals to develop weak fluid theologies. The problem is exacerbated by the deepening of economic inequalities, unstable politics, and poverty. Qualitatively, this article used the response of African Pentecostals to Covid-19 in Zimbabwe as a case study to explore how African Pentecostal theologies lack systematic interpretations. The article concludes that the failure of African Pentecostals to speak coherently about Covid-19 shows the deep-rooted fluid nature of Pentecostalism as believers respond to the 'moves of the Spirit', resulting in shifting and changing theologies. <![CDATA[<b>Covid-19 and the South African Pentecostal Landscape: Historic Shift from Offline Liturgical Practice to Online Platforms</b>]]> The Coronavirus (Covid-19) disease resulted in an epic shift from offline liturgical practice to online platforms where South African Pentecostal churches are worshiping, using online tools such as Zoom. This article explores how offline liturgical practices, traditional power dynamics, and the performative and communication characteristics of Pentecostalism are decoded into the digital space, and the impact it has on congregants and church leadership. The self-image of South African Pentecostalism is unpacked in the context of Covid-19. Grounded in the interpretivist research paradigm, the article draws on telephonic interviews conducted with 20 purposively selected Pentecostal lay leaders and pastors in the eThekwini district, KwaZulu-Natal. The article uses the Giddens theory of structuration to understand the social structural challenges emanating from an online liturgical practice. The prohibition of gatherings to promote social distancing culminated in the use of online platforms as an alternative to physical gatherings. Key findings suggest that this historic shift created a plethora of challenges for Pentecostal churches in Durban, resulting in some being unable to reopen. Moving to online platforms meant that South African Pentecostal churches in Durban had to adapt to new modalities of practice in transmitting sacred information. By depriving Pentecostal churches the opportunity to perform rituals of solidarity and other offline liturgical practices, Covid-19 disrupted important social systems and its performative and communication traits. Despite the challenges and changes caused by this novel pandemic, this study also found that Covid-19 provided an opportunity to assess the doctrines of Pentecostal leaders. In other words, online worship is coupled with benefits that must not be overlooked. <![CDATA[<b>Pentecostal Churches and Capitalism in a South African Township: Towards a Communism of the Market?</b>]]> With reference to two Pentecostal churches in the Kayamandi suburb of Stellenbosch, South Africa, we consider the ways in which capitalism and the Pentecostal spirit interrelate in a contemporary South Africa. We start off by acknowledging that many forms of Pentecostalism now tend to follow the paradigm set by neo-Pentecostalism, and that the same might be true of our two church communities, Revival Fire Ministries, and the Apostolic Faith Mission, even if the latter is more typically regarded as part of the classical Pentecostal movement in South Africa. Then we discuss Pentecostalism and its relationship to the secular domain. We show how Pentecostalism, in contrast to traditional forms of Christianity, is par excellence involved in the immanent/horizontal affairs of believers' lives. Indeed, the market itself appears to be sacralized, implying a transfer of holiness into the secular domain. We conclude with the idea that we have observed a fourth wave of Pentecostalism, anticipating that the golden age of Gesara/Nesara may be considered as a secular faith, forming a Hegelian synthesis of the two so-called secular religions of the 20th century, capitalism and communism. We have analyzed it as an apocatastasis, meaning restoration to the original or primordial condition¬Ļ. <![CDATA[<b><i>Ng'angas - </i>Zambian Healers-Diviners and their Relationship with Pentecostal Christianity: The Intermingling of Pre-Christian Beliefs and Christianity</b>]]> The aim of the article is to establish if pre-Christian beliefs in Zambia are influencing the Pentecostal Christianity, and to establish what the healers-diviners' relationship with different Pentecostal churches is. During field studies undertaken by both authors, it has been established that many Bantu speaking people still believe in some aspects of their native religions, especially in the powers of the ancestral spirits. Christianity is the dominant religion in Zambia, but it is far from homogenous. Apart from world religions like Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, there is a plethora of Pentecostal, Charismatic, and grassroot churches, many of them not immune to ancient spirit veneration. People who are believed to cooperate with spirits are called healers-diviners who are believed to be called to their profession by spirits. A great majority is Christian who combines Christianity with their native beliefs. The field studies in 2021 were sponsored by the Polish National Science Centre (Narodowe Centrum Nauki), Poland, project no. 2017/25/N/HS1/02500.