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Christianity, Development and Modernity In Africa$
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Paul Gifford

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190495732

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190495732.001.0001

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Pentecostalism and Modernity

Pentecostalism and Modernity

Chapter:
(p.47) 4 Pentecostalism and Modernity
Source:
Christianity, Development and Modernity In Africa
Author(s):

Paul Gifford

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190495732.003.0005

The enchanted and prosperity forms of Pentecostalism often overlap and have much in common, although the possible variety is considerable. Many scholars claim that Pentecostalism is a force for development and modernity in Africa. This chapter challenges that view, arguing that to the extent that a church understands spirits as principal causes it diminishes human agency, undermines social capital by encouraging fear and distrust, and militates against the scientific rationality that underpins the modern world. The faith gospel or gospel of prosperity is not a new form of Weber’s Protestant Ethic, and to the extent that a Pentecostal church preaches prophetic wealth it perpetuates Big Man Syndrome, one of the blights of Africa.

Keywords:   Pentecostalism, Modernity, Human agency, Social capital, Science, Protestant Ethic, Big Man Syndrome

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