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«Pastures of Plenty»: Tracing Religio-Scapes of Prosperity Gospel in Africa and Beyond


Andreas Heuser

Prosperity Gospel, a controversial strand in global Christianity, relates material wealth to divine blessing. Originating in American Pentecostal milieus, it is most successful in Africa. Authors from four continents present interdisciplinary, multi-sited and comparative analyses of Prosperity Gospel in Africa and beyond. Prosperity theologies adapt to varied political contexts and travel outside Pentecostalism into the wider religious arena. Its components trigger discourses within ecumenical Christianity and are transformed in transnational Christian networks of migrants; they turn up in African shrine religion and African Islam. Pastures of Plenty maps the evolving religio-scapes of Prosperity Gospel.
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“Struggling with Africa”: Theology of Prosperity in and from Brazil


← 116 | 117 → Rudolf von Sinner

Abstract Brazil is the most Catholic and the most Pentecostal country in the world. Pentecostalism with its emphasis on healing, exorcism and prosperity is publicly the most visible church. The most pretentious is the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD), exported from Brazil into many countries of the world, especially to Southern Africa. IURD is an example of a transnational church highly influenced by African traditions while combating them in exorcism and featuring an exclusivist discourse. This chapter presents the “struggle for Africa” promoted by IURD as well as the “fight against Africa”, in which Africa is seen as the root of all evils. I finally present a theological critique under the heading of a “fight against grace”. The magical manipulation of God disregards God’s sovereignty and freedom, reducing, at the same time, human freedom in holding both accountable to each other as in a contract. Furthermore, the theology of prosperity only foresees success, and offers nothing for failure, for which the believer is seen as responsible himself. Eschatology is being abandoned by immediatism, which opens doors for confusing God and human beings, especially succumbing uncritically to capitalism.

Regarding religion, Brazil has been calling attention to itself.1 A continuously expressive, but ever more diverse religious practice and belonging make it at the same time the most Catholic and the most Pentecostal country in the world. The evangélicos, including historical Protestants, Pentecostals, Neo-Pentecostals and so-called “undefined” evangélicos, have...

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