84 Ogbu Kalu PENTECOSTAL AND CHARISMATIC RESHAPING OF THE AFRICAN RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE IN THE 1990s* 1. Identifying the Problem The salience of Pentecostal and Charismatic religiosity in Africa in the last decade has received an increasing scholarly attention. It has been compared with a similar development in Asia and especially Latin America, and characterized as the cutting edge of the growth of Protestantism in Latin America and the shift in the center of gravity of Christianity from the northern to the southern hemisphere. Barrett's statistical claim that Pentecostals have grown to over a billion and are next to the Catholics in gross numerical strength has elicited attention. This was partially because for most of the twentieth century religion was in decline in most of the rich countries of the world, except perhaps in the United States where the decline was slowed by a number of factors. Nevertheless, even there religion was privatized and preserved at the periphery of the dominant culture. The matter of definition of religion is still troublesome, and the reconstruction of the vertical and horizontal patterns of its growth through the many cultures of the southern hemisphere still needs to be done. However, theorization about
Mission Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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