Item Details

Crooked Prophets, Ungodly Politicians and their Publics: Popular Christian Engagements in South Africa

Issue: Vol 19 No. 1 (2020)

Journal: PentecoStudies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Research on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

Subject Areas: Religious Studies

DOI: 10.1558/pent.40930

Abstract:

Pentecostal Charismatic Christianity (PCC) has had a radical and public impact on African cities, believers and politics. Scholars often describe this impact in terms of the “Pentecostalization” of the public sphere. Looking at Prophet Bushiri and his Enlightened Christian Gathering Church in South Africa, I argue that the ontological situatedness of PCC believers, “unbelievers” and those who shared a spirited world view led to a plurality of public spheres and counter publics. Thus, secular commentators in South Africa did not understand the Pentecostal message or its expression while locals who believed in a spirited world interpreted Prophet Bushiri’s messages and behaviour in terms that dismissed debate in favour of (violent) action. Within PCC circles, which often stretched beyond the local to encompass vast networks of “spiritual kin”, communicative flows were scuppered by an unstable public moved by the Spirit rather than secular political processes.

Author: Ilana van Wyk

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