To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity

The various currents that make up Pentecostalism represent the fastest-growing Christian denomination in Africa. In this sympathetic survey, Anderson, a former Pentecostal minister, argues that Pentecostalism in Africa must be understood more as an indigenous religion than as a Western one. Pentecostal missionaries introduced the faith into the “global South,” including Africa, during the early twentieth century, but the churches soon began to develop autonomously. Unlike churches belonging to traditional Christian sects, Pentecostal churches were decentralized, nonhierarchical, and independent of colonial authorities, making them more likely to take on native leadership, adapt to local cultural norms, and connect with the nationalist sentiments of newly urbanized and socially mobile Africans. In addition, the relentless proselytizing required by Pentecostal theology ensured that there would be plenty of converts and led to steady growth during the entire twentieth century. Today, more than 100 million Africans belong to Pentecostal churches, making Anderson’s book essential reading for anyone interested in the sociology of contemporary Africa. 

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