Pentecostalism and Modern Audiovisual Media

Birgit Meyer

in Media and Identity in Africa

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780748635221
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653010 | DOI:
Pentecostalism and Modern Audiovisual Media

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In recent years, Pentecostal charismatic churches (PCCs) have gained increasing popularity throughout Africa. Situated in a genealogy of Christianity in Africa, they espouse significant continuities with mission churches, African Independent Churches and even the African religious traditions that they despise as being the realm of the ‘powers of darkness’. This chapter discusses how the adoption of modern audiovisual mass media allows PCCs to expand into the world via a proliferation of imagery. However, though consonant with religious ideas about the need to preach the Gospel to the world and evangelise, this expansion has a compromising potential. Spreading images of success, speaking to mass audiences, embracing the representational modes of spectacularisation and dramatisation – all these assert Pentecostalism's presence in the world, yet make it increasingly difficult to maintain and safeguard the sincerity that characterises a born-again believer as being in the world, but not of it.

Keywords: Pentecostal charismatic churches; African media; Christianity; African religion

Chapter.  4383 words. 

Subjects: African Studies

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