Transnational Pentecostal Entrepreneurship: From Africa to Europe, the Challenge of a New Competitive Christianity

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Enzo PACE , University of Padua, Italy
African Pentecostalism is not confined to Africa. As Africans move into Europe, many bring their new way to interpret Christianity. The empirical research in Nigeria, Ghana and Italy supports the idea that African Pentecostalism produced a socio-religious innovation in the religious world-wide. Two elements in particular emerge: the high mobility in the individual religious choices and the fluidity of the boundaries of religious affiliation. The migration processes have emphasized even more this second aspect. The most important result of this innovation is, on the one hand,  the radical change that affects the church model and, on the other, the emergence of a charismatic religious leadership. The paper deals with the idea of the charisma as transnational company or religious enterprise. In this way, the new African churches (although this argument can also apply to those Latin American and South Korean or Chinese) that are transplanted in Europe contribute to weaken the traditional boundaries of Eurocentric Christianity and to loosen the link between national identity and belonging to a Christian denomination.
The new model of interpretation of Latter-days, introduced by the Global Pentecostalism, tends to destabilize the national-bourgeois European Christianity and promote exchanges between the new Pentecostalism coming from the former Third World and Charismatic movements present in many Christian denominations and churches in Europe, including the Orthodox Church as is well demonstrated by the huge success of the Pentecostal Church of the Nigerian pastor Sunday Adelaja in Ukraine.