Thursday, March 27, 2008

Emerging Church in the Brazilian Context

(This article appeared originally in Portuguese in the Renovatio Café web site. It has been adapted and expanded.)

In this article I would like to think about the emerging conversation in Brazil. The practices and emphasis of the emerging church have lots of applicability to the current Brazilian context. And I believe that the Brazilian Christian context needs a profound reform, while the emerging conversation can be a vehicle of this reform. Let us see some of the current characteristics of Brazilian Christianity. Brazil has about 160 million Christians: 138 million nominal Catholics and 30 million evangelicals[1]. The evangelicals are growing rapidly. They grew from 2.6 % to 15.4 % of the population from 1940 to 2000, that is, almost 6 times in the period. Among the evangelicals, the largest group is that of the Pentecostals and Neopentecostals. In a world context, the southern hemisphere is where Christianity grows most, mainly in Latin America and Africa. In Latin America Brazil is one of the greatest economical powers, if not the greatest. In its 10 year anniversary edition of January of 2008, Next-Wave's e-zine featured an article where Mark Van Steenwyk makes three exhortations to those involved in the emerging/missional movement(s):

“Engage Pentecostalism. The developing world is the future of Christianity. For the most part, the dominant expression of Christianity in the developing world is Pentecostalism." [2]

While Brazil has a great number of evangelicals, it experiences great social challenges: large social inequalities (bad income distribution), unemployment, limited access to justice, violence, child prostitution, bad access to education and health, and corruption, among others. "In a world rank that includes 126 nations, Brazil still appears with the 10th worst income distribution, behind countries like Haiti - the poorest country in Latin America - and India." [3] With the risk of oversimplification, I would say that a great number of the Brazilian Christian churches have problems in their ecclesiology and ortopraxis, and are not demonstrating in effective and practical ways alternative communities that, among other things, would live in such ways as to mitigate these problems.

Why would anyone be interested in different forms of church? I believe that many people have good intentions when they care about "preaching of the gospel" or "spreading the gospel". There can be problems, however, when we begin to more carefully analyze and inquire intentions and methods. It's a problem especially for pastors. Many times the desire to "spread the gospel" translates into "attract more people to my church" or "more people in stadiums". "Gospel" and "conversions", therefore, do not have direct relationship with "good news", but with success and fame. Measurements of efficiency or success of a church are usually the number of people that attend Sunday worship. The Neopentecostals maybe will want to include per capita income (and not standard deviation, of course). The initial chapters of the book "The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from Big Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, and Other Modern Maladies" by David Fitch helped me to see other forms of health and success of a local church. I read Fitch focusing on quality and not quantity. It makes sense to me, even considering that after Jesus' death there were only 11 disciples. As I see the emerging conversation in the Brazilian context develop I would not like to see people focusing on church grow methods. In turn, would like to see an emphasis in the genuine interest of people in people. That is, the interest in "having greater churches" must give its way to the genuine interest in people in their entirety, including their realities and relationships.

Regarding this respect for the other, I like the path the emergent conversation is taking in the northern hemisphere. Many of these emphases apply directly to the Brazilian context. Instead of proselytism I see an emphasis in the formation of communities that demonstrate in practice what it means to be disciples of Jesus. The respect for the other also generates a preoccupation with justice. Instead of arrogance and presumption in assuming that one has all answers figured out I see respect and interest in the other person's story. Instead of different categories of believers, believers more blessed than others, holier or more preeminent I see a preoccupation to include all in the conversation. Instead of super-believers and, worst, super-pastors I see distributed and humble leadership. Instead of pitching the big-salvation combo/deal, people seek to develop relationships with the most varied tribes. My parents were raised with the television pushing information one way. Today blogs, forums, chats and SMS make dialog the norm, along with the Internet and cell phones. Instead of pre-built sermons people seek "sermons" in the midst of interaction and companionship (see the book "Preaching Re-Imagined" by Doug Paggit). Instead of pre-processed judgments about behaviour I see people walking together with shared responsibilities and honesty.

I also like the path that the emerging conversation takes in Africa. Brian MacLaren's book "Everything Must Change" records the words of Claude Nikondeha, from Burundi, in May 1994 in a meeting of leaders from Burundi, Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. Nikondeha speaks of hearing the same one sermon inviting the audience to “get saved” time after time, while very acute problems with poverty and violence escalated in the region. They speak of reconciliation and an integral gospel.

Tony Jones stated in the Emergent Village podcast: "There's no such thing as 'Emergent's belief: fill in the blank'". This, in my view, resumes one characteristic of the emergent movement: the apparent lack of beliefs. For the record, this is one of the most debated characteristics and taken as detrimental by many. Maybe the most popular interpretation of the characteristic can be described more or less like this: we can't define what the emerging church is because the moment we did so she would stop emerging (that is, evolving). Or even: to prescribe statements of faith would amount to list a series of logical propositions that explain everything we believe. This is what the church did in modernism with the presumption that it would be able to conceive everything including God itself. Such declarations, concepts and prescriptions would fundamentally create limits of theological interpretation, besides being intrinsically biased according to the semantics of those who created them. And even if we compiled a list of propositions, it wouldn't make sense to port over definitions from one local church to another because each community is unique. Communities are encouraged to discover and explore by themselves expressions of the gospel that make sense, often recovering and reconstructing the historical traditions of their denominations, in case the community has such historical tradition. For example, many emerging communities compose their own liturgy creatively, including their own music. Instead of emphasizing only orthodoxy (right belief), emerging communities emphasize (also) orthopraxis (right practice). Another interpretation of the apparent lack of beliefs would be more of the historical kind. The transition from modernism to postmodernism and the end of Christendom naturally took the church in the northern hemisphere to rethink many concepts and practices. Since the transition is a social phenomenon, these new communities ended up adopting similar values, emphasis and practices in parallel, independent from each other. These communities come from a wide spectrum of denominations. While the term “emerging church”, which was artificially created, is large enough to include such communities and common characteristics, the theological holes would only be apparent since each community ends “binding” its own theology to practice. I think that this portable characteristic of the emerging ideas allows us to better think about the paths the emerging conversation may take in the Brazilian context. Our perception of the world and our theology are always seen with the eyes of our own culture. They shape and give meaning to language. They associate language with our lives and experiences.

It is a common-place, but it has to be said: the emerging conversation in the south will have commonalities and differences with the north. The tension between liberal left and conservative (evangelical) right of the United States simply does not translate to Brazil. This axis from conservatives to liberals just does not exist for us. And there are no Republican and Democrat parties in Brazil. It is just not our reality. Even though American evangelical missionaries did have great influence in the formation of the Brazilian evangelical identity as it is conceived today, ecology, homosexuality, abortion and evolution are not the main items of debate of Christians here. And we don’t categorize generations into Boomers and Gen-X. Does that mean that there are no common denominators that emerging conversations in the north and the south may share? No. I believe there are deeper issues that are surfacing in the emerging conversation of the north that are very relevant to the south. These relate to the relationship of the church with culture, the view of the other/stranger, the Kingdom of God, use of language, community, Christian leadership, views of atonement, etc.

Let me list some non-exhaustive factors that collaborate towards a proper environment for the emerging conversation in Brazil: the lack of credible leader figures and a generalized dissatisfaction with bad examples of behaviour, globalization and the Internet, social pressures, and a more communal culture.

The first point, in my view, has a generic historical context and another specific component of the Brazilian evangelical milieu. The military dictatorship period in Brazil (1964-1984) was a period of violence, polarization, kidnappings, executions, torture, arrests and suspension of democracy. Also, “the exacerbated patriotism generalized by the military regime brought very grave consequences to the national culture. As the government started to associate every Brazilian aspect that was good to the regime, people immediately started to reject everything that was national.”[4] The book “Brazil: Never Again”[5] documents the story of 17,000 victims and 1,800 cases of torture. One story is that of frei Tito de Alencar Lima:

“Accused of offering help to Carlos Marighella, frei Tito was arrested in November of 1969 in São Paulo. […] He undergoes long sessions of torture, mainly with the use of paddles and electric shocks.[…] In the hands of the Military Justice, frei Tito is taken to Operação Bandeirantes[…]. There, the frade undergoes the worst sessions of torture. According to the reports of many inmates, […] during three days the militaries hit the head of Tito against the wall, burn his skin with cigarettes and apply electric shocks to his whole body, mainly to his mouth, simulating the reception of the Eucharist”.[6]

After “the tough years” as they were called, hopes of resuming the path of democracy and of the first civil president in 1985 die along with Tancredo Neves. Years after Collor stands up. He’s a young and modern president riding his jet-ski. He’s a “Maharajah-buster” (a chaser of corrupt billionaires). But he is corrupt himself. His house gardens alone cost US$ 2.5 million. Let’s impeach him. Then Ayrton Senna, the famous Formula 1 champion, dies in a tragic accident. There goes another super-hero. Then comes Lula, the first president “of the left”, sort of speak. There were great expectations of solutions to the social crisis. After a series of corruption scandals, the image of Lula is shaken. The idea of super-hero fades away for many along with hopes. Time after time the projections of fantasized heroes are destructed and the tough daily reality goes on. I would suspect that before this great and complex picture the evangelical crowd doesn’t know what to say. Perhaps they would rather shout “Brazil belongs to Jesus Christ” [7] louder, even without knowing well what it means.

Inside the evangelical scene, the fall of Caio Fábio, an alternative pastor with a no-non-sense message, also frustrated the hopes of many. Unfortunately the word “evangélico” is associated by many with problems of conduct. That is ironic, since the evangelization method emphasized the most by Brazilian evangelicals is witnessing through moral conduct. That is, not to dance, not to smoke, not going to parties, not having sex before marriage would be instruments of evangelization, showing a “life of holiness” and good conduct, a life separated from the world that would attract the non-believers. However, they shoot their own foot when the population watches the indulgences of the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus[8], the hidden dollars inside the Bible by Sônia and Estevam Hernandes[9], the “flatworm” scandal[10] which involved many evangelical politicians, or the congressman/pastor Mário de Oliveira apparently planning to kill his fellow congressman/pastor Carlos Willian. Instead of seeing evangelicals as examples, the population more and more sees them as hypocrites or charlatans. Among evangelicals a nameless and organic discontent is widespread. For instance, many people I know suggest that because of the wearing out of the “evangelical” image they want to label themselves “Christians” henceforth. They do not necessarily say they will change their beliefs, but that they would like to have another label. The social networking site Orkut[11] features communities with names such as “I’m a Christian despite the church”. The musician João Alexandre expresses an incompatibility and frustration shared by many others in his song “É Proibido Pensar”[12] in the CD of the same name. As he says, “he can’t fit in this scheme“, referring to the evangelical system.

Globalization and the Internet can be seen as catalytic agents of change. In a way they make the world smaller, facilitating the contact among people and new types of relationship. Internet, in turn, is seen by some as an element of abrupt social change, of similar proportions to the transition from oral to written traditions. People create new identities in a digital dimension, and the concept of “community”, therefore, changes along. Considering these factors, different groups, such as the Wikiklesia project[13], try to understand the consequences of the digital age for the concept of “church”. In Brazil, the Cristianismo wiki[14] is an encyclopedia that, as a wiki, fosters the collective participation of all in its definitions. While ideas of virtual churches and “virtual reality” tend to be categorized as strange to many, the fact of the matter is that emails, SMSs, chats, blogs, social network sites and forums changed the way people communicate and relate.

By “more communal culture” I mean that in general, in comparison with countries of the northern hemisphere, Brazil has a less individualistic culture. I wouldn’t be able to tell if a collective survival instinct amidst hardship gave rise this cooperative spirit or if the thing just doesn’t have much explanation. While in Brazil a woman will still knock on her neighbour’s door to borrow some sugar, many people in the suburbs of the United States still prefer to isolate, often ignoring the name of their neighbours. While the Brazilian fellow will suddenly appear in his friend’s home with no notice and still share a meal, the (English) Canadian fellow will call his friend one week in advance to schedule a visit. However, the fact is that emerging churches in the northern hemisphere “lead as a body” by consciously seeking everyone’s participation and by rethinking leadership. The idea for the emerging conversation in Brazil is to leverage this inherent communal and cooperative spirit in the conception of communities that emphasize relationships. Under this topic two challenges arise. Existing forms of leadership tend to put the pastor figure on the spot. And violence tears the trust among people, slowly isolating them more and more.

In the Brazilian context I think that the emerging conversation will include two streams: the evangelical and the “free” one. And in the former we must consider Pentecostal versions. The evangelical stream would maintain an uninterrupted historical link with denominations or even “independent ministry”, even when the emerging community exits such denominations. This way the new community would be more easily identifiable as “church”, in the sense evangelicals conceive the term today. And the church would identify itself as “Christian church”. In this stream we could also expect churches or movements that live and develop inside historical denominations, perhaps with the support of the denominations. In the United States, movements of this kind include Presbymergent[15], Anglimergent [16], Luthermergent [17], EmergenceUMC (Methodist) [18], and Submergence (Menonite)[19]. This version would also include groups not accepted in their denominations, but which would still like to maintain historical or doctrinal ties. In fact, somebody noticed that many self-called emerging communities keep their historical traditions. In the United States these communities keep with more interest and more deliberately ancient traditions (most of the times deconstructed and reconstructed, mostly with regards to liturgy) than most of the churches in the original denominations. This speaks to insinuations of unconcern with the historical and apostolic heritage by emerging churches. By “free stream” I classify emerging communities of forms and practices different than what evangelicals would refer to as “church”. These would be groups of people that intentionally want to follow Jesus, but would have even more alternative forms and structures. Here we would initially see more people coming with negative experiences with the establishment. We would see a vast range of very heterogeneous communities. For instance, we would see networks of Christian and non-Christian friends that are intentional and aware of their faith expressions and that have some level of mutual accountability. Churches in bars and in homes. Coffee-churches. Shoe store-churches. Soccer-team-churches. “Third spaces” as the ones described in the books “The Shaping of things to come” and “The Great Giveaway” would be common to both evangelical and “free” streams. I particularly expect to see out of the emerging conversation in the Brazilian context many “labs” and “experiments”. Such exercises would give wings to imagination and would support the emerging conversation with practical experiences.

The pentecostalization of Brazil has the potential to bring positive things to the emerging conversation in the national and international stage. The characteristics of belief in the supernatural and experience with God, instead of pure rationalization of the faith, has sympathy in postmodernism. Indeed, many American evangelicals (“traditionals”, as we Brazilians would call them) and English believers would admire such characteristics. This can be an item of dialog between North and South. Pentecostalization is also a common factor with Africa, where the emerging conversation also currently develops (see the initial chapters of the book “Everything Must Change”, by Brian MacLaren).

Certain people migrate from more traditional communities to Pentecostal ones motivated by discontent and aspiration for changes in their original communities, not as much for the attraction to the Pentecostal doctrines. At times they are frustrated with the bureaucracy of their original denominations, or with the seemingly old-fashioned liturgy, or with the approach of their leaders, or with the incapability of church and pastors to communicate in a relevant language. This would be a group that would like to consider one of the emerging streams of the non-Pentecostal versions. I suspect there is a greater group: that of the Pentecostals dissatisfied with the alienation from culture, language disconnected from daily life, the approach of their leaders, and lack of consideration with social issues. This would be a group that would probably like to consider one of the two emerging streams in their Pentecostal versions.

I suggest four hot-potato themes for the emerging conversation in Brazil: the Prosperity Theology, the division between sacred and secular, the rescue of the “brazilianness”, and leadership.

The Prosperity Theology arises in the historical context described above, mainly that of social problems which derive from bad income distribution. In it, the believer is predestined to earthly prosperity. It is emphasized by the Neopentecostals (and not the historical Pentecostals per say). I particularly think that the emerging churches should rather avoid the underlying assumptions of the Prosperity Gospel as a version of Gérson’s law[20]. Behind the Prosperity Theology lies the idea that the individual must earn more money no matter what. In this idea the other is excluded. And because the person is predestined to luxury, frequently the ends justify the means. Here I see again the cultural context, in which the survival instinct says “when there’s a will there’s a way”. Digging deeper, trying to find the root of the problem we find the Brazilian jeitinho[21] and misdemeanor. We begin to identify problems deeply rooted in the Brazilian culture. There would be many examples of the Brazilian jeitinho which are common practices: from the classical cut to the front of lines to reserving seats in theatres with purses to adding water to gas. My uncle explained to me one day one of his habits. In Brazil, parking permits for the handicapped are not regulated. He would often park in the handicapped slots in malls and limp his way out of the car to the entrance. Once inside the mall he would walk normally. One interesting thing is that even people that are not poor adopt Gérson’s law. The penetration of Neopentecostalism in the middle class is an example of that. Emerging communities are encouraged to promote justice and equality instead. They are called to discern necessity from greed. Instead of preaching the Prosperity Gospel, they should implement and demonstrate communitarian alternatives that provide better conditions for those who need it most.

The division between the sacred and the secular is another key topic to be included in the emerging conversation. Frequently churches preach a “departure from the world”. This departure does not necessarily mean a process of sanctification, or the abstinence from sin, but the creation of an evangelical subculture that exists for itself in opposition to any other alternatives. The believer is taught to refuge himself/herself from the original culture, which is vilified. The believer then puts on the new clothes of the evangelical subculture. This way the matrix conceives believers alienated from culture, inside an artificial world speaking a meaningless language. In this point it is important for the emerging conversation to include the theme of the incarnation of Jesus, that is, the fact that God became man and embedded himself in a culture, entered our dimension, and related to people (it may come as a surprise to evangelicals, but John 3.16 says that God loved the world). Emergents remind us that “The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” (Psalms 24.1 NIV) Therefore, there is no division between sacred and secular, holy and profane. Our lives are not segmented, but a whole. Instead of monopolizing the concept and work of God, we are invited as church to identify the most varied places where God is already at work in furthering his Kingdom and we participate in this work. This is a key idea in the rescue of our own Brazilian identity and culture.

The search for the brazilianness follows from God’s mission (Missio Dei). This is a crucial point, since it speaks to the relevancy of the gospel in a certain culture[22]. As the Son incarnated, so is the church also called to incarnate in the local culture. Thus, the emerging conversation has the opportunity to live the Gospel “in Portuguese”. In this topic I only have initial suggestions, with no presumption of being exhaustive. I suggest the inclusion of the subject in theological seminaries, denominational conventions, new books and national print media, so that there will be more healthy discussions. The Time Magazine of 1963 quotes theologian Karl Barth: "[Barth] recalls that 40 years ago he advised young theologians 'to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.'" I suggest the use of the arts by the various communities as national expressions. Even though it is difficult to define what is really Brazilian, this should not be a problem. One way or another it is easy to intuitively identify Brazilian characteristics in the arts. In music I suggest the use of daily language, the use of typical Brazilian instruments, the use of typical Brazilian rhythms and melodic lines. Let us imagine more Brazilian poetry in our worship. Experiments in architecture would also be appropriate. Let us imagine folklore-centres-churches. And why not reconcile soccer with the theology and the liturgy? Why don’t we pray for both city teams before the matches? I also suggest a larger introduction of the afro elements into the liturgy; let us imagine changes to Communion (Eucharist). Let us think about aboriginal peoples expressions in liturgy. Let us engage in a better interaction with and deeper understanding of the aboriginal culture, instead of sending missionaries and saying “good-bye, pal, break a leg. Send us pictures of the undomesticated” (I refer to reverse mission trips below). Often the aboriginal communities are whole communities of beggars in the urban centres. (Note that I’m not advocating for the inclusion of afro and aboriginal elements in liturgy and social work with a liberal view of inclusion. Rather, as collaborators in the process of rescuing a Brazilian identity and allowing for missional communities to better incarnate the gospel.) Let us remember, finally, that the Brazilian contextualization must go beyond liturgy: the church must understand the longings of the Brazilian people and be capable of communicating “good news” in the same dimension and language.

To lead as a body has direct implications to leadership. The idea of community is very strong among emerging churches. It was said that trinity is essentially a community. Church must, therefore, be communitarian. Leadership is another important theme in the emerging conversation. I would speculate that a certain number of pastors currently seek success, money and status using churches. This would be one more symptom that some ecclesiastical institutions exist more as an end to itself than to the mission of the Kingdom. Respect and will to serve the other propels emerging communities to exercise different kinds of leadership. I hope the emerging movement in Brazil will grow “bottom-up” instead of “top-down”. The pastor figure most of the times is not discharged, but rethought. Ideas of pastors as company CEOs are substituted. In modernism there is the production of concepts for believers-consumers. In postmodernism the promises of happiness and satisfaction portrayed by ads, spams and telemarketing are quickly filtered out. And so is the avalanche of Internet data. People in postmodernity are wary of preprocessed, shoveled truths. On the contrary, they prefer demonstrated truths, and desire the experiment them first hand. Manipulative leaders, therefore, have no place. Leadership based on power, control and submission to authority are characteristics of modern churches. The concentration and monopoly of knowledge are substituted by the idea of free access to distributed information, as in the Internet. People look for a journey together, and again, lived out concepts. No leader takes unilateral decisions, but everyone, one way or another, are invited to participate in the decisions.

Theological seminaries are called to rethink their formation of leaders. They could have more direct channels of communication with communities (Christian and “common ones”[23]) to better understand how leaders can help communities. They could have more interchange programs with other faculties in the Human Sciences, such as Sociology. They could stimulate and support internships of youth in emerging communities. They could publish more articles on the Internet and have more blogs and podcasts fostering dialog. They could support and involve more “lay people”. They could review missiology applied to the Brazilian context. And they should require their students and professors to read more books about the emerging church.
Actually, the availability of books about the emerging conversation in Portuguese is an urgent necessity. I invite publishing houses to make more books available on the subject.
As we step outside our artificial evangelical bubble into the unknown we’ll need to deconstruct our language. We’ll need to rebind new meanings to terms like “gospel”, “church”, and “salvation”, which is no small endeavor. I confess that I despise mumbo-jumbos. Let us rant and rethink our reality, but please let’s not create a new artificial bubble. Let this not be yet another philosophical research project, but a journey (not exactly “uma viagem”[24]) always associated with practice.

The emerging conversation in Brazil can interact with other emerging conversations that have been going on in other regions. Conversations in the United States and in the African continent would be interesting, in my view. The United States are going through big cultural shifts. The number of people that go to a church has been decreasing since the 60s, with minimal percentages among youth. The emerging conversation has a high respect for other cultures. I have read and heard the word “post-colonialism” many times, and that is a good sign. In the initial chapters of the book “Everything Must Change”, Brian MacLaren reports his visit to Burundi, where he met a group of 55 young leaders. I remember hearing him comment in a podcast that he went to hear more than to speak. Maybe more Americans would be interested in “reverse mission trips”. These would allow groups of foreigners to come to Brazil to learn more of its culture and reality. They would have the opportunity to live embedded in our reality and to show some appreciation and genuine interest in the other. As people from outside, they would be invited to provide a fresh and honest perspective on the practical issues Brazilians face at home, work, church and elsewhere. Also, it would be very interesting if Brazilians conversed with Africa. As it was alluded to above, violence, poverty, suffering, corruption and injustice are known words both sides of the Atlantic. Amahoro is a key organization in the African emerging conversation. Besides the United States and Africa, it would be interesting to involve Latin American countries in the conversation too. La Red del Camino is an organization quoted often. In any geographically distributed conversation, simple computer applications are useful. Skype can be used for voice communication. Chat applications such as Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger can be used with simultaneous translation. Bilingual blogs would also help the dialog.

In this article I reflected upon the situation of the Brazilian evangelical church and suggested topics to be addressed in the emerging conversation thinking about the Brazilian context. With so much information and ideas perhaps the reader will feel “not knowing where to start”. The emerging conversation is a journey, and we are all in its beginning. Feel invited to participate in this conversation. My advice to readers who start to familiarize themselves with the ideas is to invest time in reading and, more importantly, in practice.


[1] The term “evangélicos” in Portuguese translates to “evangelicals”. “Evangélicos” as it is used in Portuguese is almost a synonym to “Protestants”. In Brazil they emphasize the preaching of the gospel and the necessity of a personal conversion experience (to be born again). The term is not necessarily related to non-liberal Protestantism. Throughout the article I interchange the English term “evangelicals” with “evangélicos”.
[2] http://www.the-next-wave-ezine.info/issue109/index.cfm?id=32&ref=ARTICLES%5FEMERGING%20CHURCH%5F476
[3] http://www.administradores.com.br/noticias/brasil_melhora_em_ranking_de_distribuicao_de_renda/10239/
[4] http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditadura_militar_no_Brasil_%281964-1985%29
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunca_Mais_(Brazil)
[6] http://www.infonet.com.br/josecristiangoes/ler.asp?id=25388&titulo=Cristian_Goes
[7] A common cliché echoed during massive evangelical gatherings numbering hundreds of thousands in the streets of urban centers.
[8] The largest church in Brazil. A neopentecostal church that is a schism from the Assemblies of God. It literally translates as “The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God”.
[9] A preeminent couple of Brazilian pastors arrested in Florida for false statements to immigration officials. They are currently under house arrest in Florida.
[10] Costs of ambulances were over budgeted in public solicitations and the differences were kept by politicians, including many evangelicals.
[11] The Brazilian version of Facebook, sort of
[12] It translates literally as “No Thinking Allowed”
[13] http://wikiklesia.wikidot.com/
[14] http://cristianismo.wikia.com/
[15] http://presbymergent.org/
[16] http://anglimergent.ning.com/
[17] http://luthermergent.ning.com/
[18] http://emergingumc.blogspot.com/
[19] http://submergent.org/
[20] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A9rson%27s_law
[21] http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeitinho
[22] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Frost
[23] For now the distinction may be useful
[24] The Portuguese expression “viagem” is also a slang that means complex or non-sense thought construct


Steve Hayes said...

Do you think the "prosperity theology" is specifically linked with Neopentecostalism? In other words, is it a distinguishing characteristic of Neopentecostalism, or are their some Neopentecostal churches that do not preach or teach "prosperity theology"?

I am interested because the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a Brazilian import, is growing rapidly in South Africa, and appears to preach a prosperity gospel, but so do other Neopentecostal groups, home grown or imported from North America.

Gustavo K-fé said...

Hi, Steve, yes indeed. I think that the prosperity theology is a distinctive characteristic of the Neopentecostals. I don't have a formation in Theology, but as I understand it this emphasis is what tells them apart from historical Pentecostals (at least in the Brazilian context). Oh, yes... the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God was founded in Brazil. A multitude of non-denominational churches or 'chains' of churches (a la franchises) follow the same practices.