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Nigerian Pentecostalism

Nigerian Pentecostalism

Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 387
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  • Book Info
    Nigerian Pentecostalism
    Book Description:

    This book presents a multidisciplinary study of how Nigerian pentecostals conceive of and engage with a spirit-filled world. It seeks to discern the spirituality of the charismatic religious movement in Nigeria in relation to issues of politics, national sovereignty, economic development, culture, racial identity, gender, social ethics, and epistemology. Nimi Wariboko describes the faith's core beliefs and practices, revealing a "spell of the invisible" that defines not only the character of the movement but also believers' ways of seeing, being, and doing. Written by an insider to the tradition, Nigerian Pentecostalism will also engage outsiders with an interest in critical social theory, political theory, and philosophy. Nimi Wariboko is the Katherine B. Stuart Professor of Christian Ethics at Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Pentecostal Principle: Ethical Methodology in New Spirit (2011) and The Depth and Destiny of Work: An African Theological Interpretation (2008).

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-872-5
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Amos Yong

    There are at least seven registers through which the arguments of this volume can be read.

    First, there is the philosophical thread. Here, the discussion moves seamlessly from epistemology to ontology to performative theory, inspired by Nigerian Pentecostal ways of knowing, to probe ever more deeply into how Nigerian Pentecostal reality is constituted, and returning therein via the hermeneutical spiral to reconfigure how such probing can further inform epistemic analyses. All the while, the modality of engagement does not remain merely abstract but connects to and is concerned about Pentecostal performance, ways of life, and modes of behavior. Here again,...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Nimi Wariboko
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    Nigerian Pentecostalism was otherworldly before the 1980s and only became this-worldly in the 1990s; so the experts and ordinary folks hold. To describe the Pentecostal religion as only otherworldly or this-worldly is inaccurate, and it ignores what is common to the movement before and after 1980: a common grammar of spiritual optics.¹ This is an orientation that considers concrete, visible realties as framed, animated, and underpinned by things that are not seen. In it the themes of otherworldly and this-worldly spirituality are intertwined and complementary. The uncovering of the inner logic of this orientation across periods and spheres of social...

  7. Part 1: Origins and Spirituality of Nigerian Pentecostalism

    • Chapter 1 Sources of Nigerian Pentecostalism
      (pp. 17-39)

      In this chapter I will examine the social-historical sources of Nigerian Pentecostalism, putting forward an argument on the social shaping of faith without saying that the religion lacks creative powers of its own. Pentecostalism emerged through multiple pathways that were mediated through culture, history, religious nationalism, and the economic and political dynamics of the country. Paying particular attention to four influential sources—personalities, cultural historical antecedents, growth, and discourse—I will demonstrate the embeddedness of Pentecostalism in the ethos of time and place that is Nigeria in the last 125 years. If the spirit of God, as experienced by believers,...

    • Chapter 2 The Spell of the Invisible
      (pp. 40-53)

      In the morning of Tuesday, June 18, 2008, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye was gathered in Bible study with the leaders of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, North America (RCCGNA) in Floyd (near Dallas), Texas. Also in attendance was a large entourage of senior pastors and leaders from Lagos, Nigeria. It was standing room only in the small conference room of his official residence at the RCCGNA camp. In his usual way, he was teaching and admonishing those in attendance to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind and revealing the benefits that come from such a dedication....

    • Chapter 3 Excremental Visions in Postcolonial Pentecostalism
      (pp. 54-87)

      This chapter proposes a reading of Pentecostal spirituality in the Nigerian postcolony in the light of the “excremental” vision of religious leaders. The vision reflects the struggles between the flesh and the spirit, desires and the tensions of their impossible fulfillment, and the religious leaders’ critical consciousness of the ambiguity, incompatibilities, and distortions that characterize Pentecostal spirituality under pressures from materialism and saintliness. The discussions and analyses that follow address the question of spirituality in relation to the problem of waste, excess, and superfluity, examining the implications for subjectivity. This relation between subjectivity and waste, excess, or excrementalism highlights the...

    • Chapter 4 Desire and Disgust: Ways of Being for God
      (pp. 88-112)

      Nigerian Pentecostalism iserotic. It is erotic in the sense that it has found a way to combine passion with transcendence. Nigerian Pentecostals have rightly discerned that humans are beings governed by passional desire for God—though the desire can easily or often be sublimated or redirected toward other objects or idols. To use James K.A. Smith’s words:

      They rightly understand that, at root, we areeroticcreatures—creatures who are oriented primarily by love and passion and desire. . . . But meanwhile, the [non-Pentecostal] church has been duped by modernity and has bought into a kind of Cartesian...

    • Chapter 5 The Pentecostal Self: From Body to Body Politic
      (pp. 113-142)

      In this chapter I will investigate the Pentecostal conception of the human body, showing how such a view informs our thinking on the body politic. How does the Nigerian Pentecostal view on the human body allow for movement of thought and action from the individual level to the collective, whether political or spiritual? Some of the other questions I will consider are these: How is lived experience of the Pentecostal body linked with the body politic? How does the way a society treats, displays, interprets, and understands the limitations of the body, along with its attempts to transcend the body’s...

  8. Part 2: Ethical Vision of Nigerian Pentecostal Spirituality

    • Chapter 6 Politics: Between Ontology and Spiritual Warfare
      (pp. 145-165)

      Politics is haunted by what it excludes, includes, combats, expresses, or represses. There is always the possibility of specters intruding into the contest and exchange of power even as the specters of possibility float over the site of contestation, like the troubled spirit of Hecuba’s son. Politics, or rather “spectropolitics,” to use Jacques Derrida’s term, is a space of “supernatural and paradoxical phenomenality, the furtive and ungraspable visibility of the invisible.”¹ When spirituality is a spiritism, politics is but a spectrality, the body politic as the carnal apparition, the phenomenal body of spirit and spirit of spirits. The body politic...

    • Chapter 7 Miracles, Sovereignty, and Community
      (pp. 166-200)

      In the last two chapters I examined the Pentecostal conception of the body and its connections with the notions of body politic and the political. The body is conceived in dualistic terms (physical and spiritual, visible and invisible), and this view is mapped onto the body politic and the political. I also showed that the Pentecostal conception of politics is both ontological (about being) and ethological (about being-together). In this chapter I want to examine the potentials of Nigerian Pentecostalism to found a community, a polis, a political community of believers. This is a concern that has recently preoccupied scholars....

    • Chapter 8 Altersovereignty and Virtue of Pentecostal Friendship
      (pp. 201-220)

      This chapter discusses the connection between an alternative notion of sovereignty (altersoveriengty) and the virtue of friendship as a building block of such a form of soveriegnty. Sovereignty is a great subject of philosophical reflection in political science and political philosophy. But in Pentecostal philosophy or theology, it has not emerged as a subject worthy of inquiry. When at a recent Pentecostal academic conference I mentioned sovereignty, many of the scholars immediately thought I meant the sovereignty of God. As we saw in the previous chapter, the scholarship of Ruth Marshall has been instrumental in directing the attention of political...

    • Chapter 9 Spirituality and the Weight of Blackness
      (pp. 221-257)

      I will begin unceremoniously, presenting portions of two sermons. The first is delivered by Pastor Enoch Adeboye on September 30, 2011, in Floyd, Texas, near Dallas. In the narrative he gave a prominent place to his sensitivity to race issues:

      There was a time after I became a Christian, particularly after I have been to Kenneth Hagin’s camp meeting [Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States in the late 1970s], I saw him laying hands on people and people were falling under the power of the Holy Spirit. I said, “God, I want this one too.” I, in fact, challenged God on my...

    • Chapter 10 “This Neighbor Cannot Be Loved!”: Invisibility and Nudity of the “Pentecostal Other”
      (pp. 258-277)

      The chapter is designed to do three important things. Its first task is to highlight the theoretical contributions of this book to the study of Pentecostal Christianity and sum up its arguments. This is will enable us to clearly see the body of knowledge and concepts I have crafted so far. As stated in the introduction, one of the general goals of this book is to show how Pentecostal spirituality helps us to understand Nigerian society. It also to enables us to grasp how Nigeria’s society and culture help us to understand its brand of Pentecostalism. This first task is...

    • Chapter 11 Pentecostalism and Nigerian Society
      (pp. 278-298)

      Let us end with a response to a question an eminent Nigerian scholar put to me as I worked on this book: How can we use Pentecostalism to understand Nigeria, and Nigeria to understand Pentecostalism? My task here is to show how the data and analyses in the foregoing chapters speak to this concern. But, before I proceed, I must undertake some conceptual bush clearing, for the question as asked is not as clear as it seems at first sight. Since the data of this book are not derived from a generic Pentecostal identity, universal in essence, but a specific...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 299-332)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 333-346)
  11. Index
    (pp. 347-361)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 362-362)