Key Points:

  • Pentecostalism should be viewed as a positive resource for modern economic development. It plays a major role in many communities, particularly poorer ones.
  • There are 250 million Pentecostals worldwide, and more liberal estimates go up to 400 million. It is considered as the fastest-growing movement in the history of religion.
  • Conversion to Pentecostalism carries with it a cultural revolution, a turning point away from deeply ingrained traits of Latin American culture, such as those pertaining to the status of women, the education of children, habits of work and leisure, and a general heathenism.
  • Pentecostal churches are often ‘bottom-up’ institutions. An individual decides to ‘plant’ a church, and then has to attract congregants.
  • Pentecostal churches are probably best able to reach out to South Africa’s marginalised communities.