Thursday, April 10, 2008

Under the radar: Pentecostalism in South Africa and its potential social and economic role

There is an interesting new study that has been done by the Center for Development and Enterprise in South Africa on the role of Pentecostal Religion in socio-economic development in Southern Africa. Lydia van den Bergh, who now works at the Center, alerted me of this important study. The write up on this study is as follows:

"Noting the explosive growth in Pentecostal churches in post-apartheid South Africa, CDE, in conjunction with Professor Peter Berger of Boston University and Professor James Hunter of the University of Virginia, obtained funding to undertake research with the aim of opening up a discussion of the possible developmental implications of this phenomenon.

This project has revealed a world of activity, energy, and entrepreneurship previously unknown to this otherwise well-informed South African think-tank. Flying under the radar screens of politicians, intellectuals, academics, and journalists are a large number of institutions and individuals that are actively concerned about and working on questions of values and personal behaviour. These concerns include family life, personal responsibility, unemployment, skills creation, and a range of other national concerns.

This report describes CDE’s project, places it in context, outlines its findings, and suggests ways in which policy debates in South Africa might take account of the phenomenal rise of Pentecostal Christian churches."

For more information and a short summary of this study, see: (