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Pentecostalism and Charismatic Christianity in Southeast Asia: Church – Nation – World (2/2)

A207
Panel Chair: Katja Rakow | Tuesday, August 25, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Studies on Pentecostal/Charismatic movements in Southeast Asia have so far received only limited attention despite their public profile in Southeast Asian societies. Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians show a rising visibility in the public sphere – may it be via media, public prayer rallies and intercessory marches in mega-cities, through active candidacies in local and national political settings, as well as through community and social engagement. As an effect of the same global Pentecostal discourse that posits believers as vehicles of the Full Gospel to their immediate surroundings and the world, others have opted to stay out of a deeper worldly engagement and found new meaning in concentrating on individual transformation, holiness, evangelization, and building their own congregation and thereby giving them a higher profile in the public sphere as well. The interdisciplinary panel presents current research and case studies that interrogate the role of these religious movements in contemporary Southeast Asian societies.

Giovanni Maltese

Conditional Cash Transfer, Contradictoriness and Pentecostal Politics in the Philippines: A Proposal for a Genealogical Ethnography

The Philippine Conditional Cash Transfer program requires its beneficiaries to attend Family Development Sessions, facilitated by NGOs. In Dumaguete, Philippines, the facilitators of such sessions are mostly Pentecostal pastors. What is Pentecostals’ place in Philippine politics and society? Drawing on various stereotypes by which Pentecostalism is described in public discourse, Pentecostal articulations on poverty and prosperity oscillate between appropriating and rejecting social and political categories. This contradictoriness translates in serious methodological problems. I submit that Pentecostal politics can only be described through a thorough historization of said articulations – a genealogy of their signifiers and names. It is exactly this contradictoriness that shows Pentecostals’ determination to participate in the competition for interpretative dominance in the discourse about status quo and social change.

Joel A. Tejedo

Pentecostal Civic Engagement in the Public Sphere: A Case of a Pentecostal Ministry in the Slum Area of Baguio City

Civic Engagement has been increasingly recognized as one of the resource capitals that empowers the lives of the poor. Yet, research about the civic engagement of Pentecostals in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines, remains understudied and invisible in much of the literature on civic engagement. This paper attempts to investigate the impact of Pentecostal/Charismatic religion on civil society and asks what the study of "spirit empowered" religion contributes to our understanding of the role of religion in human society. We utilize a quantitative and qualitative approach of enquiry to flesh out empirical evidences that reveal what Filipino Pentecostals believe and practice about civic engagement. We provide a case study of our findings to further point out that Pentecostals in the Philippines are not on the “sideline” of civic engagement but one of the religious players in the creation of what they see as a just and loving society.

Susanne Rodemeier

An Analysis of Sermons in a Charismatic Church on Java, Indonesia

Looking at messages of sermons in charismatic Mega-Churches is of high relevance. First and foremost, it is important because every Sunday several thousand believers receive an input on what and how they should think. Secondly, on Java, people repeatedly mention the appealing topics of the sermons as reason for joining a charismatic church. Therefore, I assume that the ideas, descriptions, and interpretations of the preacher are becoming part of his listeners’ thinking and acting. An analysis of sermons from 2014 reveals topics that particularly appeal to Christian people on Java. Therefore the focus of the paper is on the ways in which topics such as Javanese manners, democratic elections, and the economy of Korea are presented in the Family of God Church (Gereja Keluarga Allah) in the central-Javanese town Surakarta.

Katja Rakow

Response

Katja Rakow will respond to the issues raised in the previous papers.

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