Nigerian Pentecostalism Thriving on Miracles, Prosperity Promises
Millions are flooding to join Pentecostal churches in Africa where vows of miraculous healing and promises of pending fortunes attract the overwhelming population of sick and poor on the continent.
In particular, the West African nation of Nigeria is experiencing the fastest growth in Christianity in Africa with Pentecostal churches playing a large role in this development.
Nigeria is said to have the worldâ€™s third largest population of Pentecostals with 3.9 million members, following Brazil with 24 million and the United States with about 6 million adherents, according to the World Christian database.
But what makes Nigeria as well as other African nations unique is their heavy emphasis â€“ moreso than Pentecostalism in the West â€“ on miracles, which incorporate traditional African beliefs, and material blessings....
I think that the biggest thing about Pentecostalism that draws them is that salvation is only the beginning of the Christian life. The fact that Jesus promised power to witness is the central core belief, not prosperity.
I have several African Pentecostal friends, two are from Nigeria. As far as I know they do not adhere to the prosperity doctrine. Blessing Adeoye is starting a Christian reading room in Nigeria, where he is originally from. He is very particular about the books that he makes available. As a Pentecostal, he will not accept any books that propagate the prosperity message. He is also an elder at the Urbana Assembly of God Church where I used to attend.
The point I am making is that Pentecostalism is not automatically equivalent to prosperity. Secondly, not all Nigerian Pentecostals subscribe to the prosperity doctrine.