Understanding Proliferation of Pentecostal Churches: The Role of Intra-Chruch Social Conflicts and Religious Freedom
30 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 18, 2013
The unbridled proliferation of Pentecostal churches in the world and particularly in Africa has steered up concerns among adherents of religious faiths, onlookers and academics alike. One area that has not been critically evaluated is the role of intra-church conflicts in Pentecostal church proliferation. Conflict is endemic in religious institutions and the Pentecostal churches; a component is not left out. Most of these conflicts are linked to religious freedom, poor governance and intra-church altercations. Conflict is a situation of disagreements, arguments, clash of interests, loyalties and emotions. It is evident where there are opposing ideas, opinions, feelings, wishes, and beliefs. It is a situation of incompatible goals. Interaction is the bane of conflict. Pentecostal churches involve social human beings and as such not free from conflict. This is an ethnographic study which employed qualitative approach of data collection such as key informant interviews and participant observation complimented with secondary data, anchored on Victor Turner’s theory of social drama. The study combines emic (insider’s) and etic (outsider’s) perspectives in data collection and method of analysis is purely descriptive. Some anthropological extrapolations were made thereby unraveling causes, reasons for church proliferation, incidences of conflicts and the techniques of conflict resolution employed by selected Pentecostal churches studied. The study accepts religious freedom but argues that unregulated religious freedom fosters/breeds excesses from religious institutions.
Keywords: Conflict resolution, Pentecostal churches, Proliferation, Social relations, Social drama, religious freedom
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