USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Pentecostalism and other Christian “renewal” sects are some of the fastest-growing religious movements on the planet, particularly in the global South. The common feature of most Pentecostal groups is a focus on an ecstatic experience that believers describe as “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” which manifests in the form of speaking of tongues, healing and prophesy.

The sheer numbers of Pentecostals in places like Brazil, Nigeria and China mean that they exert a powerful influence on the way economic development, religious authority and politics are evolving in those regions. CRCC has deployed researchers in more than 20 countries across the global South and East to study Pentecostalism and its impact in the developing world.

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“In the Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Pentecostalism is the dominant faith. The religiously motivated projects that serve the poor, prisoners, gang members and the homeless in these areas are almost exclusively Pentecostal. … What remains unclear is the role that the increasingly powerful Protestant contingent will play in Brazilian history.”

—Andrew Johnson
“Brazil’s Sleeping Giant”