Original Research

The unusual practices within some Neo-Pentecostal churches in South Africa: Reflections and recommendations

Mookgo S. Kgatle
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4656 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4656 | © 2017 Mookgo S. Kgatle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2017 | Published: 29 September 2017

About the author(s)

Mookgo S. Kgatle, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This article reflects and makes recommendations on the recent unusual practices within some Neo-Pentecostal churches in South Africa. Neo-Pentecostal churches in South Africa refer to churches that have crossed denominational boundaries. These churches idolise the miraculous, healing, deliverance and enactment of bizarre church performances often performed by charismatic and highly influential spiritual leaders. There have been unusual practices within some Neo-Pentecostal churches that include, among others, the eating of grass, eating of snakes, drinking of petrol, spraying of Doom on the congregants and other experiences. There are many possible theological, psychological and socio-economic explanations for these unusual practices. Given the facts that many South Africans experience various socio-economic challenges, it is argued here that the socio-economic factor is the main explanation for the support of these unusual practices. The unusual practices within some Neo-Pentecostal churches in South Africa are critically unpacked by looking at various churches where the incidents happened. The possible theological, psychological and socio-economic explanations for such practices are outlined in detail. Recommendations are made based on the scientific findings on the unusual practices.

Keywords

Neo-Pentecostal churches; unusual practices; theological factors; psychological factors; Socio economic factors

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