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April 12, 2021
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African Pentecostals and the spiritual war against coronavirus – The Conversation

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Does the belief that it can offer more than cultivating “a sense of hope and mutual care in the face of uncertainty” by hyping the limits of spiritual warfare make African pentecostals and evangelicals risk being delusional?

Since the emergence of COVID-19, a number of media commentators and academics have reflected on the “spiritualisation” of the pandemic among responses in different African settings.

There’s been particular interest in the influence of prominent Pentecostal pastors on public health messaging. Some have expressed concern about the possible consequences of their invocations of spiritual warfare.

We’ve examined how idioms of (spiritual) warfare have been deployed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and wish to bring a broader perspective to recent debates about these dynamics. We consider examples from Tanzania and Zimbabwe, drawing on our ongoing research in these settings.

Many Pentecostal Christians, in Africa as well as other continents, portray the coronavirus as a “spiritual force of evil” rather than as a biomedical disease.

Through this lens, the world is presented as a battleground between God and the agents of Satan. For those who enlist to “fight for Jesus”, the most effective weapon is prayer.

Spiritual warfare provides a framework for explaining and responding to both mundane and extraordinary events – from a cancelled flight to a global pandemic. But despite their close association with Pentecostals, these militarised idioms may also resonate with other groups.

Read the full article titled, Pentecostals and the spiritual war against coronavirus in Africa | The Conversation

Benjamin Kirby, Josiah Taru, and Tinashe Chimbidzikai contributed this article on The Conversation

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