Ethnology: An International Journal of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Vol 51, No 2 (2012)

FIJIAN AND PAPUA NEW GUINEAN PENTECOSTAL MISSIONARIES

Karen J. Brison

Abstract


Scholars argue that Christians from the Global south will shape world Christianity as they come to dominate demographically. Pentecostals speak of a shared kingdom culture and see transnational networks as flat and decentralized. But Pentecostal rhetoric often draws on Euro-American neoliberal theories of individual “mindset transformation” and corporate management and resonates with earlier colonial rhetoric. This suggests that Christians from the global south might embrace Euro-American ideas instead of offering a significantly different vision. This paper examines an independent Fijian Pentecostal church that sends Fijian and Papua New Guinean missionaries to several areas of the world. Shared kingdom culture is undermined when each local church transforms common ideology to construct a positive local identity. The same process undermines the dominance of Euro-American neoliberal and neocolonial ideas and constructs an imagined world community of Christians based on submission to local leaders rather than promoting individual entrepreneurialism and global hierarchies.

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