The Localization of Charismatic Christianity among the Chinese in Malaysia: A Study of Full Gospel Tabernacle

in Global Chinese Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity
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Pentecostalism is a major contributor to the globalization of religion and represents the largest and fastest-growing segment of Christians in the majority world. This chapter examines some anthropological and sociological aspects of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity among modern Chinese Christians in Malaysia with respect to postcolonial, religiously plural, and globalizing/urbanizing dynamics via participant-observation of two churches in Malaysia and in-depth interviews with church and lay leaders regarding their understanding of these elements. This chapter concludes that specific practices and traits of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in Malaysia, such as spiritual gifts, worship, Pentecostal-charismatic conversions, emotional expressiveness, and female leadership, are emphasized in response to contextual sociocultural influences. Many of its characteristics may be understood as a counter-contextualizing impulse against the socioreligious, autocratic, and/or ethnic politics of nations such as Malaysia and Singapore that produce a predominantly Western-inflected, transnational network of English-speaking Chinese.

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