Political activism in pentecostal charismatic evangelical churches and the 2019 elections in South Africa

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the public messages of the leaders of six Pentecostal Charismatic Evangelical Churches (PCE) in South Africa during the six months leading up to the 2019 presidential elections in that country. All six leaders presented themselves as knowledgeable about politics and as having solutions to 'fix' the political corruption and the failing economy that plagued South Africa in 2019. In this analysis it becomes apparent that the leaders had different attitudes to and understanding of politics and political activism. Some strongly advocated political activism among their members, others merely encouraged their members to vote on election day, while a third group did not directly mention politics or voting and did not endorse any form of political activism among the members of their churches. Four reasons explain these differences: (a) the theology of the different churches and their respective understandings of the relationship between faith/spirituality and politics, (b) the PCE leader's personal perceptions of politics in South Africa, (c) the leaders' own status as a South African citizen or foreign national, and (d) the socioeconomic situation of the different churches and their members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-336
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Religion in Africa
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Christianity
  • Elections
  • Facebook
  • Pentecostalism
  • Politics
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious Studies


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