Marti “The Adaptability of Pentecostalism”

Marti, Gerardo.  2012.  “The Adaptability of Pentecostalism: The Fit between Prosperity Theology and Globalized Individualization in a Los Angeles Church” Pneuma 34(1): 5-25.

Abstract: A main theme in the study of global Pentecostalism is its adaptability to the modern world system; yet, the way in which adaptability “works“ is not well theorized. Hannah Arendt’s analysis of “the private and public realm“ and Ulrich Beck’s description of “individualization and self-culture“ offer heuristic frameworks for understanding how prosperity theology is well-suited to macro-historical patterns that address the growing individualization of everyday life, especially in relation to uncertain career paths and risk-oriented work structures. Arendt’s and Beck’s theoretical conceptualizations move away from sect-like notions of Pentecostals cultivating a bounded system among the non-Spirit-filled natives. Instead, their theoretical conceptualizations reveal Pentecostalism — especially in its prosperity orientation — to be fully compatible with individualization processes experienced by and demanded from today’s workers. A case study of the ministry of Oasis Christian Center to Hollywood entertainment industry workers illustrates connections between the Prosperity/Word of Faith orientation of the congregation and overarching processes of individualization.