Monday, October 22   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



Carlos Martínez García

Religious Change in Latin America (II)

In this second article I am focusing on the growth of Pentecostalism and the so called prosperity gospel

KAIROS AND CHRONOS AUTHOR Carlos Martínez García TRANSLATOR Noemí Sánchez Read 17 FEBRUARY 2015 18:10 h GMT+1
latin america evangelicals pentecostalism Jesus festival, in Brazil. / Emol

In this second article I am focusing on the growth of Pentecostalism and the so called prosperity gospel. The cradle of the latter and its proponent preachers in Latin America was Brazil, yet among those countries studied, identification with this belief was lowest there.   

Among the evangelical denominations, Pentecostalism has the highest level of growth in Latin America. While this is not a new discovery by the Pew Research Centre, the study shows evidence of Pentecostal predominance across the Continent.

The Pew Research Center defines Pentecostals as those whose “worship services often involve experiences that believers consider to be ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’, such as divine healing, speaking in tongues and receiving direct revelations from God”. Over half of those interviewed - 52% - identified themselves as Pentecostal, although only 47% said they belonged to a Pentecostal denomination. The difference is accounted for by the 5% who describe themselves as ‘Pentecostals’ while belonging to “historical” denominations.

Looking at individual countries, almost 4 in 5 Protestants in the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Panama belong to either a Pentecostal church or otherwise identify themselves as Pentecostal.

While the rate is lower in Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Argentina, Honduras, Ecuador and Chile, still around two thirds of Protestants similarly identify themselves as Pentecostal.

Pentecostals consider divine healing as one of their core beliefs. The study asked participants if they had ever witnessed divine healing. The countries with the highest affirmative answer (70-72%) were Brazil, Colombia and Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. The lowest reported levels were Mexico (48%) and, surprisingly, Chile (46%) given it has the longest Pentecostal history.

When participants were asked if people spoke in tongues, prayed for healing or prophesized, the affirmative responses were higher, with levels of 90-93% of participants in Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic. In Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay levels were 75-78%. The rate was lowest (69%) amongst the Hispanic population in the United States of America.

In general, the style of worship in protestant churches tends to be Pentecostal in nature, even among those denominations which do not consider themselves as such. Many historical denomination churches have also adopted a more charismatic style which not long ago they would have regarded as Pentecostal.

The study found that 90% of Colombian participants said they jump, raise hands, clap and call out during worship. Among those from Panama the figure was only slightly lower at 86%, and 84% for Costa Rica and Paraguay. Fewer worshippers consider themselves as expressive in Mexico, Peru and Uruguay (70%) and Chile (63%).

Among Latin American countries, Brazil has the longest history of support for the so called prosperity gospel, which affirms that financial and physical health is a guarantee to all believers. While more than half (56%) of Brazilians participating in the study identify with this belief, this is much lower compared to those from Venezuela, Guatemala and Bolivia, where support for the prosperity gospel is around 90%.

The relatively higher level of scepticism in Brazil is probably linked to a series of weaknesses and scandals amongst its proponent preachers.

Pentecostals, or Charismatics, are the fastest growing element within the Catholic Church as well as among Protestant denominations. I will consider this, among other topics, in my next article. 




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - - Religious Change in Latin America (II)
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

How does romantic love change over time? How does romantic love change over time?

Psychatrist Pablo Martínez uses a metaphor to explain how romantic love evolves.

‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.