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Pentecostal Theologies of Healing, HIV/AIDS, and Women’s Agency in South Africa

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This article examines the gendered implications of healing theologies in black South African pentecostal churches dealing with the HIV/AIDS crisis. Lived theologies of healing enhance women’s flourishing by providing or encouraging medical, social, and psychological support. However, pentecostal theologies of healing can impede women’s flourishing by creating a burdensome sense of responsibility in which women blame themselves for not being healed. More disturbingly, many women consider prayer as the most faithful or most feasible strategy for HIV prevention. This article identifies women’s constrained choices as a theological imperative for Pentecostalism to address gender inequality.

Affiliations: 1: Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee


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