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Links and Parallels between Black and White Charismatic Churches in South Africa and the States: Potential for Cultural Transformation

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In the study of early and late twentieth century South African independent churches, a rigid differentiation is usually made between African and European charismatic movements and independent churches. This paper rejects such a simplistic view and argues, instead, that there are important historical links between recent White and older Black charismatic movements and independent churches. More importantly, the parallels between them have to do with processes of formation which are based on the use of common core symbols of transition from the Old Testament and on similar spiritual experiences which are seen to confirm Biblical texts and to be confirmed by them. Charismatic movements have arisen among Blacks and Whites, rich and poor and have tended to achieve personal and group transformations through prophecy, vision, music, and worship.

Affiliations: 1: Karla Poewe is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, The University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr., N.W. Calgary, Alta. T2N IN4 Canada


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