The civil war revival and its Pentecostal progeny: a religious movement among the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria

Burgess, Richard Hugh (2004). The civil war revival and its Pentecostal progeny: a religious movement among the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis is a study of a Christian movement among the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria from its origins in the Civil War Revival (1967-73) to the present. It argues that the success of the revival depended upon a balance between supply and demand. Colonial legacies, Western missionary endeavours, decolonisation, and civil war not only created new religious demands, they contributed to the formation of a missionary fellowship, able to exploit the disorder of Igbo society and the failure of existing religious options to fulfil traditional aspirations. The thesis shows that during its formative period the revival’s Pentecostal progeny also benefited from this missionary impulse, and the flexibility of Pentecostal spirituality, which enabled it to adapt to meet consumer demands. It examines the way the movement has evolved since the 1970s, and argues that the decline of its missionary impulse, combined with a paradigm shift from holiness to prosperity teaching, and a propensity to schism, have imposed limitations on its potential as an agent of transformation. Finally, it shows that during the 1990s, a further shift has occurred towards a theology of socio-political engagement, and examines the implications of this for the movement’s identity and influence in a pluralistic society.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
D History General and Old World > DT Africa


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