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Title: Neocharismatic-evangelical Christianity in Britain : religious growth through public engagement
Author: James, Bradley
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 352X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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The thesis examines the under-studied contemporary phenomenon of White British growthfocussed, “apostolic” neocharismatic Christianity, in a local context. The neocharismaticevangelical constituency of “Folkfield,” a city in the east of England, is sampled and analysed using an ethnographic group case study, centred on two of the city’s largest churches: one, a Hillsong-affiliated independent, the other a Newfrontiers “multi-site” church plant. Also presented is a sample of other local neocharismatic figures, groups and initiatives, all of which were active within the city between 2011 and 2013 when fieldwork was undertaken. The case studies, having described and locally historicised the actors in question, focus on the organisation of social welfare provision advanced by these groups to the local population. These services are found to be at the core of emerging efforts by charismatic “post-denominational” churches to incorporate themselves visibly as local public actors alongside secular institutions. The services are found to be designed not simply in response to the local needs of the population, however, but in accordance with a given group’s internal culture: its religious and theo-political ideology, and the membership structures enforced by self-determined “apostolic” leaders. At the same time, to the extent that a biblically sectarian group does advance an agenda for public engagement, it is found in this study to be kept necessarily aware of its position in a wider evangelical Christian polity (in this case, that specific to Folkfield): A polity comprised of other independent churches and church leaders, some allies, some not; and in which modern neocharismatic groups must also consider their position within the pre-existing Christian establishment – that is for instance, whether or not to partake in co-operative ventures with local denominational actors, including of course the Church of England. The primary lens for understanding the religious subject is therefore socio-political, generating insight upon these groups as public institutions using a data record compiled through participant observation, document analysis and interviews with relevant local actors – neocharismatic, denominational, and secular. The thesis concludes with a summary of possible future avenues in research, in order to further advance the political as well as sociological understanding of “post-denominational” Christianity in Britain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available