MELANESIA BURNING: RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15725
In the history of Pacific Christianity, the explosion of revival activity within Melanesia during the 1970s remains an untold story. Within this regional spiritual upheaval, ecstatic Pentecostalist phenomena spread with unprecedented rapidity, intensity and geographical scope. As a result of these movements, Christianity assumed an importance in Melanesia in a way it never had before, as local congregations redefined their church life and spirituality over and against mission Christianity. This article documents a major branch of this regional revivalism. A detailed description of this series of interconnected movements transitions to an explanation of their success in terms of four factors: the mutual ramification of the revivals with political independence movements; the fact that despite being built on theologies of world breaking, the revivals dovetailed with traditional Melanesian religious experiences; the existence of interdenominational organisations that expedited the movement of people, practices and ideas across local, regional and national frontiers; and, finally, the personal dimensions of Melanesian revivalism, whereby the genesis, uptake and diffusion of revival movements often depended crucially upon the persuasive capabilities of influential Christian leaders in each society.
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