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Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Ethiopia

Though the beginnings of Ethiopian Pentecostalism are fairly recent (e.g. in comparison to neighbouring Kenya), a considerable spectrum of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches has developed there, that presently includes all major Protestant denominations. These pages introduce a recent PhD project by Jörg Haustein studying the Ethiopian Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.

Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements are on the rise in Ethiopia and account for much of the explosive Protestant growth in this predominantly Orthodox country. What began as a small student movement in the 1960s has spawned a number of large Pentecostal denominations, with an estimated total of up to 2 million adherents. Moreover, Pentecostal theology and practices have spread to the mainline Protestant churches with the exception of only a few minor ones. A church service in the Lutheran Mekane Yesus Church or the Baptist Kale Heywet Church is often indistinguishable from a Pentecostal one, and all of the large Protestant denominations have accommodated Pentecostal positions and practices in their theology and liturgy.

It is therefore safe to conclude that the vast majority of the 13.7 million Evangelicals in Ethiopia – that is 18.6% of the population – are part of a Pentecostal/Charismatic network. Even the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been affected by Charismatic groups in recent years, mostly in the form of house fellowships.

stadium conference
Conference of Protestant Christians in Addis Ababa, March 2004
This tremendous shift within Ethiopia’s Christianity has hardly been addressed by academic publications in the past. The following pages document a recent PhD project on Ethiopian Pentecostalism and provide some reference material about the movement.

Selected Further Publications by Jörg Haustein on Ethiopian Pentecostalism

  • "Theorizing Pentecostal Historiography: Persecution and Historical Memory in Ethiopia," in PentecoStudies. 11/2 (2012): 171–191.
  • Writing Religious History: The Historiography of Ethiopian Pentecostalism. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011. (Studies in the History of Christianity in the Non-Western World; 17)
  • (with Terje Østebø) "EPRDF's Revolutionary Democracy and Religious Plurality. Islam and Christianity in post-Derg Ethiopia," in Journal of Eastern African Studies. 5/4 (2011): 755-772.
  • "Embodying the Spirit(s): Pentecostal Demonology and Deliverance Discourse in Ethiopia," in Ethnos. 76/4 (2011): 534-552.
  • "Charismatic Renewal, Denominational Tradition and the Transformation of Ethiopian Society", Encounter Beyond Routine: Cultural Roots, Cultural Transition, Understanding of Faith and Cooperation in Development. International Consultation, Academy of Mission, Hamburg, 17th-23rd January 2011. Hamburg: EMW, 2011. S. 45-52. (EMW Dokumentation; 5) → full text
  • "Navigating Political Revolutions. Ethiopia’s Churches During and After the Mengistu Regime" in Falling Walls: The Year 1989/90 as a Turning Point in the History of World Christianity, ed. by Klaus Koschorke. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2009, p. 117-136. (Studies in the History of Christianity in the Non-Western World; 15)
  • "Theorizing Pentecostal Historiography. Persecution and Historical Memory in Ethiopia," in PentecoStudies. 11/2 (2012): 171-191.
  • "Historical Epistemology and Pentecostal Origins: History and Historiography in Ethiopian Pentecostalism," in: Pneuma. 35/3 (2013): 345-365.
  • (with Emanuele Fantini) Special Issue of PentecoStudies (12/2): Pentecostalism in Ethiopia. Sheffield: Equinox, 2013.
  • "The New Prime Minister’s Faith: A Look at Oneness Pentecostalism in Ethiopia," in PentecoStudies. 12/2 (2013): 183–204


Contributed by:

Jörg Haustein

Cambridge, UK
University of Cambridge
last modified 2013-12-13 23:41