Extravagance amidst Extreme Poverty? A Focus on ‘New Religious Movements’ within the Development Discourse in Zimbabwe.





Community Development, Entrepreneurship, Gospel of Prosperity, New Religious Movements, Zimbabwe


During the early 80s, Zimbabwe witnessed a rapid growth of the Third Wave Religious Right Movement (TWRRM), commonly known as New Religious Movements (NRMs). These movements pride themselves on the premise that the gospel of prosperity is its central maxim. The article investigates the theological and developmental contribution of the gospel of prosperity towards its adherents' existential necessities and needs. It is on this premise that these churches have registered considerable success and popularity. This article thus seeks to provide empirical evidence on the contribution of three Charismatic churches and specifically highlight the benefits produced by this type of ‘gospel’ to the basic existential needs of Zimbabweans. The article will further explore whether or not this type of ‘gospel’ contributes to community development. In exploring the contributions of the gospel of prosperity and community development, the study will use a phenomenological approach by E. Husserl as a framework. The term means fundamentalist independent groups which often consider themselves as ‘Bible Christians, born again and charismatic, not as Pentecostals (Kalu 2008, 8). The third wave implies there was the first wave, which was the missionary evangelicalism of the 19th century. The second wave of response was in the 1920s with a “pneumatic challenge with white theology” (Kalu 2008: 8, Mpofu 2014). This African initiative in Christianity thrived on communality and incorporation of facets of primal religion and culture (Ethiopianism and Zionism). The third wave of response gave birth to charismatic Christianity, a movement of revival and renewal, a third response to white cultural domination and power (Anderson 2001). This third wave differs from Pentecostals, deriving from Pentecost with a focus on the gift of the holy spirit. Founders or pastors of this third response are central to lifestyle choices based on religious discourse. The founder leader is understood as the voice and message of God.


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How to Cite

Marimbe, Francis, and Nompumelelo Ndawonde. 2024. “Extravagance Amidst Extreme Poverty? A Focus on ‘New Religious Movements’ Within the Development Discourse in Zimbabwe”. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 50 (1):20 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-4265/15296.



Received 2023-11-12
Accepted 2024-03-25
Published 2024-04-16