Category Archives: Reviews

Biblical Accuracy and Nonviolence in Paul: Apostle of Christ – Movie Review

by Craig Keener, originally posted on his blog.

Here are my first impressions of Paul: Apostle of Christ. First of all, I am very grateful that such films are being made. That gratitude overwhelms reservations on any other points. As you might guess (because I am a biblical scholar), movies about biblical themes are my favorite, and among the few kinds of movies I must see.

The various scenes of Rome are splendidly done; they make ancient Rome look like ancient Rome. For modern viewers far removed from the world of the New Testament, this provides an invaluable benefit. The film also dramatically captures the horror of people being murdered for their faith (or because the powerful in society deem them expendable). I appreciated the numerous echoes of Paul’s letters (and a crack about the Corinthians), although sometimes when Paul tells Luke to write something down it comes from Paul’s earlier letters, not from Acts. Continue reading Biblical Accuracy and Nonviolence in Paul: Apostle of Christ – Movie Review

Is Pentecostalism Doing More for Africa’s Poor than International NGOs?

Review originally published at the LSE Africa Blog. Reposted with permission.

Gregory Deacon of Oxford University says that the book Pentecostalism and Development: Churches, NGOs and Social Change in Africa (edited by Dena Freeman) provides some compelling answers regarding Pentecostalism and development.

With its noisy churches and high profile media presence, Pentecostalism is religion writ large and exciting. Dramatic claims are made – for example that it is ‘redrawing the religious map of the world’.[1] Dena Freeman’s edited volume tackles head on whether this is good or bad for development. This is done in the context of 30 years of neoliberalism and an explosion in numbers of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as Pentecostal churches. The role of both in alleviating poverty and improving living conditions for Africans is considered.

Over the past three decades, Pentecostal Christianity has exploded across Africa. At the same time many secular development agencies, including the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), have been struggling to incorporate religion and faith based organisations into their policies and processes. As a research fellow at the University of Oxford looking at religion and development, I have similarly found Pentecostalism impossible to ignore. Continue reading Is Pentecostalism Doing More for Africa’s Poor than International NGOs?