What are the main beliefs of Protestants

Contemporary Brazilian Protestantism: Biblical Evidence Against the Prosperity of the Neo-Pentecostal Movement


CUNHA, David Carvalho [1]

CUNHA, David Carvalho. Contemporary Brazilian Protestantism: Biblical Evidence Against the Prosperity of the Neo-Pentecostal Movement. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Volume 05, Ed. 06, Vol. 10, pp. 146-157. June 2020. ISSN: 2448-0959, access link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/theologie-de/brasilianischer-protestantismus



Because of the formatting of its main religious beliefs, Neo-Pentecostalism has brought representativity, directly and indirectly, to the beliefs of most Protestant Christians in Brazil. However, the emphasis on some of these beliefs, when put into practice, has led to disagreement and debate among other Christians, particularly regarding wealth. So the question arises: What are the main differences between the practices of the early church, contextualized in the first century, and the practices of neo-Pentecostal churches? This study aims to describe the major Neo-Pentecostal churches, to identify their main beliefs and doctrinal errors regarding biblical prosperity, and to counteract this indoctrination, which had the greatest focus in their encounters, with the biblical truths taught by early Christians and were practiced. A bibliographical survey was carried out to discuss the subject. In the conclusion, the exaggerated emphasis on material prosperity is highlighted as the greatest theological deviation of the Neo-Pentecostal, and this term is newly meaningful and the relevant biblical refutations are presented as evidence of the correct doctrinal restorations.

Keywords: neopentecostalism, early church, material prosperity, biblical truths.


The world context that went through the 19th century is characterized by one remarkable event: economic, social, political, technological and religious revolutions. It must therefore be emphasized in this reflection that humanity has experienced scientific advances and new spiritual discoveries. Indeed, this was the great century of missionary expansion into Christianity, which makes its mention relevant. But amid the influence of the Enlightenment, the rationalization of human thought in opposition to faith, along with these discoveries and technological advances, Christianity began to face a powerful enemy within: theological liberalism. At this moment the Pentecostal work arises, perhaps as a great answer or divine invitation to combat this spiritual cooling.

It is therefore believed that it is necessary to live true experiences with the Lord of the Holy Spirit, as the apostles lived at Pentecost (one of the three most important annual feasts of Israel, the second chapter of the biblical book of Acts of which commemorates this feast describes the death and resurrection of Christ (this occasion represents the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus). It was the first milestone of this movement that it certainly characterizes as true. The new Pentecostal or Neo-Pentecostalism springs directly from Pentecostal, the religious context of Brazil, at a time when cultural diversity was a determining factor in the construction of beliefs, rituals and customs that characterize the most striking feature of Brazilian religiosity: mysticism .

Given the context presented, it is necessary to mention that, in some ways, the mystical influence that is present in the daily thinking of the Brazilian people, and also in their actions, has reached space even within this movement that leads them to strange beliefs and distorted practices leads. Thus, the theological context in which the neo-Pentecostal churches meet reveals the need for critical reflection in search of the truth that can lead them to return to the essence of the gospel of Christ. Hence, the great dilemma lies in what the main theological difference would be between the early church and the neo-Pentecostal churches, and it is also a matter of reflecting on what rebuttals are necessary to resolve this doctrinal error. Thinking about such distinctions justifies the relevance of the present study.

This study aims to present the major denominational denominations of the Brazilian neo-Pentecostal movement, to identify their major persuasive and doctrinal inconsistencies regarding material prosperity, a topic that has had the greatest focus on liturgies, embodying this theological thinking with biblical truths to prove doctrine and reflect on the practice of first century church Christians. The method used in the research was the bibliographic one, using books and electronic websites as the basis for obtaining historical items, for mapping liturgies and customs, for gathering information, and also using the Bible as a source for the construction of the necessary principles used for correct refutations, and some practical examples from the first Christians in history were also highlighted.


According to Freston (1993), Brazilian Pentecostalism can be understood through the implantation of certain churches in the last century at three different times (Pentecostalism, Deuteropentecostalism, and Neopentecostalism). The first moment lasted about forty years and was marked by an emphasis on the gift of tongues (as described in the books of Mark 16:17 and Acts 2: 4) beginning with the Christian Congregation founded in São Paulo in 1910 and of the assembly of God in Pará in 1911. The second moment spanned the decades from 50 and 60 and was marked by the emphasis on the gift of healing (according to the books of Mark 16:18 and 1 Corinthians 12: 9), with the main protagonists being the square churches, founded in 1951, Pará, Brazil for Christ 1955, São Paulo, God is love in 1962, Sao Paulo and House of Blessings 1964, Minas Gerais.

The third moment began in the 1970s with the founding of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) in 1977 and the International Church of God's Grace (IIGD) in 1980, both in Rio de Janeiro and later in Rio de Janeiro with education other churches with less expression. Silva (2007) reports that the prefix “neo”, known as the neo-Pentecostal movement, has been added to this third wave of the Brazilian Pentecostal movement in order to differentiate these new churches based on their new practices, beliefs and profiles. César (2000) presents a detailed list of seventy-nine churches from the three waves of Pentecostalism. The IBGE data from 2010 [2] show that Pentecostal / Neopentecostal evangelicals are the second largest group in the country in the Brazilian religious scene.

Hence the importance of this movement for Brazilian Christianity is demonstrated. However, a study is needed to determine the truthfulness of neo-neo-neophyte beliefs.



The first URHI was built in an old funeral home in The Abolition, the city of Rio de Janeiro, and the first service took place on September 7, 1977, as reported on its official website [3]. César (2000) adds that Edir Macedo became the church of Nova Vida in Botafogo, also a city of Rio de Janeiro, and, for reasons unknown, left this church some time later with his brother-in-law Romildo Ribeiro Soares, known r. R. Soares, both founded IURD.


César (2000) reports that due to theological differences, shortly after the founding of the IURD, R. R. Soares separated from Macedo and founded the IIGD on June 9, one thousand nine hundred and eighty. The official IIGD website [4] reports that R. R. Soares was the first to speak of Christ on prime-time Brazilian television from the Show da Fé program.


The story of the founding of the Universal Church of the Power of God (IMPD) is described on its official website [5] and says that after a great release during an accident in Mozambique, Africa, with the ship that left him on the high seas for hours, she Valdomiro Santiago returned to Brazil and founded the IMPD on March 3rd, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight. Seeking to show Jesus Christ alive and present, the Church declares that supernatural signs will follow those who believe (as described in Mark 16:17, 18).


As reported by Revista Ancora [6], Agenor Duque had a significant time with IURD and IMPD and was one of their chief pastors. After leaving these denominations in September 2006, Duque inaugurated the Apostolic Fidelity of the Throne of God (IAPTD), which in less than a decade had a sizable place on the national religious scene from radio and television programs.


The present, Apostle Estevam and Bishop Sônia Hernandes, began worshiping in their homes in 1985 when they left the Church to which they belonged, as reported on the Church Renascer em Cristo official website [7]. In a short time with the increase in the number of participants some halls were used until on March 12th, one thousand nine hundred and eighty, the Renascer em Cristo Church in the Avenida Lins de Vasconcelos in São Paulo was officially inaugurated. Renascer emphasizes material prosperity in Christian life and the ministry of praise. The Church's official website, Sara Nossa Terra [8], states that the Robson and Maria Lúcia Rodovalho couple began working in cells in 1992. In 1994 the Sara Nossa Terra Church in the south-west of Brasília was consecrated. The church currently has a television station and retransmitter, radio, publishing, and gospel record label. Yet dozens of churches and evangelical congregations with neo-Pentecostal strands and lesser expression were born between 1980 and 2000.


The practices and beliefs of this movement distinguish and define the third wave of Pentecost of the others. USP magazine (2005), which stands out with this theme as the main features of the neo-pentecostal movement, the attempt to abandon religious asceticism, the valorization of pragmatism, the theology of prosperity, the work of mass proselytism, the theology of spiritual struggle with an emphasis on Afro-Brazilian Religions and Spiritism etc. The XI. National Symposium of the Brazilian Association of the History of Religions [9] highlighted the theology of prosperity and the theology of spiritual struggle as the two main doctrines, the Brazilian Neo-Pentecostal Movement, both of which are developed by foreign-born movements. This study will turn to the most controversial issues related to prosperity in the Christian life, presenting practical examples and the nature of the thought of early Christians as a refutation due.


The theology of prosperity presents to Christians biblical principles for a prosperous third country life in all respects, i.e. in material and financial, spiritual and psychological terms, including one's health and emotions, etc. Keneth Erwin Hagin led this teaching movement in the United States in the 1970s. Gondim (1993) reiterates that Hagin would have converted after his father's abandonment, clinical problems with the mother and poor health since childhood. Then, at the age of sixteen, he would have had some spiritual out-of-body experiences, such as visits to heaven and hell, which drove him through conversion and Bible study. The emphasis is on the reflections of Mark 11:23 and 24 (“For I really tell you when someone says to this mountain: get up and throw yourself into the sea and do not doubt in his heart, but believe that he will do what he says, it will be with him. That is why I say to you: Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received, and it will be with you ”).

Hagin discovers the secret that provided his healing and the great emphasis on his ministry: "Believe in your heart, your mouth, and it will be yours." In this sense, Mariano's study (1996) also describes Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller, Jerry Falwell, T. L. Osborn, Charles Capps, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Paul Crouch, and Fred Price as the main propagators of prosperity theology. In Brazil, the theology of prosperity has usually been adopted by the leadership of the neo-Pentecostal churches and many Pentecostal churches, which has been one of the great motivational strategies to attract the public to their meetings and also to become one of the most important parts of the liturgy of their worship services. In order to present the theology of prosperity more systematically, it is defined from two themes corresponding to positive creed, determinism or the power of the word and the materialization of faith. POSITIVE CONFESSION (THE POWER OF THE WORD)

It teaches that the spoken word (from the Greek rhema) must be put into practice through faith. Araújo (2007, pp. 616 and 617) says that “Faith is a confession”, that is “what I confess what I have”, or that the confession “creates realities with the words spoken by the mouth”. Determinism, or boldness in the exercise of the power that is present in an avowed word, is one of the greatest features of the neo-Pentecostal movement. It should therefore be noted that:

  • "You are the one who determines your victory: I have decided that if I were hugged by the man of God I would be healed," read a testimony on the official IMPD [10] website, which tells the story of an Angolan lady that she would come to Brazil by faith and receive a hug from the Apostle Valdomiro.
  • “I will prove to him that his faith is greater than his faith,” said the apostle Agenor Duque [11] during a campaign called “Miracles of Manasseas”, in which the memory of an alcoholic man was erased and he was freed from addiction would.

The official website of the IIGD [12] motivates believers to practice the doctrine of determination, that is, blessings should not be asked of God, but should be claimed. MATERIALIZATION OF FAITH

Another essential practice in the Neo-Pentecostal environment is promoting the "materialization" of the faith, that is, the believers are encouraged to put their expectations into miraculous campaigns, anointed objects, powerful fasts, and so on. As for the miraculous campaigns, the IIGD reports the following testimony on its official website [13]:

In 2006 my daughter had a college grade problem. Whenever I prayed for her, the verse came to mind: "First seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness." One evening after praying, I turned on the TV on the Show of Faith show. That verse was on the screen and the missionary said, “My sister, is your daughter in trouble? What are you waiting for to sign up as a sponsor? " I immediately enrolled her and she managed to get approved for the glory of God. I love jesus

The IURD reports on its official website [14] about the success of a faithful woman who took part in the “Holy Bonfire of Israel” and decided to set the salary that her husband would receive from the value deposited on the church altar. shortly thereafter be blessed with exactly the suggested amount. In 2009 Pastor Silas Malafaia received Pastor Morris Cerullo in Rio de Janeiro for special participation in his television program Vitória em Cristo [15]. On that occasion, Pastor Cerullo presented the believers with a bold challenge, claiming that God would change the history of the business and social positions of those who made a sizable donation of R $ 911.00.

Regarding the use of objects as an aid to the realization of the faith, the IIGD [16] reports that one of its believers was given a cure for cigarette addiction after placing a glass of water on the television and receiving prayers. In relation to the practice of fasting, IURD [17] has a habit of calling believers to "fast for impossible reasons" every Saturday.He states that the only way to find a solution is to concentrate quickly on impossible situations.


Any religious theory must be based on reasons sufficient to permit its rites and practices. In the case of Christianity, the Holy Bible corresponds to the highest authority that supports its beliefs and beliefs. The apostle Paul explains: "[...] Faith comes through preaching and preaching through the word of Christ." (BIBLE, Romans, 10:17). And yet: "All scriptures are inspired by God and useful to teach, to blame, to correct, to educate righteousness." (BIBLE, 2 Timothy, 3:16). Then God gave man the scriptures as a source for the revelation of his will. Gonzalez (2004, p. 27) explains: “[…] the Word of God (which is the truth) can confront the Church with the demand for absolute obedience […]”.

Hence, every doctrinal principle developed in the history of the Church was necessarily to be based on the Bible, which is the greatest expression of God's will for man. Once it is made clear that all Christian theology must find support in the Word of God, we can argue that the Biblical Book of Acts of the Apostles introduces four practices that contributed significantly to the growth of the early Church: “And they persisted in the Teaching of the apostles and in the community, in the breaking of bread and in prayers ” (BIBLE, Acts, 2:42, our griffin) and as a result of this, and as a result of it, and as a result, and as a result: “Of the multitude of those who believed there was one heart and one soul. Nobody looked at his own alone or at any of the things he owned; but everything was common to them ” (BIBLE, Acts, 4:32, our griffin).

So the following considerations fit: From the perspective of the first century Church, what method is used so that there are no necessities among the brethren? And how are these extreme social inequalities combated in the neo-Pentecostal contemporary context, since there are rich and poor in the churches? Who should be the true person responsible for providing financial blessings among those who believed God or the Church herself? These simple reflections, when viewed through the eyes of the early Church, undoubtedly lead us to the inevitable conclusion that the "prosperity theology" applied to the context of the first century Church, the use of faith necessarily for the benefit of others contrary to what we perceive in the present moment of the church where the use of faith only restricts the use of faith. in search of your own satisfaction.

The faith that the Holy Spirit reveals in the scriptures is not the expectation of what I want God to do for me, but the conviction of what God has to achieve in me and above all through me. It means understanding and loving the good, pleasant, and perfect will of Christ. The Bible (1993, Hebrews, 11:24-26) explains that Moses, understanding the will of God, preferred to be abused with his people than to be part of Pharaoh's family by refusing to receive the riches Owning Egypt and enjoying the temporary pleasures of sin. The apostle Paul promptly brings consolation: “For I am sure that the sufferings of the present cannot be compared to the glorythat is revealed in us ”(BIBLE, Romans, 8:18, our griffin).

It has been shown that the truth described in the history of the church in the biblical book of the Acts of the Apostles shows that the great campaigns of the early church were not aimed at individual enrichment from the entitlement to certain blessings, but at the collective participation achieved through a relational belief and a created heart was guaranteed. From this perspective, it is great nonsense because of the financial gap between the great religious leaders and their employees, as increasingly luxurious temples are being built at the expense of many members who own miserable houses, of which pastors, bishops and apostles are at the expense of many members of precarious hostage-takers Enjoy public transport caries, private jets and yachts.

The great paradox in prosperity theology, however, lies between positive creeds and the need to make sacrifices or "sacrifices" in order to receive blessings, for this generally awaits finance or any kind of materialization of the faith, and therefore it should be emphasized that it manifests itself from determinism or the power of the spoken word. If so, what should be the correct method for receiving blessings: lip-dictating or buying with offers? In fact, no extreme corresponds to biblical teaching, as the reflections show. The Bible (1993, Acts, 4:10) reports that Peter is eating filled with the Holy Spirit when asked how he performed the healing of a paralyzed man from birth, declaring that it was by power in the name of Jesus Christ is.

At another point, the Bible (1993, Acts, 8:13-20) records an episode in which Simon was baptized shortly after he accepted the Christian faith. And when he realized that by the laying on of the hands of the apostles, the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to those who believed, Simon offered money to gain the same authority. Then Peter warns him by stating that trying to obtain God's gift through money would only be for his own forgetfulness. Thus, these two examples clearly show that the theological idea of ​​the first disciples relating to the miracle of physical healing did not depend on the exclusive determination of human desire, but on the will and power that is in the name of Jesus, likewise, authority to obtain divine gifts was not based on a price that could be measured in terms of money. but to the exclusive concession of the Holy Spirit according to his multifarious grace.


The Bible contains all the theological foundations and practical support for defending the Christian faith. It is a fact that validation of the beliefs and practices of prosperity theology is only aided in isolated spiritual experiences that do not persist when confronted with biblical truths and practices common to the New Testament Church. In considering the comparisons between the early and neo-Pentecostal churches, through the themes that define the theme of biblical prosperity, the logical conclusion is that while a church mobilizes in collections, donations and shares and the power that is in the name of Jesus, to work miracles for the benefit of their neighbors, which others have their own attitude. , focuses more on possessions.

Articulated from campaigns, intentions, and sacrifices of interest, it tries to indulge in a selfish determinism that could only long for its own benefit. Absolutely, the Christian life should not be represented only through a superficial relationship with God on the basis of exchange in which generous “sacrifices” are “offered” to the Church in order to miraculously obtain material goods, or for reasons that who are directed to an insatiable search for the joys of this world, whose happiness is measured by all these victories won. True life in Christ reveals that evangelical faith enables the reach of what God wants to do in the Christian, and not just what the Christian wants God to do for him.


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[1] Degree in engineering with a focus on electronics (CEFET-RJ); Interdenominational theological seminar (Uninter); Post-graduate in chaplaincy (Faveni); Post graduate in the history of religion (Faveni).

Published: September, 2019.

Approved: June 2020.

Engineering with a focus on electronics (CEFET-RJ); Interreligious Theological Seminar (Uninter); Postgraduate studies in clergy (Faveni); Postgraduate studies in the history of religion (Faveni).