Guest / Limited Access /

Clutching pictures of sick relatives, Vera Lucia Oliveira was seeking a miracle—not inside her neo-Pentecostal church, but in the heart of Brazil's largest city.

Oliveira and some two million others took to the São Paulo streets June 3 for the latest March for Jesus, first organized 18 years ago by neo-Pentecostal megachurch Renascer ("Reborn in Christ") and declared a national holiday this year.

Renascer pastor Estevam Hernandes proudly showed off a soccer jersey autographed by star player Kaká, a church elder. "One of the goals of the march is the unity of Christ's church," said Hernandes. "Here are churches of all denominations."

However, the march's strong identification with Hernandes and its emphasis on power pushed away many Christians as well.

"I disagree with the theology behind the March for Jesus, which is one of spiritual warfare and prosperity," said Augustus Nicodemus Lopes, chancellor of Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo. "The March for Jesus is [deemed] a prophetic act … a kind of territorial claim that allegedly destroys fortresses erected by the Enemy in areas where the march happens."

Lopes said it is a "monumental theological misconception" to believe that the march celebrates or promotes church unity. "If evangelicals want to impact our country," he said, "they should do so through lives that exhibit sanctity and ministries that do not cause scandals."

Some observers say the March for Jesus is markedly different in São Paulo than it is in the other 150 nations that take part. "In Brazil, the march has an owner," said Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of the Anglican Diocese of Recife. "The march has turned into the brand name for a patented pseudo-Pentecostalism. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedYou Need a More Ordinary Jesus
You Need a More Ordinary Jesus
We are united with a Christ who seems not to have done much of note for most of his life.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickMy Immigration Status: Beloved
My Immigration Status: Beloved
In Christ I am more than the ‘crime’ I committed at age 5.
Comments
Christianity Today
Jesus March in Brazil
hide thisAugust August

In the Magazine

August 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.