Head over to Marginalia for the full review essay, titled "The Politics of Prosperity: Pentecostalism as Critique."
Just to give you a taster, here are two excerpts:
"Ilana van Wyk’s monograph The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa: A Church of Strangers offers a thorough (and often troubling) account of the UCKG in South Africa, and more specifically of one large congregation located in Durban. Van Wyk’s analysis hinges on the fact that the UCKG is very different from other Pentecostal or charismatic churches found in the region. While participation in one of these latter groups often produces key social relationships and institutions, van Wyk describes the UCKG as “a church of strangers,” a group that “looked and acted like a multinational business.” [...] Moreover, the endless requirements to give to the church meant that money earmarked for things like rent or school fees wound up in the offering plate instead, easily leading to further resentment on the part of family members whose needs became secondary to the demands of the UCKG. [...] why would anyone want to be part of it?"
"Around the world Pentecostal churches are sites of struggle, places where believers engage the problems facing their communities, families, and nations. Pentecostal practice is therefore, I would argue, political in the truest sense of the word. As the political theorist Ruth Marshall points out, Pentecostalism is an intervention, a commentary on how power should be used and articulated. Add to this observation the fact that the retributive aspects of Pentecostalism often take aim at those who appear to have enriched themselves through nefarious means, and it is clear that through Pentecostal adherence believers are making a claim to power, a claim that asserts that the contemporary order of things is not what it should be. Little wonder then that Marshall refers to the recent rise of Pentecostalism in Africa as a revolution. Little wonder then that this form of Christianity is so compelling to millions around the world. Seen from this angle, followers of the prosperity gospel emerge not as hapless juggins deceived by Elmer Gantry-like preachers, but rather as political actors pushing back against often-faceless powers that they believe are propped up by occult forces. Pentecostals, who are frequently found on the margins of the global political economy, are inserting themselves in this field of power, getting God on their side, and claiming victory."