The power of submission

Self and community in Fijian Pentecostal discourse

by KAREN J. BRISON

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Pentecostal Christianity can lead to moral tensions by advocating the impossible goal of freeing the interior self from social entanglements. But many Pentecostals see no tension between self and community. The Harvest Ministry, an independent Fijian Pentecostal church, encourages people to develop the interior self by submitting to a hierarchical church. This construction frees successful urban professionals from some social pressures and defines them as good Fijians committed to community above self with a special cultural ability to succeed in world Christianity and free enterprise. Constructing the self as embedded in a corporate community is a strategy most likely to appeal to those seeking access to a world community.