This article discusses the particularity of the theological project of Edir Macedo, leader of The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. The authors propose that this group operates according to an institutional and social regulatory model that is highly seductive in neoliberal societies with large informal economies. The church presents a moral discourse that refutes 'narcissistic' and 'corrupt individualism,' and offers as an alternative rituals that promote sacrificial entrepreneurs who are disciplined and dedicated to family. It is also expected that the elite of the Universal Church provides access to 'social goods' for the vast number of churchgoers. In these ways the authoritarian nature of the church is supported through an expectative of tutelage. Drawing on data from Brazil, Portugal, and Angola, the authors also discuss the relationship between an ideal of social responsibility, the regional political cultures and the maintenance of hierarchical and authoritarian pastoral power at the Universal Church.
Christianity; Theology of prosperity; Secularism; Transnational religiosity