Christian Circulations: Global Christianity and the Local Church in Penang and Singapore 1819-2000
In postcolonial Singapore and Malaysia, Pentecostal megachurches dominate the Christian landscape, but the "big four" Protestant churches--Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Brethren--remain religions of heritage for many people. Christian Circulations focuses on the last of those, offering a transregional history of the Brethren movement and its growth in Singapore and Malaysia. Sixty Malaysian and nineteen Singaporean religious assemblies identify themselves as Christian Brethren, and most trace their roots to independent local churches formed in Penang and Singapore in the 1860s. After World War II, former Brethren elders founded new independent churches, from charismatic local churches and Pentecostal megachurches to a small network of Exclusive Brethren assemblies. Jean DeBernardi traces all these developments and changes, presenting a history of discontinuous continuities that have shaped the modern field of religious practice in Southeast Asia.