Igreja Renascer em Cristo

A Brazilian church known for its contemporary worship style and influence in media and politics.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Pentecostal
Founders: Estevam Hernandes and Sônia Hernandes
Founded: 1986
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Size: Approximately 1 million members
Other Names: Renascer Church
Website: renasceremcristo.com.br

The Igreja Renascer em Cristo, or Reborn in Christ Church, is a neopentecostal Christian denomination that was founded in 1986 by Apostle Estevam Hernandes and Bishop Sônia Hernandes in São Paulo, Brazil. The church promotes a message of renewal and restoration, emphasizing the principles of prosperity and an abundant life as central to its theology. Worship services are characterized by their charismatic approach, with a focus on the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues and divine healing, as well as a strong emphasis on worship and praise.

The church has expanded rapidly since its inception, establishing itself not only across Brazil but also in other countries, including the United States, Japan, and Portugal. As of the early 2000s, it boasted millions of members and a wide network of temples globally. One of the hallmark events organized by the church is the annual “Marcha para Jesus” (March for Jesus) in São Paulo, which draws participants from various evangelical denominations nationwide​​.

Igreja Renascer em Cristo has also made significant inroads into media and cultural spheres. It founded the Gospel Records label in the 1990s and has been involved in broadcasting through Rede Gospel and Gospel FM, expanding its reach through television and radio. The church’s music ministry, Renascer Praise, has been nominated for a Latin Grammy and explores a wide range of musical styles in its worship, from rock and funk to pagode and rap, aiming to attract a broad audience through its diverse expressions of evangelism​​.

Despite its growth and influence, the church has not been without controversy. In 2007, the founders Estevam and Sônia Hernandes were arrested in the United States for failing to declare a significant amount of cash upon entry. They were sentenced to a period of imprisonment before returning to Brazil. This event, among others, has led to various legal and media scrutinies over the years​​.

Moreover, the church’s teachings on prosperity and material wealth have been a point of debate and criticism, aligning it with the broader prosperity gospel movement which is often controversial within and outside evangelical circles. The church’s influence in politics has been a subject of discussion and controversy in Brazil, especially regarding the separation of church and state. Despite these controversies, Igreja Renascer em Cristo continues to play a significant role in the Brazilian religious landscape.

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