The Wesleyan Religio Pectorum in Relation to Brazilian “Cordial” Religion: Between Adaptation and Enculturation

Helmut Renders


This article suggests an understanding of the major Brazilian Protestant and Pentecostal expressions of the religio cordis—the “religion of the heart”—not primarily on the basis of the Protestant theology or conceptuality, but rather as a variation of the culturally established Catholic iconographic language of the “warmed heart,” characterized by a profound mystical emphasis and a lack of interest in any critical encounter with the world in search for its transformation. In the vast majority of its occurrences, the religio cordis brasiliensis seems to be a religious expression and underpinning of the world view of the “cordial man,” a sociological type created by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda in the 1930s to describe  the Brazilian national character. Alternatives to this “cordial” religion do appear, however, and could be explored to develop an authentic Wesleyan religio pectorum within and as a contribution to a Brazilian spirituality that might be able to overcome the extremes of rationalism and mysticism and may lead to the articulation of a Christian lifestyle that is both affectionate and engaged.


Religion of the heart; religio cordis brasiliensis; "cordal" religion; Brazil; Methodism;

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