Universal Church of the Kingdom of God

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Universal Church of the Kingdom of God
Templo de Salomão - 1.JPG
Temple of Solomon, headquarter of UCKG.
Classification Protestant
Theology Neopentecostal with prosperity gospel
Leader Edir Macedo
Region 200 countries approx. in 2012
Headquarters São Paulo, Brazil
Founder Edir Macedo and R. R. Soares
Origin July 9, 1977
Official website http://www.universal.org

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG, from Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus [iˈɡɾeʒɐ univeʁˈsaw du ˈʁejnu dʒi ˈdews] or IURD) is a Pentecostal Christian denomination with headquarters in the Temple of Solomon, in São Paulo, Brazil. It was founded on July 9, 1977 in Rio de Janeiro by Edir Macedo.

In 1999 it had 8 million members in Brazil,[1] and had established temples in the United Kingdom and, since 1992, set up temples in Africa and in India, with a 1999 total of more than 12 million members worldwide.[2][3] By 2013 UCKG had congregations in Brooklyn, New York City and other US locations.

The Church has frequently been accused of illegal activities and corruption, including money laundering, charlatanism, and witchcraft, and intolerance towards other religions. It has been subject to bans in several African counties, and was implicated in the murder in Britain of Victoria Climbié, only prayed for rather than protected and treated. There have been accusations that the Church extracts money from poor members for the benefit of its leaders.


Beginning and split with R. R. Soares

Gazebo of Jardim do Méier Square, place where UCKG began.

Edir Macedo's 2012 book Nada a Perder (Nothing to Lose)[4] covers the early history of the Church. It was founded in 1977 by Macedo and his brother-in-law R. R. Soares in Rio de Janeiro.

Macedo converted to Evangelism at Igreja Cristã de Nova Vida, a Pentecostal church founded by the Canadian bishop Walter Robert McAlister. In 1968 he met Soares, who also joined. Macedo wanted to become a minister of that church, but was not accepted by its leaders, and decided to change to another denomination. Soares became interested in another church, called Casa da Bênção, and invited Macedo. In that new church they saw for the first time the boldness in possession and deliverance of demons, but only Soares was consecrated as a pastor.[5]

Edir Macedo still wanted to start his ministry; in 1975 Soares and another pastor invited him to inaugurate the Cruzada do Caminho Eterno, which was a kind of embryo of the Universal Church. The services were held in some cinemas they rented for a few hours.[6] To increase the number of members Macedo began to preach in a gazebo at the main square of the Méier neighborhood.[7]

In 1977 Macedo rented the building of a former funeral home, officially the first temple of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and also the beginning of the dispute between its founders Macedo and Soares, because Soares thought the rent was too high.[8]

In 1980 Macedo went to New York state to start the ministry in the United States, but soon returned to Brazil to solve administrative problems with Soares. Some of Macedo's principles clashed with those of Soares, such as, according to Macedo, the hiring of pastors from other denominations while Macedo was planning a completely fresh denomination, financial management, the centralization of the image of the "Missionary R. R. Soares". They decided to call a vote for the leadership among the 15 pastors UCKG had at the time; Macedo won by twelve votes to three.

Soares resigned from the UCKG and founded the International Grace of God Church, using the copyright of the books of Thomas Lee Osborn.[9]

From 1989

Cathedral of Faith in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

UCKG expanded to Portugal in 1989,[10] the first European location for the UCKG[citation needed]. Their proselytism was aggressive, and they were accused of charlatanism and commercial interests that put into question their claims to be a religious organisation.[10] During the 1990s they were very visible and energetic, attacked the Catholic Church, and amassed contributions sufficient to build a "gigantic" temple in Oporto.[10] In 1995, a scandal ensued after the attempted purchase of the well-known theatre Coliseu do Porto[10] to transform it into a temple. The Church then began expanding into Eastern Europe.

In 1989 Macedo and the Church purchased Rede Record, which by 2013 was Brazil's second-largest television network.[11] In 2009 the Workers' Party (PT) government in Brazil bought advertising from Rede Record, which it had formerly limited to Catholic publications, in new venues, and paid for public service messages in UCKG media outlets.[11][12]

The church follows prosperity theology, asserting that faith and commitment to a church are rewarded with wealth.[13] and in the late 1990s started trying to change its image of being associated with only the poorest people. In 1998 Macedo appointed his nephew Marcelo Crivella as Bishop. Crivella said, "We want to win the middle class."[2] In 1992, Crivella began a mission in Africa, resulting in the creation of multiple UCKG temples. Crivella returned to Brazil in 1998, and was given a four-bedroom condominium in an exclusive development, where Macedo also lives. He is married to Sylvia Jane, with three children who attend a Methodist school in Río de Janeiro.[2]

Some observers of the time thought that Crivella was being promoted as a competitor to the popular Catholic priest-singer, Marcelo Rossi, who had sold over 4 million albums.[2] In 1999 Crivella was reported to have signed a contract with Sony Music to make three albums, one in Spanish. The first CD, The Messenger of Solidarity, sold 1.3 million copies that year.[2]

Crivella was the only pastor whom Macedo authorized to hold large events in stadiums. He has been effective at attracting crowds: the first time appearing at the Nilson Nelson gymnasium in Brasilia, with a capacity for 25,000 people; he filled the Estádio Fonte Nova in Salvador, and the Mineiro in Belo Horizonte. In October 1999, Crivella packed the Maracanã football stadium in Río de Janeiro. By the end of that year, Crivella planned to have sung "in the largest football stadiums in the country" according to weekly news magazine Veja.[2]



Information in the second decade of the 21st century shows that the UCKG is encouraging blood donation by its members; in various regions hundred of donations have been made, with numbers significantly higher (e.g. by 28%) than before UCKG involvement.[14][15][16]


Edir Macedo has said he wants to "create a theocratic state" by winning elections in Brazil.[17]

In 2002 Bishop Crivella was elected a federal Senator for the state of Rio de Janeiro, as a candidate for the Liberal Party. In 2005 he switched his affiliation to the Brazilian Republican Party, of which he was a founder. The party has been described as a vehicle to run candidates for the UCKG.[18] As of 2015 Marcos Pereira was head of the party. Other prominent members are Bishop Marcelo Crivella of the UCKG, José Alencar, former Vice President; and journalist Celso Russomanno.[19]

Crivella also ran for mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 2004 and 2008, both times unsuccessfully, and for governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro in 2006 and 2014.


Reports in 2009 from a Brazilian governmental investigation of money laundering estimated that the Church received R$1.4 billion per year in tithes, collected in 4,500 temples in 1,500 cities in Brazil. From 2003 to 2008, deposits for the Universal Church of the Kingdom God in Brazil reached R$3.9 billion.[20]

As of 2015 UCKG's founder Edir Macedo had a personal fortune estimated at US$1.1 billion.[13]

Investigation by The Times in 2011 into the UCKG's UK accounts found that donations declared for the financial year 2009-10 were £9,700,000, of which more than £7m was used to purchase fixed assets. Over the previous 16 years it had built up £33,700,000 in fixed assets, and had claimed almost £8m in taxpayer subsidies since 2003.[21]

UCKG reports and financial statements give a picture of the organisation. The 28 February 2014 accounts of the UK UCKG HelpCentre (registered charity 1043985)[22] give an overview of the organisation's aims, and detailed accounts as submitted to Companies House. The report says that "the charity exists to advance the Christian faith and for such charitable purposes as the Trustees shall from time to time decide. ... It is committed to helping people to discover their potential and live life to the full as well as working to expand and reach out to as many people as possible with the message of the Gospel. This is done through evangelism, advertising campaigns and the opening of new branches. The charity also provides financial support to its sister churches in developing nations via the issue of loans presented as programme related investments in the balance sheet."

A complete list of charitable activities stated is:

  • Provision of Church Services: the charity's primary activity.
  • Support for Overseas Churches: loans and donations to our sister churches.
  • Training Centre: providing vocational in London.
  • Children's Biblical Centre
  • Bookshop: run by the charity
  • Delight Cafe: with proceeds going to the work of the HelpCentre.
  • Pilgrimage to Israel
  • One-off events:

Income: Total voluntary income £14,139,298, of which £12,073,881 from donations from church services, plus £1,646,936 from the government as gift aid reclaim (taxpayer subsidy). From fundraising and investment about £850,000. Support costs (staff, electricity, etc.) £1,304,695.

Charitable expenditure: total £10,661,372, of which £9,607,636 on provision of church services.

Book value of tangible fixed assets (mainly land and buildings): £40,846,703, similar to the previous year.

The church's influence

According to Forbes magazine, as of 2015 UCKG's founder Edir Macedo had a personal fortune estimated at US$1.1 billion, largely from his ownership of Rede Record, the second largest broadcaster in Brazil.[13] The church's continuing growth, and controversies since Macedo purchased Rede Record attracted frequent media attention. In addition, claims against the church and government efforts related to other investigations have caused review of its operations. In 2013 Macedo acquired a 49% stake in privately held bank Banco Renner, which charges some of the highest interest rates in Brazil; the source of funding to buy the bank is unclear, and some reports alleged that he used church funds.[13]


Most UCKG doctrines are the same as most conservative Evangelical-Pentecostal doctrines. Specific doctrines include belief:[23]

  • That the baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers believers for service and endows them with supernatural gifts.
  • That ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher are divinely ordained.
  • That Jesus Christ appointed two ordinances to be observed as acts of obedience:
    • immersion of the believer in water (baptism)
    • the Lord's Supper, symbolic of consuming the body and blood of Jesus, in remembrance of his sacrifice and in the expectation that he will return.
  • In divine healing as described in the Christian Bible. The translation recommended by the UCKG is the 1982 New King James Bible (NKJB; different from the original King James Bible, KJB); they say "it is the most true to the original we’ve found so far. Also be aware of the Jehovah's Witness version."[24]
  • That people can be sanctified (become holy[25]) during their lifetime.
  • The UCKG does not believe that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is sufficient enough to work in the congregant's life today; it teaches that a member of the church has to make a "total and complete"[26] sacrifice of what they depend on to God through the church (for example, a month's pay, or savings) twice a year without telling anybody;[26] they commonly refer this as the "Campaign of Israel."[27][28]

The UCKG also considers that "hard work, perseverance and faithfulness to God" will produce earnings for people, and that a tithe of expected earnings should be given to the Church,[29][30] a doctrine called prosperity theology. They offer the "promise of the psalm" (Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd): peace, healing, protection, prosperity and favour.[31]

A 2015 academic paper by Ilana van Wyk, author of the 2014 book The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa analyses "Prosperity and the work of luck in the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God" in South Africa, where the UCKG has a very significant presence. She found, based on long-term fieldwork, that the traditional Protestant doctrine of frugality and ability to work hard had been largely replaced by the prosperity gospel at the heart of popular Protestantism, with the pursuit of "blessings" superseding older concerns over secular vocations and hard work. She found that in churches such as the UCKG members were urged to demand "miracle jobs" and reject humble vocations and low pay, regardless of qualifications, skills or experience. Complementing her book, the paper examines the role of good and bad luck in the lives of believers, how it attempts to regulate the flow of money and its relationship to older notions of prosperity, fate and good fortune.[32] Further findings are in her book (see Bibliography), discussed in an interview at its launch.[33]

The church has been accused of intolerance and demonisation of African-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda, with aggressive speech and attacks on temples.[34] In 2005 a Brazilian court ordered that Macedo's book Orixás, Caboclos e Guias: Deuses ou Demônios? be removed from stores as prejudiced and attacking the religious freedom of members of religions of African origin;[35][36] the judgement was reversed on freedom-of-expression grounds after a year of litigation.[37]

Supporting evidence

Doctrines are simply stated by the UCKG; no evidence for them, or for any fundamental beliefs, is given.[23] The UCKG Web site lists "case studies", with names but no other identifying information, of people who are reported to have benefited from UCKG membership.[38] Categories are Deliverance, Family Finances, Love Life, Transformation of Life, and Health and Spiritual Healing. A typical example is a man writing that he had a criminal record and was in debt, who thought that the UCKG Campaign of Israel would restore his financial situation, and said that he cleared his debts and changed his character, ultimately being phoned out of the blue by a company who had heard good things about his work, and gave him a responsible, well-paid job, which he considered due to the Campaign. A name and location (Stanford Hill) is given, but no other supporting information.[39]

Tithing and offerings

The UCKG considers that the first ten percent of all income, before doing anything with the money, "belongs to God" as a tithe, quoting the Bible as authority.[40][41] The first tithe should include 10% of everything owned at the time. They give very detailed instructions on what is to be paid, when, and to whom, distinguishing between rules for salaried workers, business owners, the self-employed, pensioners, and the unemployed, including beggars. Guidance is given for money received as a loan, gifts, benefits, and the sale of property. The tithe is to be paid to the Church as soon as possible; it is not acceptable to defer payment in time of need—this is compared with being unfaithful to your wife and being faithful later. If payment is deferred for any reason, then it must be increased by a fifth, on Biblical authority. The UCKG says "the Biblical way of tithing is to bring the tithe onto the altar of the church (see Deuteronomy 14:25)", but accept payment by debit order, "if you must".

The Church is very clear that "You must tithe everything that comes to your hands ... wages [gross, not after deductions], overtime pay, bonuses, unemployment benefit, child support, business profits/profit from business, pensions, allowances, interest earned on an account, inheritance, prizes, commission, sales, gifts, etc."

The church's position is that failure to give tithes is robbing God: "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me." (Malachi 3:8,9). They say that tithe has a direct impact on salvation. The question is posed "How can tithe benefit my finances if after giving I am left with less than before?"; the answer is described as "the miracle of tithe": "when you tithe you can count on God's protection upon your money ... He promised to bless you with more than you can have room for ... When you tithe, you remove yourself from under the curse of those who rob God." A clear distinction is made between tithe, which is an obligation, and an offering. Tithe is to be paid before an offering, without deducting the offering from the 10% tithe. Tithe is said to mean faithfulness, submission and obedience; and offering to mean love, faith, thanksgiving, and sacrifice.

The Church offer a Financial Seminar "for people who are in pursuit of financial growth, independence, stability and as well opportunities in the financial world (Jobs, Promotions, Recognition and the like), people who do not accept failure, poverty, misery, loses [sic] and want a turn over in their life because they believe that they are worthy of much more."[42]

Tithes are stated to be used so "the Church can pay its existing expenses and plan to expand the work of God", quoting "That there may be food in My House." (Malachi 3:10). This also means that tithes must not be paid to a charity for the needy instead of the Church, because their primary purpose is to maintain the house of God. "The responsibility rests with the church authorities to decide whether after the needs of God's House have been met to use the remainder in aid of the poor."

Relations with other religions

A UN report published in 2009 by Brazil's Committee Against Religious Intolerance (CCIR) stated that Pentecostal churches in general, and the UCKG in particular, was harassing and attacking, sometimes violently, people of other faiths and spreading religious intolerance. The UCKG was "demonizing" especially Afro-Brazilian syncretic religions such as Umbanda and Candomblé; "Jews are portrayed as 'the killers of Christ', Catholics as 'devil worshippers', traditional Protestants as 'false Christians' and Muslims as 'demonic'", the report said. spiritists were also reported to have been the subject of attacks. The UN Committee is made up of the leaders of 18 religious and human rights groups. The committee's chairman said "Fascism and Nazism started this way, from demonizing other groups"[17]

Although it is reported that UCKG attacks Jews because they "killed Jesus", in June 2014 bishop Edir Macedo, accepting the repudiated notion of Jewish deicide, said in his personal blog "Thank God for the Jews!", giving four reasons: Jesus said that Salvation is of the Jews (John 4.22), for lessons that can be learnt from their history, for rejecting him, and for sacrificing him: "Who would have the courage to sacrifice Someone so pure, so holy, so noble, so fair, so merciful, so Great? ... Without realizing it, the Jews did the will of God the Father and offered Jesus as a sin Offering, the scapegoat. They implemented the Law so our sins could be forgiven."[43]

A 1995 incident in Brazil known as the "Kicking of the Saint" attracted unfavorable publicity for the Church.[44] Violent public protests against UCKG temples followed a 12 October 1995 incident in which UCKG-owned Rede Record broadcast a video of UCKG Bishop Sérgio Von Helder kicking and insulting a Catholic figure of Our Lady Aparecida, whose feast day is 12 October. Facing legal charges, Von Helde fled the country but was later tried and convicted of religious discrimination and desecration of a national sacred treasure; he was sentenced to two years in prison.[45] Edir Macedo apologized for Von Helder's actions, but accused Rede Globo, Brazil's largest television network, of "manipulating public sentiment" by repeatedly showing a video of the incident.[46]


The church has frequently been accused of illegal activities, including money laundering, charlatanism,[47][48] and witchcraft.[47] A book by ex-pastor Mario Justino reports a system of goals for the pastors, with those who collect more money receiving awards such as bigger houses, better cars, and holidays.[28][49]

The church is accused of extracting money from its often poor congregants, and using it to enrich UCKG leaders rather than assisting the needy.[48][50] Accusations of charlatanism are the most frequent. The church has been under formal investigation in Belgium.[51] Newspapers in the US, UK, Brazil and Zambia have reported on charges of abuses by the church.[52][53][54][55]

In August 2012 a man had an epileptic fit at a São Paulo, Brazil UCKG service. He told the pastors, and went to the back of the temple to take his medicine. The pastors attacked and punched him, saying he was "possessed by the spirits of darkness". The Church was ordered to pay R$10,000 compensation; it appealed, but the ruling was confirmed by the São Paulo Court of Justice.[56]

In December 2012 the UCKG was ordered by a court in Lajeado, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil to pay R$20,000, confirmed on appeal, in compensation for coercing a businesswoman and her partner to make donations they could not afford. The couple were in financial difficulties, and had been led to believe that UCKG blessings would help them. The judge determined that the donations (car, jewellery, home appliances, a mobile phone and a printer) were induced, to prove faith and subject to the threat of withholding the blessings needed. The inducement, to the couple and the rest of the congregation, was that the more money was donated, the more Jesus would give in return.[57][58]

Charges of fraud and money laundering

In August 2009, a judge accepted prosecution charges against Bishop Edir Macedo and nine other UCKG leaders who were charged with fraud against the church and its followers. According to The Guardian, government prosecutors accused the men of laundering more than US$2 billion in donations from 2001 to 2009, and using much of it for personal gain, buying property, jewelry and cars. "A $45m (£27m) executive jet, reportedly owned by Bishop Macedo, has become the most visible symbol of the scandal."[59]

Following a 10-year investigation, the São Paulo prosecutor reported the operation works in the following manner: donations were gathered from followers, and placed in private banks in both New York (via Invest Holding, a private lending bank) and London. The money is sent through Cable Invest, a private bank located in the Cayman Islands. Finally it is sent to Brazil though Brazilian lending companies "Cremo" and "Unimetro", lender banks that divide the funds among Rede Record (UCKG owned television network) executives, who in turn supply more money to UCKG officials.[59]

On October 19, 2010, the São Paulo Justice Court (TJ-SP) by a majority vote annulled all charges made by the São Paulo Public Ministry against the UCKG and its principal representatives. The judges ruled that the São Paulo prosecutors did not have jurisdiction to investigate the case, as the accusations were of a type that fell into the federal jurisdiction.[60]

Accusations in the United States

The UCKG near Houston, Texas was first inaugurated in the Pasadena area in 1992. Within less than a year the organization opened another location in the greater Houston area at North Shepard/Garden Oaks intersection in The Heights area.

Francisco Martinez case: In 1995, Francisco Martinez started out as an energetic member who volunteered for church activities. He passed out gospel pamphlets to people on the street. Due to his service, the church administration made him a "church collaborator", given him responsibility to do errands under the order of the pastor Carlos Moncada. Martinez was sent to the grocery to buy items to be used in church services, including olive oil. But, the congregation was told it was "Holy Oil" imported from Israel. He bought wooden crosses made by a local shop, and said the church's claimed Holy Water was delivered by trucks labeled as carrying natural spring water.

Martinez contributed to church investments for future projects. In July 1998 he contributed an estimated $30,000 (U.S. Dollars) into a "private" church account; he said that Moncada's administrators promised to pay back all the money in a period of 2 to 6 months, but he never heard from them, nor did he ever receive a call from the bank. He told reporters that the church had pressed him for that substantial "donation".

In February 1999, Martinez filed a lawsuit against the church in a Houston court for an estimated $2.1 million (U.S. Dollars) for the principle, interest and damages. The court ruled in his favor and gave the church 90 days to pay the settlement. By May 1999, the church had paid him $1.4 million of the judgment. In May 2000, Martinez spoke to local media KTRK ABC 13 and KTMD Telemundo 47 (then known as KTMD 48). He said that the church forced him to do illicit acts and non-church related activities that involved money laundering, fraud and "trash talk" related to other members.

When Carlos Moncada was interviewed and questioned about the oil, he said the church used olive oil imported from Israel. Questioned about the use of church collections, he declined to answer. UCKG performs exorcisms for members.[61] Martinez says; "That was all drama." Former church members in Houston accused the Houston branch of similar acts. The reports made headlines throughout the United States.

Victoria and Jesus Lorenzo case: Victoria Lorenzo and her husband Jesus were a married couple who joined the Houston UCKG in 1996. When in August 1999 they raised questions with representatives of the state attorney's office about the church's fund-raising tactics, officials said that church members make their donations voluntarily, so there was no legal violation.

Victoria and Jesus Lorenzo left the church in late 1999 after having given $60,000 in a period of 3 years as members of the church. They lost their office-cleaning business and then their home, and had to declare bankruptcy. They complained that in their time of need, the church did not offer them any help.

"Holy Oil of Psalm 23, blessed in six destinations in Israel" as described above was still being used by the UCKG in 2012; it is praised and described as being distributed in London, UK in the UCKG's UK Web site.[31]

In 1992, Bishop Macedo, the founder and leader of the Church, was prosecuted for tax evasion in the state of São Paulo and imprisoned for 11 days.[47] No charges against him were proved and the case was archived.[62]

Victoria Climbié's death (UK)

Victoria Climbié was an eight-year-old child whose cruel[63] death in the UK led to major changes in child protection policies. She died from abuse and neglect while living with her great-aunt Marie-Therese Kouao and the aunt's boyfriend. Victoria was seen by dozens of social workers, nurses, doctors and police officers before she died, and by a pastor of the UCKG, but all failed to spot or stop the abuse. Kouao and her boyfriend were charged with child cruelty and murder. During police interviews, both claimed that Victoria was possessed by evil spirits. They were both convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.[64] Victoria's murder led to a public inquiry which investigated the role of social services, the National Health Service, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and the police in her death.[64]

In February 2000 UCKG Pastor Álvaro Lima saw the girl and expressed the view that she was possessed by an evil spirit,[64] saying in a written statement to the inquiry that Victoria had told him "that Satan controlled her life, that Satan had told her to burn her body".[65] He advised Kouao to bring Victoria back to the church a week later,[64] saying later he suspected she was being abused, but he did not notify any officials. He prayed for her with an assistant.[65] He saw her again several days later with her mother, and advised Kouao to take the girl to the hospital, where she died of her abuse.[66] The UCKG had been planning to hold a service to "cast out the devil" from her, on the day she died.[66]

Belgian parliamentary inquiry

In 1997 the Belgian Parliament Inquiry Committee on Cults[67] described the UCKG as a dangerous cult, and recommended its formal proscription. The report said that "[The Church] claims that the Kingdom of God is down here [on Earth] and that it [the church] can offer a solution to every possible problem, depression, unemployment, family and financial problems. In fact, [the UCKG] is apparently a truly criminal association, whose only purpose is enrichment."[68] The Belgian report generated controversy for varied reasons, and the Parliament ultimately rejected most of it.[69]

Accusations in African countries

In 1998, UCKG was banned from Zambia under the accusation of "unchristian practices". The ban was lifted after the church appealed to the Supreme Court. In November 2005 it was again banned from Zambia under the accusation of promoting satanic rituals,[70] and the work permits for its pastors were revoked.[71] The ban was again lifted after appeal to Justice.[72] Zambia is a Christian country by its 1996 constitution.

Also in 2005, UCKG was banned from Madagascar, after members were arrested for burning a Bible and other religious objects in public.[71][73] The church was banned with the argument that it had been licensed in 1998 as a "foreign society" and not a "cult society". In later years the UCKG (in Malagasy, Fiangonan’ny Vondrona Kristian’ny Fanahy Masina (FVKFM)) encouraged blood donation by its members; in one campaign 300 donors were recruited, far more than before the involvement of UCKG.[15]

UCKG was suspended for 60 days in Angola in February 2013 after an incident at the Citadela Desportiva in December 2012, which resulted in the death of several people.[74] The Aid Organs of the Presidency of the Republic also recommended that similar churches which have not been recognised by the state be banned, including “Igrejas Mundial do Poder de Deus”, “Mundial do Reino de Deus”, “Mundial Internacional”, “Mundial da Promessa de Deus”, “Mundial Renovada" and "Igreja Evangélica Pentecostal Nova Jerusalém”[75] be suspended. In Brazil this news was published with a response from local religious leaders.[76]



  1. (BBC News)Latin America: "Brazil's multinational 'commercial church'", BBC
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Roberta Paixão, "O sucessor de Edir Macedo" (The successor of Macedo), Veja, 11 March 1999, accessed 24 June 2013
  3. "JACOB, C.R.; HEES, D.R.; WANIEZ, P.; BRUSTLEIN, V. Atlas da Filiação Religiosa e Indicadores Sociais no Brasil, São Paulo: PUC-Rio - Edições Loyola, 2003. ISBN 85-15-02719-4"
  4. Macedo 2012
  5. Macedo 2012, pp. 159–164
  6. Macedo 2012, pp. 187–189
  7. Macedo 2012, pp. 200–202
  8. Macedo 2012, pp. 210–214
  9. Macedo 2012, pp. 214–217
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 A Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus em Portugal, Claudia Swatowiski, XIV Congresso Brasileiro de Sociologia, 28 a 31 de julho de 2009, Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Igreja também procurou Dilma para manter pacto inalterado", Estado de São Paulo, 25 February 2013 (Portuguese)
  12. IURD Cables, WikiLeaks, 10/11/2009
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "The World's Billionaires: 2015 Ranking - #1638 Edir Macedo & family". Forbes. 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015. The bulk of Macedo's fortune stems from his ownership of Rede Record, Brazil's second-largest broadcaster, which he acquired in 1990 from entertainer Silvio Santos.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. UCKG Web site in South Africa hosting a blood drive in Soweto in 2011, and encouraging members to donate blood, 30 March 2011
  15. 15.0 15.1 La Coueur et la voix de Madagascar Web site: Santé - Don se ang de la communauté FVKFM. tvmada.com (Malagasy)
  16. bizcommunity.com, South Africa: information provided by UCKG: members in the Pretoria area commit to becoming regular blood donors, 30 August 2012. "The number of active blood donors has increased by 28% since the first blood drive held at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) in the Pretoria region. This year the churches in Pretoria, Mamelodi and Soshanguve invited members to donate life-saving blood and more than six hundred people attended the three blood drives."
  17. 17.0 17.1 Frayssinet, Fabiana (3 July 2009). "RELIGION-BRAZIL: Intolerance Denounced At UN". Interpress Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. O Globo:A Igreja Universal e o custo da megalomania, 20 October 2014
  19. "Longe do PP, Celso Russomanno diz que eleitorado de Maluf é bem-vindo". JB. 8 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Policia: "Inquéritos contra a Universal foram arquivados, diz advogado" (Investigations were filed against Universal, says lawyer), Terra, 11 August 2009, 24 June 2013
  21. The Times: Church that coaxes people into debt gets public subsidy, 2 April 2011. (subscription required) Quoted in Malcolm Redfellow’s Home Service
  22. "Charity Commission Web page for 1043985 - THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, with links to accounts". Apps.charitycommission.gov.uk. Retrieved 17 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. 23.0 23.1 UCKG website, "What we believe" lists many points, most of them common to all Pentecostal doctrines
  24. UCKG: How to Read the Bible
  25. Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.Sanctify: to make (a person) holy, to purify or free from sin
  26. 26.0 26.1 "7 Steps to Being Blessed in the Campaign of Israel". Uckg.ca. Retrieved 18 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Campaign of Israel - Articles, Messages". Blogs.universal.org. Retrieved 18 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. 28.0 28.1 Justino, Mario (1995). Nos Bastidores do Reino (PDF) (in Portuguese). São Paulo, SP, Brasil: Geração Editorial. ISBN 8586028061.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Portuguese)
  29. UCKG Web site: Tithers must be like eagles, July 2013 "We are encouraging you to put God to the test and, during this month of July, give the tithe of what you can 'see yourself' earning, as through your hard work, perseverance and faithfulness to God, you believe you deserve."
  30. UKCG Web site: Yellow rose- fo prosperity
  31. 31.0 31.1 Web site: Could one drop of oil really make a difference?, 17 May 2012
  32. van Wyk, Ilana (2015). "Prosperity and the work of luck in the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, South Africa". Critical African Studies. 7 (3): 262–279. doi:10.1080/21681392.2015.1050216. ISSN 2168-1392.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Mysterious Money Ministry: Ilana van Wyk's A Church of Strangers Launches at UCT". Wits University Press - Books Live. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. Emilio Sant Anna & Ricardo Muniz, State of S.Paulo (15 November 2008). "Aos cem anos, umbanda ainda sofre preconceito - Vida & Estilo - Estadão". Vida-estilo.estadao.com (in Portuguese). Retrieved 28 December 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. State Agency (10 November 2005). "Teor preconceituoso faz Justiça proibir livro de Edir Macedo - Cultura - Estadão". Cultura.estadao.com (in Portuguese). Retrieved 28 December 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. e diretores da Record são processados por descaminho
  37. TRF libera circulação do livro de Edir Macedo
  38. UCKG Web site, "Case studies"
  39. UCKG: Bailiffs were constantly knocking on my door…
  40. UCKG: The Right way to tithe. Retrieved 5 March 2015. Reference for all the UCKH guidance on tithing. Material in "double quotes" is quoted verbatim.
  41. UCKG: Online tithers booklet (43pp), retrieved 8 March 2015
  42. UKCG Financial Seminar. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  43. Day 8 of the 40 Day Fast of Jesus. Edir Macedo blog
  44. "On Faith", Washington Post, 24 November 2006
  45. "Evangelical Christianity thriving in Brazil", Latin American (interdenominational Christian) Missio
  46. Jack Epstein, "A Skirmish in Brazil's Holy War", San Francisco Chronicle, 5 November 1995
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 "Igreja in concert: padres cantores, mídia e marketing", by André Ricardo de Souza (in Portuguese). Quote: "in 1992 Edir Macedo was imprisoned accused of charlatanism, quackery, and larceny by fraud"
  48. 48.0 48.1 "Prosperity" in the 1990s: Ethnography of the work commitment between worshippers and God in the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Scielo (Portuguese)
  49. Jim Leonard: Faith Baptist Theological Seminary: Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (research paper), 8 May 2009 In English, with attachments in Portuguese.
  50. "Ex-Member Bids Farewell To 60G – And Her Faith", New York Post, 23 July 2000, posted at Freedom of Mind
  51. 1997 report "Belgian Parliamentary Report on UCKG" (in Dutch and French), Apologetics Index
  53. "The exorcists", The Guardian, 15 January 2001
  54. brazzil.com: "Praise the Lord and pass the catch-up", Brazzil, 1995
  55. "AFP: Satanism claims lead to riot", Religion News blog, 27 November 2005
  56. Bahia Noticias: Igreja Universal é condenada por agredir fiel epilético confundido com ‘possessão demoníaca’, 20 August 2012
  57. Bahia Noticias: Igreja Universal é condenada a pagar R$ 20 mil de indenização por coagir casal a fazer doações, 6 December 2012
  58. Odiario.com: IURD por coagir fiéis a fazer doação é condenada a pagar R$ 20 mil por TJ-RS
  59. 59.0 59.1 Phillips, Tom (2009-08-13), "Brazilian evangelical leader charged with fraud", The Guardian, London, retrieved 24 August 2009<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  60. "Accusations against UCKG recognised as illegal", Universo Politico, 24 October 2010 (Portuguese)
  61. IURD Help Centre Evento: Exorcismo There are symptoms that clearly indicate that our lives are directly or indirectly going to be affected by evil, and we consequently have urgent need of a session of exorcism! (Portuguese)
  62. Inquéritos contra a Universal foram arquivados, diz advogado
  63. From Victoria Climbié Inquiry Report, cited below: "who ended her days the victim of almost unimaginable cruelty"
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.3 House of Commons Health Committee, The Victoria Climbié Inquiry Report, Sixth Report of Session 2002–03
  65. 65.0 65.1 "Pastor prayed for 'possessed' Victoria", BBC, 6 December 2001, retrieved 23 April 2010
  66. 66.0 66.1 Victoria's life of horror", BBC, 12 January 2001, retrieved 23 April 2010
  67. .pdf file with text in French and Dutch
  68. [1]
  69. Vote of the Belgian Parliament on the report of the Enquête (Commission) on Cults (pdf), Session of May 7, 1997
  70. "'Satanic' church banned in Zambia". BBC News. 30 November 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  71. 71.0 71.1 The Namibian, from Namibia Press Agency - Agence France-Presse: Zambia revokes work permits of Brazilian pastors 'linked to Satanism', 5 December 2005
  72. "Zambia 'Satanic' church ban lifted". BBC News. 29 December 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  73. "Madagascar bans Bible-burning sect". Archived from the original on 10 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  74. [2]
  75. "Government suspends Universal Church". Agencia Angola Press. 3 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  76. Folha (Brazil): Angola suspends ativities of UCKG and six other churches, São Paulo, 5 February 2013 (Portuguese)


  • Macedo, Edir (2012). Nada a perder [Nothing to Lose] (in Portuguese). 1. São Paulo: Planeta. ISBN 9788576658931.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • van Wyk, Ilana (May 2014). The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa - A Church of Strangers (1st edition). New York: The International African Library, International African Institute, London and Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107057241.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> The first English-language book on the UCKG outside of Brazil. A review by David Lehmann, University of Cambridge says that the book describes "a new, antisocial form of Christianity in which the definitions of church and religious practice are fundamentally redefined. Illustrates how expectations of material efficacy shaped Christianity in this locale". The review says that the UCKG rituals are often condemned as empty or manipulative, but the book shows that they are locally meaningful, demand sincerity to work, have limits and are informed by local ideas about human bodies, agency and ontological balance, concluding "Some of the case material is deeply distressing, but the analytical fruits will be with us for a long time to come." The UCKG said in a press release that it did "not condone the seemingly one-sided, biased report which is fraught with factually incorrect statements and sweeping generalisations which are contained both in the book and in Van Wyk’s interviews".[1]
  • van Wyk, Ilana (2015). A Church of Strangers - The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. ISBN 9781868148097.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> This is a 2nd, paperback, edition of van Wyk's book, with title and subtitle swapped; there are excerpts from reviews on the publisher's Web site.

UCKG Web sites

  1. "Press release: The UCKG's statement on Ilana van Wyk's book". Uckg.org. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>