African Charismatics: Current Developments within Independent Indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana

African Charismatics: Current Developments within Independent Indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana

African Charismatics: Current Developments within Independent Indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana

African Charismatics: Current Developments within Independent Indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana

Synopsis

This volume examines Pentecostal/charismatic renewal in an African context. Ghanaian Pentecostalism in its modern charismatic form has become the most visible expression of renewal within indigenous Christianity. The book first articulates the contribution of the older African initiated churches (AICs) to local Christianity arguing that, in spite of a present decline, the AICs have left an enduring theological imprint on indigenous Christian expression. Furthermore, it accounts for the rise of the new independent churches, the charismatic ministries. These have been proliferating across the West Africa sub-region since the late 1970s. In addition to this, the book explores how the emphases of the new Ghanaian charismatics internationalism, transformation, prosperity, healing and deliverance provide useful insights into the nature of modern African Pentecostal spirituality.

Excerpt

The material in this book formed the substance of my Ph.D. thesis presented to the University of Birmingham, UK, in March 2000. The general recession of Christianity in the modern West, particularly Western Europe, has coincided with the accession of the faith in the Southern continents, especially Africa south of the Sahara. This study was inspired partly by a desire to illustrate an aspect of the nature and manifestation of the shifting centre of gravity of Christianity in the twentieth century from the North to the South. Pentecostal Christianity, the religion of the Holy Spirit, it is argued, represents the most concrete evidence of the phenomenal expansion of Christianity in African countries like Ghana. In Ghana today, as elsewhere around the African continent, multitudinous independent indigenous Pentecostal and autochthonous Charismatic movements that developed in response to the staid denominationalism of historic mission Christianity have come to represent local manifestations of a global phenomenon. The African independent churches and Charismatic movements studied in this volume, like most, if not all, new religious movements, can be very volatile in nature. These are highly eclectic movements that are changing all the time and since this research was concluded significant changes have occurred and continue to occur within the movements studied here.

The changes in question have been occasioned by such factors as the continuous metamorphosis of older African independent churches into modern versions of themselves by dropping the use of paraphernalia and rituals considered too close to traditional religions in order to ensure their own survival. An increased interaction and exchange of personnel between Asian Pentecostals and modern African Charismatic movements has widened the international network within which some of the movements operate. There is also the heightened, even competitive, use of the media and modern media technologies by African charismatic leaders and their movements and an everincreasing volume of publications emanating from Charismatic pastors. Accusations of sexual and financial impropriety have now begun to occur among Charismatics, with some leading to acrimonious secessions. Sharper distinctions in terms of identities have also gradually . . .

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