African Charismatics: Current Developments within Independent Indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana

By J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
DEMYSTIFICATION OF PROPHETISM

These new religious movements have addressed
themselves with remarkable vigour to what they
regard as the most pressing needs of their commu-
nities … The realism in tackling their this-worldly
problems is not matched at the level of wider
vision … thus short-circuiting spiritual and general
personal growth at the deeper levels…. And thus
while strenuous efforts are made to sustain inter-
est through the introduction of ever-new rites, sym-
bols, dress, processions and various forms of fervid
bodily expression of religious feeling, in many cases,
there is clear evidence of approaching fatigue (C.G.
Baëta).1

It is nearly a century since the Sunsum sorè as movements dedicated to the renewal of Christianity in Ghana made their meteoric appearance on the religious scene. The popularity of this wave of indigenous Pentecostalism, as was shown in chapter 2, stemmed from their insistence that the acts of the Spirit as found in the Bible must be integrated into the life of the church as part of normal Christian experience. The Sunsum sorè also blazed the trail in providing local Christians with the ritual context within which to counter the reality of evil and through that offered a praxis-oriented form of salvation. Against the backdrop of such an enduring contribution to indigenous Christianity, questions must be asked regarding the 'approaching fatigue' referred to by Baëta in the quotation above. Socio-political, economic and religious changes, including the effects of modernity, call for a 'sustained monitoring' of trends within African independent Christian movements to establish how they fare under such changes. The overall contribution of the Sunsum sorè to Ghanaian Christianity is not in doubt. At the present time, they find them-

1 C.G. Baëta, 'Some Aspects of Religious Change in Africa', Ghana Academy of
Arts and Sciences Proceedings 9–10
, 1971–1972, 59–60.

-64-

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African Charismatics: Current Developments within Independent Indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Studies of Religion in Africa ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Pentecostalism in Context 9
  • Chapter Two - Prophetism and Renewal 36
  • Chapter Three - Demystification of Prophetism 64
  • Chapter Four - Democratisation of Charisma 96
  • Chapter Five - Salvation as Transformation and Empowerment 132
  • Chapter Six - Salvation as Healing and Deliverance 164
  • Chapter Seven - Salvation as Prosperity 201
  • Chapter Eight - African Charismatic Spirituality 233
  • Select Bibliography 249
  • Index 275
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