Pentecostalism in Africa - Asa Gyadu

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14 Pentecostalism in Africa Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu PENTECOSTALISM IN AFRICA AND THE CHANGING FACE OF CHRISTIAN MISSION: Pentecostal/Charismatic Renewal Movements in Ghana* Introduction Today, Christianity is spreading faster in the non-western world than at any time or place in the last two thousand years. As far as this expansion and the changing face of the church goes, much of the action is taking place in Africa south of the Sahara. The nature of Christianity in Africa has also changed considerably since the end of the modern missionary era around the mid-1950s when the future of the faith in terms of leadership and the formulation of missionary policies fell almost entirely into African hands. African leadership and control of the church has among other things, heightened the rate of innovation in Christianity with far reaching implications for Christian mission on the continent. One of my favorite definitions of mission is found in John V. Taylor's award-winning The Go Between God: The Holy Spirit and the Christian Mission. In this book, Taylor, himself a former missionary in Africa, defines Christian mission as recognizing what God is doing in the world and trying to do it with God (Taylor 1972: 37). I have often modified this definition slightly so as to highlight the fact that it is the Creator-Redeemer God who engages people in the enterprise of mission. In other words, God has been at work in the world, already carrying out the divine mission and invites those who are open to come on board as agents, partners or co-creators in the missionary task. The question to ask, following my adopted definition of * Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu holds a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, UK. He teaches New Religious Movements and Pentecostal Theology at Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, Accra, Ghana. This article is a first installment ofa larger research project on "Current Developments within African Christianity. "Address: Trinity Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 48, Legon, Accra, Ghana. E-mail: [email protected] Mission Studies, Vol XIX, No 2-38, 2002

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14 Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu

Pentecostalism in Africa


Introduction Today, Christianity is spreading faster in the non-western world than at any time or place in the last two thousand years. As far as this expansion and the changing face of the church goes, much of the action is taking place in Africa south of the Sahara. The nature of Christianity in Africa has also changed considerably since the end of the modern missionary era around the mid-1950s when the future of the faith in terms of leadership and the formulation of missionary policies fell almost entirely into African hands. African leadership and control of the church has among other things, heightened the rate of innovation in Christianity with far reaching implications for Christian mission on the continent. One of my favorite definitions of mission is found in John V. Taylor's award-winning The Go Between God: The Holy Spirit and the Christian Mission. In this book, Taylor, himself a former missionary in Africa, defines Christian mission as recognizing what God is doing in the world and trying to do it with God (Taylor 1972: 37). I have often modified this definition slightly so as to highlight the fact that it is the Creator-Redeemer God who engages people in the enterprise of mission. In other words, God has been at work in the world, already carrying out the divine mission and invites those who are open to come on board as agents, partners or co-creators in the missionary task. The question to ask, following my adopted definition of

*Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu holds a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, UK. He teaches New Religious Movements and Pentecostal Theology at Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, Accra, Ghana. This article is a first installment ofa larger research project on "Current Developments within African Christianity. "Address: Trinity Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 48, Legon, Accra, Ghana. E-mail: [email protected] Studies, Vol XIX, No 2-38, 2002

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mission is, what is God doing in the world? The missionary agenda remains the same as the one Jesus outlined in his manifesto at the outset of his ministry: proclamation of good news to the poor, freedom for the imprisoned, recovery of sight for the blind, release for the oppressed and the declaration of the year of the Lord's favor (Lk 4: 18-19). Much of the information in this article has been obtained not from interpreters but from indigenous Christian leaders and church members, who looking at the phenomenal rate of growth of Christianity in their local contexts often refer to the fact that "God is doing something new through African Christians." In other words, the "year of the Lord's favour has come upon Africa" and this brings with it, as one Ghanaian pastor put it, "tremendous hope for the future." The shift in the center of gravity of the Christian faith from the Northern to the Southern continents, especially to Africa, is indicative of the central role that Africa, in spite of her innumerable woes, may now find herself playing in pointing the world to what God can do in Christ. Elsewhere in his book, Taylor acknowledges the significance of what the Spirit of the Lord is doing through African Christianity represented by the many, diverse, volatile and not in a few instances controversial indigenous independent church movements: In Africa today it seems that the incalculable Spirit has chosen to use the Independent Church Movement for another spectacular advance. This does not prove that their teaching is necessarily true, but it shows that they have the raw materials out of which a missionary church is made-spontaneity, total commitment, and the primitive responses that arise from the depths of life (Ibid.: 54). The title of an April 2001 report in Newsweek, "The Changing Face of the Church: How the Explosion of Christianity in Developing Nations is Transforming the World's Largest Religion," aptly captured the thrust of current trends within Christianity in the non-western world. With specific reference to the role of Africa within the general growth of Christianity in the Southern continents, the report observed that "if any continent holds the future of Christianity, many mission experts believe, it is Africa" (Woodward 2001: 51). Current developments within African Christianity indicate that these are not wild claims, for, not only is Christianity growing rapidly, but in African hands, the faith has also been experiencing seismic transformations with an impact that is being felt across the western world. Some of the largest and fastest growing churches in western Europe today are those set up and run by immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. The current renewal of African Christianity stands in sharp contrast to the state


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of European Christendom where, as Forrester writes, Christianity has been marginalized through the forces of "secularism, atheism, and materialism" (Forrester 1994: 24-45). At a time when chapel buildings in many parts of western Europe are being painlessly converted into pubs, club houses, restaurants, warehouses, cinema halls, museum monuments, residential facilities, and in other instances Buddhist and Hindu temples, these same secular facilities are being refurbished and transformed for the use of churches in sub-Saharan Africa. The task that I have set myself in this article is to examine aspects of the changing face of Christianity, with specific reference to transformations that have occurred through the ministries of African independent church movements-so called on account of their developing outside of direct western missionary control. I will contend that Christian innovation in Africa has mostly been Pentecostal in nature. Pentecostalism in its wide variations has come to represent the changing face of African Christianity and therefore of Christian mission on the continent. The expression "Pentecostal" is used in this article to refer to Christian groups that emphasize salvation in Christ as a transformative experience wrought by the Holy Spirit and who not only affirm belief in the Spirit, but also, actively encourage believers to seek an experiential encounter with him as the dynamic and empowering presence of God. I will discuss how the renewal of Christianity in an African context, in this instance, Ghana, has been mediated through three main streams of indigenous Pentecostal movements, the Spiritual churches, the Church of Pentecost (CoP) and the Charismatic ministries (CMs). There has been a general tendency on the part of those writing from western perspectives to locate the global origins of Pentecostalism in the North American experiences of Charles F. Parham in 1901 and the famous William J. Seymour Azusa Street revival of 1906. The Parham-Seymour position often assumes that Pentecostalism in Africa especially in its modern form is an American export. The view taken in this article however is that for Africans themselves, their Pentecostal roots lie in the promise and fulfilment of Pentecost in Joel and Acts respectively. Pentecostal history in this study is thus viewed from an intercultural perspective. The intercultural perspective sees Pentecostalism in each context, as a distinctive member of a global family. An intercultural theology, therefore advocates a body of Christ in which the members remain committed to their function whilst contributing to the whole without any assuming a sense of superiority over the others. The intercultural view of Pentecostal history rejects conventional interpretations that consider what happened in the course of western

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Christendom as universally normative for Christian history. Interculturality therefore values diversity. So writing on the theme "Pentecostal Theology in the Twenty-first Century," John C. Thomas, one-time president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, referred to the fact that despite the cultural, ethnic, linguistic and theological diversities of those constituting Pentecostalism, the movement has generated a global culture with shared features (Thomas 1998: 3). Thomas therefore suggests encouraging the diverse voices from all parts of the world that make up the Pentecostal family not only "to find a voice," but also "to speak their own theological language, making their own contributions to the larger Pentecostal family" (Ibid.: 10). There has been some American influence on modern forms of African Pentecostalism represented by the CMs, but by and large, religious innovation in Africa has always had its foundations in the direct spiritual experiences of the founders. Foreign influences normally came later. The focus of the discussion, in keeping with the social location of my knowledge, experience and research, is on my home country, Ghana. A History of Religious and Theological Innovation in Africa The first stream of Christianity to survive in modern Africa may be traced to the early nineteenth century historic missions. The histories of the various mission bodies and their activities in Africa are now fairly well known and there would be no attempt to rehearse them here. The historic mission churches concerned themselves mainly with the transmission of Christianity, as it existed in Western Europe. In a world where answers to existential questions are sought for in religio-theological contexts, many Africans found the approach of historic mission Christianity to be overly cerebral, evasive as far as experiences of the Spirit were concerned and too detached from their worldviews of spiritual causation. This is not to deny the tremendous sacrifices that western European missionaries made in the cause of the gospel in Africa. The amount of resources sunk into mother tongue translations of the Bible-itself a collaborative venture between missionaries and African Christians-is without doubt, one of the most enduring legacies of the evangelistic endeavours of the missionary era. There is an inseparable link between people hearing the word of God in their own mother tongues and the spread, preservation and survival of the Christian faith beyond the mission stations, that is, the "Jerusalems" of modern African Christianity. Much of this earlier missionary effort has survived, but for our present purposes, attention needs to be drawn to the reshaping of Christianity once its expression and spread had come under the


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control of its indigenous agents in Africa. In a survey of how numerous congregations within one densely populated area of Nigeria had come into being, Andrew Walls recalls how in almost all cases, the initial impetus had come from the indigenous, lay Christians. Missionary resources to support local initiatives often came later (Walls 1996: 87). The expansion of Christianity in Africa even in our day is being led by ordinary African Christians. In Ghana today, personalities like Nicholas Duncan-Williams of the Christian Action Faith Ministries, Mensa Anamuah Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church, Charles Agyin Asare of ihe Word Miracle Church International and Dag HewardMills of the Lighthouse Chapel International all preach to congregations of more than five thousand people every Sunday. Their media ministries ensure that the messages they carry reach virtually every living room across the country and beyond. These founders of independent Charismatic churches or ministries as their churches are called in Ghana, are very often people who start without theological education and sophistication or the benefit of formal ordination. Nevertheless, as with the carriers of the gospel in the early church, they are inspired by their own personal religious encounters and experiences which generates in them a strong sense of mission. In African eyes, religious functionaries are expected to be people of spiritual power who are in touch with the divine realms of existence. In that way, they are able to facilitate communication and interactions between the two realms of existence and this is the advantage that independent Pentecostal leaders are perceived to have over their counterparts in older denominations. The lay initiatives in mission by African Christians have been extended into western Europe and North America. The result is that, as I have noted earlier, some of the largest and fastest growing churches in western countries today are founded and led by West African Christian migrants (see IRM 2000). To return to the situation in Africa during the missionary era, if African Christians were key in the spread of Christianity and the establishment and running of churches from the outset, then it means that popular Christianity was virtually under the control of the faith's indigenous agents. Outside the mission station in particular, the expression of Christianity virtually ceased to be replicas of western European models because the faith and how it was to be lived and expressed were now in African hands. African initiatives in Christianity, which later came to be represented by the second stream of Christianity on the continent, the African Independent Church movement, actually started within existing mission denominations. This would mean that even before the appearance

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of itinerant African prophets like the charismatic William Wad Harris, whose evangelistic campaigns actually spawned significant numbers of indigenous Christian revival movements at the turn of the twentieth century, sparks of renewal may already have been present in historic mission churches. The nature of this Christianity, born out of African initiative and experience and which sought an alternative spirituality to the "dry denominationalism" of the historic churches, is what is important for my purposes here. The nature of this Christianity may be accessed through the experience of the former Methodist catechist, William Egyanka Appiah, founder of one of the largest independent churches in Ghana, the Musama Disco Christo Church. Catechist Appiah had set up a praying camp in the bush near his station. From this sacred space, he and his followers started "waiting" on the Lord. We are told that on the 18th of August, 1919, during personal prayers at the camp, Appiah received a revelation after which he realized he had become a new man, that is, a qualitatively different person from what he was before: "He began to speak in a new tongue, and from that time onward he performed many miracles" (Bata 1962: 31). The pneumatic phenomena accompanying Appiah's religious experience was to characterize the Christianity of the church he founded and other churches belonging to that stream of Christian expression. It is important to note that Appiah and his group remained within the Methodist tradition until their spiritual activities attracted a hostile reception from their mother church. In Understanding Religion, Eric Sharpe observed that "if the supernatural world did not communicate at all, then there would be absolutely no reason to regard anything as holy, that is, as qualitatively different from anything else" (Sharpe 1983: 59). But as he points out elsewhere in the book, "institutional religion" with its set and often rigid traditions tends to find such "direct communications from the supernatural order uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous" (Ibid.: 68). The result for the then catechist Appiah who attempted to allow his supernatural experiences to reshape his stereotyped Methodist Christianity was that he was thrown out of the church. The reason for his dismissal was that his brand of Christian piety belonged to the occult. In the words of Bata, Appiah was "firmly ordered to stop all his occult practices completely and at once, 'as the Methodists were not like that"'(Bata 1962: 35). Stories like Appiah's are very familiar in the religious histories of numerous African independent churches. They were formed and grew largely because of the failure of Western mission-founded churches to accept or to integrate "charismatic" experiences, especially in the area of healing and prophecy


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into their faith and practice. As one leader of an independent church recounted during an interview with him, "the historic mission churches have structures but they stand in need of power, power to heal, to deliver and to prophesy but God has given us, the independent churches, power to reach out, that is what is essential for mission, and with time, we hope to develop appropriate structures to sustain the gains." Pentecostalism: the Driving Force of Religious Innovation in Africa What came across to the Methodists as "occult" in the days of catechist Appiah would seem to me to be the dimension in African Christianity that has not attracted the same level of academic attention as the general prediction of Christian growth in Africa, and which dimension I suggest, is the Pentecostal one. Pentecostalism has been the driving force of Christian religious innovation in Africa and represents the most palpable and visible evidence of the astronomical growth in African Christianity. Pentecostalism is not unique to Africa. It is a global movement that shares a common spirituality. African initiatives in Christianity and the proliferating autochthonous Pentecostal churches springing up across the Third World in general represent the primary sources of the current global Christian expansion. So, if as I have noted, the African initiatives being referred to here are themselves Pentecostal in nature, then the importance of Africa in the process of religious globalization, as far as the Christian impact is concerned, may be considered critical indeed. Sunsum Sor In Ghana the older independent churches we are talking about appear in the literature as : Spiritual churches" on account of their pneumatic orientation. The Spiritual churches share phenomenological similarities with Nigeria's Aladura and South Africa's Zionist churches. There may exist wide variations in the nature of these movements with some clearly incorporating occultic elements in their practices, but the ones belonging to the mainstream possess a Pentecostal ethos similar to those observable anywhere around the world. The popular Ghanaian vernacular expression for these independent churches is Sunsum sor, where "Sunsum" is Spirit and "sor" is worship or church. There is no vernacular word for Pentecost in Africa, so Sunsum sor appeared to my informants to be the best approximation that the Ghanaian public reached in the perception of these movements as re-living the biblical Pentecostal experience in an African

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setting. The phenomena and experiences associated with "Pentecost" are the result of being possessed by the Holy Spirit and Sunsum sore (churches of the Spirit) adequately captures the experiences, central beliefs and theological orientation of these movements. In principle therefore, every Pentecostal church may be described as a "Spiritual church" of some sort. The contribution of the independent churches to Christianity in Africa has been phenomenal and very well documented. As pioneers in religious innovation in Africa, the independent churches revealed in their ethos, the liberative might of the gospel of Jesus Christ and awakened the historic churches to crucial issues that drew attention to what it meant for a church to be truly Christian and authentically indigenous at the same time. The approach of the Sunsum sor to Christian life, worship and mission, gave Christian expression a certain immediacy that has contributed immensely to the survival of the faith in sub-Saharan Africa. If Western missionary agencies, helped to institutionalize Christianity in modern Africa, the Sunsum sor provided it with a contextual significance needed for its stability. With the rise of these independent churches, to quote Lamin Sanneh's thoughts on them: A process of internal change was . . . initiated in which African Christians sought a distinctive way of life through mediation of the spirit, a process that enhanced the importance of traditional religions for the deepening of Christian spirituality Biblical material was submitted to the regenerative capacity of African perception, and the result would be Africa's unique contribution to the story of Christianity (Sanneh 1983: 180). Having been around for close to a century, these older independent churches belonging to the Sunsum sor category are currently in recession. A thorough discussion of the factors leading to their decline are many and beyond the scope of our present endeavor. Suffice it to point out that the religious field in Africa has become competitive with the rise and growth of classical Pentecostal denominations like the Church of Pentecost and the Deeper Life Ministries. These have captured a lot of the people that the older independent churches would have counted on. The over-concentration of the Sunsum sor on producing integrated, syncretic rites and rituals of healing, deliverance from the demonic and traditional curses; potions for love, success in life's endeavours and so on, also led in time to the neglect of Christian growth at the deeper levels. This has not helped their cause.


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Youth and children's ministries did not feature much in Sunsum sor Christianity. Charismatic power was also concentrated in the personality of the prophets. As adult members and founders of the churches became dysfunctional through ageing and death therefore, natural decline became inexorable. In spite of the current decline however, two things would continue to bear testimony to the dominant presence of the older independent churches in African Christianity during the first half of the twentieth century. First, they provided an agenda for research and writing especially for western scholars in religious anthropology, church history, missiology and African theology. The evidence for this is the massive bibliography available on these older independent churches and found on the shelves of libraries and archives of leading universities in the West. As far as the study of African Christianity is concerned, the Spiritual churches have been the most intensely studied. From about the 1960s through the 1970s, the study of African independent churches became something of a "cash crop venture" among scholars of Christianity in Africa. As Adrian Hastings observes: The scholar... looking for an interesting research topic in the field of African religion at that time could hardly fail to be attracted by one of the almost innumerable new churches springing into vibrant existence in Zaire, Kenya, Zambia or Ghana in those years . . . . "African Christianity" was now, suddenly, a popular subject indeed almost entirely in terms of the independent churches (Hastings 1990: 204). Thus, through the Christianity of the independent church movement, Africa became part of the globalization process as academics serving in leading western institutions obtained doctoral degrees through dissertations on these churches. In the area of academic publications, the late Harold Turner, himself a pioneer researcher on the African independent church movement has served us well with his excellent collection and subsequent publication of bibliographical material on these "prophethealing" churches as he called them (Turner 1977). Turner's collections on new religious movements in the non-western world, now put together in the Centre for the Study of New Religious Movements located at the University of Birmingham, attracts researchers, including prospective missionaries to Africa, from all over the world. The section on the African independent

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church movement is one of the largest in the Turner collection. The Spiritual churches, for many researchers, provided a more innovative, exciting and stimulating missionary agenda quite unlike the Christianity of traditional western missions and other so-called African nationalist or Ethiopianist churches who in every way looked like their missionary forbears. The other evidence for the enduring influence and impact of the Spiritual churches on Christianity in Africa lies in a change that has occurred not only in the way the faith is expressed but also in the shift in theological emphases. The religious innovation of the Sunsum sor at the turn of the twentieth century set in motion a "pentecostalization" of historic mission churches that has now become one of the most significant features of African Christianity. The full force of the extent and extraordinary impact of these independent churches as far as the "pentecostalisation" of African Christianity is concerned, may be gathered from the fact that what was initially adopted as a defense mechanism against the Sunsum sor challenge is now regularized as part of historic church Christianity. At the height of the proliferation of independent churches in the 1950s and 1960s, concerns began to appear among the historic churches about the drift of their members into new independent churches. Some members of the historic mission churches severed their links with their mother churches completely. Many others went for what has been variously described as "plural belonging," "wearing braces and belt," or "double insurance," that is, maintaining membership in the mission church and patronizing the activities of various Spiritual churches. Conference and Synod proceedings of historic mission churches especially in the 1960s contain reports of committees set up to study the "negative" effects of the Spiritual churches on the activities of their older brethren, the mission churches. Without waiting for any executive fiats, some members within mission churches constituted themselves into renewal groups in order to offer within their own traditional mission churches the Pentecostal spirituality instigating the drift into and affiliations with Spiritual churches. Patrick Ryan, a Jesuit priest and former professor of religion at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, is candid in his opinion on how renewal prayer groups have helped Roman Catholicism in Ghana: In His providence, twenty years ago God provided Ghanaian Catholicism with a partial answer to the problems posed by neo-Protestant Pentecostalism. Too few priests have recognised the importance ofthat answer and


Pentecostalism in Africa have tried to ignore or even relegate that answer to an insignificant corner. Catholic Charismatic renewal-fully Catholic and fully Charismatic-can and does offer Catholics all that might otherwise attract them away from the humdrum Masses and devotional exercises to the religiously attractive realm of neo-Protestant Pentecostalism (Ryan 1992: 6).

By creating space within their own churches for renewal groups to function, the historic churches managed to bring under control the drift of their members into independent churches. The parallel pentecostalizing" process that occurred within historic mission churches meant that the independents served as pointers to the direction in which African Christianity as a whole was actually heading. In many senses therefore, the "pentecostalization" of historic mission churches, adopted as a defensive mechanism in the face of the independent church challenge, partly ensured the survival and sustenance of the mission agenda of historic churches into the twenty-first century. The Church of Pentecost The rise of the Church of Pentecost (CoP), an indigenous classical Pentecostal denomination, constitutes another major success story in African Pentecostal history and mission. The significant inroad by the CoP into territories formerly controlled by the Spiritual churches, I would suggest, is a major factor in the decline of the latter. The CoP is one of three "Apostolic" churches, all belonging to the classical Pentecostal tradition, to emerge from the initiative of another African, Apostle Peter N. Anim (1890-1984) and his subsequent collaboration with the British Apostolic missionaries James and Sophia McKeown in the early 1930s. The history and development of this church is now available in significant detail in the work of Ghanaian Pentecostal historiographer, Kingley Larbi's Pentecostalism: the Eddies of Ghanaian Christianity (2001). The mission partners James McKeown and Anim worked together for a while until they split up into separate Apostolic churches, mainly over the reluctance of James McKeown to observe a strictly faith healing stance adopted by the African movement headed by Anim. After a series of intractable conflicts and court cases, a faction led by the McKeown finally adopted the name, The Church of Pentecost, in August 1962. The significance of the CoP for our discussion lies in the fact that, it is currently listed in a Ghana

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Evangelism Committee church-attendance survey as the single largest Protestant denomination in Ghana. The CoP with its rigorous evangelistic programs, strong prophetic and healing ministry, an uncompromising holiness ethic, wide demographic appeal and extensive geographic spread, a community-oriented approach to church planting, a diversified ministry including provision for children and youth, with a strong women's movement is one of the most popular churches in the sub-region of Africa. Among African churches establishing in western Europe and North America at the present time, the CoP is also the one with the most well organised network. With the aforementioned features characterizing its spirituality, the CoP stands for what is widely perceived in Ghana to be a more accessible and "more respectable option" in indigenous Pentecostalism. The CoP in contrast to the multitudinous founderadministered independent Sunsum sor has a centralized administrative structure, so the pastors are also under control and are accountable to an established authority in a way that other founder-led independent churches are not. The Ghanaian public image of the CoP is that of a church which is making up for some of the excesses, failures and weaknesses associated with the Sunsum sor in particular. In traditional Africa, religion functions as a means of social control, and the maintenance of high moral standards in response to prescriptions by the gods is well known. After nearly two centuries of existence in Ghana and with the benefit of the translated Scriptures, traditional communities are by no means oblivious of standards required by the God of the Bible. If their own deities, which are discounted by the Christian church as powerless and inferior, expect such high moral standards, then converts have good reason to expect the Christian God to demand even higher standards issuing in a more venerable and passionate commitment on the part of worshippers. Against this background, and as compared to what has come to be generally regarded as the dubious ways of some African prophets and charismatic pastors, and the compromised and moribund Christianity of traditional mission churches, the CoP's serious and strict approach to the gospel helps to endear it to potential members and admirers. Another major strength of the CoP is its vernacularization policy. Vernacularization is crucial for the success of mission in primal societies. In Translating the Message, Sanneh draws attention to a primary affinity between the vernacular and the gospel and how by carrying the gospel in its vernacular form into their communities Africans have helped the church to grow (Sanneh 1989: 188-189). Reference has also been made above to the


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crucial role of ordinary lay Christians in the spread of the gospel in Africa. From the outset, the CoP relied extensively on the evangelistic passion of its local members. Informants testify that James McKeown consistently paid glorious tribute to the passion and commitment of the indigenous personnel he worked with and attributed the growth and expansion of the CoP to the hard work of the African agents of the church. In his words, "this has been our aim in allowing the work in Africa to retain its native characteristics and it has resulted in producing some of the finest Christians I have met" (Leonard 1989: 64). Vernacularization in the CoP which is given expression in the use of locally-composed choruses and songs, the narration of personal testimonies, public Scripture reading, and the preaching of sermons, helps to give the CoP a certain appealing simplicity found neither in other classical Pentecostal churches like the Assemblies of God nor the traditional mission churches. Much of this vernacularisation may not itself be new, considering that Sunsum sor services are also in the vernacular. Its import as a source of attraction into the CoP is best understood against the backdrop of the CoP's wider demographic and geographic appeal, and in the context of the dwindling public image of the Sunsum sor. The CoP was the first Pentecostal church in Ghana to create a desk for an International Missions Director to be in charge of her growing network of churches across Africa, Western Europe and North America. The CoP's institutional structures also provide it with an air of permanence and stability that many African founder-led independent churches do not have. Accessibility, vernacularization and a decidedly Pentecostal spirituality make the CoP a preferred alternative to the "discredited" Sunsum sor which, geographically, may be located just a few meters away from a local CoP assembly. Unlike the CoP, however, African Charismatic ministries (CMs), which we discuss below, have tended to secure more attention in the literature on account of their more exotic image and high profile activities. So far, the CMs have remained largely urban and have established only in areas where historic missions have already worked. The CoP, however, breaks new missionary ground and is able to establish itself in un-churched parts of the country. Africa's Charismatic Ministries My concern in the rest of the article will lie with the newest wave of African Christianity, the CMs. The CMs in sub-Saharan Africa have very deep roots in the conservative evangelical movement that gained much prominence in the sub-region from the 1950s through the 1970s but in their

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present form, they may be considered as part of a wider neo-Pentecostal family. The neo-Pentecostals include renewal groups within historic mission churches and trans-denominational fellowships like the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International. In the Ghanaian context, the designation "Charismatic Ministries" carries both historical and theological significance. Historically, it refers to manifestations of the neo-Pentecostal movement, which like the Sunsum sore, have institutionalized as independent churches since the late 1970s. Theologically, the expression defines the ecclesiology of these new independent churches in which every believer is considered a potential recipient of a charism(s) or ministry gift(s) of the Holy Spirit. The charisms or "gifts of grace," as exercised by an individual or groups of believers, constitute their ministry. The different ministries are co-ordinated within the local church, to make it "charismatically functional." Thus in principle, the ecclesiology of the CMs, de-legitimizes the concentration of charismatic power in the "hands" of prophets, ministers or pastors. Within a single local Charismatic church, one may find diverse team ministries such as praise and worship, healing and deliverance, counselling, welcome and ushering, video and tape recording, prayer force, youth and children, publications and other relevant teams and ministries. The important experience here is what the CMs refer to as "the anointing." The anointing, often symbolically imparted through the application of oil, is considered important for a person to be able to function in his or her ministry. As one of the movements leading authors in Ghana explains: "With the mshach anointing Jesus preached and ministered. Ushers need this anointing to minister. The singer in God's house without the rubbed-on anointing will end up entertaining the church instead of edifying them" (Anaba 2000: 42). At the Tabernacle of Witness Church International in Kumasi, Ghana, for example, the names of their different ministries is most intriguing: Watchmen" refers to the prayer team, "Life Hunters" the youth ministries, "Kingdom Kids" is the children's service, "Achievers" the singles, that is the unmarried, "Sarai" refers to the women's fellowship and the men's fellowship is the "Eagles." The pastoral strategy of the CMs is one of enabling people to experience the effective presence and power of God with minimal recourse to the traditional remedies that the older independent churches were so keen to integrate into Christianity. The main features of the CMs include: an emphasis on personal religious experiences and ecclesiastical function based on a person's charismatic gifting. They have a special attraction for Ghana's "upwardly mobile youth," a layoriented leadership, innovative use of modern media technologies, a relaxed


Pentecostalism in Africa

and fashion-conscious dress code for members, vibrant worship life and the absence of religious symbolism in places of worship. Unlike the older independents, CMs are mostly urban-centered and English is the principal mode of communication. There is an ardent desire to appear successful, reflect a modern outlook, and portray an international image among Charismatic churches across Africa. Theology of Prosperity The CMs cherish the different streams and networks of transnational and international character to which they belong. There is an undeniable foreign, mainly North American, inspiration behind the Christianity of the CMs in general. In Ghana this inspiration is particularly evident in the movement's Bible School culture, mass evangelistic crusades, media consciousness and the desire to set up institutions of monumental significance such as Christian universities. The American influence is particularly strong in the movement's theology of success, possibilities and prosperity. The theology of prosperity in particular raises serious questions regarding the approach of the CMs to the gospel message. Bishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, founder and leader of the Christian Action Faith Ministries is one of the main exponents of the prosperity message. He once generated public controversy when in an attempt to justify his extravagant life style, he submitted during a TV interview that even Jesus wore designer clothes. In a moving autobiographical book in which he gives account of his dramatic conversion to Christ from drugs and truancy, Duncan-Williams also teaches that prosperity, divine health, peace, joy and fulfilment are not optional blessings, but "they are responsibilities." Every believer is thus expected to be an example of these blessings. What is clear throughout the book and in the message of the CMs generally, is the encouragement to members that if they play their part by exercising faith especially by giving money to the ministry, they are bound to succeed in life (Duncan-Williams: 1990). There is much in the prosperity teaching that may resonate with the practical ends that religion serves in traditional African society. Unfortunately, there is no attempt in the theology of prosperity to wrestle with some of the practical questions in life that are relevant particularly in the harsh economic conditions of African life. In the end, those for whom such "formulaic theology" does not work end up broken and disappointed not in the church, but in the God whom they purport to serve.

Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu A Local Movement with a Global Character


The presence of the prosperity gospel in the teaching of the CMs forms the basis for recent conclusions by some that the CMs are an American import. Together, Brouwer, Gifford and Rose deny that the Christianity evolving through the CMs "is a genuinely African construct, arising from African experience and meeting African needs" (Brouwer, Gifford, Rose 1996: 1978). Contrary to this view, one would contend that on the whole, the CMs reflect modern African ingenuity in the appropriation of neo-Pentecostal Christianity enamoured with a repertoire of global, mostly American neo-Pentecostal techniques, style and strategy in organization and expression. In African eyes, North America, with its technological superiority and material abundance epitomizes modernity. For a religion that seeks to be modern and preaches material abundance as signs of right standing with God as the CMs do, what comes from America in particular is a great source of enchantment and inspiration. On the one hand, therefore, the internationalism of the CMs form part of the prosperity message that they preach because in African perceptions, opportunities to travel abroad constitute signs of economic breakthrough from the harsh realities on the continent. Charismatic leaders are keen to show off their own international significance so in recent months sponsored TV programs for bishops Duncan-Williams, Charles Agyin Asare and Dag Heward Mills have consisted of video clips of crusades held outside Ghana. The images shown here are the same as one would find in video clips of any American televangelist. The following observation from Coleman based on the work of Gifford aptly describes the importance of an international image for Ghana's CMs: Faith churches are significant not only because they participate in translocal networks, but also because they cultivate an ideological context where the virtues and excitements of internationalism are stressed. . . . Faith preachers are presented as having "just flown in today" or as leaving soon for foreign parts. Bible Schools list among their teachers anyone who has visited them, and testimonies are cultivated from people who have been abroad (Coleman 2000: 34). The internationalism of the CMs is in another sense, an inevitable consequence of religious globalization. Global technological advancement


Pentecostalism in Africa

makes possible the flow of ideas from one culture to another. The affinity between Africa's new pentecostalist churches and their foreign versions may thus be explained in terms of the principle of "diffusion of innovation." Rogers defines diffusion as "the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system" (Rogers 1995: 6). In an age of unprecedented technological advancement, the role of the mass media in the diffusion of innovation must be obvious. As Rogers points out: Mass media channels are often the most rapid and efficient means to inform an audience of potential adopters about the existence of an innovation, that is, to create awarenessknowledge. Mass media channels are all those means of transmitting messages that involve a mass medium, such as radio, television, newspapers, and so on, which enable a source of one or a few individuals to reach an audience of many (Ibid.: 18). The ministries of some of the significant figures associated with charismatic Christianity, the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa who mentored many of the leaders, Benny Hinn, Morris Cernilo, and T. L. Osborn have mostly reached African charismatics not only through personal contacts, but also through videotapes and satellite TV channels. What has happened between Africa and other parts of the world where such movements may be found, is an exchange of personnel, innovative ideas, styles, messages and so on that has taken place among religious movements proliferating in different contexts at the same time. Pastors of African charismatic movements now speak proudly of their worldwide peregrinations during which they hold mass crusades, just like the foreign counterparts they often receive in their home countries. In October 1998, for example, Ron Kenoly the celebrated African-American gospel singer whose ministry was hitherto available to Ghanaians through video and cassette tapes, held a gospel concert at the Christ Temple of the International Central Gospel Church, Accra. The event, dubbed "Make Us One," and sponsored by the local JOY FM radio station whose executive director is charismatic, attracted scores of Christians mainly from the charismatic sector. It affirmed the global view that the CMs take of their movement and the inspiration they receive from their international leanings. For in Africa's charismatic movements, the use of the media, Hackett points out, acts as "a tool of expansion" and "a reflection of globalising aspirations" (Hackett 1998: 258-277). Preaching

Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu


tours have become very important to Ghana's Charismatic church leaders. The ability to travel abroad and in the process "export spiritual power" or to "import" foreign preachers has become in Ghana an index of a leader's charismatic credentials and success as a man or woman of God. It is also a source of great pride for church members to know that the missionary influences of the movements they belong to go beyond their immediate geographical settings. African Churches in Europe: A Global Prophetic Mandate In addition to the wide network of international friends and engagements that the CMs covet, the desire to reflect an international character has been heightened by efforts to set up branches abroad. These branches are mostly made up of Ghanaian immigrants living in western Europe and North America who stand in dire need of a Christianity that they can identify with. According to Kwame Bediako, the self-definition of the new Pentecostal churches as "international" organizations, point "to some specifically Christian dimensions of the African participation in globalisation that may escape secular-minded observers" (Bediako 2000: 311). Bediako then goes on to quote the words of Gerrie ter Haar on the interpretation that African churches put on their mission in Europe in relation to their ethnic identities: To call them "African" churches implies a limitation of their task in Europe. They look at themselves as "international" churches, expressing their aspiration to be part of the international world in which they believe they have a missionary task (Ibid.: 311). In the interpretation of the leadership of the CMs, their global "missionary task," as with those of the biblical prophets, has been inspired by a prophetic mandate from the Holy Spirit. Pastor Mensa Otabil is the founder and leader of one of Ghana's leading CMs mentioned earlier, the International Central Gospel Church. In his book, Beyond the Rivers of Ethiopia, Otabil gives the following account of the global significance of his call into ministry: "when I was called into ministry, one of the things the Lord led me to do was to liberate my people from mental slavery through the preaching of the Gospel and to lift up the image of the black man so as to be a channel of blessing to the nations of the world" (Otabil 1992: 18). The modern charismatic movement in Africa has expanded its missionary mandate to include an affirmation of the ability and potential of the black race to contribute to a global economy. In Otabil's understanding, God is using the black race to expand his kingdom and the theology of black pride


Pentecostalism in Africa

has become a major emphasis of his messages. The following is part of a prophecy that is supposed to have been delivered following a message preached by Otabil in the Bahamas. It reveals the mind of God about Africa and her future in Christian globalization: For says the Spirit of God, "you have been timid for too long and you have sat in a corner for too long but it is time to rise with a roar and with a shout." For says the Lord, "your voice has not been heard in the nations, your voice has not been heard on the continents. The rivers of life in you have not been drank by the nations so shake yourself out of the misery and shake yourself out of that pity and shake yourself out of that social bondage for I will cause the lion of Judah to rise with you and you shall roar like a young lion, and like a young lion you shall move forth and you shall do great things for me as you turn your face says the Lord and as you turn round" says the Lord. "He that has an eye let him see what the Spirit is doing for I am causing a new wind and that new wind is blowing from a place you never see a wind blow from. That new wind is blowing from a place that was despised. For I will cause my sons and daughters with my anointing and with my power to move forth in the nations of the world and the world will be blessed because of them for the time has come for the nations to be helped." "For who shall command me concerning my doings,... I will use whom I will use and I will send whom I send and I will bless whom I will bless says the Lord and I will cause my face to shine upon whom I want to shine upon for I have chosen a people looked down upon, despised and a people spat upon and I have put my glory upon them and have anointed them and through the anointing shall they inherit their inheritance" says the Lord (Ibid.: 64-65). Pastor Otabil's interpretation of the essence of this prophecy is the intention of God to use the black race to advance the cause of the Kingdom: "The purpose of God for blessing any individual is to use that person as a conduit of his blessing. . . . receive His blessing and visitation so that we

Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu


can contribute our portion to humanity" (Ibid.: 67). The International Central Gospel Church is thus described as "a model indigenous church" in the church's constitution. It is an indigenous church with an international or global agenda. This is an agenda that founders of CMs believe has been set by the Holy Spirit. African Christian leaders of the charismatic stock now pride themselves in the fact that the largest and fastest growing churches in Western Europe are those Pentecostal/charismatic churches led and pastored by West African nationals. The largest Baptist Church in the UK is the Calvary Charismatic (Baptist) Church, which is led by the Ghanaian pastor, Francis Sarpong. Nigerian pastor Matthew Ashimolowo's Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) for example, is said to have started with a congregation of two hundred adult members but had within eight years built up a membership of seven thousand. KICC's vision, according its founder, Pastor Ashimolowo, is to increase her membership to 25,000 by the year 2010. For the realization of this vision, KICC has embarked upon the building of a church with a seating capacity of five thousand. If this intention becomes a reality, it would mean that the largest church in active use in terms of church attendance on the entire continent of Europe would have been built by an African. The driving force behind the international image CMs so keenly covet therefore lies in the global mission to which the leaders believe God has called them. In recent times some have opened Internet websites where information and glossy pictures of pastors, their wives and major church events may be accessed. It is therefore not merely accidental that each of the churches in question has either "global" or "international" in their names: International Central Gospel Church, Global Revival Ministries, Word Miracle Church International, Resurrection Power Ministries International, Victory Bible Church International and Living Praise Ministries International. Charismatic Theologies of African Emancipation The renewal of Christianity in Africa through Pentecostalism suggest that in the midst of the political turbulence and other socioeconomic problems bedevilling the continent, religion and culture may just turn out to be the areas in which Africa might make some of its greatest contributions to the "global village" in the new millennium. In the new theologies of the CMs, there is great emphasis on capacity building, empowerment and the realization of potential in order to enhance people's creative powers. A number of these speakers are now referred to as


Pentecostalism in Africa

"motivational" or "inspirational" speakers. Much inspiration for this new dimension in African Christianity has come from international evangelists like the Caribbean charismatic evangelist Myles Munroe whose books and videotapes are available for sale on the premises of CMs in Ghana. The central theme of Munroe's messages also available in that of Ghana's charismatic preachers is a popular form of liberation theology that has awakened within many Africans a new sense of enterprise, social responsibility, higher aspirations towards a better destiny for an otherwise marginalized continent. It is therefore revealing that Pastor Mensa Otabil received an award for his "practical, challenging and motivational messages" at the last Annual Awards Dinner of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana held in June 2001. Pastor Otabil, whose messages, like many of his colleagues, are available to wider audiences through the print and broadcast media-books, radio, TV and the Internet website of his church-is one of the most popular motivational and inspirational speakers in Africa today. He is not a businessman himself, but in his own interpretation, he has been raised by God to inspire the current generation of Africans to use available resources, look for, and utilize opportunities through which they could take their rightful place in the new world order. These new preachers have located religion squarely within public space and are pursuing the point that religion has everything to do with modernization, development and the globalization process. In other words, Christian mission could be very practical. Modern businesses in Africa today, are competing with each other to sponsor radio and TV programs hosted by these new charismatic movements. The reason is that they find the emphasis of Africa's new breed of "pentecostalist" churches, namely, capacity building, maximization of potential, investment of resources, technological innovation and human resource development very attractive, because, they are messages that affirm and encourage participation in their own aspirations within the world's globalization process. Difficulties with Charismatic Worldview The emphasis of the CMs on prosperity in particular, as we have noted, raises serious concerns on their understanding of the gospel. Over the years, this has been developed into a sort of formulaic theology in which people expect blessings and possibilities in life once they play their part by giving money to God and preachers. Their grasp of the meaning of suffering in Christian life is suspect. Proof texts are constantly quoted, mindless of

Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu


the context, to suggest that human beings can expect to prosper and succeed once they exercise enough faith and give to God. The attempt to instil in members and listeners an ardent desire for success, material prosperity and physical health, is a dangerous development in African Christianity that these modern day charismatics need to evaluate critically. Although we have lauded attempts to evangelize in the West, in very many cases, the leadership of CMs just see travelling abroad as a sign of their own success and favor with God. In modern African Christianity, the request for prayer to obtain visas for travel to the USA in particular is a sad development that is not unconnected with the impression created by charismatic pastors that to travel abroad, irrespective of the prospects, is by itself a sign of God's prosperity. Other areas of concern include the uncritical demonization of culture by charismatics, the desire of pastors to be seen in the company of political authority in order to enhance their social standing and thus give credence to their message of prosperity and the dependence of members on what is normally called a "pastor's anointing" for breakthroughs in life. Conclusion Writing in the 1960s, Bata was perceptive in observing that: "The rise of ever new cults to meet the prevailing spiritual and emotional needs of the people is a well-established feature of African life, some periods throwing up more prolific outcrops than others. The 'spiritual churches' may be seen as standing in this tradition" (Bata 1962: 6). As we have seen, new forms of religious innovation have taken place in Africa, since the era of the older independent churches and there is no reason to believe that the CMs are the last Africa will see of such movements. In all of these movements, we have contextual expressions of Pentecostal Christianity but which historically arise within and therefore are shaped and driven by different socio-cultural, political and religious circumstances. We encounter in these indigenous Pentecostal movements the same quest for the demonstrable presence of the Holy Spirit and an ardent desire to respond to the problems and frustrations for which Africans seek answers in the religious context. Two submissions come to mind as one reflects on the history of Pentecostalism in Africa. The first is from Taylor, who writes that: "The Spirit of Life is ever at work in nature, in history and in human living, and wherever there is a flagging or corruption or self-destruction in God's handiwork, he is present to renew and energize and create again" (Taylor 1972: 27). The second is from Wilbert Shenk's Write the Vision: the


Pentecostalism in Africa

Church Renewed, in which he notes that, "the tension produced by the discrepancy between churchly reality and official creed has caused concerned people in every generation to press for renovation of the church so that it might live wholly under the lordship of Jesus Christ" (Shenk 1995 : 12). The renovation and reshaping of Christianity in Africa may keep recurring in the years to come as God's Spirit, the Spirit of renewal, continues to be at work in the life and mission of the church. Current trends within African Pentecostalism indicate that the history of the movement has not just been one of continuous growth, expansion and influence, but also of schism, erosion, and decline. Thus speaking in terms of the future of their movement, a pastor of one of Ghana's new Pentecostal churches averred that "no one can predict the future; our movement is like waves which break on the seashore, if the current ones fade, God will bring 'a new visitation.'" That indeed is what has been happening in Africa, and the hope is that in the lifetime of the current visitation, God's purpose will be realized in God's church. References Cited Anaba, Eastwood 2000 The Oil of Influence. Bolgatanga, Ghana: Desert Leaf Publications. Bata, C G . 1962 Prophetism in Ghana: A Study of Some "Spiritual Churches. " London: SCM. Bediako, Kwame 2000 "Africa and Christianity on the Threshold of the Third Millennium: The Religious Dimension." African Affairs. 99: 303-323. Brouwer, Steve, Paul Gifford and Susan D. Rose 1996 Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism. New York / London: Routledge. Coleman, Simon 2000 The Globalisation of Charismatic Christianity: Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Forrester, Duncan B. 1994 "Christianity in Europe." In Sean Gill, Gavin D'Costa, Ursula King, eds. Religion in Europe: Contemporary Perspectives. Kampen, The Netherlands: KOK Pharos Publishing House. Duncan-Williams, Nicholas 1990 You Are Destined to Succeed! Accra: Action Faith Publications. Ghana National Evangelism Committee 1993 Facing the Unfinished Task of the Church in Ghana: National

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Survey Update 1993. Accra: Ghana Evangelism Committee. Haar, Gerrie ter 1999 Halfway to Paradise: African Christians in Europe. Cardiff, UK: Cardiff Academic Press. Hackett, Rosalind I. J. 1998 "Charismatic/Pentecostal Appropriation of Media Technologies in Nigeria and Ghana." Journal ofReligion in Africa. 28.3:258277. Turner, Harold W. 1977 Bibliography of New Religious Movements in Primal Societies. Boston: G. K. Hall. Hastings, Adrian 1990 "Christianity in Africa." In Ursula King, ed., Turning Points in Religious Studies: Essays in Honour of Geoffrey Parrinder. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. IRM 2000 International Review of Mission. LXXXIX. 354 (July). Issue entitled: "Open Space: The African Chris7 ji Diaspora in Europe and the Quest for Human Community." Larbi, Emmanuel Kingsley 2001 Pentecostalism: The Eddies of Ghanaian Christianity. Accra: Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies. Leonard, Christine 1989 A Giant in Ghana. Chichester, UK: New Wine Press. Otabil, Mensa 1992 Beyond the Rivers of Ethiopia: A Biblical Revelation on God's Purpose for the Black Race. Accra: Altar International. Rogers, Everett M. 1995 Diffusion of Innovations. Fourth Edition. New York: The Free Press. Ryan, Patrick J. 1992 "The Phenomenon of Independent Religious Movements in Ghana." Catholic Standard (March 15-21): 22-28. Sanneh, Lamin O. 1989 Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. 1983 West African Christianity: The Religious Impact. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1983. Shenk, Wilbert R. 1995 Write the Vision: The Church Renewed. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International. Sharpe, Eric J. 1983 Understanding Religion. London: Duckworth.

38 Taylor, John V 1972

Pentecostal ism in Africa

The Go-Between God The Holy Spirit and Christian Mission London SCM

Thomas, John C 1998 "Pentecostal Theology m the Twenty-First Century " Pnenma 20 1 3 Walls, Andrew F 1996 The Missionary Movement in Christian History Studies in the Transmission of Faith Maryknoll, NY Orbis Books Woodward, Kenneth L 1999 "The Changing Face of the Church How the Explosion of Christianity m Developing Nations is Transforming the World's Largest Religion " Newsweek (April 16)

Summary Third World Christianity has been experiencing exponential growth since the turn of the twentieth century Nowhere is this renewal in Christianity more visible than Africa, where religious innovations led by indigenous Christians have mostly been Pentecostal in character The Pentecostal movements leading the current renewal of Christianity in African countries like Ghana are autonomous, independent of both the established historic mission denominations and the older classical Pentecostal churches like the Assemblies of God Ghanaian Pentecostahsm in its various streams has adapted the global Pentecostal culture to suit the needs of the local context in ways that have changed the nature and direction of Christian mission The traditional themes of healing, deliverance, prosperity and empowerment associated with the global Pentecostal movement have been synthesized with traditional worldviews, giving Pentecostal Christianity an added relevance in African context This has yielded massive responses In Pentecostal movements under discussion, therefore, one finds the ingenious ability of indigenous Christians to appropriate a phenomenon of global significance for local consumption Das Christentum der Dritten Welt hat ein exponentiales Wachstum erlebt seit dem Anfang des 20 Jahrhunderts Nirgendwo ist diese Erneuerung deutlicher sichtbar als m Afrika, wo die religisen Erneuerungen, von einheimischen Christen geleitet, vor allem einen pentekostalen Charakter haben Die pentekostales Bewegungen, die die aktuelle Erneuerung des Christentums in afrikanischen Landern wie Ghana anfhren, sind autonom, unabhngig sowohl von den etablierten historischen Missionsdenominationen wie auch von den alteren klassischen pentekostalen Kirchen wie die Assemblies of God Der Pentecostalismus von Ghana m seinen verschiedenen Richtungen hat die allgemeine pentekostale Kultur an die Anforderungen des lokalen Kontexts in einer

Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu


Weise angepasst, die die Natur und die Richtung der christlichen Mission verndert hat. Die traditionellen Themen von Heilung, Befreiung, Wohlergehens und empowerment, die zur globalen Erscheinung des Pentekostalismus gehren, sind mit traditionellen Weltanschauungen verschmolzen und haben so dem pentekostalen Christentum fr den afrikanischen Kontext eine verstrkte Bedeutung gegeben. Das hat zu massenhaften Antworten gefhrt. In den zur Diskussion stehenden pentekostalen Bewegungen findet man daher die einheimische Fhigkeit der dortigen Christen, eine Erscheinung von globaler Bedeutung der rtlichen Verwendbarkeit anzupassen. El Cristianismo del Tercer Mundo ha vivido un crecimiento exponencial desde el comienzo del siglo 20. En ninguna parte se ve este crecimiento tanto como en frica donde las innovaciones religiosas llevadas adelante por cristianos indgenas tuvieron generalmente un carcter pentecostal. Los movimientos pentecostales que guan la renovacin actual del Cristianismo en pases africanos, como Ghana, son autnomos, independientes tanto de las denominaciones establecidas de las misiones histricas como de las Iglesias pentecostales clsicas ms antiguas como las Asambleas de Dios. El pentecostalismo de Ghana en sus diferentes corrientes ha adaptado la cultura pentecostal global a las necesidades del contexto local en maneras que han cambiado la naturaleza y la direccin de la misin cristiana. Los temas tradicionales de la sanacin, liberacin, prosperidad y empoderamiento que se asocian con el movimiento pentecostal global han sido sintetizados con visiones del mundo tradicionales, dando al Cristianismo pentecostal una relevancia ms grande en el contexto africano. Esto ha producido respuestas masivas. En los movimientos pentecostales que se discuten, se encuentra, por esta razn, la habilidad ingeniosa de los cristianos indgenas para apropiarse de un fenmeno de importancia global para el consumo local. Le christianisme a connu une croissance exponentielle dans le tiers monde depuis le dbut du 20e sicle. Ce renouveau du christianisme n'est nulle part aussi visible qu'en Afrique, o les innovations religieuses conduites par les chrtiens indignes ont t surtout de type pentectiste. Les mouvements pentectistes qui entranent le renouveau actuel du christianisme dans les pays africains comme le Ghana sont autonomes, indpendants la fois des missions des glises historiques et des glises pentectistes classiques. Dans ses divers courants, le pentectisme ghanen a adapt la culture pentectiste gnrale aux ncessits du contexte local d'une faon qui a chang la nature et le sens de la mission chrtienne. Il a fait une synthse des thmes traditionnels associs au mouvement pentectiste - gurison, dlivrance, prosprit et habilitation - et des conceptions traditionnelles du monde, donnant ainsi davantage de pertinence au christianisme pentectiste dans un contexte africain. Cela a attir de grandes foules. Dans les mouvements pentectistes dont il est question, les chrtiens indignes ont montr leur ingniosit adapter un phnomne global au contexte local.

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