Description : In sub-Saharan Africa over the last two decades there has been an explosion of Christianity. This book sets out to identify its particular character, focusing on a particular place: Greater Accra, the capital of Ghana. Paul Gifford examines a wide range of Accra's new churches, giving priority to mega-churches. Every dimension -- discourse, theological vision, worship, rituals, music, media involvement, use of the Bible, conventions, finances, clientele -- is analysed. Gifford argues that this Christianity is not otherworldly: its emphasis is on success, achievement, wealth here and now. Yet within this general orientation there is diversity. At one end of the spectrum are churches that, building on the traditional religious imagination, see demonic forces everywhere blocking personal success. In the churches the key factor is the special 'man of God' who is understood to have the 'anointing' to conquer these forces, to 'reverse the curse' that is holding the believer back. At the other end is a strain of this new Christianity that discounts spiritual forces and sees victory resulting from the believer's own education and skills, and from transforming culture.The book also joins the debate over the role of this Christianity in modernizing economic and political structures. It sets the scene by describing Ghana's political and economic situation in the decades when these churches were proliferating, and outlines the current debate on the reasons for Africa's economic plight. It is argued that although focusing on success and wealth can provide motivation in circumstances where it is so easy to despair, the pervasive emphasis on miracles militates against any natural fostering of a new work ethic. As for their political role, some churches are easily co-opted; others challenge the government, but for 'spiritual' reasons that provide little incentive to grapple with issues of governance; by contrast, Gifford finds one important church encouraging change of the entire political culture. No other book has set forth the complex nature of Africa's new Christianity with such clarity, or offered such a searching analysis of its power to tackle Africa's predicament.
Description : Revision of author's thesis (Ph. D.)--Baylor University, 2007 under title: The material in salvific discourse: a study of two Christian perspectives.
Description : In the words of John Paul II, -A faith which does not become culture is a faith that has not been received, not thoroughly thought (through), nor fully lived out-. It is for this reason that inculturation hermeneutics has become a useful reflective tool for many African students of Theology. In this work, the author argues that the concept of salvation in evangelical Christian thought as postulated in the works of the French Reformer John Calvin and that of African Traditional Religions do not connote the same idea nor lead to the same goals. In spite of the basic differences, he states that symbols, metaphors and some practices from the traditional religions of Africa can be employed as hermeneutical tools for the explanation of concepts of the Christian faith. The author therefore concludes that the Anlo-Ewe traditional religious practice of "nugbidodo"-ritual reconciliation best explains Christian salvation as man's reconciliation with God and constitutes a basis for the healing, deliverance, and a socio-economic advancement of the individual and the entire community."
Description : Nigeria has become the area of one of the most remarkable religious movements of recent times, reflecting the shift in the global center of Christianity from the North to the South. This book tells the story of one sector of this movement from its roots in the Nigerian civil war to the turn of the new millennium. It describes a revival that occurred among the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria, and the new Pentecostal churches it generated, and documents the changes that have occurred as the movement has responded to global flows and local demands. As such, it explores the nature of revivalist and Pentecostal experience, but does so against the backdrop of local socio-political and economic developments, such as decolonization and civil war, as well broader processes, such as modernization and globalization.
Description : This book examines how Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first post-colonial political leader legitimized his rule. It argues that Nkrumah found in religion a way to weld ethnicnically diverse groups with primordial attachments together. Through his employment he was able to spearhead the building of a nation he named Ghana. Social, anthropological, as well as political theories from Max Weber, Clifford Geertz, Kofi Busia, Ali Mazrui, David Apter, and others are utilized to examine the Nkrumah phenomenon. Specifically, the book contributes to the extensive literature on Nkrumah by supplying an often neglected link: The role of religion in Nkrumah's life, thought and career. By so doing it emphasizes the role of religious ideas and religious action in Ghanaian politics.
Description : This was probably the first serious theological study by an African scholar of the African response to the Christian faith. It opened the research field, provided a reference point, and paved the way for future investigation. It is now regarded as a seminal work, central to historical understandings of the theology of indigenous African Christianity, its relationship with indigenous African religions, African prophet movements and the independent churches. To this day, it remains one of the most authoritative academic sources on religious innovation in Africa in the twentieth century.
Description : The emergence of Pentecostalism in Ghana has attracted a massive following and generated institutions that have significantly impacted Christian discourse and national life. The movement has produced prominent leaders who have developed exemplary Christian education programs and generated volumes of Christian literature unprecedented in Ghanaian Christianity. Nevertheless, public opinion often upbraids church leaders for unethical conduct. Despite the concern for high moral standards set by Pentecostal church polity and ministerial ethical codes, reports of Pentecostal ministerial misconduct appear regularly in the media. Although congregation members and perceptive public observers appreciate the constructive moral impact of Pentecostal ministers, instances of promiscuity, power abuse, financial misappropriation, and superstition reveal a gap between ethical ideals and practice. As this research reveals, factors behind unethical ministerial conduct include inadequate training, poor accountability, and a general low level of ethical reflection. Good Pastors, Bad Pastors suggests that a multidimensional approach of responsible reportage, emphatic moral education, appropriate but sympathetic response to moral failure, and peer-review accountability could help uphold a higher standard of ministerial ethics.
Description : The basis for this project is to verify and determine the extent to which contemporary prophetic ministry in Ghana appropriates prophetism in the early church, Corpus Paulinum, and traditional prophetism in Ghana. The spirit of prophecy which was believed to have ceased in Judaism and during the intertestamental period has now been restored at the inauguration of Christianity. Notwithstanding, Paul gave stipulations for prophets and prophecy in the church in 1 Corinthians 14. This confirms that prophecy was a common phenomenon in the early church and Pauline communities. Contemporary prophetic ministry in Ghana claimed to have conformed to Pauline stipulations concerning prophets and prophecy in the church, but what is their level of conformity? Contemporary prophetic ministry is becoming popular due to its appeal and compatibility with religious worldviews and its pragmatic outlook that resonates with the Ghanaian phenomenon of religion. As an adherent of the Akan traditional religion would go to a religious intermediary for ebisa (literally to "inquire" or "ask") into present or future happenings, contemporary prophets have positioned themselves to be agents of ebisa in Ghanaian Christianity. This book explores biblical and traditional understandings of prophetism that have influenced contemporary Christian understanding of prophets and prophecy in the church.