Event Type

Papers Read

Start Date

15-5-2018 9:45 AM

End Date

15-5-2018 10:30 AM

Description

Towards a Contextual and Effective Engagement of the African Spirit World

Presented at the Scholars Consultation at Johannesburg, 2018.

By

Christian Tsekpoe

Abstract

Even though the growth of Christianity in Africa has been characterised by different success stories, it has also been plagued with different challenges that need to engage the attention of both scholars and church leaders. One of such issues is the emphasis on inquiry into the supernatural. Whether positively or negatively, it has been recognized that inquiry into the supernatural is key to ministry among Africans.[1] It must be emphasised that the belief in the reality of the spirit world in Africa does not belong to antiquity. It is a current and ongoing phenomenon that needs to be given much attention. Claudia Wahrisch-Oblau contends that the beliefs in demons, spirits, witchcraft and sorcery should “no longer be understood as backward superstitions to be shamefully hidden in international exchanges, but as a topic worthy of research, reflection, and pastoral action.”[2]

Whether witchcraft and demons are real or not, the fact is that in Africa, people fear them and take pragmatic actions to protect themselves from these life threatening forces. Whiles some Western scholars and missionaries tried to consider the belief in their existence as superstitious, the African prophets also consider all misfortunes as emanating from the spirit world. They therefore claim to have solutions to the challenges of the African spirit world and as a result, attract large numbers of followers. An evaluation of prophetic/deliverance ministry in Africa reveals that the ministry is seen from one angle as contributing to the numerical growth of Christianity in Africa. On the other hand, however, the prophetic/deliverance ministry is seen as a hindrance to effective Christian discipleship on the continent. It is, therefore, reasonable to carefully examine the belief in the spirit world from an African perspective and propose effective and pragmatic ways of responding to these spirit forces from biblical and cultural perspectives. This could help in sustaining the growth of Christianity on the continent in culturally meaningful and authentic ways, without compromising the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Profile: Rev. Christian Tsekpoe

  • Christian Tsekpoe is a minister of The Church of Pentecost.
  • He is also Lecturer at Pentecost University College – Accra, Ghana
  • He also serves as the coordinator for the School of Theological Education by Extension (STEE) at Pentecost University College.
  • Adjunct lecturer at Pentecost Theological Seminary, Gomoah Fetteh.

Research Interests:

  • Pentecostal Missionlogy.
  • Witchcraft and Demonology in Africa.

Academic Qualifications:

  • PhD Candidate, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies – Oxford, UK. (2013 – Date)
  • MA (Theology, Mission and Culture) Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Akuapem- Akropong, 2010.
  • BA (Theology and Mission) Pentecost University College, 2005-2008

[1] Opoku Onyinah, Pentecostal Exorcism: Witchcraft and Demonology in Ghana, (Blandford: Deo, 2012), xii.

[2] Claudia Wahrisch-Oblau, “Towards a Protestant Ministry of Deliverance Experiences, Insights and Reflections from a Process of the UEM Community” A paper presented to report the outcome of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) dialogue on deliverance issues between 2010 and 2014.

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May 15th, 9:45 AM May 15th, 10:30 AM

Study 10: Towards a Contextual and Effective Engagement of the African Spirit World

Towards a Contextual and Effective Engagement of the African Spirit World

Presented at the Scholars Consultation at Johannesburg, 2018.

By

Christian Tsekpoe

Abstract

Even though the growth of Christianity in Africa has been characterised by different success stories, it has also been plagued with different challenges that need to engage the attention of both scholars and church leaders. One of such issues is the emphasis on inquiry into the supernatural. Whether positively or negatively, it has been recognized that inquiry into the supernatural is key to ministry among Africans.[1] It must be emphasised that the belief in the reality of the spirit world in Africa does not belong to antiquity. It is a current and ongoing phenomenon that needs to be given much attention. Claudia Wahrisch-Oblau contends that the beliefs in demons, spirits, witchcraft and sorcery should “no longer be understood as backward superstitions to be shamefully hidden in international exchanges, but as a topic worthy of research, reflection, and pastoral action.”[2]

Whether witchcraft and demons are real or not, the fact is that in Africa, people fear them and take pragmatic actions to protect themselves from these life threatening forces. Whiles some Western scholars and missionaries tried to consider the belief in their existence as superstitious, the African prophets also consider all misfortunes as emanating from the spirit world. They therefore claim to have solutions to the challenges of the African spirit world and as a result, attract large numbers of followers. An evaluation of prophetic/deliverance ministry in Africa reveals that the ministry is seen from one angle as contributing to the numerical growth of Christianity in Africa. On the other hand, however, the prophetic/deliverance ministry is seen as a hindrance to effective Christian discipleship on the continent. It is, therefore, reasonable to carefully examine the belief in the spirit world from an African perspective and propose effective and pragmatic ways of responding to these spirit forces from biblical and cultural perspectives. This could help in sustaining the growth of Christianity on the continent in culturally meaningful and authentic ways, without compromising the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Profile: Rev. Christian Tsekpoe

  • Christian Tsekpoe is a minister of The Church of Pentecost.
  • He is also Lecturer at Pentecost University College – Accra, Ghana
  • He also serves as the coordinator for the School of Theological Education by Extension (STEE) at Pentecost University College.
  • Adjunct lecturer at Pentecost Theological Seminary, Gomoah Fetteh.

Research Interests:

  • Pentecostal Missionlogy.
  • Witchcraft and Demonology in Africa.

Academic Qualifications:

  • PhD Candidate, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies – Oxford, UK. (2013 – Date)
  • MA (Theology, Mission and Culture) Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Akuapem- Akropong, 2010.
  • BA (Theology and Mission) Pentecost University College, 2005-2008

[1] Opoku Onyinah, Pentecostal Exorcism: Witchcraft and Demonology in Ghana, (Blandford: Deo, 2012), xii.

[2] Claudia Wahrisch-Oblau, “Towards a Protestant Ministry of Deliverance Experiences, Insights and Reflections from a Process of the UEM Community” A paper presented to report the outcome of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) dialogue on deliverance issues between 2010 and 2014.