One man preached the Gospel in West Africa for nine years and only converted 52. But another man preached the same Gospel just for two years and 120,000 adult West Africans believed and were baptized into Christianity.
Pentecostal and Charismatic forms of the Christianity are overwhelmingly the dominant forms of Christianity in Ghana. By Charismatic and Pentecostal I am referring to a type of theology which is part of a loose global movement and not necessarily churches or denominations that have those words in their names. Without understanding Pentecostalism you cannot understand Ghanaian Christianity. The question is how did we get here?
One of the truly great church men of last century, missionary and theologian Lesslie Newbigin in his book The Household of God a collection of lectures on ecclesiology, identified the three main historic Christian traditions: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant. He also proposed an addition to these historic traditions: Pentecostal. Continue reading “The Pentecostal Way”
Recently, I have been learning quite a fair bit about orthodox tradition and liturgy. Interestingly, on the liturgical calendar after Eastertide, we count the days as the “X” day of the week after Pentecost. So the first Sunday after Pentecost, the second Sunday after Pentecost, so on and so forth. That is how the days are reckoned till you get to Advent. In a sense time is measured by Pentecost. Now the Paschal season is over, we are in that period after Pentecost and reflecting on it time indeed has forever been altered since. Continue reading “From Via Dolorosa to Azusa Street”
Happy Easter. Wait a minute, hasn’t Easter passed? Actually no, we are still in the Easter season which is known as Eastertide. Eastertide is a term I recently came across. Growing up in a Pentecostal home and attending Pentecostal churches, I did not know the fifty-day period between Easter Day and Pentecost had a name and in some Christian circles it was a huge event. It is the most important event on the church calendar but because of the church tradition I am familiar with, I have not had an opportunity to fully commemorate it. The difference here is apparent between churches with more formal liturgies and the less formal, the so called “high church” and “low church” liturgical models respectively.
Though I consider myself post-charismatic I still value the inclusion and improvisation that is characteristic of charismatic liturgy, which creates the expectant atmosphere for the manifestation of the Spirit. However, there are somethings we miss out on by not having a more definite liturgy. Continue reading “Eastertide”
My first ever post in this series was more or less my manifesto. Coming from a Pentecostal/Charismatic background I’ve seen the movement’s brilliance but also its shortcomings, which I have personally experienced and been harmed by. I am not willing to throw out the baby with the bath water but the movement does need a reformation. On my part I do not hold any pretensions that I can save Pentecostalism but I do want to recover for myself a biblical vision of a charismatic faith. I’ve made quite a lot of progress pursuing some tough questions even though many still remain. Continue reading “The Pilgrim’s Pensieve #25”
Over a decade ago, on the cusp of my teenage years, I plunged myself head first into what I later came to know as the Charismatic Movement (CM.) I had been attending a Pentecostal church all my life but returning to my motherland after spending a good deal of my childhood in the UK reignited my interest in the Christian faith. I remember the first church service we attended in an unfinished church building in my parents’ hometown. I was struck by the freedom of expression in the service, particularly the lively music and dancing. It was so good, so infectious, I found my body beginning to rhythmically jerk and before I knew it I was dancing. I hadn’t danced in church for so long and in that moment everything felt just right about what it. Living in the West the expression of faith is politely stifled but here in Ghana you are given the utmost freedom. In some sense you’re even expected to display it. In the Ghanaian religious furnace my passion for Christian faith had been reignited and I abandoned myself to the Pentecostal flames. Continue reading “The Confessions of a Post-Charismatic Christian”