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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Conrad Mbewe a pastor of a little church in Kabwata in Africa has written an interesting post on the growth of Charismatic movement in Africa to the point that there is now a fringe mystic personality that has replaced the local witch doctor. This personality called ‘the man of God’ has become an ‘anointed guru’ who brings deliverance, breaks generational curses and dishes out break-throughs at a local center where you have to come ready to sow a seed. Oh let me not spoil the article for you…
Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.The African Spiritual WorldviewLet me explain what I mean. The African spiritual worldview consists of four tiers.1. God2. Angels and demons3. Ancestral spirits4. Human beingsIt is because of this reality that Africans do not question the existence of God, as is the case with many people in the Western world. To an African, God is there. He is the Creator and ultimate Governor and Benefactor of the whole universe.Rather, in our spiritual worldview, although God is there he is very far away. Between him and us as human beings lie two layers in the spirit world. One is that of angels and demons (i.e. bad angels) and the other—which is even closer to us—is that of the spirits of the departed.So, although God is a benevolent, loving, and caring Being, unless the beings that dwell in these two layers that lie between him and us are appeased, his blessings cannot reach us. It is, therefore, important to appease the ancestral spirits and defeat the demons. Only after that will God’s blessings come upon us.This is where in African traditional religions witchdoctors come in. …Read More!
Christianity in Africa is some times very mystical that it borders witchcraft. No, and I do not mean the video game. Ever since prosperity gospel and word of faith teaching drifted in to churches there has been fringe theology sprinkled with Charismatic mysticism. Not many people read their bibles or even see any relevance in doing so. What some pastors are doing in the name of Christianity makes Judas appear a choir boy. A recent report highlighted that...
“People are leaving churches. Some practice fellowship in their homes, but some leave the church and go back to their old lifestyles. Some leave to stay at home and do nothing,” Thuso writes in Where Are We Heading To? The book critiques the “obsession” of some pastors for material things and large congregations.
“This is because of the disappointments people experience with churches and church leadership. This is more prevalent with so-called spirit-filled or charismatic churches,” Kewana adds in his book. “The greed for worldly wealth, huge church membership numbers, and fame form the cornerstone of such dissatisfaction engulfing the congregants and encouraging them to leave the church of God. Pastors are involved in all sorts of ungodly behaviors.”
The prosperity gospel appears to most find its home in the “word of faith,” or name-it-and-claim-it movement, which positions some charismatic preachers as special carriers of God’s favor and power. These particular ministers are then often looked to by hopeful Christians as their key or source to divine healing and blessings.
A recent example unfolded in a deadly way in May, when a stampede broke out at Temitope Balogun (T.B.) Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ghana. At least four people were killed and 30 others injured when a throng of 1,000 people made a frantic rush to get a hold of free holy water, which usually costs $39.36 and was presumably blessed by Joshua, a popular self-declared Nigerian prophet who has churches around the globe. …Read More!
In some streams of Evangelicalism, Christian faith and practice are defined by popular prevailing notions or personal charisma and less by Scripture. J. Lee Grady (of Charisma magazine) seems to be fighting a losing moral battle when it comes to some his brothers within the Charismatic camp. In a scathing memo he appears to be decrying the materialistic trendy lifestyle that most Charismatic televangelists and pastors are adopting. Honestly, it is good to see some one from within the charismatic camp get loving enough to rock the boat this much:
Such “preachers” are a cancer in the Body of Christ–“….I’ve pulled a lot of my hair out watching our embarrassing charismatic sideshows over the last few years. I think it is time we draw a line in the sand and say: “NO MORE.”
NO MORE BODYGUARDS. We have evangelists who send a small squadron of muscular thugs to “scout” the lobby of a hotel before they arrive. This is extremely odd when you realize that most of the people in said lobby have never even heard of the guy! Sorry, but I really don’t trust a man of God who claims he needs a bodyguard in church. Get down on the people’s level if you want to minister to them.
NO MORE $10,000 PER NIGHT HOTEL ROOMS. We have traveling preachers who book 10,000-square-ft. hotel rooms with private pools so they can rest on their way home from international trips. Excuse me? We could build an orphanage with the money this man wasted. (P.S. I know a good Hampton Inn where you can get a nice bed for $89 a night—and it includes a hot breakfast.) …Read More!
J. Lee Grady is a clear thinking Charismatic and also the contributing editor of Charisma. Having grown increasingly aware that the so-called “Spirit-filled” churches of today struggle with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s, he says he is going to (just like Luther and the Wittenberg door) he is going to nail down his theses on the Charismatic church door. We (says Lee) don’t have “indulgences”—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles. We don’t support an untouchable priesthood—we throw our money at celebrity evangelists who own fleets of private jets. Further more he laments that its past time for a Charismatic Reformation (this article was first published 26th October 2011 in honor of Reformation Day):
1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.
2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.
3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.
4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.
5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. …Read More!