1st Edition

African Initiated Christianity and the Decolonisation of Development Sustainable Development in Pentecostal and Independent Churches

Edited By Philipp Öhlmann, Wilhelm Gräb, Marie-Luise Frost Copyright 2020
    356 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    354 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the substantial and growing contribution which African Independent and Pentecostal Churches are making to sustainable development in all its manifold forms. Moreover, this volume seeks to elucidate how these churches reshape the very notion of sustainable development and contribute to the decolonisation of development.

    Fostering both overarching and comparative perspectives, the book includes chapters on West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, and Burkina Faso) and Southern Africa (Zimbabwe and South Africa). It aims to open up a subfield focused on African Initiated Christianity within the religion and development discourse, substantially broadening the scope of the existing literature. Written predominantly by scholars from the African continent, the chapters in this volume illuminate potentials and perspectives of African Initiated Christianity, combining theoretical contributions, essays by renowned church leaders, and case studies focusing on particular churches or regional contexts.

    While the contributions in this book focus on the African continent, the notion of development underlying the concept of the volume is deliberately wide and multidimensional, covering economic, social, ecological, political, and cultural dimensions. Therefore, the book will be useful for the community of scholars interested in religion and development as well as researchers within African studies, anthropology, development studies, political science, religious studies, sociology of religion, and theology. It will also be a key resource for development policymakers and practitioners.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at

    https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780367823825, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license

    1. Introduction: African Initiated Christianity and Sustainable Development Philipp Öhlmann, Wilhelm Gräb, Marie-Luise Frost 

    Part I: Overarching Perspectives 

    2. Spirit and Empowerment: The African Initiated Church Movement and Development J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu 

    3. The Challenge of Environment and Climate Justice – Imperatives of an Eco-Theological Reformation of Christianity in African Contexts Dietrich Werner 

    4. African Initiated Churches and Development from Below: Subjecting a Thesis to Closer Scrutiny Ignatius Swart 

    5. Distinguished Church Leader Essay: Theology in African Initiated Churches: Reflections from an East African Perspective John Njeru Gichimu 

    Part II: Nigerian Perspectives 

    6. Distinguished Church Leader Essay: Roles of Women in African Independent and Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria Atinuke Abdulsalami 

    7. "A Starving Man Cannot Shout Halleluyah": African Pentecostal Churches and the Challenge of Promoting Sustainable Development Olufunke Adeboye 

    8. Approaches to Transformation and Development: The Case of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Nigeria Babatunde A. Adedibu 

    9. The Role of Pentecostalism in Sustainable Development in South West Nigeria Mobolaji Oyebisi Ajibade

    10. Aladura Churches as Agents of Social Transformation in South-West Nigeria Akinwumi Akindolie 

    11. Distinguished Church Leader Essay: Aladura Theology: The Case of the Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide Rufus Okikiola Ositelu 

    Part III: Ghanaian Perspectives 

    12. Distinguished Church Leader Essay: The Church of Pentecost and its Role in Ghanaian Society Opoku Onyinah 

    13. An Evaluation of Pentecostal Churches as Agents of Sustainable Development in Africa: A Case of the Church of Pentecost Emmanuel Anim 

    14. Pentecostalism and Sustainable Development: The Case of Perez Chapel International Sylvia Owusu-Ansah & Philip Adjei-Acquah 

    15. Distinguished Church Leader Essay: Healing a Strained Relationship between African Independent Churches and Western Mission-founded Churches in Ghana (1967–2017): The Role of Good News Theological Seminary, Accra, Ghana Thomas A. Oduro 

    Part IV: Perspectives from Burkina Faso 

    16. Distinguished Church Leader Essay: Partnerships for Female Education in Burkina Faso: Perspectives from Evangelical Churches and FBOs Philippe Ouedraogo 

    17. Investing in the Future Generation: New Pentecostal Charismatic Churches in Urban Zimbabwe Ini Dorcas Dah 

    Part V: Zimbabwean Perspectives 

    18. Investing in the Future Generation: New Pentecostal Charismatic Churches in Urban Zimbabwe Simbarashe Gukurume 

    19. Pentecostal Charismatic Christianity and the Management of Precarity in Post-Colonial Zimbabwe Josiah Taru 

    Part VI: South African Perspectives 

    20. Distinguished Church Leader Essay: Cross-Cultural Development in South Africa: A Perspective from Below Danie van Zyl 

    21. Contested Development(s)? The Possible Contribution of the African Independent Churches in Decolonising Development. A South African Perspective Nadine Bowers-Du Toit


    Philipp Öhlmann is Head of the Research Programme on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Research Associate, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

    Wilhelm Gräb is Head of the Research Programme on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Extraordinary Professor, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

    Marie-Luise Frost is a Researcher, Research Programme on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Research Associate, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

    "This book is one of the profoundest, scholarly attempts towards unpacking and decolonizing sustainable development through the prism of African Christianities. While some bemoan African Initiated Christianity, as antithetical to development, the contributors to this volume provide a more nuanced, critical and interdisciplinary perspective by exploring lived, everyday expressions and experiences of AICs and Pentecostals in Africa. This book prioritizes a bottom-up definition of development, from the viewpoint of religious adepts and practitioners, and its focus on overarching and regional perspectives add rich flavor, contributing to theoretical grid-making on religion and development from below. It is a "must-read" to scholars, policy makers, and practitioners who care to grasp the complex interplay of religion and sustainable development in Africa." - Afe Adogame, Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Religion and Society, Princeton Theological Seminary, United States of America

    "This edited collection is an accessible and essential reading for anyone interested in unpacking issues of sustainable development in African contexts. Authors from a variety of backgrounds provide fascinating and multifaceted reflections on the way African Initiated churches’ everyday work shapes and influences applied and spiritual development." – Barbara Bompani, Reader in Africa and International Development, Centre of African Studies, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

    "This book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on religion and development. Its exclusive focus on African initiated churches, in and outside Africa, renders it a novel collection of essays that sheds light on the unique role that these churches play in advancing development. It further demonstrates that development in Africa is no longer a colonial enterprise."Gerrie ter Haar, Em. Professor Religion and Development, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    "This timely volume challenges two long-cherished stereotypes on African Initiated Christianity: it firstly deconstructs notions of socio-political irrelevance by sketching its developmental agency; secondly it challenges modernist assumptions on social change by profiling the transformative potential of primarily spirit-empowered churches with reference to multi-directional perspectives of sustainable development in Africa."Andreas Heuser, Professor for Extra-European Christianity, University of Basel, Switzerland

    "The impact of religion, for example in world-view formation and ethical behaviour, cannot be ignored in theories and practises regarding sustainable development. This holds especially true for a religious continent such as Africa. In this book, the important domain of religion and development is explored by a variety of world-renowned scholars, making it timely and important contribution to this nascent academic field." Cas Wepener, Professor of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

    "It is a remarkable collection and a resource that will be of use to generations." - Gerald O. West, Professor Emeritus, Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa