Journal of Interdisciplinary Academic Research (JIAR)

Religious Studies

A critical analysis of Pentecostalism and development in sub-Saharan Africa

Dr Nyoni, Bednicho
Published 12/07/2018
Article License:
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Can religion in Africa be a genuine and permanent partner for sustainable development in an asymmetrical world and modern world system? Can indigenous African peoples create African futures within the aforesaid question and in the midst of spiritual coloniality? Despite apparent differences between the regions and cultural groups on this colossal continent, we can identify similar elements in religion. Religion has proven to be the highest social institution with an overwhelming influence on the lives of indigenous peoples in Sub-Saharan Africa, in contrast to other social institutions. This is evidenced by the contemporary realities that wherever you turn in this region’s communities, Churches overwhelm the landscape. Therefore, this is a testimony that belief in religion has grown stronger in the same region compared to the yesteryears. Of colossal interest in this article is the comparison between the classical Pentecostalism and the new Pentecostalism / Charismaticalism Mega-Churches. The former’s approach was and/or is more oriented in empowerment in its thrust – thus, they are conduits for sustainable development, whereas the latter’s thrust is more inclined in food distribution than in development programs and projects, as well as their theological, behavioural activities and characteristics or distinctive are the opposite of the former. The latter’s charismatic prophets and preachers who are sole owners of these Mega-Churches accumulate wealth more than their governments. Their spiritual advice is shrouded with ‘gospreneurship’ premised on carnal, greedy, treacherous and selfish inveiglement that seeks to continue fleecing and milking unsuspecting poor masses of congregants of their hard earned. There is mass enslavement here. Therefore, in relation to the aforesaid challenges posed by these new Pentecostal/Charismatic Mega-Churches in Africa the article’s contention is that there is a need for freedom or liberation from spiritual coloniality for sustainable development in order to create new humanism and genuine African futures.

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