Development of Ghanaian Pentecostalism : a study in the appropriation of the Christian gospel in twentieth century Ghana setting with special reference to the Christ Apostolic Church, the Church of Pentecost, and the International Central Gospel Church
Larbi, Emmanuel Kingsley Kwabena
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The study investigates the origins and development of Pentecostalism in Ghana with special reference to the Christ Apostolic Church, the Church of Pentecost, and the International Central Gospel Church. The theological section explores the continuity and discontinuity between the movement's conception of salvation and the primal concept of salvation. Part A looks at the Akan cosmology, the Akan concept of salvation, and the political, economic and social history of the Gold Coast/ Ghana. It also examines some twentieth century Christian renewal movements in Ghana. Part B probes into the historical development of Ghanaian Pentecostalism and the Life and Faith of the movement, using the Christ Apostolic Church, the Church of Pentecost, and the International Central Gospel Church as case studies. Part C examines the Ghanaian Pentecostal soteriology using the Prayer Camps as a case study. The author concludes that the search of the Pentecostals for salvation or abundant life, manifests a continuity with the Akan traditional religious aspirations: a search for Salvation in which health, prosperity, dignity, fertility, security, vitality, and equilibrium within the cosmos are dominant. It also manifests a radical discontinuity in its hostile stand against all traditional forms of supernatural succour. Aspect of the discontinuity between the two religious expressions is Pentecostalism's concern for the paradise beyond. A related interest in this study is the investigation of the influence of socioeconomic factors on the eschatological presuppositions and the evangelistic ethos of the Pentecostal churches. The evidence from the Ghanaian context has led us to the conclusion that the materials presented in this study do not corroborate the thesis that the expectation of the parousia declines in the older Pentecostal denominations as their economic circumstances improve. Our findings indicate that though the neopentecostals believe in the parousia, this has not featured prominently in their kerygma. This, we propose, is due to their avowed concern to address the existential issues facing Ghanaians. The evidence indicates that the Prosperity or Abundant Life Gospel as espoused by the neo-pentecostals, is an attempt to appropriate the biblical message of salvation to suit the contemporary socio-economic and religious experience of Ghanaians.