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Afro-Christianity at the Grassroots: Its Dynamics and Strategies

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The spontaneous and rapid growth of indigenous African Christianity, especially in South Africa, has undermined the appropriateness of the term “mainline” for the traditional, denominational churches in the area. Some of these churches lost more than twenty-five percent of their membership in the period 1980-1990, while membership of the indigenous churches increased by a similar percentage in the same period. The contributions to this volume are based on grassroots research and each one treats some significant ...

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Overview

The spontaneous and rapid growth of indigenous African Christianity, especially in South Africa, has undermined the appropriateness of the term “mainline” for the traditional, denominational churches in the area. Some of these churches lost more than twenty-five percent of their membership in the period 1980-1990, while membership of the indigenous churches increased by a similar percentage in the same period. The contributions to this volume are based on grassroots research and each one treats some significant aspect within the life and work of this vast, self-motivating movement, a movement largely ignored for over a century by western-oriented Christianity. The work of these researchers clearly indicates how it is that African Indigenous Churches, with their holistic approach to religion - a feature of traditional African religion - serve as such a dynamic vehicle in effectively addressing the needs of their flocks. A further focus of the essays is on issues faced by these churches within their own church context.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Certainly this book ought to be in all basic theological and religious studies libraries because it makes an important contribution to our field.'
Irving Hexham, Religious Studies & Theology.
'Ces 19 articles constituent une importante documentation sur les Églises indépendantes Africaines (AIC) dans les territoires de la RSA (Transkei, Zululand, etc.), au Botswana, Malawi et Swaziland.'
Jeanne Marie Léonard, Etudes Theologiques et Religieuses, 1995.
'…let us [...] receive with gratitude and appreciation this remarkable contribution to the study of church independency in Southern Africa.'
Patrick Kalilombe, Journal of Religion in Africa, 1997.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004100350
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/1994
  • Series: Studies of Religion in Africa Series , #9
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerhardus C. Oosthuizen, Ph.D. (1955) in Philosophy, University of South-Africa, is Director of NERMIC, a research unit for New Religious Movements and Independent/Indigenous Churches under the University of Zululand. He has published extensively on independent/indigenous churches.
M.C. Kitshoff is Dean of the Faculty of Theology, University of Zululand.
S.W.D. Dube is Director of the Institute for Education and Human Development, University of Zululand.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction
1 Between Mainlinism and Independentism - A Case Study of an Early Secession 3
2 Factors Leading to the Formation of the Independent Methodist Church 16
3 New Independent Methodist Movements in Southern Africa 23
4 Origins of the Spiritual Healing Church in Botswana 37
5 The Conflict between the Spiritual Healing Church and the Authorities before Independence 51
6 Swazi Zionism and the Royal Politics of the Kingdom 55
7 Religious Independency in the Central Region of Malawi 67
8 Black Churches in the United States and in South Africa: Similarities and Differences 80
9 Music and Power in Traditional Zulu Society: The Social Role and Status of amahubo Songs 97
10 Hierophanies: A Hermeneutic Paradigm for Understanding Zionist Ritual 105
11 Causes for the Proliferation of the African Independent Churches 121
12 Social Change, Resistance and Worldview of a Community in the Transkei 137
13 Called To Be: Isangoma or Prophet 165
14 The Search for a Holistic Approach 180
15 Towards the Emancipation of Women in a Post-Apartheid South Africa - A Case of a Prayer Woman in a Zionist Church 195
16 Women's Ministry in Independent Churches 205
17 The Role of Women in the Leadership of the Churches in Swaziland 211
18 The South African New Age Movement and the African Indigenous Church Movement 231
19 Stories of Faith among the Zionists 246
Index 259
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