Original Research

A pastoral evaluation and responses to the challenge of spiritual insecurity in African pastoral ministry and Christianity

Vhumani Magezi, Christopher Magezi
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 38, No 1 | a1734 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v38i1.1734 | © 2017 Vhumani Magezi, Christopher Magezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 January 2017 | Published: 31 May 2017

About the author(s)

Vhumani Magezi, School of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, South Africa
Christopher Magezi, School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, South Africa


This article argues that there is a form of Christian syncretism operating in African Christians’ use of traditional African powers to address their spiritual insecurity challenges that arises from their former traditional African worldview of spiritual powers. It provides an overview description of the nature of the spiritual insecurity which still grips African Christians by delving into the traditional African worldview of spiritual powers (such as the notions of a Supreme Being, lesser divinities, spirits and ancestors) and the centrality of traditional powers such as diviners in addressing this insecurity. After underscoring the aforementioned, this article proceeds to demonstrate three predominant views proposed by theological scholars as a response to the spiritual insecurity of African Christians. The first stance calls African Christians to discontinue with anything that is linked to traditional African spiritual worldview because Christianity entails a complete new ontological being. The second stance disapproves African Christians’ reliance on traditional African powers and then proceeds to argue that Christian ministry should identify positives within the African spiritual world system and worldview that is useful and can be imported for use in contextualising the gospel. The third position advocates for Christians’ continual reliance on traditional African spiritual powers in addressing their African contextual needs. In doing this, the weaknesses and strengths of these approaches are established with the view to outline an alternative biblical theological basis to ensure biblical Christianity in the challenging African contexts of spiritual insecurity. This article concludes by drawing from various theological responses to the spiritual insecurity of African Christians to ensure Christian ministry that is thoroughly biblical and contextual in African Christianity.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article discusses African spiritual worldview and its implications to practical Christianity. It is an interdisciplinary theological article that integrates African Christian theology and pastoral care. It contributes to the discussion on contextualising Christian practical ministry in Africa.


Africa spiritual insecurity; responding to African fear of spirits; responses to practical African Christianity; pastoral care in Africa; insecurity in Africa and Christian response; spiritual insecurity and pastoral care in Africa


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Crossref Citations

1. Where Is the Money? The Intersectionality of the Spirit World and the Acquisition of Wealth
Suleman Lazarus
Religions  vol: 10  issue: 3  first page: 146  year: 2019  
doi: 10.3390/rel10030146