Original Research

Is Africa Godforsaken? Neo-Pentecostal prophetism on African human agency and transcendence

Collium Banda
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2696 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2696 | © 2023 Collium Banda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 August 2022 | Published: 14 February 2023

About the author(s)

Collium Banda, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

African neo-Pentecostal prophets (NPPs) use their prophetic rituals like deliverance services and anointed objects such as anointed oil, to bring God’s presence to people to empower their human agency (power to act) and transcendence (power to overcome). This use of prophetic systems prompts the question: What does the NPPs’ teaching that Africans need prophetic rituals and anointed objects for God to empower their agency and transcendence communicate about God’s presence in Africa? A further question that emerges is: How can Christian doctrines like God’s transcendence (divine beyondness) and immanence (divine nearness) address the African reliance on NPPs’ prophetic systems for God’s power to exercise their human agency and transcendence to confront their context of poverty? Consequently, this article uses the doctrine of God’s transcendence and immanence to evaluate the implications of NPPs’ prophetic systems to empower Africans to act and overcome their undesirable situations in Africa. The article challenges NPPs to realise that the transcendent God is fully immanent in poor Africa and that poverty in Africa is not caused by the lack of God’s presence but evil socioeconomic and political structures that hinder the poor from exercising their human agency and transcendence. The contribution of the article is challenging African NPPs to be informed by a sound doctrine of God in their attempts to empower poor Africans to deal with their poverty.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article uses insights from the doctrine of God and African traditional religious (ATR) view of God to critique the use of NPPs’ rituals and anointed objects to empower African human agency and transcendence.


Keywords

anointed objects; prophetic Pentecostalism; agency; transcendence; poverty; new religious movements; vital force; transcendent God; immanent God.

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Crossref Citations

1. Invigorating Interfaith Consciousness for the Common Good: Reimagining the Role of African Religion and Pentecostalism in Contemporary South Africa
Gallous Atabongwoung, Johannes M. Lütz, Denise A. Austin
Religions  vol: 14  issue: 4  first page: 486  year: 2023  
doi: 10.3390/rel14040486