Deliverance in Ghanaian neo-pentecostal ministries : a critical assessment from an evangelical perspective

Ampong, Ebenezer Adu (2004-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2004

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The worldwide phenomenal growth of Pentecostalism is a well-acknowledged fact, which no one can deny. Research shows that much of the growth is in the neo- Pentecostal or charismatic wing of the movement. Ghana is not left out of this. One phenomenon that has become so pronounced in the charismatic movement in Ghana is the practice of the so-called "deliverance". This phenomenon purports to let Christians attain to the abundance of life that Christ offers as part of God's salvation package to humankind. Most of the deliverance ministries, to a large extent, attribute situations such as sicknesses, poverty, late marriage, denial of visa to travel abroad and even some natural disasters among others to supernatural causes. These supernatural causes, which are said to hinder Christians from achieving the abundance of life, are mainly identified as demonic contamination, demonic influence, demon-possession, witchcraft or ancestral curses. The prescribed antidote to these is to be taken through deliverance by a special person of God. Due mainly to a very bad economic situation which has made many Ghanaians live below the poverty line; it makes it very difficult for many people to afford the cost of western medical care. Many Ghanaians are also daily looking for avenues to go and better their lot in other countries. The traditional Ghanaian like many Africans has a worldview, which believes in a supernatural dimension to every physical occurrence including difficulties in the acquisition of visa to travel abroad. The emergence of the deliverance ministries has therefore provided a legitimate haven to which people who would otherwise have gone to the traditional shrines to seek solutions to their problems can now go. The challenge that this phenomenon poses to evangelical Christianity is highlighted in this research. A critical assessment of the phenomenon as it pertains in Ghanaian Christianity has been done from the perspective of a specific definition of evangelicalism. Much as the fact cannot be denied that some of the deliverance ministries are meeting real felt needs of people in biblically unquestionable ways, there are obviously, some who are for various reasons employing anti-Christian and superstitious principles. The purpose of this research therefore, is to inform evangelical Christians on what the whole phenomenon is about in the light of Scripture so that practices that are not in line with the whole truth of the word of God can be avoided. On the other hand, evangelical Christian ministers can find ways of inculcating some of the useful practices of the phenomenon into their ministry for the benefit of their congregations and all people who might need such assistance. This is very necessary because the people from these congregations are patronizing the services of the deliverance ministries anyway.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die wereldwye fenomeniese groei van die pinksterbeweging is 'n welbekende feit wat niemand kan ontken nie. Navorsing toon dat die meerderheid van die groei binne die "neopinkster" of charismatiese deel van die beweging plaasvind. In Ghana is dit geen uitsondering nie. Een verskynsel wat so prominent geword het in die charismatiese beweging in Ghana is die beoefening van die sogenaamde "bevryding". Hierdie verskynsel beweer dat die Christene lewe in oorvloed sal he wanneer hulle Christus aanbid, as deel van God se verlossingsplan vir die mens. Meeste van hierdie bevrydingsbewegings, in 'n groot mate, skryf situasies soos siekte, armoede, die weiering van 'n visum vir ander lande en selfs sommige natuurlike rampe, onder andere toe aan bonatuurlike oorsake. Hierdie bonatuurlike oorsake waarvan gepraat word wat die Christene daarvan weerhou om die lewe in oorvloed te geniet, word hoofsaaklik geidentifiseer as demoniese kontaminasie, demoniese invloed, demoniese heksery of bloedlynvloeke. Die voorgeskrewe teenmiddel hiervoor is om deur bevryding te gaan deur mid del van 'n spesiale persoon in God. Hoofsaaklik as gevolg van 'n haglike ekonomiese situasie, leef baie Ghanese onder die broodlyn en is dit werklik moeilik vir baie mense om Westerse medisyne te bekostig. Ghanese soek ook daagliks 'n ander heenkome en probeer hulle lot verander in ander lande. Die tradisionele Ghanees, soos meeste Afrika inwoners, het 'n werelduitkyk wat glo in die bonatuurlike dimensie vir elke fisiese verskynsel, insluitend die probleem om 'n visum te kry. Die verskyning van die bevrydingsbedienings, het gevolglik 'n legitieme toevlugsoord gebied aan mense wat andersins na tradisionele heiligdomme sou gaan, om antwoorde op hulle probleme en vrae te soek. Die uitdaging wat hierdie verskynsel aan die Evangeliese Christendom bied, is onderstreep in hierdie navorsing. 'n Kritiese evaluering van die fenomeen, soos dit voorkom in Ghanese Christendom, is vanuit die perspektief van 'n spesifieke definisie van evangelisasieleer gedoen. Net soos die feit dat sommige bevrydingsbedienings werklik die mens se egte behoeftes op 'n onbetwisbare, bybelse manier aanspreek, net so is dit duidelik dat sommige mense om verskeie redes anti-Christelike en bygelowige beginsels implementeer. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is dus om Evangeliese Christene in te lig waaroor hierdie verskynsel handel, in die lig van die Woord. Sodoende kan praktyke wat nie ooreenstemend met die waarheid van God se Woord is, me vermyword. Aan die anderkant, kan Evangeliese Christen predikers maniere vind om die nuttige praktyke van hierdie verskynsel in hul eie bedienings te integreer tot voordeel en opbou van die gemeente en aIle mense wat sulke bystand mag benodig. Dit is noodsaaklik omdat die mense van hierdie gemeentes in elk geval die bevrydingsbedienings ondersteun.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49903
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