The holy spirit and spirits in healing narratives of Zionist churches generating a grounded theory of mission praxis from a selection of case studies

Siwella, Edson Mbuzana (2015-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Contemporary global Christian demography, it has been observed, indicates a significant gravitational shift towards a two-thirds global concentration. Characteristic of that majority is the proliferation of indigenous, independent churches. In the majority of the world, especially in Africa, one significant characteristic of such independent churches is the phenomenon of healing. That phenomenon, particularly in the Zionist churches, constitutes a prominent feature in the indigenous spectrum of the African Christian demography. Therefore, by examining a selection of case studies of the Zionist healing phenomenon at grassroots levels, this research sought to generate a grounded theory of mission praxis. This research focused on the Holy Spirit and spirits in healing within selected Zionists populations in the southern African context. The research engaged the classical Grounded Theory Approach in investigating the healing phenomenon in the Khayelitsha and Masiphumelele Zionist churches in the Western Province, as well as in one Zionist church in Limpopo Province. Cumulative field data harvested from narratives of the Zionists themselves sought to capture an emic understanding of what happens before, around, in, during and after specific healings. Pilot research work facilitated the production of an appropriate ground-based bilingual questionnaire that was instrumental in the interviews and observations of individuals and church activities related to healing. A population of ninety adult Zionists were interviewed. Data collection and data management proceeded iteratively and simultaneously. The research process – from data harvesting to open and selective coding, the abstraction of dataimbedded concepts, theoretical sampling and the creation of the main categories – revolved around the question, ‘What is happening when healing occurs among the Zionists?’ Later, a thorough literature review of scholarly works, ranging from Adogame (2012) and Anderson, Omenyo and Oosthuizen to Sundkler and Xulu, enhanced the emerging ‘story’ of healing. The review, which also took account of the Biblical motif of sozo (σῴζω), led to an identification, refinement, sorting and selection of the main emerging categories, that is, the principles or concepts, which are manifest in Zionist healing ministries. Thus emerged the theory that describes what happens in that healing process. A grassroots emic understanding of the healing phenomenon emerged that was simple: the healing experience involves a spiritual search, a quest. Supplicants to be healed come expecting to be healed. Over eighteen million Zionists in southern Africa seek spiritual solutions to real-life problems, central to which is the need for healing. The Christian context of the healing experience is associated with the activity of the Holy Spirit and spirits. A successful healing draws more people in and leads to church expansion, which is the primary mission of the Church. On three conceptual levels this research refreshes the professional discourse regarding the Church and its mission in southern Africa, namely the nature of healing; the spiritual agents of healing; and finally, healing as a critical key in understanding the Church’s contemporary mission and missional praxis. This research sought to clarify, amplify and apply that understanding for the benefit of the local and global Church.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar word waargeneem dat die verspreiding van die Christendom tans ʼn beduidende ruimtelike verskuiwing ondergaan: waar Christenskap voorheen hoofsaaklik in die Weste beoefen is, is dit deesdae oorwegend in die ontwikkelende wêreld gekonsentreer. Kenmerkend van hierdie Christelike gemeenskappe is die verspreiding van inheemse, onafhanklike kerke. In die meeste gebiede waar die Christendom tans gekonsentreer is, veral in Afrika, is ʼn belangrike fenomeen wat in sodanige kerke voorkom dié van genesing. Hierdie fenomeen, veral in die konteks van Sionistekerke, is ʼn prominente kenmerk van die groei en verspreiding van sodanige kerke. Daarom het hierdie navorsing dit ten doel gestel om ʼn goed onderlegde teorie oor die sendingpraktyk te ontwikkel deur op voetsoolvlak ʼn verskeidenheid gevallestudies oor die fenomeen van genesing in Sionistekerke te ondersoek. Die navorsing het gefokus op die Heilige Gees en ander geeste wat ʼn rol speel in genesing by geselekteerde Sionistegroepe in Suider-Afrika. In die navorsing is daar van die klassieke Gegronde Teoretiese Benadering gebruik gemaak om genesing in Sionistekerke in die Wes-Kaap en Limpopo-provinsie te ondersoek. Deur middel van ʼn iteratiewe proses van kumulatiewe data-insameling en -bestuur het die navorsing dit ten doel gestel om ʼn emiese Sionistebegrip te verkry van wat rondom en tydens sekere genesingsessies gebeur. ʼn Primêre loodsondersoek het die produksie van ʼn volledig onderlegde, tweetalige vraelys gefasiliteer wat benut is as ʼn instrument in die daaropvolgende onderhoude met en waarneming van Sionistiese kerklede. Onderhoude is met negentig volwasse Sioniste in Khayelitsha, Masiphumelele en Limpopo gevoer. Die hele navorsingsproses – van data-insameling tot kodering en die abstrahering van konsepte wat in die data ingebed was – het op die volgende vraag berus: ‘Wat gebeur wanneer genesing onder Sioniste plaasvind?’ Tydens hierdie proses het die beginsel van ʼn soektog herhaaldelik na vore gekom. Vier sodanige tipes soektogte is geïdentifiseer: die soeke na mag, na kommunikasie, na gemeenskap en na spirituele terapie. ʼn Deeglike literatuurstudie van vakkundige werke deur onder andere Adogame (2012), Anderson, Omenyo, Oosthuizen, Sundkler en Xulu het die ontluikende “storie” of teorie van genesing versterk. In hierdie literatuurstudie is onder andere die Bybelse motief sozo (σῴζω) ondersoek, wat daartoe gelei het dat die hoofsoektog wat in Sionistiese genesingswerk manifesteer, geïdentifiseer en geselekteer kon word. Op voetsoolvlak was die emiese begrip van die genesingsfenomeen wat na vore gekom het eenvoudig: Die genesingservaring behels ʼn spirituele soektog. Kandidate vir genesing kom met die verwagting om genees te word. Meer as agtien miljoen Sioniste in Suider-Afrika is op soek na spirituele oplossings vir alledaagse probleme. Wat beduidend is in hierdie soeke is hul behoefte aan genesing en veral holistiese genesing. Die Christelike konteks van die genesingservaring word geassosieer met die handeling van die Heilige Gees en ander geeste. Genesing wat ontvang word, betrek mense by die kerk, wat daartoe lei dat die kerk sy roeping kan vervul deur te groei en uit te brei. Hierdie navorsing dra op drie konseptuele vlakke by tot ʼn hernude professionele diskoers oor die kerk en sendingwerk in Suider-Afrika, naamlik die kerk en genesing, die spirituele agente van genesing en genesing as ʼn beduidende sleutel daartoe om die kontemporere sendingspraktyk te verstaan. Die navorsing het dit ten doel gestel om hierdie begrip te versterk en toe te pas ten bate van die plaaslike en globale kerk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97114
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