Presentation on theme: "AMAHORO AFRICA GATHERING UGANDA: 6-19 MAY 2007 The Gospel of Reconciliation Vs The Gospel of Church Growth Jurgens Hendriks Faculty of Theology Stellenbosch."— Presentation transcript:
AMAHORO AFRICA GATHERING UGANDA: 6-19 MAY 2007 The Gospel of Reconciliation Vs The Gospel of Church Growth Jurgens Hendriks Faculty of Theology Stellenbosch University
Two statements and one question 1. A gospel that doesn't reconcile is not a Christian gospel 2. Reconciled people love one another - they don’t hate, kill or undermine one another 3Why then are we faced with such poverty, ignorance and disease in Africa?
Outline of presentation Meaning of reconciliation Church growth in the USA and Africa differ Stats: the growth of the church in Africa Reasons for this growth Then why so little reconciliation? One suggestion Please provide other suggestions
Reconciliation 1 Through faith in Christ, God reconciles the world with Himself – Only when the victim sees the way in which God took the suffering caused by sin upon Himself, does (s)he receives the power to forgive…. God’s shattering grace restores our humanity if we forgive one another
Reconciliation2 Christ reconciles Jew and Gentile On the level of the church, Christ helps one to discover “the other” as a brother or sister and as such reconciliation restores the humanity of all people
Reconciliation3 Christ reconciled all powers on earth and in heaven onto Himself Reconciliation means looking after God’s creation. It also means that Christ broke the power and bondage of evil in the spiritual realm
American church growth marketing values and assumptions 1. Capitalism’s value system of success in numbers is the DNA of this system 2. Personal fulfilment – “What you need is what you get…” 3. If consumers determine the agenda of the church, the Lord’s agenda is usually absent.
Church growth African style: rogue pastors The big three in Africa: 1. Poverty 2. Ignorance 3. Disease Cult figures calling themselves pastors use these calamities to mislead and beguile innocent, ignorant people to enrich themselves. Church growth is thus a profitable affair
Church Growth in Africa 1900: 9 million Christians = 9% of population 1900: 4 Muslims for every 1 Christian 2005: 411m Christen = 46% of population 2005: 46% Christian - 40% Muslim
When did this growth occur? 1962: Independence came to Africa; Missionaries start to leave. 1962: 60m Christians & 145m Muslims Between 1970 & 1985 Christianity grew in Africa at 16,500 conversions a day – mostly in poor areas. During the same time 4,300 people were leaving the church weekly in the West
Whose religion is Christianity Other reasons for the growth… 1. The rapid expansion of Christianity took place after the colonial period 2. The translation of the Bible in African languages played a major role in the growth of an African Christianity. 3. African leadership and the role of women freed the church from the disadvantages of foreign compromise and Western denominationalism
Other reasons: 4. Christian expansion is virtually directly linked to those societies whose people preserved the indigenous name of God 5. African theology is missional and ecumenical 6. The Pentecostal spirituality: rediscovering primal speech, spirituality & hope Cf the role of music!
The Pentecostal contribution1 Primal speech: In a world where the cognitive grids and perceptual barriers are drawn in cold and clear logic, people need to get in touch with the supernatural, with a God who can relate to them and with whom they can relate, even if words cannot be found to express what is in the heart.
The Pentecostal contribution-2 Primal piety: refers to signs and wonders and the recovery of primal piety. The Pentecostals, almost by accident it seems, found a way: They rebelled against creeds but retained mystery. They abolished hierarchies but kept ecstasy. This happened in the worship of those who had to face the new realities of cities being dislocated from their rural lifestyle and family.
The Pentecostal contribution-3 Primal hope: Pentecostalism became the global vehicle for the restoration of primal hope in a century with two world wars, a holocaust, the first nuclear bombs, a cold war, innumerable atrocities, and the growing economic disparities illustrated by the growing gap between rich and poor. Eschatology, not only distant, is a reality with Pentecostalism. Music carried their message!
Then why so little reconciliation? Why all the Poverty and corruption Ignorance and exploitation by leaders Disease – 70% of the world’s HIV infected? The incessant warfare and ethnocentrism? Is Christianity in Africa a mile wide and an inch deep? Correct? Yes and no.
How do we do theology and How do we train our leaders? I think we are standing at the cradle of the birth of African theology and a new generation of leadership…. Unmistakeably: The Spirit of the Lord is moving in Africa! How do we discern where He is leading? I group of Africans from seminaries in 8 Sub- Saharan countries proposed the following as a preliminary suggestion of doing contextual theology: