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Sub Saharan Africa Pentecostalism also known as “Spirit Filled Movement, Charismatic Movement” oudeyi, Azizou Atte


European missionaries brought Christianity to Sub Saharan Africa with the goal of converting the population of the region. They were indeed successful in that the local population took Christianism and made it their own. Hence was born African Independent Churches in the early twentieth century leading later to the Pentecostal movement. After the wave of independences from colonial rule in the 1960s, the independent churches thrived until the 1970s when the Pentecostal movement which was at that point an underground movement became full blown. It is now becoming the dominant form of Christianity in Africa attracting converts from all religions, tribal and ethnic groups, and all walks of life. The movement is defined by the day of Pentecost and refers to the encounter with God in the Bible’s book of the Acts of the apostles. Pentecostals believe they receive an impartation of God’s spirit when they confess the name of Jesus. Its main pillars are the concept of being born again, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongue, the divine healing, the eschatological belief of the return of Jesus Christ, and all wrapped in the concept of the full gospel. First, the concept of ‘born again’ refers to a spiritual birth of an individual which in the African context connect the person to the invisible world. Second, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a Christian concept of spiritual empowerment which is also found in African spiritual belief which gives the person a spiritual awareness and discernment. Third, the divine healing mimics African belief that a person can be supernaturally healed in opposition to modern medicine. Finally, the return of Jesus Christ is similar to African eschatological belief that there is an invisible world out there which controls the visible world. In fact, African cosmology assumes two worlds: one which is invisible and populated with spirits and the other which is the visible world. The interaction between the invisible and visible worlds determines human’s faith. Pentecostals practice exorcisms where evil spirits are cast out followed with weeping, laughing, and screaming. They engage in what is known as spiritual warfare, praying, and fasting. These beliefs are ingrained in Africans’ psyche and were comfortably found in Pentecostal belief generating what is known as African Pentecostalism. It gives people a sense of self, meaning, and reconcile years of exploitation with the newfound identity. It encourages free enterprise, hard work, and self-determination.

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