By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
THE manpower development unit of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, the Redeemed Christian Bible College which is parading a total of 5,670 students who have passed through various courses of study recently hosted a continental conference to address certain challenges militating against African Pentecostalism.
Between 8.00 and 9.30 a.m. today, the provost of RCBC, Dr. Babatunde Adedibu will present graduates who have completed their academic works in different categories as part of the ongoing 66th annual convention of the church.
Speaking on the vision for the conference, Dr. Adedibu who holds a PhD in Missiology from Northwest University, South Africa, maintained that a close look at recent trends will avidly reveal that African Pentecostalism is no longer delineated within Africa, it’s now globalized.
“Go to any part of the world, in North America today, you’ll find African Pentecostal churches everywhere. Not only that, the inherent peculiarities and the elements of local contents which emanate from Africa is now a global phenomenon. Also, it goes with salient ritual idiosyncrasies and other practices that have challenged the irrationalistic world view of the Western Christians.
”So you can encounter African Christianity in the west. Also, some features also include to a large extent, gender equality within the Pentecostal movement which allows women to be active assistants in the worship and liturgy which most western denominations are still struggling with. Catholic Church is still there. Recently, the Church of England changed grounds with respect to that,” he noted.
Asked if there is an African touch to Pentecostalism; the answer was: “Certainly yes; take for instance the usual dealing with the existential challenges of life; the African traditional world has a remedy for virtually everything.
So when you get into a Pentecostal church, the emphasis is on hope against all odds.
“So the element of that particular replacement ideology also resonates because this is a context for which Africans evolved. The relevance of the contextual application of the scripture to the immediate challenges of Africans is phenomenal in Pentecostalism and that is one of the major attractions particularly to those who are at the lower level of the society aspiring for better things.
“It deals with the issues of African cosmology which is witchcraft, exorcism and the likes. They are not necessarily peculiar to Africa but within the western world, you will realize that it has been rationalized. So the emphasis is no longer on that.
“And that is also part of the element of secularization whereby the faith is taken out of the public space and now in the private space. Like the case of the bishop, who exercised charismatic gifts and delivered people, the whole church was astonished because it’s not part of them; only few are allowed to manifest such,” he argued.