Evangelical parachurch movements in Ghanaian Christianity : c.1950-early 1990s
Adubofuor, Samuel Brefo
The thesis examines the origins, growth and indigenisation of parachurch movements, in their primary and secondary forms, in the context of established Christianity in Ghana in the post-war era. The historical accounts explore the operations of primary groups, particularly, Scripture Union and kindred Christian Fellowships, stimulating the development of secondary independent evangelistic and charismatic organisations. It includes early and later movements towards independency, culminating in "church formation" a metamorphosis in the whole parachurch movement. The indigenous and exogenous components of the parachurch phenomena - evangelical and Pentecostal, are discussed to indicate the complex multi-1ateral determinant factors involved. The very significant background factors include the traditional religion and national political and socio-economic situations to which the parachurch groups respond in diverse ways. Church relations emerges as the immediate problem in parachurch operations. Parachurch operations are intended to complement that of the Church, but they generate issues of conflict and mistrust which are discussed as they emerge in the historical accounts. Particular international and local efforts towards resolving conflict and promoting co¬ operation are considered. A detailed examination is made of the evangelicalism of the parachurch movements, expressed in terms of doctrinal affirmations, commitment to the Bible and evangelism, and particular modest acts of social concern. A radical brand of evangelicalism emerges with Pentecostal influence, involving the adoption of the music and spirituality of local Pentecostal Churches. Hence the engagement in fasting and extended prayer with glossolalia, particularly in all-night prayer meetings; focus on prophecies and visions; with the ministry of healing and deliverance emerging and enduring as evangelical Pentecostal response to the supernatural realities of the African world. The evangelical pentecostal impact of the parachurch movements on church life is evident in the rise of growth of charismatic renewal movements within the Protestant Churches, as indicated by the case of the Methodist Church which has been selected for special treatment.