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Burnett, David G. (1997) Charisma and community in a Ghanaian independent church. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In 1919, J. W. Appiah, a Methodist catechist in the Gold Coast, sought the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and began to prophesy and pray for the sick. He and his followers were expelled from the Church, and formed both a new community and a denomination known as the Musama Disco Christo Church (MDCC). It has often been argued that African Independent Churches result as a reaction to Western domination of land or people, but it is shown that this was not the primary issue with the MDCC. The initial quest was for spiritual empowerment, which resulted in prophetic revelation and the formation of a church with distinctively African characteristics. Following Appiah's death, his son (Akaboha II) became the head of the growing church, which was affected by two contemporary developments. The first was the nationalist movement led by Nkrumah, which stimulated the MDCC to a mission of the spiritual liberation of Christianity from remaining Western elements. This was achieved through the innovation of rituals and practices based upon traditional African forms. The second was revivalist teaching brought to Ghana by Pentecostal evangelists, which the MDCC adopted as "instantaneous healing". Although the church continued to grow after the fall of Nkrumah and the death of Akaboha II, in the late 1980s it started to decline. This thesis argues that the innovation of African traditions resulted in a form of contextualization that was inflexible, so the church was unable to adapt to social change and has become less relevant. Former members are now seeking a more relevant charisma of the Holy Spirit in other churches. The illiterate members prefer the Pentecostal churches, and the educated younger generation are attracted to the newer Charismatic churches.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:16

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