This book investigates the substantial and growing contribution which African Independent and Pentecostal Churches are making to sustainable development in all its manifold forms. Moreover, this volume seeks to elucidate how these churches reshape the very notion of sustainable development and contribute to the decolonisation of development.

Fostering both overarching and comparative perspectives, the book includes chapters on West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, and Burkina Faso) and Southern Africa (Zimbabwe and South Africa). It aims to open up a subfield focused on African Initiated Christianity within the religion and development discourse, substantially broadening the scope of the existing literature. Written predominantly by scholars from the African continent, the chapters in this volume illuminate potentials and perspectives of African Initiated Christianity, combining theoretical contributions, essays by renowned church leaders, and case studies focusing on particular churches or regional contexts.

While the contributions in this book focus on the African continent, the notion of development underlying the concept of the volume is deliberately wide and multidimensional, covering economic, social, ecological, political, and cultural dimensions. Therefore, the book will be useful for the community of scholars interested in religion and development as well as researchers within African studies, anthropology, development studies, political science, religious studies, sociology of religion, and theology. It will also be a key resource for development policymakers and practitioners.

chapter 1|30 pages


African Initiated Christianity and sustainable development
ByPhilipp Öhlmann, Wilhelm Gräb, Marie-Luise Frost
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part Part I|71 pages

Overarching perspectives

chapter 2|18 pages

Spirit and empowerment

The African Initiated Church movement and development
ByJ. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu
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chapter 3|22 pages

The challenge of environment and climate justice1

Imperatives of an eco-theological reformation of Christianity in African contexts
ByDietrich Werner
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chapter 4|22 pages

African Initiated Churches and development from below

Subjecting a thesis to closer scrutiny
ByIgnatius Swart
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chapter 5|7 pages

Distinguished church leader essay

Theology in African Initiated Churches – reflections from an East African perspective
ByJohn Njeru Gichimu
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part Part II|78 pages

Nigerian perspectives

chapter 6|10 pages

Distinguished church leader essay

Roles of women in African Independent and Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria
ByAtinuke Abdulsalami
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chapter 7|21 pages

‘A starving man cannot shout halleluyah’

African Pentecostal Churches and the challenge of promoting sustainable development
ByOlufunke Adeboye
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chapter 8|15 pages

Approaches to transformation and development

The case of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Nigeria
ByBabatunde A. Adedibu
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chapter 9|13 pages

The role of Pentecostalism in sustainable development in Nigeria

ByMobolaji Oyebisi Ajibade
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chapter 10|11 pages

Aladura Churches as agents of social transformation in South-West Nigeria

ByAkinwumi Akindolie
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chapter 11|6 pages

Distinguished church leader essay

Aladura theology – the case of the Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide
ByRufus Okikiola Ositelu
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part Part III|59 pages

Ghanaian perspectives

chapter 12|12 pages

Distinguished church leader essay

The Church of Pentecost and its role in Ghanaian society
ByOpoku Onyinah
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chapter 13|17 pages

An evaluation of Pentecostal Churches as agents of sustainable development in Africa

The case of the Church of Pentecost
ByEmmanuel Kwesi Anim
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chapter 14|15 pages

Pentecostalism and sustainable development

The case of Perez Chapel International
BySylvia Owusu-Ansah, Philip Adjei-Acquah
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chapter 15|13 pages

Distinguished church leader essay

Healing a strained relationship between African Independent Churches and western Mission-founded Churches in Ghana (1967–2017) – the role of Good News Theological Seminary, Accra, Ghana
ByThomas A. Oduro
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part Part IV|23 pages

Perspectives from Burkina Faso

chapter 16|10 pages

Distinguished church leader essay

Partnerships for female education in Burkina Faso – perspectives from Evangelical Churches and FBOs
ByPhilippe Ouedraogo
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part Part V|38 pages

Zimbabwean perspectives

chapter 18|17 pages

Investing in the future generation

New Pentecostal Charismatic Churches in Harare, Zimbabwe
BySimbarashe Gukurume
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part Part VI|19 pages

South African perspectives

chapter 20|6 pages

Distinguished church leader essay

Cross-cultural development in South Africa – a perspective from below
ByDanie C. van Zyl
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chapter 21|11 pages

Contested development(s)? The possible contribution of the African Independent Churches in decolonising development

A South African perspective
ByNadine Bowers-Du Toit
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