Some Recent Developments in African Christianity

In the late 1980s Africa experienced the beginning of a second liberation, as the peoples of Africa tried to throw off the political systems that had come to serve them so badly. One of the common features of this struggle was the significant role played by the churches. The involvement of the Christian churches in Africa’s political changes came as a surprise to many. It was commonly thought that Christianity in Africa would become ever less significant, because it was associated so closely with colonialism. This prediction has proved completely false. This article sketches developments of African Christianity in the 1980s, which have not been well documented. It pays attention to the mushrooming of new churches, the missionary explosion, the link between many of these missionaries and the charismatic/fundamentalist Christianity of the southern states of America, the growing weakness of the mainline churches, the formidable presence in Africa of the Catholic Church, divisions within African Christianity, the attitude of the mainline churches and the new evangelical and Pentecostal churches towards Islam, and the sociopolitical role of the churches, often the greatest single element of civil society. Notes, ref.

Title: Some Recent Developments in African Christianity
Author: Gifford, Paul
Year: 1994
Periodical: African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Volume: 93
Issue: 373
Period: October
Pages: 513-534
Language: English
Geographic term: Africa
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/723665
Abstract: In the late 1980s Africa experienced the beginning of a second liberation, as the peoples of Africa tried to throw off the political systems that had come to serve them so badly. One of the common features of this struggle was the significant role played by the churches. The involvement of the Christian churches in Africa’s political changes came as a surprise to many. It was commonly thought that Christianity in Africa would become ever less significant, because it was associated so closely with colonialism. This prediction has proved completely false. This article sketches developments of African Christianity in the 1980s, which have not been well documented. It pays attention to the mushrooming of new churches, the missionary explosion, the link between many of these missionaries and the charismatic/fundamentalist Christianity of the southern states of America, the growing weakness of the mainline churches, the formidable presence in Africa of the Catholic Church, divisions within African Christianity, the attitude of the mainline churches and the new evangelical and Pentecostal churches towards Islam, and the sociopolitical role of the churches, often the greatest single element of civil society. Notes, ref.