Evangelistic mission and the practice of charismata in the Congo: Missiological assessment based on New Testament perspectives
Bondo, Mayuka Gaspard
MetadataShow full item record
The prevalence of divine healings, deliverances (exorcisms), and prophecies in the Christendom of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have attracted the attention of researchers and enthusiastic Christians alike. While existing research focuses on the history of Pentecostalism, the recurrence of charismatic phenomena and its impact on the development of the Church in the region, there has been a relative paucity of critical reflections on the practice of charismatic gifts (charismata) within the Church in the DRC. To bridge this gap in knowledge, this thesis engages in a critical missiological analysis of the churches founded by the CEM in the DRC. Through a dialogue with the New Testament, it evaluates the practice of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the CEM churches. The study raises the pertinent question of how the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be best exercised within churches. Focusing specifically on charismatic gifts, this study seeks to establish theological guidelines that would revive the Church's missiological impulse. The paramount argument here is that since charismatic gifts are graces received from God, and indispensable to the life of the Church, the public manifestation of such gifts must serve the common good and must not be simply employed as a tool for self-aggrandizement. Thus, this thesis analyses the theological and practical reasons for the manifestation of charismatic gifts in the churches founded by the CEM and examines their teaching with respect to the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. It crucial to note that the perspectives held of the Trinity by the churches of the CEM transcend the doctrine of the abstract nature of God. In this respect, the Trinity is neither submerged into the Father, nor into the Son, nor into the churches founded by the CEM. Instead, each person of the Trinity is involved in the mission and manifestation of redemption. Against this background, the thesis engages in an exegetical exposition of the texts in the New Testament and examines the biblical fidelity of the practice of charismatic gifts in churches founded by the CEM. The study analyses the phenomenological influence of the ancient practices of traditional religions reflected by the divinatory characteristics of the rituals of traditional healers. The crux of the argument is that it is pertinent to encourage churches to be disposed towards discovering the charismata and in doing so eschew practices that deviate the foci of believers from God or leads to preacher-idolatry. Similarly, it urges church leaders to constantly engage in critical and theological dialogues with the New Testament on the practices of traditional religions and their influence within the churches. This thesis provides fresh insight into the discourse about the proliferation of the charismatic phenomenon in the contemporary CEM churches of the DRC and proffers theological guidelines to revive the missiological impulse. By doing so, it ensures the advancement of the Church's mission towards the attainment of the goals set by Christ. Although the context of the churches founded by the Congo Evangelistic Mission/CEM constitute the microcosm of this study, the findings of this study are germane and applicable to other diverse contexts.
- Theology