Deliverance from mahamba in the Garenganze community: issues derived from a dogmatic perspective
Mazau, Ngweji Moise
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Since the early twentieth century, the Garenganze Community, in the province of Lualaba in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has established its chapels in several villages of the Bakalwena. In this region, the phenomenon of people tormented by mahamba (spirits of the ancestors) is well known. The indifference caused by the impotence of ecclesiastical leaders of this Community to rescue victims of mahamba, or even to recognize that demonic oppression of Christians is possible, led to this study from a dogmatic perspective. The recognised inability of Garenganze Community leaders to help victims of demon possession encourages the afflicted to consult traditional healers or go to other churches for exorcism. The result of this exodus is a decrease in attendance in Garenganze chapels and the loss of credibility. The doctrine of cessationism and the belief that a Christian can never be the object of a demonic attack explains why Garenganze ecclesiastical leaders are unable to cope with this phenomenon. For this reason, it was essential to explore the legal documents of the Garenganze Community the Doctrines and Practices of the People of God in the Garenganze Community, to reveal the implicit pneumatological perspectives they contain in order to help leaders assist victims of mahamba. Mahamba are classified according to the supposed negative or positive effects they produce in the lives of the possessed. Demonic manifestations are examined through the Scriptures, and anthropological writings of the Bakalwena. In addition, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments, especially in the writings of Paul and Luke is also studied. Similarities between the Christian religion and the religion of the ancestors are elaborated. The substitution of the ancestors and spirits of traditional religion for the Son of God and the Holy Spirit is proposed in terms of two pillars; while the human person remains the main target to be protected against mahamba possession. Jesus Christ, the first pillar, is proposed as the Ancestor to encourage unbelieving Bakalwena to transfer their faith from their ancestors to Him, the new Ancestor. The latter intercedes with the Father for the protection of His family against obstacles such as disease, sterility, unproductive fishing and hunting triggered by the mahamba. The Holy Spirit, the second pillar, is proposed as the bringer of good fortune to replace ancestral spirits. Such an approach encourages the Bakalwena to trust in Jesus Christ for their deliverance from mahamba. The Holy Spirit expels the mahamba from the possessed when the name of the new Ancestor, Jesus Christ is evoked. A comparison is also made between mahamba and the Holy Spirit in terms of consequences. The former can ruin human well-being if the person lives in disagreement with his ancestors or bring good fortune when the person honors them. In comparison, the Holy Spirit, although He may be saddened, does not bring misfortune. In fact, He helps the person find the path of salvation, and then obtain deliverance or the solution to his problem. The examination of the Doctrines and Practices of the People of God in the Garenganze Community reveals the implicit pneumatological perspectives that could replace cessationism with continuationism. Therefore, the process of deliverance of the demon possessed is seen as a practical solution which requires special attention from both missionaries and indigenous church leaders. In fact, it is not a practice in contradiction with biblical revelation.
- Theology