An evaluation of the mission history of Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Zambia
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Admiration for the work of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Zambia, coupled with the desire to record some key events in the life of the PAOG(Z) have been the key factors that inspired this work. The repetition of mistakes of the past by the current leadership of the church has been worrisome. The negative effect caused by neglecting the history of the Church by some Pentecostal leaders, mostly due to gullibility, disregard, or even ignorance of their history, has in great measure reduced their potential for effectiveness. A true reflection of what constitutes the mission history and missionary methodologies of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Zambia from its inception in 1955 to the present day is vital information for Pentecostal clergy and laity. In this thesis, I have endeavoured to trace the beginnings of the Pentecostal Church and augmenting thereto the challenges and successes. The individual contributions of the missionaries accredited to Zambia and the indigenous leaders are enumerated to enable the reader to observe how the different gifts men and women brought influenced positively the growth of the church. The role of the Pentecostal Bible College in the Pentecostal missions in Zambia has been laid down, since the College has been the nerve centre and exemplar institution of Pentecostal missions in Zambia. Given the problem of poor community participation among some Pentecostal people, the need for a theology of socio-political and economic reconstruction and the need for a change in attitude have been examined. The dissertation closes with a chapter on the various contributions of women to the growth of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Zambia. The Pentecostal Church in Zambia has now become the storehouse or rendezvous of all the four shades of Pentecostalisms in the country: Classical, Charismatic, Third Wavers and Fourth Wavers. Classical Pentecostalism emerged almost one hundred years ago in Azusa in California; Charismatics, whose emphasis was on faith, began in the fifties; the Third and Fourth Wavers, whose spiritual focus is individual faith for personal improvement and livelihood, started in the eighties and the nineties. The apparent attempt to amalgamate all these compartments of Pentecostalism into an homogeneous phenomenon is stirring Zambia's Pentecost into a 'syncretism of Pentecostahsms', which I think must not go without mention, for it raises questions such as: What is it to be Pentecostal? Are these Pentecostahsms the same? Obvious they are different! What are the theological and practical implications of these teachings for the spirituality of the people? How do these Pentecostal categories or paradigms affect or bear on the doctrinal unity of the Pentecostal Church in Zambia? Apart from the initial evidence debate, this also, I think, constitutes a serious Pentecostal theological challenge. It is a matter for future inquiry. The future of PAOG(Z) now depends on how the PAOG(Z) church addresses itself to these new challenges. Pentecostal scholars should emerge in Zambia to help tackle these challenges. Could it be that, for now, the direction of PAOG(Z) is difficult to ascertain and should therefore be relegated to scholarly curiosity and activity? The paper terminates with recommendations for the leaderships of the Pentecostal Church in their various jurisdictions. Frankly, if these recommendations are seriously engaged, I suppose the Pentecostal Church will continue to be the church to which the people will come to and its future will be guaranteed.
- Theology