Controversial Charismatic Gifts and the Church in Kenya Today

Abstract

There has been a resurgence of Pentecostalism and charismatism throughout the world with the emphasis on the supernatural especially healing, prophesy and speaking in tongues. This has resulted in great controversy in the church. The rise of African Independent Churches has led to the highlighting of these spiritual gifts in the African context. The traditional African Worldview due to its openness to the spirit world with a bent towards healing, prophesy and supernatural utterances has helped to fuel the spread of Pentecostalism and charismatism. The communities throughout Africa though they vary socially and religiously have gifted persons such as witch-doctors and mediums with supernatural powers to predict the future and heal the sick. In view of this the supernatural gifts taught and practiced by the Pentecostals and charismatics find quick acceptance among many Africans. It is noteworthy that the emphasis on the miraculous gifts of healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues has led to challenges in the Christian church today some questioning their legitimacy. In Kenya the media especially Television frequently air pronouncements of healings, personal prophesy and even national prophesy by some televangelists and even self-styled prophets. There have also existed fraudsters who promise healing with purchase of special oil by the suffering. Others even plant people whom they have coached in crowds or congregations so as to pretend to have been healed through the prayers of the ‘man of God’ or ‘woman of God’. Scripture has in some cases been abused to support a particular belief or practice. Extra biblical revelation especially in the case of prophesies have been propagated. The prophetic words by the man or woman of God has even taken primacy or replaced scripture in some cases. The concern of this paper is to examine the various views concerning the continuation or cessation of supernatural gifts today, to evaluate biblical testimony concerning these phenomena and assess the relevance of the gifts in the African context today. The aim is to propose a more biblical position that would lessen confusion on the supernatural gifts.

Keywords: Cessation, Healing, Prophesy, Speaking in tongues

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 25-33 (Download PDF)

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