The Crisis Model for Managing Change in African Christianity: The Story of St John’s Apostolic Church

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  • 1 University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa

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St John’s Apostolic Faith Mission, founded by Christinah Nku (also known as Mme Christinah) and all its splinter groups can be theorized as presenting a crisis model for managing change. These churches provide their members with a well worked out path of inclusion through baptism and related rituals, as well as, alleviation of crisis through an assortment of healing, cleansing and deliverance rituals. There is also a strong element of maintaining a person’s healing through an assortment of rituals of celebration and ideological reinforcement. They do this through a process of resource mobilization from both Christianity and African Religion to set up a religion that adequately responds to both the existential and spiritual needs of their members.

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  • 5

    David Chidester, ‘Worldview analysis of African Indigenous Churches’, Journal for the Study of Religion 2/1 (1989), 21.

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    T.O. Beidelman, ‘Sacrifice and Sacred Rule in Africa’, American Ethnologist 14 (1987), 546.

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    Kiernan, Production and Management, 217.

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    Comaroff, Body of Power Spirit of Resistance, 201.

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  • 25

    Matthew Schoffeleers, ‘Ritual Healing and Political Acquiescence: The Case of the Zionist Churches in Southern Africa’, Africa 60/1 (1991), 2.

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  • 26

    Thomas, ‘African Indigenous Churches’, 52.

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    Isak Niehaus, ‘Bodies, Heat, and Taboos: Conceptualizing modern personhood in the South African Lowveld’. Ethnology 41/3 (2002), 192.

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  • 32

    Kiernan, Production and Management, 3.

  • 34

    Jean Comaroff, ‘Healing and Cultural Transformation: The Tswana of Southern Africa’, Social Science and Medicine 15B (1981), 369.

  • 35

    Comaroff, ‘Healing and Cultural Transformation’, 205.

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