'Broken Calabashes and Covenants of Fruitfulness': Cursing Barrenness in Contemporary African Christianity

in Journal of Religion in Africa
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Childlessness is an issue of deep religious concern in Africa. Men, women and couples with problems of sexuality and childlessness make use not only of the resources of traditional African religions but also of the many Pentecostal/charismatic churches and movements that have burgeoned throughout sub-Saharan Africa in the last three decades. Initially this was the domain of the older African independent churches, as far as the Christian response to childlessness is concerned; the new Pentecostals have taken on the challenge too. Based on the same biblical and traditional worldviews that events have causes, these churches have mounted ritual contexts that wrestle with the issues of sexuality and childlessness. In pursuing this salvific endeavor, however, the needs of those who may never have children seem to have been neglected by the churches considered here and represented by the Pure Fire Miracle Ministries, a Ghana/Nigeria charismatic church located in Ghana. is partial approach to 'healing' childlessness has led to one-sided interpretations of what it means to be fruitful and prosperous and deepened the troubles of the childless.



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