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Abstract

Prayer camps are Pentecostal healing centres established across various parts of Ghana. Prayer camps in Ghana have become notable centres offering mainly spiritual help to people with mental health conditions. Arguably, prayer camps serve as a breakpoint or watershed between traditional healing shrines and the ‘gardens’ operated by Spiritual churches, popularly known as Sunsum sorè, in Ghana. Analysing data collected from fieldwork between 2019 and 2021, this article shows that the healing rituals for the mentally ill at prayer camps in Ghana share similarities with traditional healing shrine practices. The article argues that while such practices reveal the appropriation of traditional healing approaches at prayer camps, they also bring the tension and contestation inherent to the concept of appropriation into perspective.

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Abstract

This article applies selected aspects of Depesh Chakrabarty’s concept of “Provincializing Europe” to the discourse of world Christianity studies. It argues that colonial-era mission scholars constructed a grand narrative of a united Christian Europe to justify European missions to the rest of the world. Contemporary postcolonial efforts to de-center Europe now contrast a vitiated European Christianity with a vibrant nonwestern Christianity that is required to re-evangelize Europe. Paradoxically, the trope of a formerly Christian Europe merges with a caricature of its numerical failure to make European Christianity the permanent foil for world Christianity studies. The article urges that European Christianity be studied in its diverse contexts, that the distinction between migrant and missionary be queried, and that European Christianity be considered essential to world Christianity studies.

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Abstract

After several decades of relative silence in the Netherlands on the topic of church and racism, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the public debate on reparations for colonial enslavement have brought the issue back on the agenda of church and theology. Fuelled by the Programme to Combat Racism (PCR), previous ecumenical discussions on this topic in the 1970s provide a good starting point for reflection today.

This paper first provides some basic background on the PCR and then describes three theological positions in relation to reconciliation that shaped the discussions around racism. Based on these historical insights, the article summarizes the experiences and insights of the PCR in three major points, and discusses their relevance for today’s conversation on church, diaconia, and racism. The paper argues that commitment, the transfer of power, and the value of discomfort provide important theological and practical insights for today’s debate.

In: Exchange
In: Exchange

Abstract

The war in Ukraine has generated a debate both within the orthodox church and on an inter-Christian level regarding the religious legitimation of military conflicts. The inability of inter-Orthodox and ecumenical bodies to formulate a common stance in the face of war has raised questions about the current methodology employed by ecumenical assemblies. Some have suggested exhausting the instruments of dialogue, while others have proposed expelling churches with a pro-war profile from ecumenical organisations. This article aims to demonstrate how this problem also arises from the politicisation of ecumenical assemblies, which detracts them from the ecclesiological principle that should guide Christian witness.

In: Exchange
In: Exchange
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In: Exchange
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Abstract

The Iglesia Filipina Independiente was established in 1902, in the context of the US occupation of the Philippines. The church has become known for its outspoken emancipatory political stance in the course of the 20th century. Yet, in its early days, the church wrestled with the question how to negotiate the restrictions that had been imposed regarding explicit political agitation. This paper argues that the church found a way forward regarding this by developing a prefigurative self-understanding, according to which the church, in its self-organization, theology and liturgy, foreshadowed the future of the nation of the Philippines as a whole. The ecclesiology of the church became its political program. Using insights from the study of prefigurative politics, it is shown how this course of action becomes evident in the Iglesia Filipina Independiente’s publications, such as journals and liturgical books.

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In: Exchange