Martina Björkander
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“How do you keep sane?” the moderator asked at a seminar I attended while preparing this manuscript. She was talking to Dr Denis Mukwege, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who had been telling us about the atrocities committed against women and children in his country: sexual violence that destroyed bodies, souls, and lives, tearing societies apart. Every day he and his team meet victims and see brutality beyond comprehension. How do they keep sane? the moderator wanted to know. The answer was swift and certain: “Each morning we gather for worship.” Together with the staff, the patients, and all the women in their holistic programs of care, they gather to sing, dance, pray, and read the Bible. “I think this moment is really very crucial,” Dr Mukwege said, “when we can come together, and we feel that we are all human and we support each other.”1

Although Dr Mukwege’s situation is unique, his experience of worship is not. For pentecostal and charismatic Christians around the world, worship is a key spiritual practice, one with ramifications far beyond the spiritual realm. Many bear witness to its importance in their personal lives—for their mental, emotional, and even physical well-being—as well as for their communities: creating fellowship, solidifying identity, and fostering bonds of trust. A wholesome practice, while directed towards heaven it has an effect on earth. The rhythm that connects human hearts with the heart of God transforms them and sets them out to transform the world, Pentecostals assert.

In this book, I dive into the finer details of pentecostal worship, aiming to explain its role in pentecostal spirituality with as much texture as possible. Based on two concrete cases, I discuss worship from various angles—ritual-liturgical, emotional-embodied, doctrinal-theological—and, to present a total picture, I connect them all together, proposing that worship is indeed at the heart of pentecostal spirituality-as-theology.

This introduction sets the stage for the rest of the book by briefly introducing the study and myself as a researcher, meanwhile highlighting some previous research on pentecostal worship, music, and ritual. The chapter ends with a presentation of the book’s structure.

1 The Task at Hand

1.1 Background

Vibrant worship music is part of pentecostal spirituality all around the world and has become, in many ways, the hallmark of charismatic Christianity itself. Indeed, it is hard to think about this brand of Christianity without thinking of its music. That so-called ‘praise and worship’ is central to pentecostal-charismatic church life has been noted by many scholars over the years,2 among them Paul Alexander, who says that “music is a crucial aspect of Pentecostalism and part of its phenomenal appeal.”3 In their global study of social engagement among Pentecostals, Donald Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori refer to worship as “the engine” of the tradition, saying that “the heart of Pentecostalism is the music.”4

Despite its centrality, scholarly interest in the specific role of music and worship within Pentecostalism was sparse until around the time when I started my own inquiry. Since then, much has happened in the field, especially among ethnomusicologists in the West. For instance, studies have shown that musical ways of congregating are crucial for community and identity, while at the same time often sources of conflict and tension.5 Still, there is more to do in order to understand the meaning of worship for pentecostal spirituality more fully, not least from theological and ritual perspectives. Given the centrality of Africa for contemporary pentecostal-charismatic Christianity, and the vitality of the tradition on the continent,6 a case study in an urban, African centre is a good place to start such an inquiry.

To me, the Kenyan capital of Nairobi—a city with a vibrant church scene that boasts more than a thousand Protestant churches7—seemed like an especially suitable place. According to the World Christian Database, Kenya and other East African countries have the world’s highest levels of affiliation with pentecostal-type churches. In their estimation, around fifty per cent of the Kenyan population belonged to churches in the ‘Christian Renewal’ category in 2010.8 The Pew Forum Research’s ten-country survey of Pentecostals (2006) had similar results, indicating that more than half the population subscribed to forms of Christian faith that emphasize the experience of the Holy Spirit, although belonging to different denominations. Among Catholics (25% of the total population) about a third were Renewalists, and among Protestants (63% of the population) as many as seven out of ten professed a similar faith.9

The renewal ethos is spread across denominations through a high level of religious mobility and shared ritual practices. Music is important in this respect, and the same songs and repertoires can be found in Anglican, Pentecostal, Baptist, Catholic, and nondenominational churches with almost no distinction.10 In Nairobi, charismatic mega churches have established a niche for themselves in catering to the needs of upwardly mobile, urban Kenyans.11 Their attraction is especially strong among young people, largely due to what Ogbu Kalu calls “the charismatic liturgy,”12 with musical and ritual styles appealing to the young, modern, Kenyan.13 In fact, any casual visitor who knows what to look for will notice how suffused Kenyan society is with charismatic Christianity, not least through music. Music stands sell worship music on almost every corner; the big malls have Gospel music sections; Christian artists are played on secular radio; and quotes from worship songs appear on postcards and bumper stickers alike. Charismatic Christianity is everywhere in Nairobi, and so is charismatic music.

1.2 Introducing the Research Study

1.2.1 Aim and Research Question

This empirical theological study seeks to contribute to the ongoing scholarly dialogue on pentecostal spirituality by offering an in-depth interpretation of worship as it is practiced in two urban pentecostal-charismatic congregations in Nairobi, Kenya, and proposes a pentecostal theology of worship. At the heart of Pentecostalism is its spirituality, which finds one of its major expressions in worship; thus, worship may serve as a window into the very heart of Pentecostalism.

The study combines empirical data with theoretical and theological reasoning and sets out to answer two main questions:

  1. How and why do pentecostal churches practice worship as part of their spirituality?
  2. Based on data from two concrete cases, how can worship be theologized from a pentecostal perspective?

The study is designed as a “critical case study”14 (also known as an “instrumental case study”),15 where a specific case is chosen based on its theoretical value and used to gain insight into larger issues and general themes. While each case is always unique—and important in its own right—additional scholarly relevance is gained via the dialogue between empirical data and theoretical reasoning. Hence, we may speak of two main aims, one descriptive and analytical, the other creative and constructive. The first aim is to produce a detailed and multi-layered analysis of worship in the two case churches, utilizing a range of theoretical perspectives. The second is to propose a pentecostal theology of worship: that is, to suggest a way in which to theologize around worship from a pentecostal theological perspective. The empirical data thus serve as a springboard for theological construction and interpretation from a pentecostal perspective.

1.2.2 Empirical and Methodological Base

In line with common practice in pentecostal studies,16 world Christianity studies, and practical theology,17 as well as in ritual studies18 and case study research,19 the methodological approach is interdisciplinary, strategically utilizing methods and theories from several disciplines in order to answer the research questions at hand. Given that worship is a complex and multi-layered phenomenon within pentecostal spirituality, an interdisciplinary design combining empirical methods with theoretical and theological analysis was deemed most appropriate. The study is organized as a critical case study, with a two-case, embedded design. Data were collected during five months of ethnographic fieldwork in Nairobi, conducted in 2013 and 2014, that included participant observation, interviews, surveys, and song collection. The details of this design are discussed in Chapter 3.

Two congregations were selected as the main focus of research; Mavuno Church, Bellevue, and Christ is the Answer Ministries (citam), Woodley, hereafter simply Mavuno and Woodley. In the history of revitalization in urban Kenya, they and their respective mother churches (Nairobi Chapel and Nairobi Pentecostal Church/citam) are profiled representatives of the most recent strand of renewal, the Progressive Pentecostal Churches (ppc). In addition to a shared pentecostal ethos, such as preaching Jesus as the only Saviour, confessing the Bible as the Word of God, practicing spiritual gifts, and creatively adopting local cultural elements, this group of churches emphasize clear structures of governance, transparency in terms of finances, deliberate processes of discipleship, and socio-political engagement.20

Both churches have English-speaking, upper-middle-class congregations with multiple Sunday services, and both had around 4,000–5,000 attendees each Sunday at the time. Woodley is an all-generations type of church, while Mavuno targets the young, urban professional. In terms of heritage, Woodley draws on classical pentecostal roots, while Mavuno has greater Baptist and evangelical influences; with regard to current spirituality, both churches belong to the worldwide pentecostal-charismatic church tradition, not least through their musical and liturgical expression. Chapter 4 presents the two churches and their place in the ecclesial landscape of Nairobi.

However, it is not the congregations per se that constitute the two ‘cases’, but their respective corporate worship practices (including songs, performance, key agents, theological impulses, and more). In contemporary charismatic liturgy, the first (and sometimes the last) segment of the service consists of communal music-making, led from the pulpit by a band or a choir. The congregation joins in with singing, clapping, praying, and sometimes dancing. Ritually speaking, the section has a specific flow and format, and theologically speaking, it relies on certain kinds of convictions.21 It is this ritualized, communal, pentecostal music-making (“musicking”)22 that is the starting point of my examination. In pentecostal idiom, it is known as ‘praise and worship’ or simply ‘worship’. Consequently, the musical genre connected to this particular liturgical format is called ‘worship music’, while those who lead are referred to as a ‘worship band’ or ‘worship leaders’.23

In his studies of the ritual life of charismatic Christians in the US, Daniel Albrecht has labelled this segment of the service “the rite of worship and praise,”24 but since this designation is a bit burdensome, I often use the simpler ‘worship’. When I say ‘worship’ in this study, it is this practice to which I am referring if nothing else is said. However, in the pentecostal idiom, the word ‘worship’ also has other levels of meaning; it may refer to (1) the liturgy/service as a whole (‘Sunday worship’); (2) a segment of the service (‘rite of worship and praise’); (3) a subsection of that segment (‘worship’ as opposed to ‘praise’); (4), (5) a specific music genre connected with the segment or sub-section (‘contemporary worship music’ ‘worship songs’); (6) any form of concrete offering one makes to God (for example, financial resources); and, most notably, (7) take on a general theological meaning of living one’s whole life as an expression of devotion, love, and adoration for God.25 It is part of the task of this study to explore these different levels of meaning and their interplay.

1.2.3 Theoretical Base

Theoretically, the study combines insights primarily from two academic fields: pentecostal studies—more specifically pentecostal theology—and ritual studies, particularly performance theory. However, insights from other fields are adopted when deemed eligible. The theoretical framework, discussed in Chapter 2, can be summarized as a combination of three approaches: a spirituality approach to Pentecostalism, a practice approach to theology, and a ritual approach to worship.

In the past, pentecostal theologians have often pointed out the close connection between pentecostal spirituality and theology, and how the two cannot be understood apart from each other. Commonly, a tripartite model is used to explain different dimensions of this pentecostal spirituality-as-theology, expressed with the Greek words orthodoxy (right doctrine), orthopraxy (right praxis), and orthopathy (right affections).26 It is in the interplay between these dimensions that pentecostal spirituality ‘happens’, as it were. Since worship is such an important aspect of pentecostal spirituality, we may assume that these dimensions play out in that practice as well.

In this study I modify and apply this model, by looking at worship (‘the rite of worship and praise’) from three different angles: (1) orthopraxis: ritualization and liturgy (Chapter 5); (2) orthopathos: embodiment and affectivity (Chapter 6); and (3) orthopistis: theologizing and doctrine (Chapter 7). At the same time I underline the interconnectedness between these dimensions and their relation to larger issues by adding a fourth dimension: (4) orthodoxa: transformative holistic integration (Chapter 8). Following Archer, and in accordance with the original Greek meaning, I use the word orthopistis (right faith) for doctrinal aspects,27 and reserve orthodoxa (right worship) for the holistic and overarching dimensions of worship, both as liturgical practice and as a totality of life lived before God. The argument of this study is that it is only when we understand this connection between worship (as practice) and worship (as a way of life) that we start to understand what worship entails from a pentecostal perspective.

Thus, orthodoxa is a way to speak of worship as including and yet superseding all its component parts, highlighting the richness of the practice and its connection to life as a whole. In doing so, I am indebted to ritual theorists and their understanding of ritual as “embodied, condensed, and prescribed enactment,”28 functioning in complex ways to create meaning, attune bodies, and enact transformation.29 Looking at worship from a ritual perspective emphasizes how complex, rich, and meaningful this practice is for those who participate, and, furthermore, has enabled close examination of the elements, dynamics, and functions of worship.30 I especially utilize a performance perspective onto ritual by concentrating on the way worship is enacted in time and space. This perspective opens to analysis non-intellectual dimensions of worship—emotional, physical, kinaesthetic, and sensual—thereby assigning active rather than passive roles to participants. ‘Ritual’ is thus more about forms and degrees of ‘ritualization’ than a fixed text or format.31

1.2.4 Delimitations of Study

This critical case study is theoretically bound to the corporate ritual practice of worship and its role within pentecostal spirituality, temporally bound to the time of fieldwork, 2013–2014, and spatially bound to the two case churches and their respective church premises. As such, it uses ethnographic methods to produce empirical data that serve as a springboard for theological reflections. However, this is not an ethnography in the classical sense, in that it does not aim to describe and analyse the entire religious group, or the everyday life of individuals within it, and only briefly describes their cultural, political, and social context. Nor is it an (ethno-)musicological study, in that it does not focus specifically on musical or artistic aspects of worship, or the general repertoire of each church, although it also touches on these aspects. Furthermore, it is not a longitudinal study as it does not take into account the practice of worship in these two settings across time, but focuses on the narrow time-frame of winter 2013 and 2014. Lastly, it is a meso-level study that addresses the congregational level, rather than the religiosity or spirituality of individuals (micro-level) or denominations (macro-level).

1.2.5 Limitations

In comparison to anthropological work, time spent in the field was relatively short—months instead of years—and this may have impinged on the work. Especially problematic is that I did not follow a full liturgical year, since that might have given a more nuanced picture of the ritual practices. I have tried to compensate for this by following the churches on social media and keeping in touch with some of the leaders via email. I have also watched a large number of YouTube videos with East African church music of different types and sought out websites with song collections, lyrics, and the like. Another limitation is the relative scarcity of voices from the ordinary congregation. Most interviewees are leaders, either pastors or part of the worship ministry. This focus is logical given the theological and topical interest of the study, yet the study might have been even stronger had I been able to interview more congregants. I have tried to compensate for this by adding a research survey from each church, giving some indication of who the congregants are and what they think of the worship.

1.2.6 A Word on Terminology

A few words must also be said about terminology. ‘Worship’ and ‘ritual’ have already been introduced above, and are continually discussed throughout the study. The term ‘pentecostal’ is used here to denote churches and movements that are Bible-based in narration, Kingdom-oriented in direction, Spirit-filled in expression, and Jesus-centred in passion. I elaborate on the different layers of this definition and their research foundations in the next chapter.

The related terms ‘Pentecostalism’, ‘charismatic Christianity’, and ‘pentecostal-charismatic tradition’ are used inter-changeably and describe the totality of the phenomena or tradition, considered as a diverse and yet distinct current within global Christianity.32 Individuals belonging to this tradition are referred to variously as ‘Pentecostals’ and ‘Charismatics’, and the theology lived and expressed within this tradition as ‘pentecostal theology’. Following Yong, variations of ‘pentecostal’ and ‘charismatic’ are capitalized when used as nouns, while not capitalized when used adjectivally.33

Other important concepts include ‘spirituality’—one that is often used in the field of theology to underline the integration of convictions, experiences, and practices in Christian faith34—which has been important in the development of academic pentecostal theology;35 and ‘theology’, which in this thesis is seen as a multimodal and interactive process of relating to and reflecting on God and also other human beings in light of text and context. Thus, theology is more about ‘theologizing’ than presenting propositional statements.36 And lastly, ‘liturgy’, a term which I use in a loose way to speak of the Christian church service and not in the narrower sense of a specific text used for worship in the historic churches.37 I return to the theoretical and methodological bases of my research and also discuss definitions and terminology at greater length in the following two chapters.

1.2.7 Summary

Ultimately, this empirical theological study constructs a pentecostal theology of worship based on an in-depth interpretation of empirical data from two concrete congregations, and in dialogue with relevant theory from several disciplines. As such, it seeks to be a contribution to the ongoing scholarly dialogue on pentecostal spirituality, both empirically and theologically. Empirically, it contributes to an enhanced understanding of Pentecostalism in general, and urban, East African pentecostal-charismatic worship practices in particular; theologically, it spurs a deepened reflection on and appreciation of worship as a key component of pentecostal spirituality. Via the concept orthodoxa, the study presents a proposal for connecting the ritual practice of worship with worship understood as a holistic and integrated way of life. My hope is that others, both within academia and among pentecostal practitioners, will use this study as a springboard for their own reflections on worship, ritual, and pentecostal spirituality-as-theology.

1.3 Introducing the Researcher

Attentive readers have already guessed that the author is a sympathetic insider to the pentecostal-charismatic tradition. All my life I have been affiliated with pentecostal-type churches. Mostly classical Pentecostals, but at times evangelical Charismatics, Neo-Pentecostals, and mainline Protestant Charismatics. I have lived, worked, and travelled in many countries and everywhere I have belonged to a pentecostal church of some sort. I have preached, held workshops and seminars, and taught classes in Bible schools and theological seminars alike. Not least, I have participated in a large number of services, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and worship sessions as a congregant. In every way, my life has been marinated in global Pentecostalism from an early age and continuously. When I write about pentecostal spirituality, I do so as a pentecostal theologian with a critical eye on subjects that are very close to my heart. In many ways, this is my own attempt at grappling with the depths of pentecostal spirituality, theology, and worship.

Especially important in relation to this study is my personal connection to Pentecostalism in Eastern Africa. I grew up as a missionary kid in Rwanda, went to school in Burundi, and travelled extensively with my parents in East and Central Africa. Their roles as Scandinavian pentecostal missionaries meant that we often visited churches in the countryside, participated in services, talked to congregants, and met pastors. It also meant that we often visited social services run by the Scandinavian pentecostal mission: hospitals, schools, orphanages, relief centers, vocational training centers, and many others. This experience has shaped me, my life, my research interests, and my theological convictions. When I write about Kenya, I do so as a Swedish researcher, but one with a keen interest in, a strong commitment to, and a long relationship with Africa. In many ways I am an outsider, of course, in terms of culture, nationality, and ethnicity, but likewise I am also an insider, one whose life has been marked forever by East African Pentecostalism.

Academically, I have spanned more or less the whole spectrum of subjects within the theological field, touching on other fields in the humanities and social sciences as well. As an undergraduate in theology, I was mostly interested in exegetics, especially New Testament Greek, but also studied sociology, philosophy, and Arabic. During my bachelor and masters studies I went into systematic theology and began to specialize in African pentecostal theology, only to shift to Global Christianity and Interreligious Studies for my PhD research. As part of the program I did coursework on fieldwork methodology, ritual studies, African Christianity, pentecostal studies, and missiology, and had supervisors and colleagues from religious studies, anthropology, sociology, church history, systematic theology, African studies, and more. Today, I am a post-doc researcher in practical theology, continuing to research pentecostal theology and spirituality, with a special focus on Africa. When I write about worship and ritual, I do so as a theologian, but with an openness towards a broad range of academic fields. In many ways this book, based on my PhD thesis, mirrors that eclectic approach and jumbled academic background.

In Chapter 3, I discuss ethical considerations relating to my role as a researcher and my status as an insider-outsider. For now it is enough to say that my background has formed me as who I am, and that person will inevitably have informed the writing at hand.

Now, as the stage is set and both the research issue and the researcher are introduced, it is time to map some previous studies with relevance to my own.

2 Worship in Pentecostal Spirituality: Previous Research and Study Rationale

My project starts with a specific practice—worship—and looks at this phenomenon from several different angles; ritualization, embodiment, theologizing, and transformative holistic integration. The strength of such an approach is that it enables a deep and multi-layered analysis of the richness of the practice. The challenge is to keep the different perspectives together and to stay focused on the central research issue, which is also the case when situating my study in relation to previous research. There are many potentially relevant researchers who have done something that relates to some aspect of my work, and yet very few who have studied worship with a similar approach to my own.

In the discussion that follows, I have selected researchers’ work based on a few themes and their interplay: pentecostal-charismatic tradition, liturgy/ritual, embodiment, (musical forms of) worship, and African Christianity. These key themes recur in different forms in studies by social scientists, pentecostal theologians, ethnomusicologists, and Africanists, and I discuss the research most relevant to my own, step by step. Not included here are the fundamental theoretical works underpinning my research approach; rather, these are presented in Chapter 2.

2.1 Ritual Perspectives

The most comprehensive introduction so far to a ritual perspective on Pentecostalism within the social sciences is the anthology, Practicing the Faith. The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, edited by Martin Lindhardt.38 The volume offers a glimpse of the wide variation in pentecostal ritual life: from healing rituals among Catholic Charismatics in Fiji, via evangelical cell group meetings in South Korea, to public prayer marches as part of political positioning by Pentecostals in Venezuela. Joel Robbins’ chapter, in which he argues that ritual is an obvious aspect of Pentecostalism, has greatly influenced my own perspective.39 Martyn Percy’s contribution on the Toronto blessing,40 Thomas Csordas’ on the ritualization of everyday life,41 and Paul Gifford’s on the Bible in African preaching are also relevant,42 and I return to them at appropriate places in the following chapters.

In his introduction to the volume, Lindhardt argues that studying charismatic Christianity “from a ritual perspective43 is more than simply studying ritual in addition to other important aspects of the tradition; rather, it is a matter of producing original knowledge on well-known features, using an alternative focus. To him, the “potential of this perspective lies in carefully shifting our analytical focus” from why and what, to “how Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity does what it does (or how people do what they do with Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity).”44 It is starting with how that makes the difference. He continues by showing how infused the tradition is with ritual action, how very central ritual is to every aspect of its life. Music and singing are mentioned briefly in the introduction in relation to popular culture and experiencing the divine,45 yet none of the chapters deal specifically with music or worship, despite their importance in the ritual life of so many charismatic Christians. There seems to be a “lacuna”46 in research on ritual in general, music rituals in particular.

If there is a nestor in the field of charismatic ritual, then anthropologist Thomas Csordas certainly qualifies. His work on Catholic Charismatics in the United States spans several decades and has inspired countless others. Central to his understanding of charismatic ritual is his concept ‘somatic modes of attention’, which combines Bourdieu’s ideas on practice/habitus with Merleau-Ponty’s notion of perception as a pre-objective embodied process.47 To Csordas, human experience—including religious experience—is only obtainable through the body and its senses, and is, therefore, also culturally defined, since all perception begins in the socially informed body.48 In later writings Csordas shows how the body and techniques of the body49 are central to the radicalization of charisma in the group he is studying. Paying attention to bodies—how they move, position themselves, dress, feel, and interact—as well as to the rhetoric, both theological and otherwise, explaining these body techniques, is crucial to understanding ritual within a charismatic context.

A number of authors have elaborated on Thomas Csordas’ embodiment perspective in relation to pentecostal-charismatic ritual.50 Tuija Hovi’s work on Finnish Neo-Charismatics, for example, relates directly to my own interest in the role of music and singing, describing as it does the “neocharismatic culture of celebration … aiming at religious experience through collective bodily practice,”51 especially through what she labels “praising.”52 What is interesting about her study is that she focuses not on the musical aspect alone, but sees praising as a holistic practice that also includes dance, dress, and body movement. “The culture of celebration is not just the collective animated singing in the pew, but a complex set of practices, experiences, styles and embodied meanings.”53 Admitting her own previous ignorance of the multidimensional meanings that acts of praise had for neo-charismatic believers—merely understanding them as a matter of trading Lutheran hymns for lively songs—she now underlines the importance of further investigations into the role of praising in charismatic spirituality.54

Another example of a Nordic scholar utilizing Csordas’ ritual and embodiment perspective is psychologist of religion, Dagfinn Ulland, who described the Toronto revival as an “illustration of a glocalized bodily spirituality in the post-modern society.”55 As Tuija Hovi notes in relation to Ulland’s work, the term ‘bodily spirituality’ can sound almost paradoxical in the Western and Christian context of separating the body and mind/spirit, but is typical of charismatic worship rituals.56 Ulland’s interest does not particularly lie in worship or ritual, but rather in the psychology of religion, yet he also comments on what he calls “the warming-up sequence,” concluding that it is a point where, through music and singing, “the body is engaged in a somatic mode of attention.”57

A different but related perspective in the social sciencies is presented by Margaret M. Poloma. In her book, Main Street Mystics: The Toronto Blessing and Reviving Pentecostalism, she discusses religious experience in revivalist settings, highlighting links between biopshychological processes, pentecostal sprituality, ritual, and mysticism. Speaking of the pentecostal-charismatic movement as a whole, she states, “At the heart of this movement are dramatic experiences of God underlying a common spirituality and worldview that might be described as a ‘shared mysticism’.”58 Throughout pentecostal history, Poloma asserts, music has played an important part in renewal rituals, as it “offers experience-evoking sounds wed to accepted metaphors and myths,” and thus “serves as a facilitator of mystical experience.”59

Later chapters will flesh out these discussions in fuller detail. For now, I register that social scientific researchers have pointed out the importance of singing, dancing, and other bodily forms of spirituality, and have indicated the potential of a ritual perspective on pentecostal-charismatic Christianity. I also note that the ritual perspective is generally not informed by a theological one, the prime exception being Rites in the Spirit: A Ritual Approach to Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality by pentecostal theologian Daniel Albrecht. His study has been a major inspiration for my own work, and is presented in the next chapter and discussed continually throughout the book. Albrecht is informed by ritual theory, especially performance theory, and thus provides an important example of how ritual studies and pentecostal studies may be combined in the study of charismatic worship.60

2.2 Theological Perspectives

Within the theological field, practical theologian Mark Cartledge is one of the most prolific voices in the study of pentecostal liturgy and has written extensively on the matter. For instance, in his work Testimony in the Spirit. Rescripting Ordinary Pentecostal Theology,61 he has continued to build on Albrecht’s work, exemplifying how a ritual perspective can be combined with a theological one. This empirical study of a British Assemblies of God church analyses key elements of local theology, what he refers to as ‘ordinary’ or ‘espoused’ theology. In one of the chapters he discusses worship from a ritual perspective, showing both similarities and differences vis-à-vis Albrecht’s findings. Theologically, Cartledge highlights the role of Christology, soteriology, and eschatology in pentecostal theology of worship. His findings have many similarities with my own and I return to them at appropriate places.

Another important contribution is The Mediation of the Spirit: Interventions in Practical Theology,62 where Cartledge sets out to propose a distinctly pentecostal perspective on practical theology by probing the relationship between the Bible, human experience, and the Holy Spirit. His particular interest lies in how the Spirit is mediated to human beings, arguing is that there is “an implicit sacramentality”63 in pentecostal spirituality. Among other things, Cartledge elaborates on the role of the body and emotions. He regards affections or emotions as part of the direct object of practical theology, since “beliefs and practices are intimately connected to feelings and desires, even when that connection is not fully acknowledged,”64 while self-critically asserting that his work thus far has not developed the affective dimensions “in any great detail.”65 For my purposes, Cartledge’s understanding of mediation, affection, and sacramentality becomes important at several points in the following discussions, not least in the final chapter.

Further, Cartledge is the editor, together with A.J. Swaboda, of the most comprehensive anthology on pentecostal liturgy so far, Scripting Pentecost. A Study of Pentecostals, Worship, and Liturgy,66 as well as the author of a concise, yet informative, introduction to the liturgical life of pentecostal-charismatic Christians, Encountering the Spirit—The Charismatic Tradition.67 In the latter, Cartledge provides a quick overview of charismatic spirituality and its place in church history, as well as an introduction to core aspects of the tradition, such as inspired speech, community life, empowered witness, and holiness ethics. Freedom, participation, spontaneity, and intimacy are recurrent themes in his description of charismatic liturgy. He also emphasizes how important music is for memorizing and internalizing the oral liturgy, noting the connection between Pentecostalism and African-American music in this regard.68

In Scripting Pentecost, a range of authors from across the theological field, many of them pentecostal practitioners and leaders themselves, provide perspectives on different aspects of pentecostal liturgy and worship. The book includes global case studies from around the world, as well as historical explorations and constructive theological contributions. Especially relevant to my own study are Andy Lord’s chapter on the theology of sung worship,69 Wolfgang Vondey’s chapter on pentecostal sacramentality,70 and Samuel W. Muindi’s chapter on ritual and spirituality in Kenyan Pentecostalism.71 The former two offer constructive theological perspectives, while the latter provides a case study of an African-initiated church (also known as aic), and shows the close affinity between African native spirituality and pentecostal spirituality. Describing local ritual patterns, Muindi underlines the centrality of oral-narrative theology and experiential-expressive liturgical forms in both traditions and calls for further research on these matters.

The oral and embodied character of pentecostal liturgy, as well as its connections to African-American music and culture, were first highlighted by Swiss theologian Walter Hollenweger. In his influential study, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide,72 he argues that the global pentecostal movement has had multiple roots, one of which is a “black oral root.”73 Doctrinally the movement was, and is, diverse, but liturgically it shares some common traits. These include “orality of liturgy,” “maximum participation,” and “an understanding of the body/mind relationship that is informed by experiences of correspondence between body and mind.”74 Through oral liturgy, mind and body are integrated into one holistic spiritual experience.

According to Hollenweger, “black music”75 was an essential feature of this matrix, since Pentecostalism and black music were born in the same social and cultural context. The musical and cultural traditions of African Americans affected the way pentecostal spirituality and liturgy developed. The oral character of black music and of pentecostal liturgy allowed participants to join in fully with their whole selves, to “take the chorus home,”76 and by so doing, to take pentecostal spirituality home. This gave a freedom to the liturgy and music that is similar to other forms of folk and black music.77

In North America and Europe, Hollenweger says, Pentecostalism has discarded some of these oral liturgical traits. It is, instead, developing into an “evangelical middle class religion,” replacing many of these elements with “efficient fund-raising structures, a streamlined ecclesiastical bureaucracy, and a Pentecostal conceptual theology.”78 One could add that even in Africa, in a city like Nairobi, Pentecostalism is well on the way to becoming a middle-class religion. It remains to be seen how much of the oral, embodied, and affective dimension of spirituality is lost in this development. My own study indicates that this is not yet the case.79

For pentecostal theologians, orality has become an important foundational theme, as exemplified by the second chapter of Amos Yong’s The Hermeneutical Spirit: Theological Interpretation and Scriptural Imagination.80 In conversation with African Pentecostalism, Yong develops the concept of orality for biblical hermeneutics, arguing that that there is a “pentecostal way of reading and interpreting Scripture.”81 This way of reading is connected to oral culture and requires a different set of hermeneutical guidelines, as well as access to a different set of sources—such as liturgies, songs, and sermons—than is the case for theological interpretations based solely on textuality and literacy. Yong emphasizes that “theological and other content cannot just be extrapolated from oral literatures” without paying attention to their form, since the form “is intrinsic to any message that might be deciphered.”82 Therefore, “how something is uttered and heard is not to be subordinated to what is said.”83 My work does not deal explicitly with biblical hermeneutics, but the interpretation of oral material and the interconnectedness of Scripture, liturgy, and theology are relevant throughout the study.

Spirit of Love: A Trinitarian Theology of Grace,84 another book from Amos Yong’s vast production, connects with my work in a different manner. In it, Yong weaves together earlier work by pentecostal theologians on orthopathy, findings from the social sciences on pentecostal praxis, and elaborations on biblical material. Love, desire, and longing are central to Yong’s description of pentecostal spirituality and, although music and singing are not his primary interest, he does mention them as important means of expressing such longing. “Pentecostals,” Yong says, “meet God not merely as rational creatures but as embodied, feeling and desiring ones.”85 In order to understand worship fully, we must, therefore, take seriously the role of embodiment, feelings, and desires.

Although Hollenweger and the pentecostal theologians building on his results have noted the oral, affective, and embodied character of pentecostal spirituality, not many have worked with actual, detailed descriptions of how this is expressed in contemporary ecclesial contexts, or theologized the role of the body and emotion in worship based on such descriptions. I find it ironic to think that, although Pentecostals have a heritage of bridging the mind/body divide through their liturgy, academic pentecostal theology has become an utterly philosophical affair. One example is the anthology on worship, Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, edited by Lee Roy Martin,86 to which a number of prominent pentecostal theologians have contributed. Most mention somatic, sensory, and affective aspects in passing,87 but only one chapter offers a glimpse of how worship is embodied in actual church contexts in contemporary times.88 The rest of the chapters proceed in classic philosophical style, with theology built on exegesis of biblical texts and rational argumentation, without attending to concrete ‘bodies’ (ecclesial or physical). Of course, the insights and elaborations constitute helpful intellectual voices from within the pentecostal tradition; still, I cannot but wonder why their (presumed) experiences of an embodied pentecostal spirituality have not been allowed to inform their theological methods.

Another example, slightly closer to pentecostal realities on the ground, is The Holy Spirit in Worship Music, Preaching and the Altar. Renewing Pentecostal Corporate Worship, by Josh P.S. Samuel.89 The book starts by expressing the promising ambition to elaborate on “three key worship expressions”90 in pentecostal corporate worship: music, sermon, and altar call. However, the description that follows does not supply much flesh and blood to such worship; instead, it elaborates solely from literary sources, discussing pentecostal worship in general rather than in specific terms. The most relevant aspect of his work is the background he provides to contemporary worship leaders and their songs, songs that are used globally and that I too encountered in my research.

The third example of recent philosophical elaborations on worship is not an emic pentecostal but a critical evangelical one, the book by Wesleyan theologian Michael A. Tapper, Canadian Pentecostals, The Trinity, and Contemporary Worship. The Things We Sing.91 The volume presents an impressive lyrical analysis of worship songs sung within the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (paoc), examining theological views of the Trinity via the content of lyrics. The study is relevant to my own in a number of ways: as methodological inspiration for my own lyrical content analysis, and as a point of comparison between what citam, the Kenyan ‘daughter’ denomination, sings/believes and what the ‘mother’ denomination in Canada sings/believes. Yet the analysis stays on the theoretical and intellectual, rather than the practical or embodied side of things.

My own study proceeds in a different manner, theologizing on the basis of empirical data, allowing the “lived and the local”92—even local, living bodies—to play centre stage. It has been a deliberate choice to allow the subject matter of the research to inform the methods used both to analyse and describe what is at hand. It is an attempt to do what Amos Yong has called for: to allow pentecostal processes of musicking and theologizing to resonate with each other. To me, it is a way to allow how Pentecostals “‘do’ praise and worship” also inform how I “‘do’ theology.”93

Having explored the fields of the social sciences and theology in search of perspectives on pentecostal ritual, liturgy, and worship, it is time to take a look at recent developments in the study of contemporary worship music in ethno-musicology.

2.3 Congregational Music Perspectives

The last few years have seen a boom in the literature on contemporary worship music, primarily among ethno-musicologists. The interdisciplinary conference, Christian Congregational Music, held bi-annually at Ripon College, England, has been instrumental in this development. Their publications include Mark Porter’s ethnographic work on evangelical Christians in England, Contemporary Worship Music and Everyday Musical Lives;94 Jonathan Dueck’s research on the conflicts that threaten to tear congregations apart in Canada, Congregational Music, Conflict and Community;95 and three edited volumes on congregational music in which several contributions deal with contemporary worship music.96 Other recent publications in the field include Music, Branding and Consumer-Culture in Church, by Tom Wagner,97 and The Hillsong Movement Examined, by Wagner and Tanya Riches,98 both focusing on the Australian Hillsong Movement and its role in the development of global charismatic worship. The common denominator in these publications, naturally, is music-making in Christian congregations, thus ethno-musicology has a strong voice, although theological, sociological, historical, and anthropological perspectives are also included. Another common denominator is that they almost exclusively deal with Western contexts.

One of the leading scholars in this development is the ethno-musicologist Monique Ingalls, who has edited several volumes, among them the most comprehensive introduction so far to music and worship within the charismatic tradition, The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in Global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity.99 The volume has a multidisciplinary approach and a global reach. It includes many excellent essays that have shaped my understanding of worship, among them Ingalls’ thorough introduction and Yong’s thoughtful conclusion, Miranda Klaver’s essay on worship as an aesthetic domain, Peter Althouse and Michael Wilkinson work on musical bodies, and Jean Ngoya Kidula’s “Singing the Lord’s Song in the Spirit and With Understanding.”100 The latter is a reflection on the repertoire and musical practices of Nairobi Pentecostal Church, npc, Woodley’s mother church, where Kidula used to serve as a music director, and so is directly related to my study. Much like Hollenweger above, Kidula emphasizes the connection between African and pentecostal forms of musicking, saying that “the Pentecostal approach to and beliefs about musicking have resonated with practices in many African culture groups.”101 For instance, communal participation is a key characteristic of both African cultural and pentecostal performance spaces. In communal gatherings, “it is not just special artists who perform; any and all participants are technically licensed to musick,” Kidula states. “Thus, there is room for the specialists, but there is opportunity for everyone else.”102

Apart from the above edited volumes, Ingalls has also published a monograph on the role of contemporary worship within evangelical Christianity in North America. In Singing the Congregation. How Contemporary Worship Music Forms Evangelical Community,103 she explores how the shared repertoire of contemporary worship music ties together different performance spaces into something that participants perceive as “experientially linked and continuous.”104 Via a shared set of “musical modes of congregating,”105 participants become community, a congregation. Here Ingalls argues for a redefinition of the conceptual category of congregation, expanding it beyond the confines of the local institutional church to denote “any gathering where participants understand the primary activity as being religious worship.”106 Instead of focusing on the institutional structures of worship, the activity itself is brought to the fore. Although set in a different cultural milieu and with a different focus, Ingalls’ exploration nevertheless resonates with many of my own questions.

Lastly, the work of Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth, Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship,107 must be mentioned. The book is a historical account of contemporary worship: tracing its diverse musical and liturgical roots, situating it in time and space, examining the theological ideas behind it, and explaining each step of the development in a thorough manner. With insight and detail, the writers show how the multi-dimensional phenomenon has links to the Jesus movement, African-American Pentecostalism, and the Vineyard Movement, and follow its later development in different cultural and denominational spaces across the Western world. They do not address developments in Africa (or other non-Western areas of the world), yet many of the insights also shed light on worship practices in urban Kenya. I find it especially helpful that they look at worship in a holistic manner, taking into account theology, liturgy, music, and technology.

As can be seen from the above, most studies of contemporary worship are conducted in a Western context, and take their starting point in the musical genre, or musical practice, of contemporary worship. My own study contributes with a combination of ritual and theological perspectives from an African pentecostal-charismatic context. Although the churches I study do use some of the same repertoires as their Western counterparts, they also use other types of music and congregate musically in slightly different manners.

2.4 Africanist Perspectives

What about Africa then? To list everything that has been written on African Christianity,108 African theology,109 African music,110 or African Pentecostalism,111 is just not doable, so the description below is considerably narrower, highlighting only their intersection, with a geographical focus on Eastern Africa and Nairobi.

The most thorough introduction to African Christian music so far is Music in the Life of the African Church, by Roberta King and co-authors Thomas Oduro, Jean N. Kidula, and James R. Krabill.112 The book discusses the interplay of music, culture, and Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa, dealing with historical as well as contemporary issues. The authors argue that music is a vital force in African Christianity and has been instrumental in the spread of the church in Africa over the last century. “One of the untold stories of the church’s phenomenal growth,” they say, “is the central role of music and its dynamic interaction with African cultures.”113 Yet the story has often been one of tensions and conflicts, with Western mission ignoring or rejecting local indigenous music and instead introducing its own styles, instruments, and repertoires. The chapter by King on musical encounters with the Bible is especially relevant, dealing as it does with questions of orality, theology, and Scripture in relation to music. King emphasizes music’s theological role, observing that song “provides a locus for interacting with foundational questions about the Christian faith.”114 For me, this indicates the importance of asking theological, not merely musical or cultural questions of African church music, something that has not been done sufficiently in the past.

As we have seen above, ethno-musicologist Jean Kidula is one of the main scholars in the field of African Christian music and also the author of several other publications, most notably Music in Kenyan Christianity: Logooli Religious Song, the only book-length study so far on Christian music in Kenya.115 It concentrates on the way a particular ethnic group, the Ava-Logooli of Western Kenya, have interacted with Christianity in colonial and postcolonial times by means of music. Pentecostal churches are among the Christian groups that flourish among the Logooli, and so Kidula’s study is an important one when it comes to describing musical interaction between Pentecostalism and African culture, although her focus is the historical and cultural context of music, rather than spirituality or theology. Nevertheless, the study is relevant to my work, and I return to it at appropriate places.

Within the field of religious studies, the most influential work on contemporary Christian music in Africa is Ezra Chitando’s Singing Culture: A Study of Gospel Music in Zimbabwe.116 Tracing its historical development during the 1990s, Chitando portrays gospel music as a religious phenomenon that has become part of mainstream culture to such a degree that it shapes Zimbabwean identity. His main contribution is that he places Christian music in its cultural, economic, and political context, interpreting songs with a deep understanding of both theology and culture. Although his focus is not specifically on pentecostal music, the prominence at the time of evangelical and neo-pentecostal groups in Zimbabwe shapes his portrayal. For example, he notes the importance of dance and rhythm in their music, their use of media and technology, the roles of children, youth, and women, as well as theological issues that relate to economy, prosperity, and socio-political engagement. Towards the end of his study, Chitando calls for “more scholarly examination of African cultural products,”117 among them contemporary religious music.

While King, Kidula, and Chitando are not specifically interested in African Pentecostalism, or African pentecostal theology, scholars who are, often have less to say about music.118 In the anthology, Charismatic Renewal in Africa: A Challenge for African Christianity, edited by Mika Vähäkangas and Andrew A. Kyomo, several African theologians contribute their perspectives on pentecostal-charismatic renewal.119 While most omit the role of music, liturgy, and worship from their presentations, some mention this aspect briefly, but do not explore its theological potential. Another example is the book, Christianity, Politics and Public Life in Kenya,120 in which Paul Gifford, the doyen of pentecostal studies in Eastern Africa, writes extensively about what he calls “middle class Pentecostalism”121 in churches including Nairobi Pentecostal Church, Nairobi Baptist Church, and Nairobi Chapel, but has virtually nothing to say about pentecostal music. Instead, he focuses his attention on the prosperity gospel, issues of power and money, and transatlantic links to North America. Important as these issues are, in my view they do not adequately describe the life of these churches. To paint a fuller picture, other perspectives are needed, including a ritual-theological perspective on music.

There are exceptions, however, encouraging examples where pentecostal musicking and theologizing have been allowed to interact in an African context. In the edited volume, Pentecostal Theology in Africa,122 Clifton Clarke sets out to draft an African pentecostal theological method after the musical/socio-cultural motif call-and-response. This is a theological method that exists within, and draws upon the African socio-cultural and epistemological context, yet at the same time acknowledges the connection to the universal Church and context-transcending aspects of Christian faith.123 According to Clarke, there is “a lack of explicit concentration on and investigation into a theological analysis of Pentecostal theology in Africa,”124 especially of studies that take African cultural patterns and cultural products into account. Clarke’s model has some similarities with my own understanding of theology as an ongoing interaction between text and context, relating and reflecting, described in Chapter 2. The difference is that, to me, this kind of understanding of theology also has concrete methodological consequences as it drives us to explore new research methods, especially empirical ones.

Lastly, it is appropriate to present the research that has been done specifically on Mavuno/Nairobi Chapel and Woodley/citam. Kyama Mugambi’s book, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya,125 is the most recent contribution. His is a combined study of the history of charismatic renewal movements in Kenya and some case studies on different themes, including chapters on citam and Nairobi Chapel. His work is presented in Chapter 4. Two more studies should also be mentioned. In Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective,126 Wanjiru M. Gitau has conducted a thorough empirical investigation of Mavuno, a church where she was formerly a leader. Gitau paints a vivid picture, tracing the history of the church and its leaders, explaining its development into a mega-church, and describing its ethos and methods. Her focus lies on the social and cultural situation of urban African youth (‘the millennials’) and how mega-church Christianity seeks to respond to their needs. In his description of Christ is the Answer Ministries, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness: The Amazing Story of Christ is the Answer Ministries,127 citam pastor, Justus Mugambi, has a different approach. The book primarily portrays the internal affairs of the denomination, tracing its history back to Canadian mission, and describing its structures and leaders, but unfortunately without much analytical depth or critical distance. As historical documentation, however, it is still valuable, since Mugambi has done solid work on the historical sources.

Although K. Mugambi, Gitau, and J. Mugambi touch on issues of theology, music, liturgy, and worship in their presentations of each church, none has this as their main agenda. Thus, my own study in no way repeats what has already been done. Nevertheless, all three books give valuable insights into the life of my two case churches and have provided important background.

2.5 Study Rationale

To summarize the discussion on previous research in the field, I conclude that there is indeed a gap to be filled here.

There is research with a ritual perspective onto the pentecostal-charismatic tradition, but not much of it focuses on music or links ritual and theology. Something similar can be said of theological perspectives: there are studies on worship among pentecostal theologians, but most of them, surprisingly, do not explore the theological potential of ritual or music. On the other hand, there are scholars of Christian congregational music who dig deeply into contemporary charismatic worship, but they are often more interested in music as a social or cultural phenomenon than music as part of pentecostal theology and spirituality. In all three perspectives described above—ritual studies, pentecostal studies, and ethno-musicology—the overwhelming majority of in-depth studies have been undertaken in a Western context. Africanist researchers seem to be interested either in Christian music (as a historical, social, and cultural phenomenon), or in Pentecostalism (as a historical, social, and cultural phenomenon), but not in the link between music and Pentecostalism, or pentecostal worship more specifically.

My study contributes with a unique combination of perspectives;

  1. it is a theological enquiry
  2. that utilizes an empirical method
  3. to explore a ritual phenomenon
  4. that involves congregational music
  5. in an African
  6. pentecostal-charismatic setting.

3 Step by Step through This Book

Now, as the stage is set and all the preliminary things have been said and done, the only thing that remains is to take the reader step by step through the content that follows.

This monograph has three main parts: Part 1 deals with introductory matters, especially theory and method, Part 2 introduces the two cases and their Kenyan ecclesial context, while Part 3 constitutes the main body of the text and is organized around four analytical themes. Here, the cross-case analysis is presented in dialogue with theological and theoretical voices.

The Introduction, naturally, presents the study. Above, I introduced the research, giving a brief overview of the task at hand, including some important caveats, and presented myself as the researcher. Then I explained the rationale for the present study by providing an overview of previous research in ritual studies, pentecostal studies, congregational music studies, and studies of African Christian music and Pentecostalism.

The following chapter deals with the theoretical framework, laying a foundation for what comes next. Here, I outline what a spirituality approach to Pentecostalism, a practice approach to theology, and a ritual approach to worship entail and how they are combined in this work. Among other things, I discuss a novel way to define the term ‘pentecostal’, outline why worship can be regarded as a mode of theology, establish the necessity of empirical research methods in theology, and discuss key terms such as ritualization, embodiment, and theologizing. The orthodoxa model for pentecostal spirituality-as-theology is also introduced.

Chapter 3 deals with concrete methodological issues, including questions of positionality, reflexivity, and research ethics. Detailed accounts of research procedures for fieldwork, data collection, and analysis are given and the research design explained.

Chapter 4 gives a brief history of Pentecostalism in urban Kenya, and introduces the two case churches, Mavuno and Woodley, along with their place in the ecclesial landscape.

Then comes an interlude. Here I present the reader with ethnographic vignettes: in-depth, ‘thick’ descriptions of Sunday worship in Mavuno and Woodley.

The following four major chapters constitute my analysis. The first three focus on ritualization, embodiment, and theologizing, respectively and, in the last, the three perspectives are woven together under the umbrella term orthodoxa. All chapters combine empirical data with theoretical perspectives, albeit in different manners.

Chapter 5, Orthopraxis, analyses worship as ritualized practice, showing how this operates in these contexts. Here, I situate the rites of worship and praise in the larger liturgical system. Different aspects of ritualization are highlighted: ritual dynamics such as sequencing and core elements including ritual actors, languages, objects, and sounds.

Chapter 6, Orthopathos, analyses worship as embodied practice, showing how embodiment and emotion are integral to ritual practice in a pentecostal milieu. Different aspects of embodiment are discussed: dance and movement, identity and community, dress and clothing, and emotion and affective states.

Chapter 7, Orthopistis, analyses worship as theologizing practice. The discussion concentrates on two main aspects of the sung theology: the Bible re-oralized in song and Christology as the hub of theology. The connection between lyrics and biblical texts become clear, as well as the centrality of Jesus Christ to worship.

Chapter 8, Orthodoxa, summarizes and concludes the endeavour. Here, I look at worship as a unified whole, seeking to bring together the different aspects and yet show that the whole is bigger than its parts. To aid understanding, I use the concepts of transformation and integration; worship is a practice that is intended to bring about change, and it integrates several different dimensions. In addition, I discuss local conceptualizations of the word ‘worship’ and widen the perspective to see how the ritual practice of worship relates to worship as a way of life. Towards the end, I situate the rite of worship and praise in the larger scheme of ‘pentecostal spirituality-as-theology’ and conclude that worship, in local pentecostal understanding, is orthodoxa, a holistic, integrated, transformative spirituality.

The book can be read in several ways. Pentecostal practitioners in search of profound reflection on the theology of worship may want to start with the last chapter, while story-lovers (like myself!) are recommended to begin with the Interlude. Students developing their research methodology may want to consult Chapter 3 and then the appendix for inspiration, while readers specifically interested in charismatic Christianity in Kenya can jump directly to Chapter 4. Theoretically inclined readers may instead want to start with Chapter 2 and then dive into any of the analytic chapters depending on their specific scholarly interests. I imagine that ritual scholars, social scientists, and ethno-musicologists will feel most at home in Chapters 5 and 6, while theologians, whether specialized in systematics, missiology, or practical theology, more so in Chapters 7 and 8. Scholars of pentecostal-charismatic Christianity will hopefully find the entire book worth reading.


Mukwege, Denis (2023), Seminar on the political role of the church, at Pingst Pastor International, Stockholm, 2023-01-11.


Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Mark J. Cartledge, Encountering the Spirit: The Charismatic Tradition (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007); Mark J. Cartledge, Testimony in the Spirit: Rescripting Ordinary Pentecostal Theology, Explorations in Practical, Pastoral, and Empirical Theology (London; New York: Routledge, 2016); Chris E.W. Green, ‘Saving Liturgy: (Re)Imagining Pentecostal Liturgical Theology and Practice’, in Scripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy, ed. Mark J. Cartledge and A.J. Swoboda (London; New York: Routledge-Taylor & Francis, 2019); Ezra Chitando, ‘Singing Culture: A Study of Gospel Music in Zimbabwe’ (Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2002); Walter J. Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide (Baker Publishing Group, 2005); Monique M. Ingalls and Amos Yong, eds., The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in Global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015); Douglas G. Jacobsen, The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011); Ogbu U. Kalu, ‘Holy Praiseco: Negotiating Sacred and Popular Music and Dance in African Pentecostalism’, Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 32, no. 1 (2010): 16–40; Ogbu Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Lee R. Martin, ‘The Book of Psalms and Pentecostal Worship’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, ed. Lee R. Martin (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016); Donald E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement (University of California Press, 2007).


Paul Alexander, Signs and Wonders: Why Pentecostalism Is the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Wiley, 2009), 25.


Miller and Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, 23–24.


Monique M. Ingalls, Singing the Congregation: How Contemporary Worship Music Forms Evangelical Community (Oxford University Press, 2018); Mark Porter, Contemporary Worship Music and Everyday Musical Lives (Taylor & Francis, 2016); Jonathan Dueck, Congregational Music, Conflict and Community (Taylor & Francis, 2017).


Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity; J.K. Asamoah-Gyadu, Contemporary Pentecostal Christianity: Interpretations from an African Context (1517 Media, 2013); J. Kwabena (Johnson Kwabena) Asamoah-Gyadu, ‘Teaching Pentecostalism in World Christianity: An African Perspective’, The Ecumenical Review 74, no. 1 (January 2022): 69–83; Elias Kifon Bongmba, The Routledge Companion to Christianity in Africa, First edition, Routledge Religion Companions (New York: Routledge-Taylor & Francis, 2016); Jacobsen, The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There; Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2002); Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction; Nimi Wariboko and Adeshina Afolayan, eds., African Pentecostalism and World Christianity: Essays in Honor of J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu (Pickwick Publications, 2020).


acm-ftt Afriserve and Dawn Ministries, The Unfinished Task: A National Survey of Churches in Kenya (acm-ftt Afriserve, in partnership with Dawn Ministries, 2004), 18–19.


‘World Christian Database [Electronic Resource] / Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’ (Leiden: Brill, 2004). Even if the statistics of wcd can be criticized for various reasons, they remain the most reliable ones available. The category of Christian Renewal/Renewalists includes the subcategories Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Neocharismatics, and more or less overlaps the four-fold typology of global Pentecostalism, as described in Chapter 2. Compare David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson, ‘Global Statistics’, in The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, ed. Stanley M. Burgess and Eduard M. Van der Maas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 284–302. Statistics were chosen from the year closest to my time in the field, rather than the latest possible.


“Spirit and Power—A 10-country Survey of Pentecostals.” (accessed 2017-04-07). 83–84. Religious belonging in Kenya is fluid and often categories overlap and people move between different churches; compare Yonatan N. Gez, Traditional Churches, Born Again Christianity, and Pentecostalism: Religious Mobility and Religious Repertoires in Urban Kenya (Cham: Springer Nature, Palgrave, 2018).


Jean Ngoya Kidula, ‘Singing the Lord’s Song in the Spirit and with Understanding: The Practice of Nairobi Pentecostal Church’, in The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in Global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity, ed. Monique Marie Ingalls and Amos Yong (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), 133–47.


Damaris Seleina Parsitau, ‘“Then Sings My Soul”: Gospel Music as Popular Culture in the Spiritual Lives of Kenyan Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians’, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 14 (2006); Kyama M. Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2020), 131–59.


Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction, 121. See also Kalu, ‘Holy Praiseco: Negotiating Sacred and Popular Music and Dance in African Pentecostalism’.


Wanjiru M. Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective (InterVarsity Press, 2018), 1–15, 118–29; Parsitau, ‘“Then Sings My Soul”: Gospel Music as Popular Culture in the Spiritual Lives of Kenyan Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians’; Damaris Seleina Parsitau and Philomena Mwaura, ‘God in the City: Pentecostalism as an Urban Phenomenon in Kenya’, Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 36, no. 2 (October 2010): 95–112.


Robert K. Yin, Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods, Sixth edition (Los Angeles: sage, 2018), 49.


Jessy Jaison, Qualitative Research and Transformative Results (saiacs Publications, A Division of South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, 2018), 45.


Michael Bergunder et al., eds., Studying Global Pentecostalism : Theories and Methods (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010).


Martha Frederiks and Dorottya Nagy, World Christianity: Methodological Considerations (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2020).


Ronald L. Grimes, The Craft of Ritual Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).


Yin, Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods.


Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 131–296. Compare Miller and Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, 28–31.


Lester Ruth and Swee Hong Lim, Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship (Abingdon Press, 2017), 2–3.


“Musicking” is a concept coined by Small to denote active participation in music, regardless of form or role. Christopher Small, Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1998).


Monique Ingalls, ‘Introduction’, in The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in Global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity, ed. Monique M. Ingalls and Amos Yong (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), 6–7.


Daniel Albrecht E., Rites in the Spirit: A Ritual Approach to Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 153–54.


Compare Albrecht, who identifies three main connotations (1, 2, and 6 in my list), Albrecht, 225. See also discussion in Ingalls, ‘Introduction’; Don E. Saliers, Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine (Abingdon, 1994), 13–48; James F. White, Introduction to Christian Worship (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2000), 17–46.


Kenneth J. Archer, The Gospel Revisited: Towards a Pentecostal Theology of Worship and Witness (Pickwick Publications, 2011); Mark J. Cartledge, Mediation of the Spirit: Interventions in Practical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI / Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015); Steven J. Land, Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2010); Amos Yong, Spirit of Love: A Trinitarian Theology of Grace (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012). See further discussion in Chapter 2.


Archer, The Gospel Revisited: Towards a Pentecostal Theology of Worship and Witness, 11.


Grimes, The Craft of Ritual Studies, 195, 189–97. See further discussion in Chapter 3.


Grimes, 294–328.


Grimes, 231–42.


Cathrine Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 72–83; Ronald L. Grimes, ‘Performance’, in Theorizing Rituals: Classical Topics, Theoretical Approachess, Analytical Concepts, ed. Jens Kreinath, Joannes A. Maria Snoek, and Michael Stausberg, Studies in the History of Religions: 114–1 (Leiden and Boston: Koninklijke Brill, 2008).


Jacobsen, The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There, 50–61; Allan Anderson, ‘Varieties, Taxonomies, and Definitions’, in Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods, ed. Allan Anderson et al. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 13–29. See further discussion in Chapter 2.


Yong, Spirit of Love: A Trinitarian Theology of Grace, 165.


Jacobsen, The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There, 11. See also, e.g., Alister E. McGrath, Christian Spirituality: An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999); Arthur G. Holder, Christian Spirituality: The Classics (London: Routledge, 2009); Ulrik Josefsson, Liv och Över Nog: Den Tidiga Pingströrelsens Spiritualitet. Abundant Life: The Spirituality of the Early Pentecostal Movement in Sweden (Skellefteå: Artos, 2005); Sandra M. Schneiders, ‘Theology and Spirituality: Strangers, Rivals, or Partners?’, Horizons (Villanova) 13, no. 2 (1986): 253–74; Sandra M. Schneiders, ‘Spirituality in the Academy’, Theological Studies (Baltimore) 50, no. 4 (1989): 676–97.


James K.A. Smith, Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), xix. See further discussion in Chapter 2.


See further discussion in Chapter 2.


White, Introduction to Christian Worship, 16.


Martin Lindhardt, ed., Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011).


Joel Robbins, ‘The Obvious Aspects of Pentecostalism: Ritual and Pentecostal Globalization’, in Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, ed. Martin Lindhardt (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011), 49–67.


Martyn Percy, ‘Adventure and Atrophy in a Charismatic Movement: Returning to the “Toronto Blessing”’, in Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, ed. Martin Lindhardt (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011), 152–78.


Thomas J. Csordas, ‘Ritualization of Life’, in Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, ed. Martin Lindhardt (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011), 129–51.


Paul Gifford, ‘The Ritual Use of the Bible in African Pentecostalism’, in Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, ed. Martin Lindhardt (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011), 179–97.


Martin Lindhardt, ‘Introduction’, in Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, ed. Martin Lindhardt (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011), 7. Emphasis in original.


Lindhardt, 7. Emphasis in original.


Lindhardt, 8–13, 21–25.


Joel Robbins (2014), quoted in Lindhardt, 1.


Thomas J. Csordas, ‘Somatic Modes of Attention’, Cultural Anthropology 8, no. 2 (1993): 135–56.


Thomas J. Csordas, ‘Embodiment as a Paradigm for Anthropology’, Ethos 18, no. 1 (1990): 5–47.


The concept is borrowed from Marcel Mauss, ‘Techniques of the Body’, Economy and Society 2, no. 1 (1 February 1973): 70–88.


See discussion in Lindhardt, ‘Introduction’, 19–21, 25–29.


Tuija Hovi, ‘Praising as Bodily Practice: The Neocharismatic Culture of Celebration’, in Religion and the Body, ed. Tore Ahlbäck (Åbo, Finland: Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, 2011), 130.


‘Praising’ is a direct translation from the Finnish ylistys. In both Finnish and Swedish, the first part of ‘praise and worship’—i.e., praise/praising—is used to denote the practice as a whole, while in English ‘worship’ is the common term.


Hovi, ‘Praising as Bodily Practice: The Neocharismatic Culture of Celebration’, 139.


Hovi, 137–39.


Dagfinn Ulland, Guds Karneval: En Religionspsykologisk Studie av Toronto-Vekkelsens Ekstatiske Spiritualitet, Lund Studies in Psychology of Religion: 9 (Centrum för Teologi och Religionsvetenskap, Lunds Universitet, 2007), 221.


Hovi, ‘Praising as Bodily Practice: The Neocharismatic Culture of Celebration’, 138.


Ulland, Guds Karneval: En Religionspsykologisk Studie av Toronto-Vekkelsens Ekstatiske Spiritualitet, 221.


Margaret M. Poloma, Main Street Mystics: The Toronto Blessing and Reviving Pentecostalism (Walnut Creek (Ca.): AltaMira Press, 2003), 32–33.


Poloma, 33.


Albrecht, Rites in the Spirit: A Ritual Approach to Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality.


Cartledge, Testimony in the Spirit: Rescripting Ordinary Pentecostal Theology.


Cartledge, Mediation of the Spirit: Interventions in Practical Theology.


Cartledge, 69.


Cartledge, 24.


Cartledge, 29.


Green, ‘Saving Liturgy: (Re)Imagining Pentecostal Liturgical Theology and Practice’.


Cartledge, Encountering the Spirit: The Charismatic Tradition.


Cartledge, 51–68.


Andy Lord, ‘A Theology of Sung Worship’, in Scripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy, ed. Mark J. Cartledge and A.J. Swoboda (London; New York: Routledge-Taylor & Francis, 2019).


Wolfgang Vondey, ‘Pentecostal Sacramentality and the Theology of the Altar’, in Scripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy, ed. Mark J. Cartledge and A.J. Swoboda (London: New York: Routledge-Taylor & Francis, 2019).


Samuel W. Muindi, ‘Ritual and Spirituality in Kenyan Pentecostalism’, in Scripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy, ed. Mark J. Cartledge and A.J. Swoboda (London: New York: Routledge-Taylor & Francis, 2019).


Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide.


Hollenweger, 17–141. 17–141. Compare discussions on the connection between Pentecostalism and African-American history, music, and culture in Alexander, Signs and Wonders: Why Pentecostalism Is the World’s Fastest Growing Faith; Amos Yong and Estrelda Y. Alexander, Afro-Pentecostalism: Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture (New York London: nyu Press, 2011).


Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide, 18–19. This book was first published in 1997 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. and has had a wide appeal among pentecostal theologians and social scientists alike. See also Walter J. Hollenweger, The Pentecostals (SCM Press, 1972); Walter J. Hollenweger, ‘After Twenty Years’ Research on Pentecostalism’, Theology 87, no. 720 (1984): 403–12.


Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide, 277.


Hollenweger, 278.


Hollenweger, 278. Compare discussion on black music and culture in Floyd, The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States.


Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide, 19.


Compare Mugambi who argues that orality is a feature that is retained and cultivated in urban Pentecostalism even in its middle-class format, Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya, 287–96.


Amos Yong, The Hermeneutical Spirit: Theological Interpretation and Scriptural Imagination for the 21st Century (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017), 43–76. See also discussion on orality and preaching in Yong “The Spirit and Proclamation. A Pneumatological Theology of Preaching”. (accessed 2023-10-11).


Yong, 44.


Yong, 49.


Yong, 49.


Yong, Spirit of Love: A Trinitarian Theology of Grace.


Yong, 55.


Lee R. Martin, ed., Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016).


See, e.g., chapters by Johnathan E. Alvarado, ‘Pentecostal Worship and the Creation of Meaning’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, ed. Lee R. Martin (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016), 223–24; Melissa Archer, ‘Worship in the Book of Revelation’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, ed. Lee R. Martin (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016), 115, 121, 135; Jerome Boone, ‘Worship and the Torah’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, ed. Lee R. Martin (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016), 23–24; R. Hollis Gause, ‘The Nature and Pattern of Biblical Worship’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, ed. Lee R. Martin (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016), 148–49; Frank D. Macchia, ‘Signs of Grace: Towards a Charismatic Theology of Worship’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, ed. Lee R. Martin (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016), 157–58; Martin, ‘The Book of Psalms and Pentecostal Worship’, 77–80, 86–88; Lee R. Martin and Daniel Castelo, ‘From “Hallelujah!” To “We Believe” and Back: Interrelating Pentecostal Worship and Doctrine’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016), 288. Several of these authors build on the work of Walter Hollenweger and Steven Land in their discussions of pentecostal liturgy and worship.


Peter Althouse, ‘Betwixt and Between the Cross and the Eschaton: Pentecostal Worship in the Context of Ritual Play’, in Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Worship, ed. Lee R. Martin (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2016).


Josh Samuel P.S., The Holy Spirit in Worship Music, Preaching, and the Altar: Renewing Pentecostal Corporate Worship (Cleveland, TN: cpt Press, 2018).


Samuel, 4.


Michael A. Tapper, Canadian Pentecostals, the Trinity, and Contemporary Worship Music: The Things We Sing (Leiden: Brill, 2017).


Pete Ward, ‘Introduction’, in Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography, ed. Pete Ward (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2012), 9.


Amos Yong, ‘Conclusion: Improvisation, Indigenization, and Inspiration: Theological Reflections on the Sound and Spirit of Global Renewal’, in The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in Global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity, ed. Monique Marie Ingalls and Amos Yong (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), 286.


Porter, Contemporary Worship Music and Everyday Musical Lives.


Dueck, Congregational Music, Conflict and Community.


Monique M. Ingalls, Muriel S. Reigersberg, and Zoe C. Sherinian, eds., Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide (Taylor & Francis, 2018); Carolyn Landau, Monique Ingalls, and Tom Wagner, eds., Christian Congregational Music: Performance, Identity and Experience (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013); Tom Wagner and Anna Nekola, eds., Congregational Music-Making and Community in a Mediated Age (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2015).


Tom Wagner, Music, Branding and Consumer Culture in Church: Hillsong in Focus (Taylor & Francis, 2019).


Tanya Riches and Tom Wagner, The Hillsong Movement Examined: You Call Me Out Upon the Waters (Springer International Publishing, 2017).


Ingalls and Yong, The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in Global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity.


Kidula, ‘Singing the Lord’s Song in the Spirit and with Understanding: The Practice of Nairobi Pentecostal Church’.


Kidula, 134.


Kidula, 134.


Ingalls, Singing the Congregation: How Contemporary Worship Music Forms Evangelical Community.


Ingalls, 23.


Ingalls, 23.


Ingalls, 23.


Ruth and Lim, Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship. See also: Lester Ruth and Swee Hong Lim, A History of Contemporary Praise & Worship: Understanding the Ideas That Reshaped the Protestant Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2021).


See for example: John Baur, 2000 Years of Christianity in Africa: An African History (Nairobi, Kenya: Paulines, 2013); Kwame Bediako, Christianity in Africa: The Renewal of a Non-Western Religion (Edinburgh University Press, 1995); Bongmba, The Routledge Companion to Christianity in Africa; Joseph D. Galgalo, African Christianity: The Stranger Within, Book Collections on Project muse (Zapf Chancery, 2012); Paul Gifford, African Christianity: Its Public Role (Hurst, 1998); Paul Gifford, Christianity, Development and Modernity in Africa. (Oxford University Press, 2016); G. Haar, How God Became African: African Spirituality and Western Secular Thought (University of Pennsylvania Press, Incorporated, 2009); Elizabeth Isichei, A History of Christianity in Africa: From Antiquity to the Present (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995); Ogbu U. Kalu, ed., African Christianity: An African Story (Pretoria: Dept. of Church History, University of Pretoria, 2005); Karen Lauterbach and Mika Vähäkangas, eds., Faith in African Lived Christianity: Bridging Anthropological and Theological Perspectives (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2020); Jesse N.K. Mugambi, Christianity and African Culture (Nairobi: Acton, 2002).


See for example: Kwame Bediako, Jesus and the Gospel in Africa: History and Experience (Orbis Books, 2004); Elias Kifon Bongmba, ed., The Routledge Handbook of African Theology (Routledge, 2020); Clifton Clarke, African Christology: Jesus in Post-Missionary African Christianity (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2011); Joseph Healey and Donald Sybertz, Towards an African Narrative Theology (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1996); Knut Holter, Yahweh in Africa: Essays on Africa and the Old Testament, Bible and Theology in Africa (New York: Lang, 2001); Knut Holter, ‘Does a Dialogue between Africa and Europe Make Sense?’, in African and European Readers of the Bible in Dialogue: In Quest of a Shared Meaning, ed. Hans de Wit and Gerald O. West (Leiden: Brill, 2008); Samuel Waje Kunhiyop, African Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan: HippoBooks, 2012); Jesse. N.K. Mugambi and Laurenti Magesa, eds., Jesus in African Christianity: Experimentation and Diversity in African Christology, African Christianity Series (Nairobi, Kenya: Acton Publishers, 2003); Charles Nyamiti, Christ as Our Ancestor: Christology from an African Perspective (Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press, 1984).


See for example: V. Kofi Agawu, Representing African Music: Postcolonial Notes, Queries, Positions. (Routledge, 2003); V. Kofi Agawu, The African Imagination in Music, Oxford Scholarship Online (Music) (Oxford University Press, 2016); Francis Bebey, African Music: A People’s Art, 1976; Floyd, The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States; Samuel A . Floyd Jr., Melanie Zeck, and Guthrie P. Ramsey, The Transformation of Black Music: the Rhythms, the Songs, and the Ships That Make the African Diaspora, Oxford Scholarship Online (Music) (Oxford University Press, 2017); John Gray, African Music: A Bibliographical Guide to the Traditional, Popular, Art, and Liturgical Musics of Sub-Saharan Africa., African Special Bibliographic Series: 14 (Greenwood Press, 1991); Kiiru, Music and Dance in Eastern Africa. (Africae, 2018); J. H. Kwabena Nketia, The Music of Africa. (Gollancz, 1975); Mai Palmberg and Annemette Kirkegaard, eds., Playing with Identities in Contemporary Music in Africa. (Nordiska Afrikainstitutet in cooperation with the Sibelius Museum [&] Dept. of Musicology, Åbo Akademi, 2002); Ruth M. Stone, ed., The Garland Handbook of African Music (Taylor & Francis, 2010); Henry Weman, African Music and the Church in Africa, Uppsala Universitets Årsskrift, volume 3, 1960.


See for example: J.K. Asamoah-Gyadu, African Charismatics: Current Developments Within Independent Indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana (Brill, 2005); Asamoah-Gyadu, Contemporary Pentecostal Christianity: Interpretations from an African Context; J. K. Asamoah-Gyadu, Sighs and Signs of the Spirit: Ghanaian Perspectives on Pentecostalism and Renewal in Africa (1517 Media, 2015); J. K. Asamoah-Gyadu, Pentecostalism in Africa: Experiences from Ghana’s Charismatic Ministries (Oxford: Regnum, 2021); Dena Freeman, Pentecostalism and Development: Churches, ngos and Social Change in Africa, Non-Governmental Public Action (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction; Martin Lindhardt, ed., Pentecostalism in Africa: Presence and Impact of Pneumatic Christianity in Postcolonial Societies, Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies: 15 (Brill, 2015); Vinson Synan, Amos Yong, and Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, eds., Global Renewal Christianity: Spirit-Empowered Movements Past, Present, and Future. Volume 3: Africa (Charisma House, 2016); Wariboko and Afolayan, African Pentecostalism and World Christianity: Essays in Honor of J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu; Nimi Wariboko, Nigerian Pentecostalism, Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora: V. 62 (University of Rochester Press, 2014).


Roberta R. King et al., Music in the Life of the African Church (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2008).


King et al., xii.


Roberta R. King, ‘Bible: Lex Canendi, Lex Credendi’, in Music in the Life of the African Church (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2008). 118.


Jean Ngoya Kidula, Music in Kenyan Christianity: Logooli Religious Song (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press., 2013). A more limited study has been conducted by Parsitau, ‘“Then Sings My Soul”: Gospel Music as Popular Culture in the Spiritual Lives of Kenyan Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians’.


Chitando, ‘Singing Culture: A Study of Gospel Music in Zimbabwe’.


Chitando, 96.


For example, Kalu, African Pentecostalism: An Introduction. says very little about the role of music, but see Kalu, ‘Holy Praiseco: Negotiating Sacred and Popular Music and Dance in African Pentecostalism’.


Mika Vähäkangas and Andrew A. Kyomo, eds., Charismatic Renewal in Africa: A Challenge for African Christianity (Nairobi: Acton Publishers, 2003).


Paul Gifford, Christianity, Politics and Public Life in Kenya (London: C. Hurst, 2009); compare Gifford, African Christianity: Its Public Role.


Gifford, Christianity, Politics and Public Life in Kenya, 109.


Clifton R. Clarke, ed., Pentecostal Theology in Africa (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014).


Clifton R. Clarke, ‘Call and Response: Toward an African Pentecostal Theological Method’, in Pentecostal Theology in Africa, ed. Clifton R. Clarke (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014).


Clarke, 23.


Mugambi, A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya.


Gitau, Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective.


Justus Mugambi, Five Decades of God’s Faithfulness, The Amazing Story of Christ Is the Answer Ministries (Nairobi: Evangel Publishing House, 2009).

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