Christology and Evil in Ghana

Towards a Pentecostal Public Theology


Pentecostalism has traditionally always been other-worldly in the sense that Pentecostals tend to believe that people’s lives are controlled by unseen powers that are responsible for both good and bad. This makes people look for a power that is stronger than those of evil and can ensure that believers enjoy good health and prosperity. Pentecostals find this power in Jesus Christ, who is victorious over all evil powers, and therefore pray that Jesus will save them. For them, life is characterised by suffering and evil, but in Christ they are conquerors, and life is full of concrete blessings.
Using songs and sermons, this book shows the main widespread beliefs of the leadership and grassroots members of the Church of Pentecost (Ghanaian Pentecostals) on Christology and evil. It discusses their fear of evil and their finding solace in the power of Jesus. The author supplements this attitude by the biblical calling to help build a just and peaceful society. He thus develops a theology of the public domain in which the church can make a difference by developing its diaconal services, establishing more educational institutions, and helping—together with people who want to collaborate—build a just and more affluent society with good healthcare and a literate and thriving population.
This book balances on the interface between traditional African religious ideas and practices and Christian ideals for a more humane society.

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Why Study Christology and Evil in Ghanaian Pentecostalism?
Motivation and Objective
Description and Complexities of the Journey
Role of the Researcher
Problems/Limitations of this Study
Content of the Chapters
The Nature, Person, and Work of Jesus Christ
Christ, Evil, and Suffering in the Ghanaian Pentecostal Liturgy
Akan Traditional Religion and Culture and the Jesus Story
Christ, Evil and Suffering in the New Testament
Christological Subversions
Contextual Issues
Believers are Victorious in Christ
The World as a Place of Evil and Suffering
The Nature and Phenomena of Evil and Suffering
Causes of Evil and Suffering: Ghanaian Pentecostalism vis‐à‐vis Akan Traditional Religion
Evil and Suffering in the Bible
A Holistic Contextual Approach?
The Battles of Life: Implementing Christ’s Victory over Evil and Suffering
Victory over Life’s Battles
Sources of Victory and Freedom in Christ
Sources of Victory and Freedom in Ghanaian Pentecostalism and Akan Traditional Religion
Overcoming the Battles of Life in the Bible
Inadequate Contextualisation in “Witchdemonology”?
The Good God and the Good Life
Ideas about the Good God and the Good Life
Akan Traditional Views of the Good God and the Good Life
Biblical Ideas about God’s Goodness and the Good Life
Ghanaian Pentecostals Struggling with Evil and Suffering
Ghanaian Pentecostal Christology and Public Theology
The Tasks of the State
The Tasks of the Church in Society
How Pentecostals Can Improve Church‐State Relations
Summary and Conclusions
Summary of the Chapters
Reflections and Observations
A Christology of Power
Unsettled Christology
Concluding Remarks
Sources for the Empirical Data
Annex: Ghanaian Pentecostal Songs in Akan and English
Index of Authors
Index of Subjects