An Investigative Study of the Contributions of Deliverance Ministry to Church Growth
This study was on an investigative study of the contributions of deliverance ministry to church growth. Three objectives were raised which included: Discuss the concepts of ill-health, healing and deliverance as well as church growth, Examine the belief and practice of healing and deliverance in the GEC and Explore the relationship between healing and deliverance and church growth in the GEC. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from Global Evangelical Church in Lagos state. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
Healing, deliverance and church growth are major themes considered very central to this research. These main themes have received scholarly discussions in their distinctive senses but not in how they relate with each other into details. For the purpose of this thesis, literature on general and specific areas of healing, deliverance, church growth and the history of Charismatic Pentecostal Churches in Ghana are considered for review. Allan Anderson’s work is considered one of the fundamental works which provides historical background to understanding the origin of the Charismatic Pentecostal phenomenon in Christianity. It also illustrates how the movements started and their subsequent development into distinctive new Christian religious movements and independent churches worldwide. He asserts that the contemporary Charismatic Pentecostal phenomena defeats universally acceptable definition due to the diversity in the seemingly common Charismatic Pentecostal practices. However, he defines the Charismatic Pentecostal phenomenon broadly as one that describes ‘globally all churches and movements that emphasize the working in of the gift of the Spirit, both on phenomenological and theological grounds’. Asamoah-Gyadu uses organizational structures to identify three categories of Charismatic Pentecostal churches in Ghana. These include the non-denominational groups which comprise individuals who belong to other established churches, the renewal movements that exist and operate within their mother churches, and the independently established Charismatic churches. Despite the diversity of their organizational status, these Charismatic Pentecostal religious groups, according to Anderson, have common practices and are similar in their approaches to religious activities. Among these practices are emphasis on the reliance on the Holy Spirit and the demonstration of his eminence in the activities of believers. Such activities include spontaneous praying, joyful singing, handclapping and dancing, periodic Bible study meeting, fast, public evangelistic crusades, healing and deliverance, prophesying, testimonies, and speaking in tongues. The history of Charismatic and Pentecostal churches in Ghana and the world is usually traced from America with reference to the Azusa Street experience of 1906. However, Anderson is of the view that, in recounting the Charismatic experience in Africa, and Ghana in particular, the influence of isolated activities of African prophets some of which became the founders of the African Instituted Churches cannot be denied. According to Anderson, the Charismatic Pentecostal churches ‘are essentially of African origin and fulfil African aspirations, with a root in a marginalised and underprivileged society struggling to find dignity and identity in the face of brutal colonialism and oppression’. Contrasting the African nature of Charismatic Pentecostal churches with the western mission churches, Allan Anderson argued that the Charismatic Pentecostal churches are motivated by a desire to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of Africans, offering solutions to life’s problems and ways to cope with the threatening and hostile world Some scholars have described Ghanaian Charismatic Pentecostal Churches as the fastest growing churches in the past three decades. This rapid growth, according Anderson, is attributed to the churches’ focus on making meaning of the contemporary existential problems that confront Christians through their contextualization approach. For these scholars, the Charismatic Pentecostal churches are experiencing this rapid growth because most of these churches are able to fashion out programmes that respond to the contextual needs of members and non members. In addition to the dynamism of the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches’ practices, which play very significant roles on their growth, Anderson identified faith healing and deliverance as one of their paramount practices. For him, among the different practices of the Charismatic Pentecostals, healing and deliverance is one of the most common which has been alluded to as having played tremendous role in the growth of the churches. This is inferred from the idea that most people become members of the church after they have been healed or delivered from one kind of ill-health or the other. The idea where people become affiliates and members of religious groups commensurate with this position thereby lays the foundation for this research as it investigates the relationship between healing and deliverance and church growth.
The Concept of Ill-Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Unlike the traditional system of healing, biomedical healing, which is usually termed as curing, relies so much on scientific methods of investigation.
Scientific Perspective on Ill-Health
Scientifically health and healing are explained from many philosophical points of view. Among these perspectives is reductionism. Reductionism is a philosophical position which holds that intricate phenomena are derived from a single fundamental principle. In this context health is regarded in terms of biological processes and explained by fundamental laws of chemistry and physics. This scientific method of reductionism in medicine has come to be known as ‘bioreductionism’. Basically, bioreductionism understands that unless there have been injuries caused by external circumstances, the cause of a disease can be reduced to a ‘specific micro-organism’. Reductionism explains health and disease concepts (within biomedicine) in scientific terms. Thus from the biomedical perspective health is a theoretical concept which is understood basically to be the absence of diseases. Christopher Boorse argues that the chief components of health are biological and statistical normality (the ability to perform physiological functions which are typical of humans). Accordingly health is understood to be ‘functional normality’. He further argues that because health is normal functioning an ‘organism is healthy at any moment in proportion as it is not disease’. Diseases therefore in this model are perceived as deviations from the norm of health – they are internal states which depress functional ability As a result, healing is mostly limited to the kinds of sicknesses that are identified through scientific investigations. The reliance on scientific causes of ill-health therefore narrows scientific systems of healing to measures that aim at restoring only scientifically proven causes of ill-health situations. These measures include scientific diagnoses of the cause of sickness, dispensation of biomedicine proven to be efficacious in curing a specific ailment and other forms of treatments such taking rest; doing exercise and regulating ones diet.
Biblical Perspective of Ill-Health
One cannot understand and explain the Christian perspective of ill-health without thoroughly examining the Christian concept of man. This is because the Christian believes that when ill health occurs, it affects certain aspect of the human person. There are divergent Christian views about the composition of the human person. On one hand, the Christian believes that humans are composed of three basic elements: soul, spirit and body. Others believe in the bipartite nature of humans. Alluding to the biblical account on the creation of humans, Stephen Fraser asserts that humans were created from an existing physical matter. However, it is the bringing in of the spiritual component, which is the breath of God (Spirit dimension) by God that makes humans living beings[email protected][email protected]