Pnuemalogy in the African church of Holy Spirit in Kabras division, Kakamega district
Wanakacha, Samita Zacharia
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A rich and relevant theology is an important aspect in the growth of a church. In Kenya, not so many studies have analysed practical theology in particular church context. The present study was conceived to partially fill this knowledge gap. Using a theoretical framework based on a reconstruction of James Cone's six sources of theology (1969: 56-61), the study examined pnenumatology in the African Church of the Holy Spirit (ACHS). This was done with the help of data from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data was mainly from a pilot survey and a field research which relied on oral interviews and participant observation. Secondary data was got through library and archival research. Certain set premises were tested and the following constitute a summary of the major findings: (1) that beliefs, experiences and manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the ACHS affect noticeably the approach of ACHS members to life; (2) that the history of the ACHS very much revolves around interpretations of neonatology; (3) that the Bible is the key source of pneumatology in this church; (4) that pneumatological paradigms in the ACHS address the Abaluyia indigenous spirits-related beliefs and practices. The thesis is organized as follows: Chapter one introduces the problem being investigated namely, pneumatology in the ACHS. It points out that the current continued interest in the Holy Spirit is an attempt by the present generation of Christians to present the Holy Spirit in ways seen to be more meaningful and relevant to it. Chapter Two discusses the Abaluyia indigenous background from which most ACHS adherents come. Beliefs in the reality of spirits and mystical forces are enclosed in indigenous naming, omens, witchcraft, exorcism, circumcision and funerals. One hand, belief in the Holy Spirit is seen as a continuity of the indigenous beliefs in the reality of spirits and mystical forces. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit is seen as a counterpoise, combating the constant threat posed to humanity by the plethora of evil spirits. Understood from this background, pneumatology relevantly appeals to ACHS Christians. Chapter Three briefly discusses the coming and the establishment of colonial administrators and the missionaries in Western Kenya. Attention is paid more to the activities of the Industrial Mission/Friends Africa Mission (FAIM)/FAM). Further, the chapter traces the origin of the ACHS from the FAM and its spread to Kabras Division. Foreign missionaries and local catechists or evangelists played a big role in this development. It is spelt out in this chapter that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was of greatest concern in the emergence and evolvement of the ACHS. Chapters Four and Five form the theological thrust of the ACHS. The former chapter focuses on repentance, confession, exorcism, prayer and singing in so far as they point to pneumatology. The latter includes a discussion of gifts of the Holy Spirit within the ACHS. Both chapters portray the blend of Abaluyia indigenous values and biblical truths within the pneumatology. Chapter six summarizes the major findings of the study in view of the guiding objectives and premises which were set in Chapter One. The contribution of this study to knowledge and the implications of the findings for educators, theologians, policymakers and churches are discussed. Finally, specific recommendations and suggestions for future research are made.