The challenge of money and wealth in some East African Pentecostal Churches
One of the most disturbing questions of our times in Eastern Africa, and Kenya in particular, is: has Christianity that began as a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, shifted to being material-minded? Are the modern churches willing to die for their people as in the case of the early church and as its Master did? Is it necessary for the African church in the 21st century to accept such a fate? In its methodology, the article surveys the place of wealth and the church from a historical perspective. It goes on to assess this in light of some Pentecostal churches such as Jubilee Christian Centre (JCC), Deliverance Church of Kenya (DCK), Maximum Miracle Centre (MMC), Redeemed Gospel Church (RGC) and Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM), among others. This article was researched through reading of extensive materials, interviews with church members, former members, church leaders, critics and sympathisers and through participant observation. While appreciating the new religio-social paradigm in ecclesiastical matters – where science and technology becomes an important component in the African churches of the 21st century, hence the money factor – the article seeks to show the need for a balance in the handling of church and personal finances. It also cautions about the need to avoid wholesale condemnations of churches, especially with regard to the question of wealth and money.