African Indigenous Pentecostal Christianity in Uganda With Reference to the Deliverance Church in Busoga (1974 – 2012)
Isabirye, Moses Stephen
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This study examines the phenomenon of African Indigenous Pentecostal Christianity (AIPC) in Uganda, using the Deliverance Church (DC) in Busoga as a case. The study aimed at investigating the history, factors and trends that birthed the DC in Uganda in general and Busoga in particular, as a breakaway of mainstream Christianity. It interrogated the theology and practice of the DC and evaluated the DC contributions to spiritual, social and economic developments of Busoga. The study used a cross – sectional survey nonexperimental design employing both quantitative and qualitative methods. The data collection methods were questionnaire survey, interview guide, focused group discussions (FGDs), participant observation (PO) and content analysis of sermons and other teachings. The study findings indicate that the DC originated from the COU. The founders started with a quest for an African authentic Church of Christians, Christ- delivered to embody and carry his deliverance by the Spirit of God’s kingdom to the outside world. This marked the origin of the name ‘Deliverance Church’. The first DC leaders having experienced deliverance focused on every member being a Spirit-filled minister, doing mission and evangelism of witnessing for Jesus in the world. The study unveils why these African Pentecostal leaders left mainstream churches, and how the DC and COU developed a relationship of dialogic contextualization, where the DC continued building on the COU Christian foundations, while consolidating the mission character of their church. Evidence of this continuing dialogic contextualization reflects in DC beliefs, practices and projects directly bequeathed from those of the COU. This climax saw a leading founder Dr. Stephen Mungoma, accompanied by other members, cross from the DC back to equal positions of responsibility and accountability in COU. The thesis argues that the DC’s Pentecostal success in mission theology and practice stems from its adoption of the old ‘selfs’ for Anglican mission, to build a church that is self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. There is more evidence of the DC using COU ministry patterns such as doctrine, wedding liturgy, funeral rite, evangelicalism, leadership and faith and order - to boost the Pentecostal mission vision, pastoral care and counselling and ministry. Regarding ministerial training, theological education originally viewed with suspicion by the DC leaders in the 1970s; calling it ‘spiritual cemetery adding no spiritual value to the person concerned, was later embraced. By the time of this study, some were attending theological / Bible colleges. DC started pursuing socio-economic development goals; a decade after COU had launched it in Busoga. The study concludes that AIPC of the DC in Busoga, has live roots in mainstream Christianity, which issue into origin, growth and bearing fruit in Pentecostal mission and ministry. The originality of the study lies in a comprehensive inquiry into that origin, growth and bearing fruit of the DC in Busoga; it traces its roots to the theology, tradition and doctrine of the mainstream Christianity, re-interpreted for Pentecostal mission strategic needs. From this root grows the shoot of AIPC in Uganda, the DC in Busoga an important product of it.