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(From AllAfrica.com - AAGM)
Byline: Reviewed by Elizabeth Isichei
Ghana's New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalising African Economy. Paul Gifford. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004. 216 pp. $24.95 paper.
Over the last twenty five years or so there has been a remarkable transformation in global Christianity, the growth of vast numbers of churches which are variously described as charismatic or neo-Pentecostal (though speaking in tongues, central to traditional pentecostalism, is not a major aspect and is often not present at all). In Nigeria, their members call themselves the Born Again. These churches have flourished remarkably in the Two-Thirds World, especially in Latin America and Africa. Paul( David) Yonggi Cho's neo-Pentecostal church in Seoul is thought to be the largest single church in the world. This remarkable phenomenon is sometimes understood as an aspect of globalisation, and of an American dominance which is cultural as well as military, economic and political.
Gifford describes a pattern in Ghana which is equally true elsewhere in Africa. "Recent years have seen the collapse of the older AICs [African Initiated Churches, called Spirit Churches in Ghana, Aladura in Nigeria and Zionist in Africa] the relative decline of the mainline churches, and the explosion of the …