n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - From the periphery to the centre : the Pentecostalisation of mainline Christianity in Kenya




This paper looks at the Pentecostalisation and Charismatisation of mainline Christianity in Kenya. It examines how Kenyan mainline churches are integrating and appropriating Pentecostal and Charismatic ethos, spirituality, and features in an attempt to survive its impact. The paper maintains that Pentecostal and Charismatic movements that started at the periphery only a few decades ago have now moved to the centre of mainline Christianity in the country. The movement has thus found its way into the heart of mainline churches, thus blurring the sharp distinction between mainline Christianity and Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in the country. This has created a major paradigmatic shift in the ethos, spirituality, theology, practices, and programmes of mainline Christianity not only in Kenya, but also in other parts of the world. The paper argues that the movement has contributed to the renewal of Christianity, not only in Kenya but also in East Africa, through spiritual transformation of the personal and the social worlds, and has Charismatised and Pentecostalised mainline Christianity. This is because over the years Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have come to represent a form of religiosity that has become quite popular almost everywhere in East Africa. They have also become an essential part of the contemporary religious scene, which can no longer be ignored by mainline Christianity. This form of Christianity not only plays a significant role in the lives and faith of many Kenyans, but also informs their religious worldview. It is, therefore, important that we try to understand and examine the challenges they pose to African Christianity and find out what lessons can be learned from the challenges identified.


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