n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - "Who is afraid of the Holy Ghost?" : Presbyterians and the Charismatic movement in Nigeria, 1966-1996

Volume 35, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



Since the 1970s, the Presbyterian Church in Nigeria (PCN) has been experiencing the challenge of the dynamic growth of Charismatic groups among its members, particularly youth. Unlike the pneumatic challenge of the AICs, which absorbed much from the indigenous religious tradition, the Charismatic movement was a pneumatic challenge emerging from within the teachings of the mainline churches, as young people sought to create a new religious space for themselves. By using Conflict Theory Analysis, the author identifies three layers of conflict brought about by Charismatisation in the PCN, but examines only the theological and ecclesiological dimensions, at the third (ideological) level of the conflict. The PCN used an encapsulation strategy to contain the flood of young people leaving, which ironically led to the further Charismatisation of the church. Charismatics identify the kindred atmosphere and resonance between African and biblical worldviews, which means that they renegotiate their identity. This dynamic renegotiation of gospel and culture contests the inherited traditions and exacerbates the conflict.

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