Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pentecostals and WItch Doctors

Is Pentecostalism a "disease"?

Apparently the moderator of the Presbyterian church in Cameroon thinks so. This article at quotes Rev. Nyansako-ni-Nku as saying so. I have extremely mixed feelings about his remarks.

As an ex-Pentecostal myself, I find it hard to see how someone can make a blanket generalization about other Christians -- especially someone in charge of an ecumenical organization! But living and serving in Cameroon, I have seen for myself the negative impact that the prosperity preachers of the West have had upon African Christianity. And they are Pentecostal.

I remember attending a youth program at one of our churches. The youth performed a one-act play which they had written themselves. The plot concerned a mother who had a sick child. She went to a witch doctor, who charged her a lot of money, but couldn't heal the child. She went to another witch doctor -- neither could he heal the child.

Then she went to a village Pentecostal preacher. He promised healing from Jesus, as long as she would pay an enormous amount of money. When she paid, the preacher was unable to heal the daughter.

Finally, the woman took her daughter to a simple, plain Bible-toting Methodist Christian. And guess what -- the woman and her daughter gave their lives to Christ, and the daughter was healed!

What interested me is that, in the minds of many Cameroonian Christians, Pentecostals are no more to be trusted than witch doctors!