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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


MUSONI, Phillip. Johane Masowe Chishanu Church Theology and Spirituality: A Transition from the Written Bible to Holy Spirit Utterances. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2022, vol.48, n.3, pp.1-16. ISSN 2412-4265.

This article was written at a time when decoloniality was generating a heated debate at most African universities. The point of departure of the debate is that, since Africans were born into a valid and legitimate religious knowledge system that predates the arrival of Western missionaries on the land, can African Initiated Churches (AICs) acknowledge these valid and legitimate indigenous knowledge systems and still retain the tag "African Christian churches?" These legitimate indigenous religious knowledge systems include, but are not limited to, Africans' way of accessing the divine through oral transmission without reading books and by shunning temples, as they appropriate African traditional shrines for worship. This is so because the dawn and unfolding of Eurocentric modernity, through colonialism and European missionaries, introduced particular ways of accessing the divine through the reading of books (the Bible) and temple gatherings. These, among other factors, gave rise to the emergence of the Johane Masowe Chishanu Church (JMC Church) in Zimbabwe. Since its emergence in the 1930s, the JMC Church has developed a theology that tries to liberate Africans from colonial hegemony by distancing its theology from White missionary inventions such as worshipping in temples and the reading of the Bible in church, as this church prefers open space worship and the utterances of the Holy Spirit (tsanangudzo dzewmeya), among other things. Thus, the JMC Church, like many other AICs, is a reactionary movement that questioned the White man's innovation, Western epistemologies and European cultural imperialism in a bid to romanticise the past. Accordingly, this article discusses the JMC Church as disregarding the Bible with regard to its spirituality in an attempt to free its theology from Eurocentric hegemony. Thus, the main question raised in this article is: Does the written Scripture matter for theology within AICs in the post-colonial period? Or, does this movement retain the tag "an African Christian church" after disregarding the Bible for theology?

Palabras clave : African Initiated Churches (AICs); African religious knowledge systems; Bible; decoloniality; Johane Masowe Chishanu Church [JMC Church].

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