Abstract: In this article, the author historically describes the process by which Faith Tabernacle Congregation was established by an Evangelist (and later Overseer) in John Alexander Dowie’s Christian Catholic Church in Zion. He then explains the similarity of both churches’ African missions – the Christian Catholic Church in South Africa and Faith Tabernacle in Nigeria. Both American churches, with a distinct genealogical relationship to one another, significantly affected very similar Christian movements, which were the Zionist movement in South Africa and the Aladura movement in Nigeria. Both of these movements are frequently credited with institutionalizing divine healing within African Christianity, and many scholars argue that African Pentecostalism begin within these movements. In the conclusion, the author reflects historiographically on this relationship: the Christian Catholic Church to Faith Tabernacle and particularly Zionism to Aladura. He argues that the historical relatedness between the two churches challenges the generally held notion that healing in African Christianity is only an expression or continuity of a ‘primal African religiosity.’ The Christian Catholic Church in South Africa and Faith Tabernacle in Nigeria did not represent the conjoining of opposing cultural forms, as in discussions of syncretism, but the hybridizing of very similar religious beliefs and practices with respect to disease, health, and healing.
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Publisher’s Description: Enchanted Calvinism’s central proposition is that Ghanaian Presbyterian communities, both past and present, have become significantly more enchanted–that is, more attuned to spiritual explanations of and remedies for suffering–as they have become more integrated into capitalist modes of production. The author draws on a specific Weberian concept of religious enchantment to frame the discussion of spiritual affliction and spiritual healing within the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, particularly under the conditions of labor migration: first, in the early twentieth century during the cocoa boom in Ghana and second, at the turn of the twenty-first century in the context of the healthcare migration from Ghana to North America. Relying on extensive archival research, oral historical interviews, and participant-observation group interviews conducted in North America, Europe, and West Africa, the study provides evidence that the more these Ghanaian Calvinists became dependent on capitalist modes of production, the more enchanted their lives, and, subsequently, their church became, although in different ways within these two migrations. One striking pattern that has emerged among Ghanaian Presbyterian labor migrants in North America, for example, is a radical shift in gendered healing practices, where women have become prominent healers, while a significant number of men have become spirit-possessed.