Müller, “The Zion Christian Church and Global Christianity”

Müller, Retief. 2015. The Zion Christian Church and Global Christianity: negotiating a tightrope between localisation and globalisation. Religion DOI: 10.1080/0048721X.2014.992111 [pre-publication release]

Abstract: South Africa’s Zion Christian Church (ZCC) is a primary example of African Indigenous Christianity. This article discusses some of the ways in which a church such as the ZCC might be simultaneously understood as a localised indigenous group, a ‘constructed indigeneity’, as well as inherently belonging to a wider historical tradition of Global Christianity. The discussion proceeds alongside a critical engagement of the sociologist Robert Wuthnow’s deconstruction of the ‘Global Christianity Paradigm’, as well as an appropriation of the phenomenologist of religion, James Cox’s depiction of ‘indigenous religions’ as an empirically viable theoretical concept, which is demonstrated here as also useful for the purpose of elucidating the type of religiosity encountered in the ZCC. The article makes a plea for a wider acknowledgment of the value of normative approaches to the study of African Christianity and refers to the cultural impact of the theological idea of Incarnation to explain why.

Müller, “African Pilgrimage”

Müller, Retief (2011) African Pilgrimage: Ritual Travel in South Africa’s Christianity of Zion. Londong: Ashgate 

Publisher’s description: Years after the end of Apartheid South Africa remains racially polarized and socially divided. In this context pilgrimage and travelling rituals serve to help those who often find themselves at the bottom end of the social ladder to make sense of their world. This book describes a South Africa that is made up of a number of different fragmented worlds. The focus is on the Zion Christian Church, one of the largest religious movements in southern Africa, and a good example of indigenized African Christianity. Pilgrimage plays an important role in reintegrating some of those fragmented worlds into something approaching wholeness. This book tells the story of how the enduring ritual of pilgrimage is transforming African religion, along with the lives of ordinary South Africans.