The Spirit of God and the spirit of Africa : a dogmatological study from the vantage point of pneumatology
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The study of pneumatology is important and necessary in theology, and also in the church. What Christians have to know and understand about it must be taught clearly. The nature and work of the Spirit of God should be mastered by every believer in Jesus Christ. In this way, wrong concepts and teachings can be rejected by the Christian way of life, in the church especially in Africa. It is very noticeable that Africans, in their traditional worldview are conscious of the existence of the Supreme Being, spirits, divinities, ancestral spirits and the spiritual world with its diversity. Africans, Christians and non-Christians believe that around them there are invisible spiritual beings and because of this consciousness they are haunted by the wish to discover what is really going on in the invisible world of the spiritual realm. Most Africans consider the existence of the ancestral spirits as a very important matter and they are in daily need to consult them about every event happening among them in their traditional context. In every event they believe there is always somebody, meaning a spirit, behind what is happening. A death or an accident cannot happen without having been caused by a spirit especially an ancestral spirit. The ancestral spirits are thought to be active in the lives of their living descendants on earth. Ancestral spirits are ambivalent in their relation with the living. They can bring good things to their descendants if they are well treated. They harm and molest them when they are angered by their descendants. The fact that Africans have been confronted with the Gospel has had an impact on the lives of Africans. We have to acknowledge that many things in the conduct of African culture have changed or are going to change in the practical lives of Africans. Although the Gospel has had an impact on the people in Africa, it is unfortunately observed that some Africans do not manifest real change. Christian Africans, despite this encounter with the Christian faith, usually revert to traditional practices in case of hardships like accident, incurable diseases and barrenness, for example. The context of religious pluralism which Africans are experiencing, presents an open door to syncretism. Traditional practices are seriously against the biblical teaching and practices. Christians in the church are found (many times) to be involved in these traditional practices where they fear the attacks of their ancestral spirits or the misfortunes by other spirits. The Spirit of God is active in the world and also in Africa. Christians have to rely on God and not on their ancestral spirits for the sustenance and support in different domains of life. The solution to this on-going attitude of Africans to the spirits can only come from the Word of God. It is absolutely important to continue with the proclamation of the Gospel to Africans. This proclamation of the Word of God must be taken seriously by the church and Christians in Africa. It is only the message from the Bible that can free Africans from their belief in the ancestral spiritual world.
- Theology 
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