The impact of the church in community development : a focus on the doctrinal framework of the Assemblies of God churhes in Pietermaritzburg.
Mbamalu, Williams Onwuka.
MetadataShow full item record
So much has been said about the involvement of the Church in socio-economic and political development globally, in Africa, and in South Africa in particular. The appalling fact is that division of the Church into several denominations, and also division along racial and tribal lines, has crippled the much-needed unity for rural, urban and human development. This division, especially when it is expressed within the body of a particular denomination, tends to cut asunder all the connections between the Christian faith, with its concern for love, reconciliation and justice, and the striving to make life worth living for the poor and the marginalised in society. The impact of the Church in community development is very likely to be zero if the Church is divided against itself within racial lines, doctrinal issues and lack of cohesive leadership structure. The focus in the present study is on the Assemblies of God denomination in South Africa. This Church fully reflected and manifested the racial complex of South Africa. The Assemblies of God denomination, instead of creatively making this racial complex a prototype ofChrist's wise blending of his twelve Apostles from various social and tribal backgrounds, used this mosaic complex to destroy and to operate as a divided people along racial lines. The justification for this found expression in the ways and manners in which important doctrines such as ecclesiology, eschatology, soteriology and Christology were taught and upheld by each group in the Assemblies of God. This being the case, the Assemblies of God denomination sought to contribute to development along racial and group lines. Some of the groups became involved in community development and made meaningful impacts. Others did not concern themselves with development, yet others found dualism, individualism and privatisation of faith as the best way to excuse themselves from community development and/or anything that has to do with improving better the life ofthe poor. Did the Church work together or did different groups engage development from their own contexts? The thesis is that the Assemblies of God failed to work together in unity. They operated as a divided group. This is an unhealthy testimony to the world, to whom Christ had told his Church to shine as lights in darkness and to serve as salts to preserve.