Is the Church really silent? Towards a critical exploration of the Church’s contribution or lack thereof on the current discourse for socio-economic transformation in Ghana.
Teye-Kau, Eric Kweku.
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The study sets out to assess the extent to which the Church in Ghana is contributing to the ongoing discourse on economic transformation and development (in Ghana and by implication Africa in general). This study is premised on two assumptions, first is that the Church is a significant stakeholder in society and in Ghanaian society in particular. Second, the study is premised on the assumption that the Church is already contributing in this discourse. As such the main focus of this study is not whether the Church is contributing or not. Rather, the main aim is to assess the strength of this assumed contribution. Based on this, this study does not form part of the two schools of thought that may emerge in so far as this subject is concerned, namely those who hold a view that the Church today is silent on current socio-economic issues when it comes to development and transformation discourses and those who also believe that the Church is engaging in current socio-economic discourses that affects the people of God. While the main focus of this study is on the extent of the strength of the Church’s contribution on the ongoing discourse on economic transformation and development in Ghana, it is not within the scope of this study to conduct a thorough and comprehensive ecclesiological account of the understanding of the Church in this context. Instead the study offers a broad overview of the classical understandings of what the Church is as a theologically mandated stakeholder in society. However, it is worth noting that this study is further premised on a view that a true Church, in following in the footsteps of Christ, is always in solidarity with the vulnerable in any society. Also worth noting is that the data collected for this study does not include contributions from the African Pentecostal-Charismatic tradition. It is for this reason therefore that the study employs a combination of both a qualitative and quantitative research methodology and that the theoretical framework upon which it is premised is ‘critical distance’ as articulated by Allan Boesak. Similarly, while the notion of economic development carries some level of significance to this study and therefore worth noting, it is equally not within the scope of this study to offer a comprehensive review of the major economic or developmental theories. Based on this the key question that the study seeks to ask is as follows: How may the strength of the Church’s contribution to the ongoing socio-economic discourse be assessed? The study has found that while the Church in Ghana is indeed contributing to the discourse on socio-economic development, this contribution is nevertheless reactive in nature and therefore not reflective of the Church’s originality in addressing matters of importance in this context. In other words the Church has proved to be merely playing a supportive role as it tends to merely echo popular positions in the public discourse as opposed to coming up with its own innovative suggestions beyond positions that enjoy popular support. The study therefore recommends that further studies be conducted around ways in which the Church can improve its effectiveness in this regard by way of being more proactive and innovative.