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Title: “Name it, Claim it, Grab it” The Hermeneutical Approach of Lighthouse Chapel International_2016
Authors: Antwi D.
Gatti N.
Mawuko, R.P.A
Keywords: Name it
Claim it
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Publisher: University of Ghana
Abstract: The proliferation of Prosperity Preaching which characterized the contemporary Ghanaian Christianity has created an intense scholarly debate among those who considered ‘prosperity preaching’ as ‘non-Christian’ and those who perceive it as a way to contextualize Christianity in the Ghanaian context. The study entered the debate from a different perspective which focuses on the hermeneutical approach implemented by proponents of ‘prosperity preaching.’ To reach the aim, the research focused on Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI), one of the most significant Charismatic Churches in Ghana. Founded in 1987 by Heward-Mill, LCI seems to reject any kind of theological reflection on the Scripture. However, there is a general agreement that ‘reading’ is ‘interpreting’ and that it is impossible to ‘read’ the Scripture without using “hermeneutic lens.” Against this background, the researcher explored the use of the Scripture in Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) to analyse how LCI read the Scripture; the kind of ‘hermeneutic lenses employed and the effect of LCI hermeneutic approach on the life of its members. The research employed both primary and secondary sources. The researcher devoted ten (10) months to field research: participant observation; interview of key stakeholders - the provost of ABMTC, administrative leaders of various institutions; pastors; leaders and members -, focus group discussion and visit to LCI Headquarter, branches and Institution such as Anagkazo Bible Ministry and Training Centre (ABMTC), Lighthouse Orphanage (Eastern Region); Lighthouse Mission Schools (Nursery and JHS) in Accra. Furthermore, books written by the Founder, published and unpublished articles, books and documents were consulted. The research discovered that LCI proclaimed a firm belief in the authority of Scripture: they claim that the Scripture is infallible, inspired and unquestionable. However, it appeared that the real authority behind the interpretation of the Scripture is the Founder and present Overseer of LCI. The reading of Scriptures offered to the community through preaching; bussell discussion and prescribed reading is built on the word of the Founder, and employed the hermeneutical lenses Hedward-Mill developed in his publication: prosperity preaching; tithings; loyalty and disloyalty. His books often ‘substituted’ the biblical reading during the Sunday service and constituted the only accepted material for the ‘theological’ training of LCI pastors at ABMTC. Complete adherence to the Founder’s style and content of preaching is required by all pastors and leaders and promoted by structures devoted to reward ‘loyalty’ and punished ‘disloyalty’. The hermeneutical approach utilized by the church manifested not only a ‘fundamentalist reading of the Scripture’ but promotes also a ‘personality cult,’ where the founder is held in enormous reverence and seen as the person with ‘divine right’ to interpretation. The study ends with suggestions for further studies on Pentecostal/Charismatic Hermeneutics in the Ghanaian context and suggests a holistic theological education for Pentecostal/ Charismatic leaders in order to positively transform communities and contribute to the development of an original and Scripture based Ghanaian Christianity.
Description: Thesis (MPhil) -University of Ghana, 2016
Appears in Collections:Department of Religions

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