THE IMPACT OF CHRISTIANITY ON NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE ROLE OF PENTECOSTALISM
By Stephen Adei, PhD (Professor of Economics and Leadership, Companion Order of the Volta and First Rector of G.I.M.P.A)
My Lords spiritual and temporal, Compatriots, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am both honoured and humbled at the same time to be invited by The Christ Apostolic Church International to be part of the Second Public Anim Memorial Lectures. I know that there are more qualified Pastors and Theologians in this room and in the country for this exercise. In fact it feels like a schoolboy being asked to deliver a lecture before his professors. However to have the privilege to speak in honour and memory of Apostle Peter Newman Anim, whose faith and commitment has been the single most important means of transforming the Christian churches in Ghana in the last century; it is a privilege I could not let pass. Apostle Anim is undoubtedly the “Father of Ghanaian Evangelical Pentecostalism”. God has used the fire he lit not only in the founding of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches in Ghana, which are experiencing phenomenal growth but also the revival of all the mainline churches including the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Fellowships in the country.
For those of us who are privileged to be Evangelical Pentecostals within the orthodox churches, the liberty of Christ in the Spirit to enjoy fellowship with Christians across denominational lines and to experience warm fellowship everywhere is invaluable. The great revival that God brought to this country through the life of this great son of the land, has brought new lease of life through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the interest of time, however, this is all that I can say in honour of Apostle Anim. Those interested in learning more about the Father of Pentecostalism in Ghana may read his profile in the Daily Graphic of Wednesday May 20, 2015 or the more scholarly piece given by Prof Stephen Owiredu at the first public Anim Memorial Lectures two years ago. My brief is to address the wider issue of the impact of Christianity in Ghana’s development. I will do so with special reference to the role of Pentecostalism which the Holy Spirit chose Apostle Anim to initiate in the country.
CHRISTIANITY, CHRISTIANS AND THE CHURCH
Let me upfront clarify some definitional and semantic issues so that we will all be on the same wave length: By Christianity I am talking about the religion founded on Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles believed that Yahweh, the God of Israel revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that God the Son, Jesus Christ, came to die on Calvary, shed his blood for the remission of sins and that through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ one is saved and becomes a child of God. The Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son to effect the salvation work of Jesus Christ, to establish the body of Christ, the Church, and to empower believers for righteous living, propagation of the gospel and disciple making. God the Holy Spirit uniquely baptised the believers on the day of Pentecost. The core of Christianity is captured in the Apostle’s Creed (and its expanded version the Nicene Creed). That is why many Christian denominations regularly recite the Nicene Creed at worship preceding: