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For Freedom or Bondage?
A Critique of African Pastoral Practices
PAPERBACK; Published: 3/6/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6989-0
233 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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DESCRIPTION
Informed corrective to current African approaches to pastoral care and the spiritual world

In Ghana today, many people who suffer from a variety of human ills wander from one pastor to another in search of a spiritual cure. Because of the way cultural beliefs about the spiritual world have interwoven with their Christian faith, many Ghanaian Christians live in bondage to their fears of evil spiritual powers, seeing Jesus as a superior power to use against these malevolent spiritual forces.

In For Freedom or Bondage? Esther Acolatse argues that Christian pastoral practices in many African churches include too much influence from African traditional religions. She examines Ghana Independent Charismatic churches as a case study, offering theological and psychological analysis of current pastoral care practices through the lenses of Barth and Jung. Facilitating a three-strand conversation between African traditional religion, Barthian theology, and Jungian analytical psychology, Acolatse interrogates problematic cultural narratives and offers a more nuanced approach to pastoral care.
REVIEWS
Emmanuel Y. Lartey
—Candler School of Theology, Emory University
"In this thoughtful, carefully researched, and much-needed book Esther Acolatse enters into critical engagement with African Christian pastoral practices, especially 'deliverance' ministries. . . . Her robust theoretical and practical approach, illustrated with actual contextual cases, avoids the dangers of over-spiritualization, under-psychologizing, and cultural irrelevance, which have marred effective care of souls in contemporary African cultures. For Freedom or Bondage? scratches exactly where African Christians currently itch. It should be required reading for all who have pastoral and educational responsibilities for persons influenced by African cultures."
Andrew F. Walls
—Liverpool Hope University, Akrofi-Christaller Institute, Ghana
"This is an important book. With the increasing significance of Africa within contemporary Christianity, new and urgent theological issues are arising for pastoral practice as African understandings of the spirit world interact with the biblical materials and traditional Christian practice. Acolatse is beginning a much-needed conversation between African and Western theologians, with huge pastoral implications."
Amos Yong
—Regent University School of Divinity
"Acolatse's proposals provide a holistic and dialogical model for pastoral care, one that engages with the ecumenical tradition and is informed by interdisciplinary analyses, while also expertly reappropriating global South perspectives, sensibilities, and cosmologies. May an increasingly Pentecostal and charismatic world Christianity take heed."
— Peter J. Paris in Theology Today
"Acolatse has written a very important book for both teachers and practitioners of pastoral care who work primarily in her native Ghana as well as throughout Africa. . . . Acolatse's methodology of interviewing 50 pastors is impressive to say the least, as is the clarity with which she describes the African worldview. . . . In brief, this book will enrich the thinking of all who read it."

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