Project Documents

Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Russell Lynn Staples

Second Advisor

Bruce L. Bauer

Third Advisor

Bruce C. Moyer

Abstract

Problem

The persistence of traditional belief and practice among about 30 percent of Ashanti traditionalists presents a great challenge to the Ashanti SDA Church on how to engage the traditionalists' with the gospel. The darker side of the Ashanti world is characterized by fear and insecurity. While Christianity presents an attractive doctrine of salvation in a transcendent sense, its emissaries have failed to provide satisfying ways of dealing with the forces of the spirit world. In addition, the Ashanti institution of chieftaincy involves closely connected socio-political and religious rites. The chief is both the central officiant in rituals of tendence upon the ancestors and the mainstay of social order. Traditionalists fear that Christianity will displace traditional religious beliefs and thus undercut the force of social solidarity. These beliefs and practices pose significant barriers to the acceptance of the gospel and consequently impede a decision to join the SDA Church.

Method

Four of the religious beliefs and practices that are regarded as barriers to the acceptance of Christianity are analyzed using both anthropological and biblical perspectives. The evangelistic approaches of Catholics, mainline churches, the SDA Church, and the spiritual churches in Ghana are discussed and analyzed to see how and to what extent they have been able to break down the barriers that impede the acceptance of Christianity. Finally, biblical and practical responses to some of the issues involved are presented.

Results

The study suggests that a major root of the problem is the Ashanti concept of God as being remote and unapproachable and hence not available in times of crisis and insecurity. An answer is found in the Christian concept of an immanent God and the mediatorial function of the incarnate Savior.

Conclusion

Ashanti SDA Christian workers should be equipped with an adequate understanding of traditional beliefs and practices to enable them to supply satisfying theological and practical answers to the barriers that impede acceptance of Christianity.

Subject Area

Ashanti (African people)--Religion; Seventh-day Adventists--Ghana

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