Contributor(s)Mazibuko, A. B.
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AbstractThe study of the African Initiated Churches has become vital for the understanding of the rich variety of forms in which Christianity manifest itself on this continent. In 1950 nearly 80% of black South African Christians adhered to the established churches and only 12% to the African Initiated Churches. Presently it is about 52% and below 40% respectively. At the end of the century the African Initiated Churches will be the main Church Movement in South Africa as the so called mainline churches are fast becoming sidelined (Oosthuizen December 1992: i). The founder (Engenas Lekganyane 1885-1948) of the Zion Christian Church was an African, with roots in Africa. His church thus assimilated Christianity into the culture as espoused in this part of the continent. The church thus expresses Christianity in an African context. The leadership of the church has continued to be African, thereby entrenching the Africanness of the church. The membership of the Zion Christian Church is overwhelmingly African. The African features of the Zion Christian Church are therefore, not expressed through the structures that closely mirror traditional society, but rather through a polity that continues the hierarchical system inherited both from the traditional society and from the mother church namely the Apostolic Faith Mission, and modifies it by the addition of elements from the Methodist forms of government. It could be regarded as a mixed Western polity operating in a characteristically African way. since it is the Christian faith that the church wishes to communicate in African terms, the starting point is the source of the church's faith, I refer here to the Holy Scriptures, the foundation document of the church. African Christians are concerned to interpret essential Christian faith in authentic African language in the flux and turmoil of our time so that there may be genuine dialogue between Christian faith and African culture. It should be noted that by looking at the Gospel message from an African perspective, African Christians are not simply thinking about themselves but are attempting to make their contribution, to the universal Christian theology.
Theses (D.Th.)-University of Durban-Westville, April 1996.