February 11, 2009

Book Notice: New Religious Movements in Africa

Aylward Shorter and Joseph N. Njiru, New Religious Movements in Africa. Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2001; 112 pp.

New Religious Movements in AfricaChristianity is rapidly growing throughout Africa—sadly, accompanied by many new religious groups, most of which corrupt the gospel and God’s Word. In New Religious Movements in Africa, two Catholic scholars seek to better understand these groups through case studies conducted in Nairobi, Kenya. While their book has notable shortcomings, it is one of the few works available which even addresses this vital topic.

From the back cover:
During the last ten to fifteen years, there has been a bewildering explosion of new religious movements in Africa: open-air rallies, crusades, revival gatherings, miracle centers, healing ministries and so on. Kenya, a country which had already experienced a proliferation of sects and independent churches, was a propitious ground for these new religious movements. More and more, this is the form that Christianity is taking, outside the confines of the mainline churches. Many observers are wondering about this phenomenon. Why is it happening? What does it mean? What is its impact on the mainline denominations?

This book is an examination of new religious movements as they are appearing and operating in the city of Nairobi. New religious movements are essentially an urban phenomenon, and Nairobi City is therefore an ideal environment in which to observe them. But the study can be applied to new religious movements all over Africa.

Table of Contents:
Introduction, 7
Religious Movements New and Old, 11
Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals, 25
Bible and Salvation in New Religious Movements, 39
New Religious Movements and the Catholic Church, 54
Women and Youth in the New Religious Movements, 68
External Relationship of New Religious Movements, 85
Apparitions and Cults, 99