The Use of Science and Technology Among Afro-Pentecostals: A Theo-Historical Perspective from the Kenyan Context
Keywords:Afro-Pentecostalism, biotechnology, COVID-19, science and technology, Televangelism, urbanisation
This research article sets out to explore the extent to which Afro-Pentecostalism, as an African Pentecostal movement, relies heavily on science and technology. It sets out on the premise that African Pentecostalism, as with the mainline churches (referring to the Roman Catholics, the Methodists, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, the Lutherans, and the Reformed churches among others), has historically relied on science and technology since Kenya’s colonial era (1895-1963) to the present moment. The 21st century has however witnessed a scientific explosion in a manner akin to the effects of the industrial revolution of 18th century Europe—that eventually spread over to the rest of the world. Through a theo-historical design, this research article has methodologically sampled some key areas that demonstrate Afro-Pentecostals’ use of science and technology. Such samplings include the modern infrastructures that are by-products of the latter, industrially urbanised areas, televangelism, technological gadgets, biotechnology and environmental concerns among other areas. The findings in this research article are gathered through participant observation and an extensive review of relevant literature. Overall, it establishes that Afro-Pentecostals, like the mainline churches/missionaries, engage science and technology as a critical missiological tool, even though the former is largely mistaken with the New Religious Movements (NRMs)—whose wayward sections employ cultic and occultist trends that lead to religious dysfunctions, some of which shuns hospitals, schools and other forms of modern science and technology, and instead embrace mysticism.
Achunike, H. C. 2004. The Influence of Pentecostalism on Catholic Priests and Seminarians in Nigeria. Onitsha: Africana First Publishers.
Ahonen, L. 1984. Mission Growth: A Case Study on Finish Free Foreign Mission. Pasadena, California: William Carey Library.
Asamoah-Gyadu, K. 2007. “Born of Water and the Spirit: Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity in Africa.” In African Christianity: An African Story, edited by Kalu, O. 385–397. Trenton New Jersey: Africa World Press.
Barmania, S., and M. Reiss. 2020. “Health Promotion Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Importance of Religion.” Global Health Promotion 28(1): 15–22. https://doi.org/10.1177/1757975920972992 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1757975920972992
Barrett, D 1973. Kenya Churches Handbook. Kisumu: Evangel.
Barret, D. 1998. “Walter Edwin Owen (1878-1945).” Accessed June 6, 2022. https://dacb.org/stories/kenya/owen-walter/.
Baur, J. 1994. 2000 Years of Christianity in Africa: An African History, 62-1992. Nairobi: Paulines.
Bergstrøm, C. 2007. “Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth: The Case of Zambia’s Refusal to Accept American Food Aid.” Accessed June 20, 2023. http://www.umb.no/statisk/noragric/noragricwp42.pdf.
Cox, H. 1996. Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century. London: Cassell.
Gathogo, J. 2023. “Missionaries’ Engagement with Science and Technology in the Colonial Kenya (1887-1963).” Journal of Religion in Africa 53(2023): 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1163/15700666-12340261 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15700666-12340261
Gathogo, J. 2022b. “The Mercurial Characteristics of Kenya’s Afro-Pentecostalism: Exploring Some Critical Pointers.” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 48(2): 1–17. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-4265/10612 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-4265/10612
Gathogo, J. 2022c. “COVID-19, Prophecies, and Stewardship in Kenya.” In 2022, Religion and COVID-19 in Southern Africa, edited Sibanda F. 126–140. Palgrave: MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003241096-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003241096-9
Gathogo, J. 2020. “Infidelity Among Afro-Pentecostals: The Kenyan Case.” In Genders, Sexualities, and Spiritualities in African Pentecostalism, edited Kaunda, C. 391–409. Palgrave: MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42396-4_22 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-42396-4_22
Gathogo, J. 2013a. “Afro-Pentecostalism and the Kenyan Political Landscape.” Swedish
Gathogo, J. 2013b. Home-Grown Religions: A Guide to the Study of World's Religions. Saarbrucken: Lap.
Gathogo, J. 2011a. Simplified Sociology for Beginners. Saarbrucken: Lap.
Gathogo, J. 2011b. “The Challenge of Money and Wealth in Some East African Pentecostal Churches.” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 37(2): 133–151.
Gathogo, J. 2009. “The Birth of Protestant Education in East Africa: Sampling Johannes Ludwig Krapf (1810-1881).” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 35(3): 167–192.
Gathogo, J. 2008. “The Quest for Religious Freedom in Kenya (1887-1963).” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 34(1): 67–92.
Gathogo, J. 2001. The Truth About African Hospitality: Is There Hope for Africa? Mombasa: Salt.
Henry, J. 1973. Official Touring Guide to East Africa by Automobile Association of East Africa. Reuter: Unpublished material.
Isagale, I., and W. Wairimu. 2022. “Pentecostal Churches Hit at State Over Gmos as Isiolo Woman MP Demands CS Kuria’s Apology.” Daily Nation, 22 November 2022. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://nation.africa/kenya/counties/nyeri/pentecostal-churches-hit-at-state-over-gmos-as-isiolo-woman-mp-demands-cs-kuria-s-apology-4029056.
Karanja, J. 1999. Founding an African Faith. Nairobi: Uzima.
Kenyatta, J. 1938. Facing Mount Kenya. London: Heinemann.
Kinyanjui, A. W. 2011. “Impact of Water Pollution on Nairobi River, Kenya.” Unpublished MA diss., University of Nairobi.
Langat, A. 2022. “Kenya lifts ban on genetically modified foods despite strong opposition.” Devex 12 October 2022. Accessed June 12, 2022. https://www.devex.com/news/kenya-lifts-ban-on-genetically-modified-foods-despite-strong-opposition-104170#:~:text=The%20ban%20was%20sparked%20by,and%20cultivation%20in%20several%20countries.
Maseno, L. and K. Mamati. 2021. “An Appraisal of the Pentecostal Eco-Theology and Environmental Consciousness Among Youths in Parklands Baptist Church, Kenya.” HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 77(2): 1–7. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i2.6840 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i2.6840
Mbiti, J. 1969. African Religion and Philosophy. Nairobi: Nairobi: East African Education Publishers.
Mokaya, E. N. 2015. “Televangelism and the Changing Habits of Worshippers in Nairobi County.” Unpublished MA Diss., University of Nairobi.
Mugambi, J. N. K. 1995. From Liberation to Reconstruction: African Christian Theology After the Cold War. Nairobi: East African Education Publishers.
Njogu, G. 2021. The Leadership Question: A Critical Examination of the Histories of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya. Nairobi: Kairos.
Nthamburi, Z. 1995. “The Beginning and Development of Christianity in Kenya.” In From Mission to Church, edited by Nthamburi, Z. Nairobi: Uzima Press.
Nthamburi, Z. 1982. A History of the Methodist Church in Kenya. Nairobi: Uzima Press.
Ochieng’, W. R. and R. M. Maxon. 1992. An Economic History of Kenya. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers.
Oliver, R. 1952. Missionary Factor in East Africa. London: Longmans.
Oloo, B. O. 2022. “Kenya Has Lifted its Ban on Genetically Modified Crops: The Risks and Opportunities.” The Conversation, 26 October 2022. Accessed November 11, 2022. https://theconversation.com/kenya-has-lifted-its-ban-on-genetically-modified-crops-the-risks-and-opportunities-192636.
Parsitau, D. S. and P. N. Mwaura. 2010. “God in the City: Pentecostalism as an Urban Phenomenon in Kenya.” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 36(2): 95–112.
Theuri, P. 2023. “Pastor Paul Mackenzie’s bizarre teachings.” The Saturday Standard, 27 April 2023. Accessed May 23, 2023. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/health/national/article/2001471595/pastor-paul-mackenzies-bizarre-teachings.
Wagana, P. 2022. “The Role of Religion in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic Challenges in Tanzania.” In 2022, COVID-19 in Africa, edited by Fortune Sibanda, F. 115. Palgrave MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003241096-8 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003241096-8
Wangui, P. 2022. “We’ll Gazette Team to Clean Nairobi River Next Week - Gachagua.” The Star, 18 November 2022. Accessed November 19, 2022. https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2022-11-18-well-gazzette-team-to-clean-nairobi-river-next-week-gachagua/.
Waweru, T. 2017. “How Former President Mwai Kibaki Handed Over Power to Uhuru in 2013.” The Standard. Accessed July 11, 2022. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001261255/how-former-president-mwai-kibaki-handed-over-power-to-uhuru-in-2013-photos.
Welbourn, F. B., 1961. East African Rebels. London: Student Christian Movement Press.
Woodworth, M. 1999. Pentecostal Church Leaders and the Charismatic Movement. Cape Town: George and Brothers.
Zamirirad, A. 2020. “Three Implications of the Corona Crisis in Iran.” Accessed May 3, 2022. https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/three-implications-of-the-corona-crisis-in-iran.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Julius Gathogo
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.