Yemi Challenges the Western Church (Phone blog)

Yemi Adedji challenged our group [and the Western church] today about power. The western church has form, but not power. Missionaries from the West did a disservice to the Africans when they refused to teach them how to deal with the supernatural elements of their world [maybe they didn’t know] and the vacuum created by them has led to new movements of African young people starting their own churches – in which issues of power, dark forces, healing, miracles, etc, are addressed. The Western church, Yemi said, needs to take these things seriously, even in their own country.

Emerging Church in Central Africa? I got the same answer as i usually get: The leaders are all mostly young. Very few older people in the picture.

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Originally uploaded by tallskinnykiwi.

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

9 Comments

  • Power and spiritual warfae is dealt with in the charismatic churches in the USA, at least. While i can track with this, we have to be careful to not become too focused on this and remain in a balance. Looking for demons around every coner and under everything can become ridiculous. i have experienced the supernatural personally and i have seen it abused as well. We don’t need to be giving satan power my overly focusing on him. Yet, my experience within the emergent conversation in the usa and uk has not dealt with this subject. i am hoping to join the conversation next spring in Uganda with the Amohoro Event with African emerging leaders and listen and learn from their experiences. Just my thoughts even though i may be wrong.

  • I agree that we should educate one another on the reality of Satan’s motives for us, but we can’t let it be our main focus. We can be easily deceived so we need to be in the Word and in prayer but we can’t blame every flat tire or road detour on demons. We also can’t blame the devil for our own sins, so there is a balance. We should be aware of a present darkness but not consumed by the awareness.

  • My family spent six years in an isolated village in Ivory Coast and it was very clear that you could not begin to communicate the message of Christ in that context without taking the Spiritual realm into account. We found that our neighbours did not discount the Western/rationalist approach to things, but they blended it with a world view which included a much wider variety of causes and effects. The classic dialogue is: Westerner, “your malaria is caused by a mosquito bite” rural African, “yes, but who sent the mosquito?”. Diseases have multiple causes and need adressing on multiple levels.
    To a great extent this post ties in with your one on the African Commentary, yesterday. People all around the world bring their own experience and their own questions to the Bible, a prepackaged Western set of answers will rarely, if ever, be much help. This new questioning of the Scriptures allows Africans (and others) to gain insight into areas which westerners do not see clearly.
    Another area that I’d place alongside the whole ‘spiritual issue’ is the one of real family values. The African church has learned much and has a great deal to teach the church in the West about strengthening family ties across the generations.

  • We do need to be aware of how some in leadership and movements within the Church have misused their gifts for their own glory. There is much repentance and intercession to be done there, but I can not be afraid of walking in His Power for fear that I will go the same way. We must learn from our mistakes and move forward prayerfully.
    There is much many of us have to learn about how the enemy attacks us, but we have been given Power and Authority over them. I believe the Lord wants us to walk more fully in His Power if we are open to it. We need to be walking in the Truth we believe not just attempting to express it with our mouths.
    I have tried so much to walk from my own knowledge, wisdom, and power and have brought Him little glory.
    We need to be living our lives from our place in Him and there is indeed Power there.
    My family lives in Dallas on the same street as the local seminary. I work at a cafe where many of the students study. It is our prayer that despite some beliefs at the school about His Power that faculty and students alike would begin to hear his voice and see His Power manifest in miraculous ways in there lives, ministries, families and this city.
    So awesome to have the post about the Bible commentary coming out of Africa and then this message about His Power coming from our family in Africa too. Just awesome!

  • I think it’s awesome! And personally, I have found that the comments that start with “we have to be careful…” are often a precurser to avoidance of the Power of the Spirit out of fear of abuse…which frankly is not a very good motivator to do or not do much of anything. most people I know who are actually moving in the power of the Spirit with wisdom and balance never preface statements with that comment…it’s only those who are avoiding things like casting out demons, spiritual attacks on health and property, etc.

  • As westerners, I think it’s worthwhile to try to really hear Yemi’s comment by asking ourselves why we have been so different from our biblical examples/forefathers to draw the comment at all?
    Is God doing something so different now in the West that a faithful ministry here will be so different from that modeled by Jesus and the apostles? This includes the Charismatic, but it’s more, too (like our dealings with money, for example). We westerners just seem to be particularly allergic (as in prone to over-reaction) to things and persons we don’t directly control and/or scientifically understand, even our own feelings. I actually think we needed, maybe still need, to allow a little over-reaction to spiritual things, since we’ve been denying them entirely for so long. We need a different understanding of power than what we currently have and trust, and our brothers and sisters with less of the American kind of power may be very helpful to us in getting it.

  • Depends on who you speak to-
    The definition of Power….
    Why do we think it means “Satan” and “miracles” etc? (the Charismatic) It’s also power to forgive and to love. The more extensive that reach, the more powerful it is perceived.
    To any Christ follower it means “that which is infused with life”. Thank God for the Resurrection. My comments are not intended to diminish what had been said before. But are too quick to blame each other for our experience or lack of experience. Feel the need for Power? Jump in!
    Yes we need this power. I appreciate the invitation and the encouragement. We can experience that power of healing and discernment no matter what our background or tradition. It’s not so much that we need more of this or that style (Charisma vs. Western) We just need to remember that the Spirit is still at work and to say yes to any & all that He wants to do.
    I’m glad you reminded those of us who passed this way….

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