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Of 'Sour Grapes' and 'Children's Teeth': Inherited Guilt, Human Rights and Processes of Restoration in Ghanaian Pentecostalism

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The rise of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement in African countries like Ghana has inspired new ways of dealing with the challenges of life. A critical area of operation for the movement is the 'healing and deliverance' ministry. One of its main aims is to help people deal with inherited guilt through rituals for healing the past. The worldview of mystical causality that underlies a system of shrine slavery among the Ewe of Ghana called Trokosi, offer one example from traditional religions, of how such traditional institutions may stigmatise victims and generations after them, sometimes perpetually. Vestiges of such stigmatisation still remain even in places where shrine slavery has been abolished by law. In keeping with the prophetic declaration by Ezekiel that the sins of the fathers shall no more be visited on their children (Ezekiel 18), the Pentecostal/Charismatic ministry of 'healing and deliverance' provides a Christian ritual context in which the enslaving effects of generational curses resulting from the sins of one's ancestry may be broken. Pentecostals believe that it is through the 'deliverance' that the born again Christian may experience fullness of life in Christ.

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