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African Traditional Religion and Pentecostal Churches in Lusaka, Zambia: An Assessment

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This study seeks to discover how African Traditional Religion (ATR) is viewed by Pentecostal church leaders in Lusaka, Zambia. The convenience sample focused on fourteen Pentecostal churches of various denominational affiliations within the city of Lusaka, Zambia. A thirty-one-item survey tool, the Assessment of Traditional Religious Practices (ATRP), was developed and administered to 128 leaders regarding the prevalence of traditional religious practices among their congregants. The ATRP also assessed how these leaders typically respond to concerns related to ATR within their ministerial context. Findings indicated that traditional beliefs and practices continue to persist, though at nominal levels, within these churches. More importantly, a majority of these leaders feel adequately equipped to handle issues related to ATR because they understand their ministerial calling in terms of spiritual empowerment. The study concludes that the challenges presented by ATR regarding Christian discipleship continue to persist in local Pentecostal churches. However, leaders have employed a practical theological understanding of Pentecostalism, allowing them to overcome many of these same challenges.

Affiliations: 1: 2528 N. West Ave., Springfield, MO 65803, USA, jerry.ireland@agmd.org

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