The Significance of Glossolalia in the Apostolic Faith Mission, Zimbabwe
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This study seeks to look at the meaning and significance of Glossolalia1 in the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe.2 This paper has also been influenced by debates surrounding speaking in tongues in most of the Pentecostal churches in general and the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe in particular. It was the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) that brought Pentecostalism to Zimbabwe.3 The paper situates the phenomenon of glossolalia in the Zimbabwean socio-economic, spiritual, and cultural understanding. The Pentecostal teachings on the meaning and significance of speaking in tongues have caused a stir in psychological, linguistics, sociological, anthropological, ethnographical, philological, cultural, and philosophical debates. Yet those in the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe argue that their concept of glossolalia is biblically rooted. Surprisingly non-glossolalist Christians also use the Bible to dismiss the pneumatic claims by Pentecostals. The emphasis on speaking in tongues in the AFM has rendered Zimbabwean ‘mainline’ churches like Anglicans, Catholics and Methodists as meaningless. This is the same with African Indigenous Churches which have also been painted with ‘faultlines’, giving an upper hand to AFM in adding up to its ballooning number of followers. This is as a result of their restorationist perspective influenced by the history of the Pentecostal Churches that views all non-Pentecostal churches as having fallen from God’s intentions through compromise and sin. The AFM just like other Pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe exhibit an aggressive assault and intolerance toward certain aspects of the African culture, which they label as tradition,4 for example, traditional customs, like paying homage to ancestral spirits (Kurova Guva or bringing back the spirit of the dead ceremony), and marriage customs (polygamy, kusungira or sanctification of the first born ritual). The movement has managed to rid itself of the dominance of the male adults and the floodgates were opened to young men and women, who are the victims of traditional patriarchy. Besides glossolalia being one of the pillars of AFM doctrines, the following also bear some importance: personal testimonies, tithing, church weddings, signs/miracles, evangelism and prosperity theology.
Additional Citation InformationMachingura F., 2011. The Significance of Glossolalia in the Apostolic Faith Mission, Zimbabwe. Studies in World Christianity, 17.1. <DOI: 10.3366/swc.2011.0003>
Edinburgh University Press
The Intellectual Property of this article belongs to the University of Edinburgh University Press. The original article is available on www.eupjournals.com/swc