Aladura churches

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The Aladura churches (from Yoruba : Aladura = "owner of prayer") are a predominantly in West Africa , especially in West Nigeria, common tendency in Christianity , which attaches particular importance to the possibility of spiritual healing .

Origin and Annunciation

The movement came into being after the devastating flu pandemic ( Spanish flu ) of 1918 also claimed countless lives in Nigeria. This hitherto completely unknown plague deeply disturbed the Africans and, in accordance with their traditional religious beliefs, made them look for salvation through supernatural spiritual beings. Large parts of the population were Christianized at this point in time, and the mission churches were reluctant to practice spiritual healing because they saw this as a relapse into pagan traditions. Indeed, this pursuit arose from the religious practices and needs of pre-Christian tradition.

In this situation, individual charismatic lay preachers rose up and, with reference to the healing stories handed down from the New Testament, formed a rapidly growing movement outside the western mission churches that quickly took ecclesiastical forms.

The Cherubim and Seraphim Church, founded in 1925 by the seventeen-year-old Abiodun Akinsowan , became particularly well-known and today is one of the largest Aladura churches with a few million members. These churches established themselves primarily in the cultural area of ​​the Yoruba , but also expanded beyond the preaching and practices, which were often based on the cultural ideas and traditions of this ethnic group.

On the part of the traditional churches, the Aladura churches were repeatedly accused of a Christian masked relapse into paganism or they were settled in the area of syncretistic cults. Aladura churches are trying to justify their practice biblically and distance themselves decidedly from pre-Christian ideas. Nevertheless, there is obviously a Christian transformation of the pre-Christian worldview and its cult practices. The spontaneous prayer healings, although biblically attested, let the form in which they take place, foreshadowing pre-Christian origins. So a “grasp of the spirit” overcomes people in the traditionally known way, but it is now interpreted as the work of the Holy Spirit .

The preaching and goals of the Aladura churches are essentially no different from those of the established large churches; these in turn took up many pagan practices in their beginnings and reinterpreted them in their canon.

Because of the emphasis on Christian charisms , such as prophecy and speaking in tongues , the Aladura churches are often assigned to the charismatic movement , which did not emerge as such until the 1960s.

Important Aladura churches