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Pentecostalism, Mainline Churches, and Theological Education in Africa: The Case of the United Church of Zambia

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The present study investigates the impact of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement on theological education in mainline Churches in Africa, taking the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) as a case study. The study reviews the understanding of theological education in the New and Old Testaments. It considers the development of Christian theology from the Apostolic era to postmodern times. It is argued that the fabric of contemporary Christian theology was developed during the patristic and the reformation periods. The study points out that the UCZ, after its formation in 1965, inherited beliefs, practices, and a model of theological education from its mother-European mission Churches. However, influence of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement has led to the adoption of Pentecostal beliefs and practices by many Christians in the UCZ. To accommodate likeminded members of its congregations, the UCZ has welcomed certain Pentecostal-charismatic beliefs and practices in its services. The present study argues that mainline African Churches such as the UCZ need to use a Pentecostal model of theological education that is open-minded and that takes serious account of certain features of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement on the continent such as the African worldview, de-clericalization, secularization, ecumenicity, inter-faith dialogue, and fresh expressions of faith.