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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Abstract

GATHOGO, Julius. Extremist or an enculturationist? Retrieving Milkah Muthoni's (1948-2009) Afro-Pentecostalism. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2014, vol.40, n.1, pp.191-214. ISSN 2412-4265.

Milkah Muthoni Waweru (1948-2009) played a key role in the changing theo-social landscape of central Kenya, particularly in mid 1960s, 70s and 80s, through her oral theologies which were well captured in her gospel music. In particular, her music, which is currently stored on radio cassettes and CDs, had made a huge contribution to the society. Her Afro-Pentecostal theology is also espoused in her co-founded church, the Refined Gospel Christian Church (RGCC). It deals with critical theological themes such as theodicy, ecumenism, sin, cross, holiness and healing, salvation, eschatology, and African Christian marriage. In the latter, she appears to favour polygamy whenever the need to address childlessness arises. This article also addresses the controversial birth of the RGCC; Milkah's use of figurative language; African idioms and proverbs without losing her gospel constituency. Was she an extremist in her theo-social discourses or an enculturationist? In a nutshell, the concern in this article is: How sound and relevant is Milkah Muthoni's Afro-Pentecostal theology? What were her key concerns? Did her "ministry" engage in encultu-ration theology, albeit unconsciously? The methodology in this article is derived from interviews conducted in 2010 by the researcher with people who were closely known to her, including her husband, Bishop John Wambu Waweru. This research was continued in October-November 2012 to clarify on some of the issues that came up after the first interviews. Extensive reading has also been done regarding some issues under discussion in order to address the various concerns.

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