Original Research

Decolonising Western missionaries’ mission theology and practice in Ghanaian church history: A Pentecostal approach

Peter White
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 51, No 1 | a2233 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i1.2233 | © 2017 Peter White | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 January 2017 | Published: 28 June 2017

About the author(s)

Peter White, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The term missional is meant to refer fundamentally to the missio Dei, just as the term missionary does. Missiology is the systematic study of all aspects of mission. It encompasses the historical origin of the churches, their growth, successes and failures. It pays attention to the methodology and context for mission. Ghanaian church history gives us a clear picture of the massive developmental contribution the Western missionaries have made in the social, educational and economic life of Ghana. Although the Western missionaries did very well in meeting the social and economic needs of Ghanaians, they were, however, unable to make a significant and lasting impact on the religious level – mainly because they did not address the traditional worldview of Ghanaians – a worldview embedded in the belief in spirits. This therefore caused some African Christians to seek for an African identity as far as Christianity is concerned. In the light of the search for African Christian identity and mission theology, this article discusses how Pentecostalism has been used as a tool for decolonising Western missionaries’ mission theology and practice in the Ghanaian context. The article discusses Pentecostalism in Ghana, Western missional theology and practices in their missionary activities in Ghana, as well as Ghanaian Pentecostals’ approach to decolonisation of Western mission theology.


Western missionaries; mission theology and practice; Ghanaian church history; Pentecostalism in Ghana; Decolonisation of Western mission Theology.


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