Original Research

The role of ecumenical bodies in curbing abuses in New Prophetic Churches in South Africa

Mookgo S. Kgatle
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 56, No 1 | a2901 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2901 | © 2022 Mookgo S. Kgatle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 August 2022 | Published: 12 December 2022

About the author(s)

Mookgo S. Kgatle, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The proliferation of New Prophetic Churches within the broader Pentecostal movement in South Africa has come with the challenge of the abuse of religion and people’s beliefs. These abuses have attracted the attention of the government through the Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities (CRL) commission with calls for the regulation of religion to deal with the abuses. This article worked within the context of Christian ecumenism and explored the role of ecumenical bodies in curbing the abuses in New Prophetic Churches as opposed to the regulation by the government. In this article the ecclesiastical freedom theory is used to argue that ecumenical bodies are better positioned to deal with these challenges facing churches than the government and its commissions. It is suggested that, for New Prophetic Churches to be active in national ecumenical bodies such as the South African Council of Churches, they should be allowed to establish their own bodies to assure accountability. This will be achieved by defining the theory of ecclesiastical freedom, a discussion of the ecumenical bodies in South Africa and their relationship with New Prophetic Churches. In the last section the role of ecumenical bodies in dealing with abuses in New Prophetic Churches will be explored and recommendations made.

Contribution: This article makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing discourses on the regulation of religion in South Africa through an ecclesiastical freedom theory. It is argued that churches can self-regulate and therefore suggests that instead of regulating churches, the government should rather rely on ecumenical bodies in dealing with abuses in New Prophetic Churches in South Africa. In addition, New Prophetic Churches should be allowed to establish their bodies that will ultimately become part of national ecumenical bodies to assure accountability.


New Prophetic Churches; ecumenism; the proliferation of churches; ecumenical bodies; ecclesiastical freedom theory


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