Church Affiliation Corruption Attitudes Zambian Pentecostal Congregation Sociology Essay Example
Church Affiliation Corruption Attitudes Zambian Pentecostal Congregation Sociology Essay Example

Church Affiliation Corruption Attitudes Zambian Pentecostal Congregation Sociology Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 14 (3816 words)
  • Published: July 20, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
View Entire Sample
Text preview

Corruption, ranked second only to HIV/AIDS, is the most notorious epidemic that has impeded progress and undermined the post-independence accomplishments of various African countries. It has devastated the socio-economic framework of numerous nations, leading to poverty for millions.

While many African countries have acknowledged HIV/AIDS as their top concern, only a few have given equal importance to corruption. Zambia stands out as one of the sub-Saharan countries that has officially prioritized anti-corruption efforts. This issue holds great significance because corruption has forced numerous Zambians into poverty. Upon assuming presidency in 2001, Levy Mwanawasa wasted no time in implementing a "Zero Tolerance Against Corruption" policy and establishing an Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals. These actions effectively conveyed accountability and efficient governance during Mwanawasa's administration.
Interestingly, Mwanawasa's predecessor, Frederick Chiluba, declared Zambia a "Christian State" in October 1996—


a declaration that Mwanawasa later reaffirmed. This proclamation provided Pentecostalists with a moral basis for engaging in politics and becoming a prominent social force. [ 2 ]

Despite Chiluba's background as a Pentecostalist, corruption and mismanagement still occurred, revealing a deception. It is unclear whether Chiluba only utilized the support of Pentecostalists for personal gain or if Pentecostalists themselves did not question governance issues.

Research Problem:

This research aims to address the aforementioned situation - the strength and visibility of congregational ethos in a corrupt environment. Currently, Pentecostalism holds significant influence as a social movement in Zambia, impacting millions of citizens. Within this movement, Pentecostal spirituality plays a vital role. The study of holistic movements guided by the Spirit has emerged as an area of interest within congregational studies.

The immediate community is the focus of centrifugal folds and is referred t

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

as holistic ministry. In Zambia, the association of hermeneutic/holistic folds (specifically Pentecostal & magnetic folds) with corrupt patterns and public functionaries has been heavily scrutinized. Given this context, the research aims to understand how a Pentecostal fold can serve as a beacon of light in a corrupt community. The proposed research objectives and responsibilities involve examining one specific Pentecostal fold to gain insights into how its culture and contextual divinity contribute to the fight against corruption.

This text focuses on the relationship between trust, engagement, and membership in church communities, as well as the impact on societal capital (SC) and corruption. The research aims to explore how the culture within a congregation influences its members' attitudes towards corrupt behavior. It will examine the processes involved in creating and maintaining a spiritual environment that either supports or rejects corruption within the congregation and society as a whole. The study also aims to understand how the congregation can effectively address social challenges while integrating their faith. Ultimately, the research seeks to determine whether the fight against corruption within the congregation aligns with its moral and ethical traditions.

This is a country that has been overlooked in theological research, but one that definitely requires investigation, given the impact of corruption on the economy and lives of the people in Zambia. I will focus on congregational culture because, as noted by Hendriks (2004), understanding a church's personality and culture, how it handles change and transition, and how it addresses difficult theological and pastoral issues can be achieved through an examination of congregational culture and identity. While many studies emphasize the social networks and material resources provided by churches, or the preaching

styles of individual clergy members, this is especially true for studies of black churches (Pattillo-McCoy 1998). However, these aspects alone cannot explain how a church manages the perceived conflict between its teachings and the practical challenges of moral integrity. Therefore, the cultural framework of the church must also be taken into consideration.

Analyzing the cultural theoretical account of a fold that is confronting the quandary of how to curate to people living in a corrupt environment enables us to see the relationship between the fold's contextual divinity and the problem of corruption. In my research, I shall utilize the Maranatha Pentecostal Assemblies Of God (Maranatha PAOG afterward) in Kitwe, Zambia, as a case study to understand how this fold's culture and contextual divinity helps it to deal with the problem of corruption, and how it bridges the divide between the lives of fold members and the larger social and political worlds. With reference to Maranatha PAOG, the purpose will be to: Investigate how Maranatha PAOG in a local church setting engages with internal and external corruption, through an analysis of their practices, prophesying, and beliefs. Explore Maranatha PAOG's response to social and political questions and patterns of corruption within a social capital model; Reflect on the critical contribution Maranatha PAOG can make to Zambia's battle against corruption. Enhancing the knowledge on folds as investors in social capital.


The aim of this research is to investigate the correlation between (SC) and corruption within a Pentecostal denomination, specifically focusing on the complexities and dynamics involved. Instead of solely analyzing members' perceptions of corruption, this study intends to explore how the denomination's culture and contextual theology shape their

attitudes towards corruption. Consequently, the following research question emerges: How does a Pentecostal denomination's culture and contextual theology influence its approach in combating corruption within the framework of social capital?
Within the context of Maranatha PAOG denomination, four overarching questions will be addressed:
1) How do Maranatha PAOG members perceive and respond to corruption both internally and externally?
2) What is the extent of corruption within Maranatha PAOG?
3) To what degree does Maranatha PAOG demonstrate transparency and accountability regarding financial resources?
4) What are the implications for members' attitudes and actions regarding corruption inside and outside their denomination?
Additionally, how do individuals external to Maranatha PAOG view practices related to corruption within this specific religious group? Question one aims to examine individual behavior concerning corruption while considering its direct impact on impoverished individuals.Razafindrakoto and Roubaud (2007) emphasize the importance of recognizing the impact of corruption on both impoverished individuals and other sectors of society. The text stresses that those who are living in poverty face a greater vulnerability to corruption when interacting with government and public services. Additionally, this group is more susceptible to feeling disheartened and being easily swayed by corrupt practices. The subsequent inquiry delves into the potential existence of corruption within the system.

Some folds have a group of resources from their members. Some members live in affluence, leading to despair within the folds due to the lack of financial accountability and transparency. Given the prevalence of corruption in public institutions in Zambia, it is crucial to investigate this phenomenon. Question three expands on inquiry two by exploring how financial accountability affects members' attitudes towards corruption. Specifically, this inquiry examines how the absence of financial accountability within

the fold influences members' perception of corruption. In essence, it focuses on gaining an insider perspective regarding the fold's level of corruption and accountability.

Question four seeks to gain insight into the perspectives of individuals who are not members of the fold in terms of its accountability and level of corruption. These non-members do not regularly participate in the fold's services and activities, and their loyalty and commitment lie outside the fold.



James Scott defines corruption in three ways: through legal norms, public opinion, and public interest. The public interest approach identifies improper behavior by political or administrative officials that goes against the interests of the public (Sandholtz ; Koetzle, 2000). In the public opinion approach, public officials prioritize specific groups in exchange for personal rewards, disregarding the general interest (Sandholtz ; Koetzle, 2000).

Heidenheimer introduced new distinctions in the definitions of corruptness, categorizing them as "public-office-centred", "market centred", and "public-interest centred" (Heidenheimer, 1989: 11; also Heidenheimer & Johnston, 2002: 2-14). Public-office-centred definitions focus on the violation of rules by government officials and have a legalistic approach. Corruptness is considered as conduct that deviates from regular duties or breaks rules (Kupendah, 1995). Market-centred definitions of corruptness are primarily based on principle-agent models.

Corruption occurs when a principal is unable to fully control the actions of an agent (Goldsmith, 1999: 866). It is a rational behavior by a public official to maximize their profit. Definitions of corruption that focus on the public interest aim to address the shortcomings of definitions that only focus on public office, and view corruption as conflicting with the common good. In this context, both corruption and the public interest are defined by society.

Critics argue that according to these public-centered definitions, illegal actions can be justified if they promote the common good (Anderson, 2002: 28). In my research, I will examine how members of Maranatha PAOG perceive corruption both within and outside their organization.

A definition that only focuses on the political, office, or legal aspect of corruption would not help us understand why individuals engage in corrupt transactions. Referring to the World Bank's definition of corruption, Marquette and Singh expressed their disappointment, stating: "There is no consideration of the moral complexity surrounding decisions to act corruptly or not; thus, morality has been removed from much of the current debate on corruption, just as it has been removed from this definition" (Marquette & Singh, 2006: 7). Wright and Simpkins also noted that "corruption is primarily a moral problem..." (Wright & Simpkins, 1963, in Marquette & Singh, 2006: 7-8). Williams agrees, saying "Before it became a subject of modern social science, corruption was primarily used as a term of moral condemnation..."

(Williams 1999, in Marquette; A; Singh, 2006: 7-8). In this research, corruption will be defined as any activity motivated by private involvement, which violates the binding regulations of distribution. This includes both the letter of the law and norms recognized as binding by society or the system's official norms (Tarkowski, 1989, in Onukwufor, 2006: 12). Corrupt activities are also those activities seen as illegitimate and contradictory to the logic and values of the system.

Social Capital

The concept of social capital is relatively new and has been researched by scholars from different backgrounds. As a result, there are various definitions that reflect the researcher's subject and background.

The text examines three methods of

studying social capital: the egoistic or bridging (external) approach, the sociocentric (internal) approach, and the advantages resulting from participating in interpersonal relationships. The egoistic approach perceives social capital as a means for personal gain through involvement in an external network. Conversely, the sociocentric approach concentrates on the broader community. Social capital is frequently defined as the quality of relationships among members of a community, characterized by mutual trust, collective actions, and adherence to shared norms. Research has indicated that involvement in social and religious organizations can aid in decreasing corruption.

In addition, societal capital can lead to a higher level of perceived corruption when it discourages trust and cooperation with foreigners, and also puts pressure on group members to engage in corrupt activities. My understanding of societal capital is based on Nan Lin's definition, which describes it as "investing in social relationships with expected returns in the market place... In this approach, capital is seen as a social asset due to actors' connections and access to resources in the network or groups they belong to" (Lin, 2001: 18).

Contextual Theology

In his analysis of contextual theology and the 'Emerging Church', Roger Oakland suggests that in order for the church to thrive, "the Bible has to be looked at through completely different lenses, and Christianity needs to be open to a new type of faith" (Oakland, 2010, [online]). Some leaders within congregations believe that this necessitates a change in methods to avoid becoming obsolete prematurely (Oakland, 2010, [online]). Describing the changes happening in his church, Doug Pagitt wrote: At Solomon's Porch, discussions are not primarily focused on extracting truth from the Bible to apply to people's lives.

The discourse is

a form of poetry that connects people's experiences and allows them to have a deeper connection in their lives. It is not a lesson that dictates beliefs, but rather a narrative that welcomes hopes, thoughts, and engagement (Pagitt 2005 in Oakland, 2010, [online]). Pagitt describes this change as contextual divinity, where the Bible is not used as a source of divinity or a measure of truth, but rather the Christian's life shapes the interpretation of the Bible (Oakland, 2010 [online]). According to Scott Moreau, the definition of contextualization depends on whether one prioritizes the Bible or the cultural setting. Those who prioritize the Bible define contextualization as translating biblical meanings into contemporary cultural contexts (Moreau 2005; in Van Rheenen 2006: 3).

In order to effectively communicate and be understood by people, various elements such as images, metaphors, rites, and constructs are utilized in a way that has an impact. This means that the Bible must be approached and presented in ways that are relevant to the specific cultural context. According to Don Carson, contextualization involves searching for God's message within a culture, using the Bible as a guide. In this understanding of contextualization, the context holds influence and control, with praxis serving as a determining factor in interpreting the meaning of the Bible.

The purpose of this enterprise is to recognize the work that God is already doing in society and not just to share the Gospel message in the cultural context. According to David Hesselgrave and Ed Rommen, contextualization is the effort to communicate the message of God's work, Word, and will in a way that is faithful to God's revelation as found in Scripture and

meaningful to people in their own cultural and experiential contexts (Hesselgrave & Rommen 1989; in Van Rheenen 2006: 5-6). Hesselgrave and Rommen explain that contextualization involves three aspects: (1) communication (God's communication of timeless truth in human language and cultural categories); (2) interpretation (the reader or listener's understanding of the intended meaning); and (3) application (how the translator applies the logical implications of their understanding of the biblical text, either fully accepting it, accepting some parts and rejecting others, or adding their own meanings to it) (Hesselgrave & Rommen 1989; in Van Rheenen 2006: 6). Highlighting the significance of contextualization, Dean Flemming states that every church in every particular place and time must learn to do theology in a way that makes sense to its audience while challenging it at a profound level.The churches in the West have been engaging in promising conversations about contextualization, whether these conversations are recognized or not. These churches are finding innovative ways to embody the Gospel for a new postmodern society (Femming 2005 in Oakland, 2010 [online]).

Congregational Studies

Congregational research has been steadily growing since the 70s and is now a key aspect of spiritual and theological studies. In recent years, numerous studies have shown that churches have a significant impact on individual attitudes and social values. However, the specific role of churches in society depends on the social and political context. Each church is unique, and this uniqueness requires a careful and thorough examination of its internal and external dynamics. Brynolf Lyon defines congregational studies as "the study of the life of the local church" (Lyon 2000:257).

According to the Lyon congregational survey, it enables one to explore the functioning

and worship practices of a church. This survey goes beyond simply gathering and analyzing information about the church's activities (Carroll et. Al. 1986: 8).

In fact, congregational survey interruptions disrupt the regular or natural collection of information (Carroll et. Al. 1986: 8). These surveys focus on the external and internal turning points in the life of the congregation.

These turning points encompass various factors such as the need for new ministries, new pastoral challenges, the outcomes of pastoral programs, and more (Carroll et. Al. 1986: 8). According to Carroll et. al., congregational surveys serve as a disciplined and critical assessment of the congregation's life and ministry.

According to Nancy Ammermann (1998) and Ammerman et. Al., folds can be characterized by their ecology, civilization, resource, and procedure (Al. 1986: 8).

In my research, I will be using these "frames" or "lenses" to study the Maranatha PAOG fold.

Research Sampling:

The research will be an instance survey on the Maranatha PAOG fold in Kitwe, Zambia. I have chosen Maranatha PAOG as the individual instance survey for sociological reasons. Maranatha PAOG is located in Kitwe, not far from Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation where I am teaching. Furthermore, Maranatha PAOG is one of the largest Pentecostal folds on the Copperbelt.

The Copperbelt Province is a mineral-rich region in northern Zambia known for its abundant copper resources. Many of the towns in the area are associated with copper mines, and Kitwe is the second largest city on the Copperbelt after Ndola. According to Robert Yin, a case study is an empirical investigation that examines a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context using multiple sources of evidence (Yin 1989: 22-26). Case studies aim

to understand how and why things occur, with a specific focus on exploring the contextual realities (Anderson 1993: 152-160). Anderson explains that a case study does not examine the entire organization but rather focuses on a particular issue, characteristic, or unit of analysis (Anderson 1993: 152-160).

Case studies are a valuable tool for in-depth investigation of specific phenomena. They analyze real-life events or conditions within a larger context, taking into account their relationship with other societal factors (Patton 1987: 18-20). Case studies offer several advantages. Firstly, they provide researchers with a comprehensive overview of a particular phenomenon or series of events... and present a holistic picture by utilizing multiple sources of evidence (Noor 2005: 1603). Secondly, data analysis is typically conducted within the same context in which the activity occurs (Zainal 2007: 4). Lastly, case studies offer an opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of an individual's experiences.

Fourthly, case study is also useful when the researcher has little or no opportunity to control or manipulate the events. Furthermore, as Jonathan Pratt asserts, "case studies are very effective in explaining the reasons for a problem, the background of a situation, what happened and why" (Pratt 2007: 23). Case study is relevant to my research as it will assist me in investigating how a specific congregational culture and contextual divinity relate to the issue of corruption. My objective is to ask the questions that lead to an understanding of the nature and complexity of the processes occurring within the fold.


Guba and Lincoln argue that prior to considering the question of research method, one must consider the "basic belief system or worldview that guides the researcher" (Guba

& Lincoln 1994: 105).

This inquiry is significant because different methods have varying epistemic positions. According to Pratt, these "basic beliefs" are essentially statements of faith... They are starting points that guide the use of any methodological tool (Pratt 2007:16). The assumptions that most explicitly demonstrate the fundamental beliefs that underlie and support the research are: ontological, epistemic, axiological, methodological, and rhetorical.

Ontological: What is the signifier or nature of the world and what can be known about it?

Epistemological: What is the relationship between the apprehender or manque apprehender and what can be known?

Methodological: How can the enquirer (would-be-knower) go about finding out whatever they believe can be known? (Guba ; Lincoln 1994: 108).

Axiology. "What is inherently valuable about this knowledge?" (Herron & Reason 1997: 7). My main focus is on a group that can influence the quality of life for local community members. The most effective approach for understanding the dynamics of a congregation and empathizing with others is qualitative-ethnographic research, specifically the case study methodology. Ethnography involves a systematic examination of a specific group or phenomenon through extensive fieldwork. The fundamental question in anthropology is: What are the cultural characteristics of this group or cultural setting? As anthropology is the original discipline for ethnography, the concept of culture holds great significance.

In practical divinity, the act of 'swimming' in the theological and cultural waters of a community is seen as a way to understand the deeper aspects of their collective life (Moschella 2008: 6). Moschella describes ethnography as a pastoral practice that involves observing and listening in order to comprehend how people practice their religion (2008: 4). Instead of diminishing the mysteries of a

community, analyzing its underlying dynamics only reveals more insights. Another important component of ethnographic research is cultural interpretation, which involves describing the researcher's observations within the context of a particular social group's worldview (Fetterman 1989: 28).

The gathering of information in natural settings is essential for understanding cultural phenomena through cultural reading. Fieldwork, a method used in ethnography, involves documenting the beliefs and behaviors of individuals from their own perspective. This approach is driven by the belief that these cultural aspects cannot be separated from their respective contexts. Consequently, descriptive anthropology aims to interpret culture from both an insider's (emic) and an outsider's (etic) perspective.

The ethnographer's task is not only to incorporate insiders' meanings, but to translate these meanings into concepts that can be comprehended by individuals outside the society. According to James Spradley, ethnographic research aids in understanding "how other people perceive their experience" (Spradley 1979: four). To achieve this objective, Spradley emphasizes that ethnographic entails learning from people rather than studying them (Spradley 1979: 3). Observation serves as the primary tool in ethnographic research.

Ethnographic observation goes beyond just observing or looking at a phenomenon. It involves the researcher actively seeking to understand and interact with the phenomenon in order to grasp the insider's experience. This approach is highly valuable for comprehending congregational life, as it allows the researcher to directly observe and participate in unspoken interactions, symbolic rituals, and power dynamics. Additionally, ethnographic observation provides a scientific interpretation of the outcomes and significance of congregational life.

Another ethnographic tool is the interview. According to Moschella (2008: 66), qualitative interviewing is a significant method in ethnographic research. Unlike conversations, interviews are formal and have a purpose.

They produce results that hold societal value (Swinton & Mowat 2006: 64).

According to Thumma (1998:206), there are different types of interviews: structured interviews, unstructured interviews, schedule-structured interviews, and semi-structured interviews. A structured interview involves pre-planned questions asked in a consistent manner. On the other hand, an unstructured interview consists of general questions that allow flexibility in the respondent's answers. A schedule-structured interview is like a verbal questionnaire with a predetermined set of questions and a choice of fixed responses (Thumma 1998:206).

I will rely on participant observation to gather information, but I will also collect information through semi-structured and non-scheduled interviews that allow respondents some freedom. Additionally, I will analyze the content of discourses and organizational documents.

RESEARCH Rationale:

Pentecostal and Charismatic movements are a significant part of the socio-cultural lives of the Zambian people. These movements revolve around claims of supernatural involvement in the country's affairs. Media coverage of Pentecostal and Charismatic activities dominates both print and electronic media platforms. However, there is a lack of research examining the influence of these movements on public life in Zambia, particularly in terms of the political and civic perspectives of individuals involved. I believe that Pentecostal churches have a great potential to impact public morality among their members and within Zambia as a whole.

This research has been motivated by the pursuit of discovering how faith in the SC procedure can further answerability and good administration.

Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds