By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service
The president of the All Africa Council of Churches, a fellowship of mainline Protestant, Orthodox and indigenous Christians, said Pentecostalism is a "disease" spreading across Africa, according to an AACC news release.
Speaking at the Ecumenical Platform of the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, the Rev. Nyansako-ni-Nku seemed to direct his remarks at a type of Pentecostal prosperity preacher who "gets richer and the congregation gets poorer."
The AACC news release also said that Nyansako, who is moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, exhorted "mainline churches (to) wake up to the challenge and provide direction; otherwise many people will follow these Pentecostal churches."
Pentecostalism has become an increasingly prominent force in African life, according to a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The movement's growth has been dramatic since decolonization in the 1950s and 1960s, according to Pew, rising from 5 percent of the population in 1970 to 12 percent in 2005.
Pentecostals play a large role in politics, particularly in Kenya and Nigeria, and control numerous radio and television stations, according to Pew.
Nyansako said mainline pastors at the pulpit are "becoming bashful and instead of naming the demon which harasses people by name, they are willing to socialize with the mighty and the powerful to the detriment of the people who have placed their trust in them."
The AACC is a fellowship of 169 churches and Christian councils in 39 African nations.