The earliest contact between Ghana and Christian Missionaries was the late 15th century when Roman Catholic missionaries accompanied the earliest Portuguese traders to the Gold Coast.
A succession of missionary societies from Western Europe subsequently lived and worked to impact life in the nation they christened the Gold Coast because of the abundance of the precious mineral that was discovered. The impact of the combined missionary effort was to result in the population of Ghana, which, by the 20th century, was largely Christian.
The extent to which the population was truly Christianized has, however, come under some scrutiny since the discovery, by the Ghana Evangelism Committee, that nominalism is the greatest problem of Christianity in Ghana.
The western worldview, which informed the classification of African Traditional Religion, by the missionaries, as heathen, pagan, primitive, unscientific and the superstitious beliefs of uncultured people, is largely blamable.
In the early days of the introduction of Christianity to the Gold Coast, to convert to the Christian faith meant a complete denigration of one’s past to accept a God who was largely alien to the culture of the African past. The result was that many natives who were attracted to Christianity became Christians only in the mind but not in the heart.
Apostle Newman Peter Anim (father of Ghanaian Pentecostalism), formally known as Kwaku Anim Mensah (also known as Kwaku Manasseh), was born on 04 February 1890 to Mr Simon Appiagyei and Madam Annah Lartebea of Boso in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He was the third of six children.
Newman had his lower primary education at the Basel Mission School at Boso in the Eastern region of Ghana from standards 1–3. He then continued his upper primary education at Anum Basel Mission from standard 4 to standard 7, finishing in 1908.
In 1911 he joined his brother at Amonokrom (Akuapem) and assisted him in his carpentry workshop. Later in the same year, he left for Pakro to work with the Basel Mission Factory as a weighing clerk. He left this job in 1912 because of ill health and later in 1914 became a bricklayer.
Newman finally left for Boso in 1916 and married Madam Dora Sakyibea the same year. Their marriage was blessed with four daughters, three of whom died in rapid succession during their infancy.
Madam Dora Sakyibea died in 1920 after a short illness, and the remaining daughter died not long afterwards. Newman then married Madam Esther Osimpo and out of that wedlock was born Moses Appea-Anim, his only son and surviving child.
Madam Esther Anim also died in 1967. Prior to Apostle Anim’s Pentecostal orientation, he was a Presbyterian but later resigned from the church because of the influence he had from “The Sword of the Spirit magazine”, which was in circulation in Ghana.
He was the first person in Ghana to speak in “tongues” at Asamankese in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He became Christian convert by reading a magazine called “The Sword of the Spirit” given to him by a friend from Philadelphia.
Reading that magazine led him into receiving healing from a chronic stomach disorder and guinea worm infestation miraculously through prayer. He therefore embraced the teachings of divine healing, having tested their efficacy by obtaining healing himself, he sought to inculcate this in a prayer group he formed in Asamankese. This group eventually, would become the pioneers of Ghana Classical Pentecostalism.
An event which seems to have increased the faith of Anim and also added more people to his group, took place in May 1923 during a revival meeting. During the meeting, it was reported that several people in Asamankese saw a “Pillar of Fire” on the top of the church building.
When they entered the building, thinking that it was fire outbreak, they saw Anim speaking in strange language. The glory of God in the form of a “Pillar of Fire” was on the top of the building. And that began the speaking of tongues in Ghana by Christians.
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