Original Research

New religious movements and the problem of syncretism: A study of Anioma Healing Ministry, Nawgu, Nigeria

Emmanuel Anizoba
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 1 | a7487 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7487 | © 2022 Emmanuel Anizoba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 February 2022 | Published: 08 July 2022

About the author(s)

Emmanuel Anizoba, Department of Religion, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria; Department of Religion Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This work studied the Anioma Healing Ministry of the late prophet Eddy Okeke. The aim is to investigate the structure, demography, beliefs and practices of the ministry. The study adopts a qualitative phenomenological research design and historiographical method for data analysis. Personal interviews form a primary source of data collection, whilst the secondary sources include library and Internet resources. The study found that Okeke’s ministry was not organised or administratively structured like some of the well-established churches or ministries. Because the ministry was structured after African traditional religion, it also held similar beliefs. The study also found that most of the practices of Okeke’s healing ministry were reflected in its belief system, and adherents to the ministry included the rich and the poor, men and women. It was also discovered that overzealous and excessive belief in Okeke’s magical and miraculous powers promoted him more than his actual spiritual deeds. Many who became disloyal to him or who opposed his interfused religiocultural practices suffered open attacks from him. Although now dead, this ministry still flourishes and Okeke’s spiritual powers continue to be held in high esteem.

Contribution: Okeke’s ministry has given the world’s independent ministries a new socioreligious mentality and intellectual framework. This is, without a doubt, the only ministry constructed in the same way as African traditional religion (ATR) and Christianity. As a result of the foregoing, the HTS Teologiese Studies journal will consider this article worthy of publication in their prestigious journal because it contributes to a greater understanding of the world’s emerging religious groups.


Keywords

healing ministry; movement; structure; beliefs; practices

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