Forest Gate Revd explores spiritual fight against ‘evil spirits’

Chigor Chike with his new book in the grounds of Emmanuel Church

Chigor Chike with his new book in the grounds of Emmanuel Church - Credit: Archant

The beliefs of the so-called “African Christians” and how they differ to those held by the traditional British Christian faithful are the subject of a new book.

The Holy Spirit in African Christianity, by Revd Dr Chigor Chike, of Forest Gate’s Emmanuel Church, explores how African Christianity’s understanding of the Holy Spirit sets it apart from traditional British society.

The book has been praised as a “major contribution” to theological discourse on the Holy Spirit by the Bishop of Chelmsford.

Revd Dr Chike said: “Africans are much more likely to see the Holy Spirit as someone who is fighting on their behalf, and more likely to cast the Holy Spirit as a fighter in a spiritual battle against evil forces and demonic spirits.

“Their beliefs about it are much stronger than British Christians. I think it’s because Africans traditionally see the world in spiritual terms, whereas Westerners see the world in more rational terms.

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“Many Africans need these spiritual explanations – so they draw on the Holy Spirit.”

A Nigerian immigrant to Britain, Revd Dr Chike moved to Newham in 2002 to work as an evangelist and was ordained vicar of Emmanuel Church in 2007, the same year his first book, African Christianity in Britain, was published.

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He believes the immigrant experience also sets Christians with African heritage apart.

“I studied five congregations in East London for the new book,” he said. “I found people living in a foreign land drawing on their Christian faith as a way of coping with the challenges it brings.”

The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, praised the book’s contribution.

“African Christians are helping the Church of England rediscover its theological roots and its evangelistic nerve,” he said. “Chigor Chike’s study of the Holy Spirit is a major contribution to this on-going and very creative discourse.”

The Holy Spirit in African Christianity is available from Amazon for £24.99.

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