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A theological reflection on ministerial formation of clergy members of the Methodist church in Zimbabwe in response to traditional Wesleyan teachings on the order of salvation [Ordo Salutis] within a religious environment influenced by prosperity gospel since 2000.

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This study explores and investigates how MCZ clergy experience ministerial formation related to Wesleyan teachings on health and wealth themes, interacting with the order of salvation (Ordo Salutis), in the context of prosperity gospel. The study is inspired by an academic, contextual and pastoral concern with ministerial formation of MCZ. Review of scholarly work confirms that attention has not previously been given to the ecclesial context of the MCZ in relation to the topic of this study. The attitude towards religio-cultural practices that are different from those bequeathed to the church by its Euro-centric missionary heritage constitute part of the motivation that triggered this study, as the researcher sought to discover the root cause of resolutions made by the MCZ at Conferences. It is to these research gaps that this study gives its attention. The research problem of this study emerges out of theological reflections that seem to call into question the religio-cultural ways in which the MCZ clergy are formed. Specifically, how do they appropriate Wesleyan teachings on health and wealth motifs in the doctrine of salvation and does it adequately equip them to address the challenges and opportunities posed by prosperity gospel that has taken root and spread within the Zimbabwean society since 2000. This call for an investigation into the question: how has the ministerial formation strategy within MCZ been able to equip the clergy for effective engagement with the challenges posed by the prosperity phenomenon within Zimbabwe? The data for the study was collected using empirical and non-empirical research methods. In addition to written sources, individual interviews with selected MCZ clergy and lay leaders were conducted and observations made. In examining the responses to the research question, the study concludes that teaching on health and wealth as reflected in Wesley‘s Ordo Salutis, at the theological colleges, is inadequate to prepare MCZ clergy to respond to influences of the prosperity gospel. The study also concludes that the health and wealth responses initiated by John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism were neglected in ministerial formation, as a resource that could empower its clergy to respond to challenges and opportunities posed by the prosperity gospel. The following are key terms related to this study: ministerial formation, Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, order of salvation (Ordo Salutis) and the prosperity gospel.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.