Esther Acolatse – Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit

Esther Acolatse

Episode: When you read a passage in Scripture or hear about someone’s experience with the supernatural (be it angelic, demonic, etc), what is your instinct? Explain it using specific hermeneutical tools? How? Do you chalk it up to cultural difference? Do you dismiss it? Embrace it? In this episode, co-host Amy Hughes talks with Reverend Esther Acolatse Ph.D. about her book Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical Realism in Africa and the West. That there are few resources on exousiology (theology of the powers) in the Western academy and churches presents a problem because, as Acolatse points out, Scripture does. Jesus does. The Apostles do. The global South does. So, what are those “rulers,” “authorities,” “cosmic powers,” and “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” outlined in Ephesians 6? How do we read the Bible faithfully and interrogate our hermeneutical, theological, cultural, and ecclesial assumptions? Let’s begin to find out together.

Guest: Rev. Esther E. Acolatse, Ph. D, is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and World Christianity at Knox College, University of Toronto, Canada. She holds a BA (Hons. Double Major) Psychology and Religions from the University of Ghana, Legon, an MTS (Religion and Society) from Harvard University, and a Ph. D (Practical Theology) from Princeton Theological Seminary. A native Ghanaian, her teaching and research explore the intersection of psychology and Christian thought, and within that, the gendered body, methodological issues in the practice of theology of the Christian life, and the relevance of these themes in the global expression of Christianity especially African Christianity in dialogue with Western Christianity.

Her current research focuses on issues around ecclesial implications of care practices with migrant families and implications for rethinking missions in the global church. She is also interested in cultural anthropological dimensions of medicine, health, and healing, and their implications for suffering, death, dying, and care at the end of life. Apart from numerous articles and essays and two major monographs For Freedom or Bondage: A Critique of African Pastoral Practices (Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, MI), 2014 and Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical Realism in Africa and the West (Eerdmans), 2018. An ordained minister of the PC (USA), she formerly taught Pastoral Theology and World Christianity at Duke Divinity School.

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