The Evangelicalisation of Black Pentecostalism in the AFM of SA (1940 -1975): A Turning Point

Keywords: Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM), black Pentecostalism, Evangelicalism, missions, Zionism


The Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of South Africa, a Pentecostal denomination founded in 1908 by an American missionary, John G Lake, attracted a large following of blacks in South Africa from its inception. This denomination contributed a large body of Zionist churches to the African Independent Church movement. Among its black members before and during the 1940s, it was Zionist-like—only undergoing changes between 1943 and 1975 resulting in it becoming outright evangelical. This was a turning point in the history of the AFM and black Pentecostals specifically, as it brought this large body of followers culturally closer to the dominant evangelical expression of Pentecostalism in the denomination. This article looks into reasons behind the changes as well as how they were carried out. Primary sources, available at the AFM archives, and secondary sources such as theses, articles and books with a bearing on the topic have been consulted. The article contributes to the growing body of South African Pentecostal history.