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AbstractReligious syncretism is usually seen as the intermingling of two religious systems to the extent that the uniqueness of a specific religion is compromised. It is thus understood as missiologically negative. This article attemps to view this from another � and more positive � angle. Here we show how the process of inculturation, the �incarnation� of the gospel within a culture is not much different from the process we term �positive syncretism�. It is also possible that the process could veer off in a negative direction. This process therefore remains a formidable challenge to mission in the sense that while there are always new cultural worlds to be penetrated by the gospel, the process cannot be controlled by any �outsiders�. This theory is applied and tested by looking at the phenomenon of African Independent Churches, and a simple two-dimensional model is developed as illustration of a typology.