This collection has a focus on African Christianity; it includes the contributions published in: PHIRI, Isabel Apawo ... [et al.]. Anthology of African Christianity. Oxford: Regnum Books International, 2016. ISBN 978-1-911372-10-3. Copyright: World Council of Churches, available below under the heading "Anthology".

Recent Submissions

  • The Rebirth of African Orthodoxy Return to Foundations

    Oden, Thomas C.
    African orthodoxy today is the same faith that was confessed by Athanasius and Augustine seventeen centuries ago.
  • Morality Truly Christian, Truly African Foundational, Methodological, and Theological Considerations

    Odozor, Paulinus Ikechukwu.
    Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor clarifies the strained relationship between Christianity and African tradition and provides an example of what an African and Christian moral theological point of view could be.
  • Reshaping The Theology and Praxis of Inculturation through Interreligious Dialogue Between The Catholic Church and African Traditional Religion in Igboland, Nigeria

    Anyanwu, Cajetan (Duquesne Scholarship Collection, 2019-05-10)
    Prior to the advent of Christianity in Igboland, the people practiced Igbo Traditional Religion. They believed in a Supreme Being (Chukwu/Chineke) who has other smaller deities as messengers including Ala/Ani the most powerful deity on earth. They revered their ancestors, who, they believe, still relate to and communicate with the living. Thus, the concept of God as ultimate reality is a dynamic existential aspect of Igbo world-view. Categorically speaking, it was short-sighted for the European missionaries to claim that Igbo people had no knowledge of God or lacked religion before the introduction of Christianity in Igboland in the nineteenth century. The missionaries presented Christianity in Igboland as a superior religion, presuming that the concept of God had previously been absent from Igbo culture. This dissertation investigates the European missionary claim to have introduced God and religion into Africa, and into Igboland in particular, and to argue that the missionaries who came to Igboland to introduce a foreign religion failed to dialogue with the existing Igbo Traditional Religion and culture. Theologically, when the Christian faith interacts with culture so that the message of the gospel becomes incarnated in that culture, the result is inculturation. This process of inculturation has its foundations in the Incarnation of the Word of God as described in the Gospel of John. Hence, the bishops of Africa and Madagascar, during the Synod of 1974, wisely opted for the incarnation model as opposed to “adaptation,” which they termed outdated for evangelization. This dissertation argues that the praxis of inculturation in the Church in Igboland today is yet to be realized, as Igbo cultural values began to fade away when Christianity entered the country. The Church in Igboland wears a foreign look and has yet to develop its own liturgical rite. Existentially, liturgical celebration in the Church in Igboland today retains most of the European ways of worship brought by the expatriate missionaries. The cultural and religious practices in Igboland before the advent of Christianity were negatively labelled as pagan, diabolic, superstitious, and satanic by the missionaries. Thus, interreligious dialogue between the incoming Christian religion and Igbo Traditional Religion was neglected. However, the dynamics of a given faith meeting a new culture or another religion require interreligious dialogue between the two. The result of dialogue is mutual understanding, which is strengthened through respect for each religion and culture. With a thorough examination of several documents from Vatican II and from Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, this dissertation maintains that the Church at Vatican II opened up to inclusiveness more than ever before. This openness of Vatican II reflects the fact that religious liberty and pluralism are existential facts, though salvation in Christ is for all peoples. Igbo Traditional Religion is a religion like others and should be recognized as such. Several practical proposals are presented that could help the process of inculturation in Igboland: a) interreligious dialogue must be employed between the Church and Igbo Traditional Religion; b) the sacred objects and cultural values of Igbo origin could be used to facilitate an Igbo Church; c) the Church in Igboland could understand the values Igbo people attach to their culture and make use of them for proper inculturation; d) the Igbo traditional pattern of prayer be considered for possible inculturation into the Church in Igboland to suit the people’s cultural context; e) that the African mode of worship, which is dynamic and expressive with bodily movements that express joy, be incorporated in developing a distinctively Igbo liturgy. Further research is recommended to ensure a continuous process of learning. Hence, this reshaping exercise should be evaluated periodically to ensure that full inculturation of the gospel message into the Church in Igboland becomes a reality.
  • Factors that Influence the Believers in Monze Central Seventh-day Adventist Church of South Zambia Conference to Consult Diviners

    Chiinya, Ian (Digital Commons @ Andrews University, 2022-01-01)
    Problem Studies have shown that even after becoming Christians, African Christians maintain their traditional religious practices. Non-Christian studies in Zambia reveal that both Christian and non-Christian Zambians still combine biomedicine with sacred African traditional medicine. The goal of the current study is to identify the variables that lead Monze Central Church Seventh-day Adventist members to consult diviners. Method Sections one and two of a questionnaire were created to collect information on the variables that affect going to a diviner. To assess the role and self-efficacy of local church elders in assisting members who have been impacted by demonic spiritual forces, a different questionnaire was designed exclusively for them. The questionnaires were completed by 73 church members and 10 elders, respectively. Findings The results showed that demographic factors such as age, education, the length of church membership, the amount of time spent in Bible class prior to baptism had no effect on influencing respondents to consult diviners or not. Visits to a diviner were influenced by issues such as illness, infertility, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job or business, and attacks from bad spirits, with the latter having a greater impact than the others. Conclusions The Monze Central Seventh-day Adventist Church takes the instruction given prior to baptism seriously. All of the congregation's members get continuous Bible teaching through the Sabbath School system. However, this study has shown that some members still use diviners, despite the importance placed on Bible learning. According to this study, Africans require a form of Christianity that may assist them in resolving their day-to-day existential issues.
  • The Contemporary Missio Dei Paradigm and its Expression in the Global South

    Richard Otiso (South African Theological Seminary, 2022-10-01)
    For a long time, the Global South has been unprepared for the ecclesiastical responsibility of mission work that has been naturally part of Christianity in the Global North. This could be so because, traditionally, Christianity has been introduced in the Global South through mission work. This article examines the contemporary Missio Dei paradigm and its expression in the Global South. It begins by explaining the development of the concept of Missio Dei and proceeds to elaborate its expression and reception in the Global South. It is generally considered that to understand the paradigm of Missio Dei in the Global South, it has to be viewed through ecclesiological structures native to the Global South. Concurrently, I seek to answer this question: what is the theological implication of Covid-19 for the African Church, and which strategies are being employed to mitigate the condition within the Global South? This paper undertakes a qualitative methodology in which a systematic literature review is conducted from the available scholarly sources that leads to both theological and missiological inferences. Additionally, an extensive analysis of the concept of Missio Dei will be conducted as it relates to the Global South, demonstrating that the Missio Dei paradigm has shifted very significantly in the Global South, transforming the region from traditionally receivers of mission work to active participants in mission work. The Global South is now ready for both home and diaspora mission work. Findings and recommendations from this paper will be beneficial for current and future scholars in both theological and missiological fields.
  • Sacramental Theology of Elochukwu Uzukwu in Light of Vatican II and Its Application in African Contexts

    Osigwe, Emmanuel (Duquesne Scholarship Collection, 2017-01-01)
    Recognition of the indispensable intersection of faith and culture has become a major trend in the contemporary theology. This renewed approach emphasizes various anthropologies and cultures as locations of divine activity. Specifically, the Second Vatican Council’s understanding of sacraments as pneumatological, and ecclesiological, beyond the dominant Christological motif, and its call for profound adaptation gives a wide latitude for rethinking the sacraments. This provision overcomes the danger of enforcing a monocultural model of sacramental celebration, which can submerge local voices and separate sacramentality from symbols and values that resonate differently with various peoples and cultures. This dissertation shows how Elochukwu Uzukwu utilizes the provisions of Vatican II, in conjunction with resources from African traditional wisdom and culture, to argue for the emergence of truly local church and true border-crossing of sacramental and liturgical celebrations. To think of sacraments from this perspective highlights the African view of the human body, particularly its penchant for expressive worship and community – oriented celebrations, is a reality that seeks to bridge the disconnect between sacraments and ethics, thereby overcoming mere ritualism and making the sacraments more relevant. This approach finds justification in the long history of appropriating anthropological and sociological models to give expression to the reality of the Christian experience. The thesis is that rethinking the sacraments is a practical mission of the church in Africa, with implications in every aspect of Christian life and practice. The centrality and implications of the sacraments, especially in the Roman Catholic tradition, makes this approach a delicate but necessary theological investigation.
  • Exploring the intersectionality of culture, sacrificial offering, and exploitative prosperity gospel rhetoric in Africa

    Udechukwu, Judith I. (Duquesne Scholarship Collection, 2021-01-01)
    Research has well documented the evidence of the growth of prosperity gospel churches across the globe, but there is a dearth of studies that investigate the interface between culture and exploitative rhetoric among African prosperity gospel ministers. Examining the concept of making sacrificial offerings in the traditional African context, I theorize that culture has significant influence on the exploitative power of prosperity gospel ministers by the following considerations: the African tradition of consulting oracles for solution to spiritual and physical problems, the cultural practice of making sacrificial offerings to the gods in exchange for favor, and the poor socio-economic condition of many prosperity gospel adherents in Africa. This study highlights the use of the rhetoric of spiritual engagement and liberation for audience manipulation, examines the idea of the pure gift, proposes some ethical questions that should govern the prosperity movement, and underscores the need for scholarly engagement.
  • A Reflection on African Christian Theology

    Konadu Adam; Collins Boafo (Noyam Publishers, 2022-11-01)
    The African heritage and identity have been intensely religious. Africans carry along their religio-cultural background and tradition wherever they go and in whatever they find themselves doing. Africans embraced Christian theology while having already imbibed and appreciated African theology and identity. Being religious beings, African Christians have sought to appreciate Christian theology through the lens of African theology and heritage. This paper establishes that African Christian theology should go beyond championing African heritage and identity. It should rather be proactive and go a step further to address the challenges and ills of human society in the African setting. This will make it worthy as a source of hope for hopeless Africans in their religious existence. Using secondary data resources from the internet, and published and unpublished literature in the form of books and journal articles, this work discusses African Christian theology and the way forward. It is the ardent hope of the authors that African Christians and theologians develop the need to see theology beyond the lens of the African identity and rather contemplate how theology can be therapeutic to the ills and challenges of the African society.
  • African Theology for the African Church: The Need for an Evangelical Approach

    Greg Kame (South African Theological Seminary, 2022-10-01)
    As the African Church increasingly disconnects from Western theological influences to take responsibility for developing her own theology, clear questions arise for evangelical theologians in Africa: How might evangelical Africans do theology in a theological setting that is increasingly plagued by theological liberalism and religious syncretism? What is the most Bible-centered and God-honoring way of doing theology in Africa? This article responds to such questions by arguing for an evangelical approach to doing theology in Africa. To this end, four main issues are addressed. First, I state the meaning of African theology as explained by some African theologians. Second, I summarize the history of Christian theology in Africa, leading to the arguments put forward by some notable African theologians in defense of an African theology. Third, I show how dangerous it is to approach African theology from a liberal or syncretic perspective. Finally, I make a case for an evangelical approach to doing theology in Africa by exploring the origin of African evangelical theology, and propose a good starting point for African scholars to consider towards developing a robust African evangelical theology for the African Church.
  • S. B. J. Oschoffa (1909–85): The Miracle of a Shared Life

    Akibu, Samuel Olamiji (Digital Showcase, 2022-11-30)
    In the twentieth century, God raised many faith giants among Africans for Africans and the whole world. These faith heroes contributed immensely to the decolonization, indigenization, and expansion of Christianity in Africa and the Global South. Among these highly spiritually invested Africans was a Beninese-Nigerian carpenter, Samuel Biléou Joseph Oschoffa (1909–1985). He was educated in the Methodist tradition before the Lord called him to lead one of the most significant African prophetic-charismatic indigenous movements, the Celestial Church of Christ. This article explores his life, ministerial legacies, and theology.
  • A Critical Analysis of Reinhard Bonnke’s Charismatic Leadership Paradigm

    Obara, Charles Morara (Digital Showcase, 2022-11-30)
    The study of leadership has evolved over the years, focusing on different approaches. In the early nineteenth century, leadership study focused on the traits, skills, and behavioral and situational approaches of leaders. In recent years the focus has emphasized servant leadership, authenticity, and charisma. This article focuses on the charismatic leadership theory propounded by Max Weber. This article aims at analyzing the charismatic leadership style of evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. The article starts with a definition of leadership followed by an overview of charismatic leadership and then delves into the life of Bonnke with a biographical sketch of his life. The article brings to light Bonnke’s influence, contributions to the Spirit-empowered Movement, and leadership style. It concludes with a summative assessment of this leadership paradigm.
  • Profile of a Spirit-Empowered Leader: Opoku Onyinah, the “African Paul”

    Osei-Nimoh, David (Digital Showcase, 2022-11-30)
    Spirit-empowered leadership takes its shape from both the Old and New Testament Scriptures. God raised up, transformed with the Holy Spirit, and set aside some men and women to impact their generations and influence the trajectory of the church. Most operated within the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and teacher/scholar paradigms to execute God’s plan for their lives. In contemporary times, however, questions arise as to whether other individuals qualify as effective modern-day Spirit-empowered leaders who operate within the boundaries of these paradigms through the Holy Spirit’s enablement. Consequently, this research sought to examine the spiritual and theological infrastructure behind the life and ministry of Ghanaian and African Pentecostal theologian and Christian leader Opoku Onyinah and ascertain what defines and qualifies him as an effective Spirit-empowered leader. The study concludes that Onyinah’s mentoring style of leadership, apostolic and teacher/scholar paradigms, socialized charismatic orientation, and tremendous influence at national, continental, and global levels position him as an effective modern-day Spirit-empowered leader.
  • More than a church: health benefits of devotion to Shembe teachings and lifestyle the case of Shembe congregation in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

    Mtapuri, Oliver.; Ngcobo, Phiwayinkosi Wilson. (2022-11-22)
    Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.
  • Pragmatism in the lenses of African Christianity: An emic approach to lived religions

    Joel Mokhoathi (Africajournals, 2022-11-01)
    African Christianity, as the synthesis of Christianity and African Traditional Religion, is often perceived as an ideal form of belief and practice that informs religious worship and ethics for nominal Christians. However, this form of expression is mostly dismissed by conservative
 Christians and African rigorist religionists as being syncretistic, and thereby seeing it as the ‘pollution’ of both religions, Christianity and African Traditional Religion. Even more criticism is given to those who regard themselves as Christians and African religionists – as they are assumed to have dual identities. In this paper, I explore the validity of African Christianity, as practiced by nominal Christians, through the lenses of pragmatism. This is imperative because
 pragmatism, as a theory of truth, rejects the separation of rational cognition and purpose. Thus, it posits that one cannot separate the people’s systems of belief and forms of knowing from their social context, which they must inherently live by and inform their actions. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to locate and unfold the emic experiences of the experiencers of African Christianity, and to interrogate their lived experiences as guided by pragmatism as the theoretical premise.
  • Theological education, spiritual formation and leadership development in Africa : what does God have to do with it?

    Knoetze, Johannes Jacobus (AOSIS, 2022-11-21)
    Theological education, spiritual formation and leadership are all contested issues in the Church, especially within the African context. Although these topics are thoroughly discussed, the relation and the interdependence are not always clear. This article discusses these topics in relation to each other and in relation to the One who calls servant leaders to guide his church for her service in the world. The importance of the local church as missional church is emphasised in the article. Thus, what the faith community believes and teaches about God determines our ecclesiology, theological education and leadership. What does God have to do with theological education, spiritual formation and leadership development in Africa? The answer is everything! The article used a literary study to research the relationship between the different topics and the church and concluded that dependence exists between them. 
 CONTRIBUTION: Much is written on theological education in Africa. However, students come into theological education with an already established spirituality formed by other agents. The article contributes to the discussion about the relation between formal theological, spiritual formation and leadership. It emphasises the relation between the theological institution and the local church.
  • Centennial, 1863-1963 : Pilgrim Baptist Church, St. Paul, Minnesota

    Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center; Pilgrim Baptist Church (Saint Paul, Minn.) ([St. Paul, Minn.] : [F.D. Fredell], 1963-01-01)
    80 pages : 28 cm
  • Postcolonial Trends Of Decolonising The Religious Education Curriculum In Zimbabwe And South Africa

    Gift Masengwe, Bekithemba Dube (2020-12-09)
    The colonial system in southern Africa invested in Religious Education (RE) for a long time that post-independent governments took long to change the curriculum. Struggles in South Africa like #FeesMustFall, #RhodesMustFall and #TollFeesMustFall are indications of an overdue conversation. How can RE curricula change respond to this situation because Christianity dominates the sub-region since the missionary-times, Islam is the biggest assertive minority religion, and both demonise Indigenous African Religions (IARs)? Christianity was critical for the success of colonialism in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and must respond to epistemic violence through institutional reframing, rethinking and reconstruction to meet contemporary demands (Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2018). Post-independent curricula have been willing to incorporate developing contexts, but planners, who are products of the colonial system, duplicated it from their past. Decolonising the RE curriculum requires a renewed will and affection to deal, radically and accountably, with colonial statues that continuously obstruct academic freedom.
  • Is the Prosperity Gospel, Gospel? An Examination of the Prosperity and Productivity Gospels in African Christianity

    Joshua Robert Barron (South African Theological Seminary, 2022-04-01)
    The teaching of the Prosperity Gospel is widespread
 throughout African Christianity—especially within African
 Initiated/Independent Churches (AICs) and Pentecostal
 churches. For many, it is only a natural expression of biblical
 teachings on abundant life from the viewpoint of Africa’s
 holistic worldviews. For others, it arises as an extension of
 the deliverance theology of Pentecostals. Why should God
 not deliver us not only from sin and sickness, but from
 poverty as well? Others look at what seem to be the clear
 abuses of certain well-known (and financially welloff)
 prosperity teachers and cry, heresy! But are African
 expressions of the Prosperity Gospel heretical? Or are
 they orthodox, or perhaps heterodox? Both Scripture and
 historical Christian tradition reflect an ambivalence toward
 material wealth, at times seeing it as a blessing and at times
 as a danger. Reflecting on Scripture in the context
 of years of pastoral experience in Africa and recent
 discussions with scholars, missionaries, and local
 church leaders, this essay is built upon a hybrid
 methodology of integrative literature review and
 narrative literature review. After reviewing biblical
 teachings on wealth and possessions, it reviews the
 literature on the Prosperity Gospel in Africa and
 discovers that in some African contexts an adaptation
 of prosperity teachings, the Productivity Gospel, has
 arisen to address the same set of questions. Borrowing
 emphases from Prosperity theology on abundant life
 and Pentecostal theologies of empowerment, with the
 accountability of a Weberian work ethic in the context
 of a holistic African worldview, the Productivity Gospel
 provides a message of hope and an opportunity for
 a redemptive (and economic) uplift while avoiding
 problematic praxis.

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