2 Crucial Lessons the Western Church Can Learn from African Christianity
Francinah was born into a family of traditional spiritual healers of African traditional religion who were strongly opposed to Christianity. In time she herself became one of these so-called sangomas.
But over the years Jesus revealed himself to her in visions, delivering her from the power of ancestral spirits, convicting her of the sin of her abortions, and commissioning her as a prophet to spread the gospel. In a radical display of obedience, she destroyed all items associated with her work as a sangoma and ancestral spirituality, and began to preach wherever she found herself.
Moss Ntlha tells this important story in his new book, Out of the Shadows of African Traditional Religion. He hopes Francinah’s story will be of help…
Tennent on African Christianity
"At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the typical "face" of Christianity may more likely be encountered in Lagos than in London… What is emerging is the sunrise of a fourth major branch of the Christian faith, not so easily pigeonholed within the familiar categories of Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity.
Andrew Walls predicts that if current trends continue, African Christianity will become 'the representative Christianity of the twenty-first century.' This emerging reality is why Philip Jenkens has boldly proclaimed the emerging Majority World church as 'the next Christendom.'"
Timothy Tennent, in Theology in the Context of World Christianity
– What are your thoughts on this quote?
Africa Bible Commentary Giveaway!
Written by Dr Samuel Ngewa of the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology , these commentaries are meant to serve as "a teaching resource for theological colleges and Bible schools…
FREE Book Giveaway
Africa Bible Commentary series Vol, 1
1 & 2 Timothy and Titus by Dr. Samuel M. Ngewa was recently released by Hippo Books. (Learn more about Hippo Books at www.HippoBook.net ) It is the first volume in the new, Africa Bible Commentary Series.
As this volume is a commentary, "by African Christian authors who address African realities from an evangelical perspective," we thought it would be fitting to giveaway 15 free copies to pastors, missionaries, Bible teachers, or other ministers who are in Africa right now, or will be in the next year. So, if you qualify, send some info about your ministry in Africa (and send your shipping address) to: church"at"Zondervan"dot"com
Dr. Nijay Gupta posted a short review of this resourceon his blog and Christopher J.H. Wright has even joined the discussion!
Living on the Seam of History: African Christianity
Part 7, Towards a Missiological and Theological Renaissance
“The Bible is being enthusiastically read with fresh new eyes and with a new sense of immediacy. It is being read by people familiar with persecution and suffering. It is being read by believers who are often a tiny minority in the midst of a climate hostile to their faith. It is being read by believers who understand the bold, revolutionary implications of the gospel. It is being read by people who take its message seriously and fully anticipate the supernatural in-breaking of the kingdom in their midst. The gospel is being read afresh as good news. The result is that the church of Jesus Christ is growing in unprecedented ways in parts of the world once only regarded as the mission field. So, while 4,300 people may be leaving the church every day in Europe and North America, 16,500 are comic to faith each day in Africa alone.” (Tennent, Timothy C. Theology in the Context of World Christianity, 270-271)
Christopher J.H. Wright, author of the new book, The God I Don’t Understand, agrees in this clip and speaks of the implications of these changes:
Living on the Seam of History: African Christianity Part 6
My Neighbour’s Faith by John Azumah
Africa has an interreligious and interfaith environment that is unique in many ways. We have multi-faith families, clans, ethnic groups and nations. At each of these levels, African Muslims and Christians have a lot of things that bind them together, including kinship ties, shared languages and citizenship. If I may use my own case as an example, I come from a family where believers in Traditional African Religion, Muslims and Christians live and share basically everything. My Muslim uncle made significant contributions towards my theological training and about 95 per cent of the family members who attended my ordination service were Muslim. Similarly, when there is anything involving a family member, all members of the family, irrespective of their religious affiliation, are called upon to contribute. (1)
John Azumah writes as a man in the thick of the tenuous relationship between Muslims and Christians. With family, friends and community members who are Muslim (see African Christian Ethics for a reminder of how important and different the African sense of community is then a Western sense) he seeks evangelism; effective evangelism from one African to another.
As we have seen throughout this series living on the seam of history means more than just acknowledging the growth of the global Church, it means learning from the global Church as we move forward. In My Neighbour’s Faith John Azumah seeks to explain Islam to Christians in both the West and East, bringing his expertise and home-grown experience to the forefront of his writing and theology.
Living on the Seam of History: African Chrisitanity Part 5
With today’s post I would like to take a longer look at Samuel Waje Kunhiyop’s African Christian Ethics. It is part of the Hippo Books line. I’ve been quoting from it occasionally throughout this series but I believe Kunhiyop’s work merits its own post. In the introduction he describes the need for writing this book:
“A cursory look at the syllabi in many Bible colleges and seminaries in Africa will show that Christian ethics is often packaged along with Western ethics as if they are one and the same thing. They are not. The two have become confused because Western missionaries did not bring a naked gospel but one dressed in their own clothes and shoes. Students who should be studying African Christian ethics are too often engaged in wrestling with teleological, deontological, utilitarian and relativistic ethical theories emanating from the West. What should be taught in African theological colleges is an ethics that is African, biblical and Christian. That is what this book seeks to provide.” (p. 6)
Living on the Seam of History 3: African Christology
Last week we briefly examined African theology, particularly relating to the Muslim culture that permeates the continent. We asked the question is God the same as Allah, and if so, is that an evangelistic in-road? With this post I hope to examine the basics of African Christology. Who is Christ in African eyes, and what can we learn from that perspective?
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” – John 1:18 (NIV)
“There are many in Africa who deny the message of this passage (John 1:1-18). They may call themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses or representatives of Christ, but unless their message proclaims that Jesus is God, the Creator of all things, and the only basis upon which any man or woman receives blessings from God, they are to be condemned for their blasphemy. They are to be prayed for, but are also to be shunned. False teaching finds ready soil in Africa due to the natural religiosity of African people. It is time, however, that we in Africa became a little more discerning, to distinguish truth from error. We must guard the truths taught in this passage with all our being if we are to be on the same side as God, whose word clearly tells us that Jesus is God.” (Ngewa, Africa Bible Commentary, p. 1254)
African Christology is a growing field. Dr. Timothy Tennent affirms in Theology in the Context of World Religions that in last 40 years African theological scholarship has made unprecedented leaps forward, and that among this new library of material there emerges four distinct characteristics of African Christology:
Living on the Seam of History 1: African Christianity
“We are now in the midst of one of the most dramatic shifts in Christianity since the Reformation. Christianity is on the move and is creating a seismic change that is changing the face of the whole Christian movement. Every Christian in the world, but especially those in the West, must understand how these changes will influence our understanding of church history, our study of theology, and our conception of world missions.” – Timothy Tennent, Theology in the Context of World Christianity (Zondervan, 2007, p.2)
“Living on the Seam of History” is a series of blog posts that will explore the “dramatic shift” in Christianity that Dr. Tennent so rightly points out.
“(It is a) shift in theological…