Today it is common knowledge that the centre of gravity of Christianity around the world is moving southward, away from the former heartlands in Europe and North America to Latin America, Asia and Africa. Christian churches in different parts of the world all share in the Good News of the triune God whom they have encountered in Jesus Christ, but are called to live out and reflect on this Good News drawing on the particular gifts of their own contexts and responding to the challenges they present. Such local theologies not only serve their own communities, but are also part of a worldwide theological conversation. They can enrich others by contributing new insights and perspectives. Local theologies can also build up the theology of the church worldwide by presenting a viewpoint from which other locally embedded Christian perspectives can be corrected, in as much as they are distorted by particular cultural thought frames and biases.
Local theological insights are not always easily accessible both locally and to the church worldwide. They can easily be drowned out by other voices. And it may be hard to find worthwhile local theological insights because of the enormous quantity of theology that is now produced all over the world or because local expressions remain local and are not widely shared beyond their immediate environments. This limits the ability of Christian communities to respond to the challenges they face in their particular contexts and it deprives the church worldwide from many of the gifts coming from elsewhere.
We hope that the resources on this online platform will help to remedy this situation. Treating African Christian Theology across a variety of subject areas, it gives researchers and students from the South and the North access to theological resources from Africa by providing encyclopaedia articles, bibliographies, and a portal of links to relevant internet resources. It furthermore offers a guide to help students and researchers make better use of the internet in theological research and profit from the growing amount of theological resources that are freely available online.
In the years to come, we hope that this platform will develop into a major tool for the study of African Christian Theology, both in Africa itself and around the world. It is a project that is continually growing and a vision that demands further work and listening. The platform is in principle a collaborative effort to which users are invited to participate by proposing or updating bibliographical items and portal links. Scholars in the field are also invited to propose and write new articles for the refereed Bibliographical Encyclopaedia of African Theology (BEAT). In this way, we hope that you will help us mediate the limitations and biases that will unavoidably also colour our work.
We hope that this website will enrich theological and religious studies research in Africa and worldwide so that together we may grow in our understanding of “the breadth and length and height and depth” of God’s love in Christ and God’s desire for this world (Ephesians 3:16) and become more faithful in our calling into God’s mission.
On behalf of the Editorial Board,
Prof. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Anglophone Chair
Prof. Issiaka Coulibaly, Francophone Chair
Prof. Benno van den Toren, Editor-in-Chief