AbstractThis study investigates how Mbiti and Oduyoye articulate their understanding of God in connection with the African traditional religio-cultural heritage to make the concept of God to become relevant to African Christians and to help African Christians feel at home in the Christian faith. Chapter 1 briefly describes the background of the study, the problem statement, the purpose of the study, the research hypothesis, methodology, delimitation, and structure of the study. Chapter 2 provides a historical sketch of origins and development of African theology and diverse types of African theology. This chapter maintains that African theology emerged not only as a theological reaction to the dominant Western interpretation of the gospel in Africa, but also as a theological attempt to secure the African cultural identity by reaffirming the African past. Chapter 3 describes the basic beliefs in African traditional religions, several African ethnic groups’ concepts of God, and the African theologians’ Christianization of the African God by employing Christian theological terms. This chapter concludes that it is not possible to presume a homogenous or one unified concept of God in Africa. One and the same God whom all Africans have worshipped is not real. In chapter 4, Mbiti’s understanding of God is scrutinized in relation to his methodology, the African concept of time, his understanding of revelation and of salvation. Mbiti has maintained African monotheism and ATR(s) as a praeparatio evangelica and has arrived at his conclusion that the God revealed in the Bible is the same as the God worshipped in ATR(s). This chapter criticizes Mbiti’s way of Christian theological interpretation of anthropological data of the African concepts of God. Chapter 5 presents Oduyoye’s understanding of God, her methodology, the status of African women in ATR(s) and the African church, her appreciation of salvation, of the Bible, and of the locus of experience. In Oduyoye’s theology, women’s experience becomes a crucial factor for doing theology, and salvation is understood as liberation from all oppressive conditions. Her understanding of God is closely connected with the theme of liberation. Chapter 6 examines the similarities and differences between the two theologians’ understanding of God, critically compares their way of understanding the interplay of the gospel and African culture, and categorizes the two theologians’ ways with their models of contextualization: Mbiti’s gospel-culture oriented model of contextualization and Oduyoye’s gospel-liberation oriented model of contextualization.
By a comparative-dialogical study of the two theologians’ models of contextualization, this chapter attempts to make a dialogue possible between the two, and suggests the interculturation model of contextualization in which each theology keeps its own theological characteristic and has an open mind to learn from the other through mutual understanding. It aims to overcome the absolutism of contextualization, syncretism, cultural relativism, and provincialism, to keep a balance between locality and catholicity, and to affirm cultural identity and Christian identity. On the basis of the interculturation model of contextualization, this chapter proposes some criteria for African Evangelical theology in order to do a biblically faithful and practically relevant theology in Africa. This study also suggests some guidelines to articulate the understanding of God so that it has theological relevance and legitimacy to African Christians as well as to Christians worldwide. Chapter 7, as the final chapter, gives a general summary and concluding suggestions for further research related to the subject of African theology.
Hinga, Teresia M. “An African Understanding of Salvation.” Thesis, University of Nairobi, 1980.
AbstractThe religious situation in Kenya is characterized by a noticeable proliferation and diversity. This is mainly because freedom of worship is constitutionally protected, and thus, most world religions are represented.
It is Christianity, however, which dominates the religious scene in Kenya. Christianity itself, however, is not a monolithic phenomenon, but is characterized by division and denorainationalism. This has been explained as a legacy from the missionaries who introduced Christianity
along denominational lines such that it has retained a fragmented appearance . This explanation, however, fails to account for the Churches which exist independently of the traditional denominations. These independent Churches are about 6,000 in Africa, and the numbers are increasing.
The question pertaining to the causes of this tendency to schism has been asked. The reasons given are mainly non-theological, and it is argued that independency is a result of the Africans’ reaction against the cultural- political imperialism implicit in the imposition of Christianity
It has also been pointed out that schism could also result from religious motives, particularly disagreement on theological issues. Students of the phenomenon of independency
however, have tended to concentrate on the non- theolpgical causes, at the expense of the theological ones which may be equally important.
In this study, we take an independent group, popularly known, among the Agikuyu as Ahonoki (saved ones), and we explore, to what extent theological factors were behind their separation from the established Church.
It is evident from our case study that, though sociological factors were not absent in the formation of this group, the theological factors were the dominant ones. In particular, the Ahonoki feel that they differ from other Christians in their understanding of the issue of salvation,
an issue that is central to Christianity as a whole. Their very name Ahonoki, which they have earned due to their explicit claim of being saved implies their preoccupation with salvation.
Their exlusive claim of being saved, has also earned the Ahonoki some perjorative attitudes from non-members, who, on this account consider them as Pharisaical. They, on their side, are suspicious of the non-Ahonoki whom they regard as nominal Christians.
In this context, we may ask what is the cause of this variant interpretation of the cardinal theological issue of salvation. Could this variant interpretation be a result of a piece-meal-interpretation or a mis-interpre- tation of the scriptures which is the common basis for Christian doctrine. - —
In short, thesis attempts to answer two questions.
(1) To what extent is disagreement on
theological issues a causative factor in division within Christianity?
(2) To what extent is disagreement on
theological issues due to a piece-meal approach to the scriptures?
When we analyse the causes which led the Ahonoki to secede from the established Church, we conclude that they secede^mainly because of disagreement on certain theological issues, particularly that of salvation. Secondly,
there is evidence that these theological differences are mainly due to a failure to view the scriptures as a whole.
The thesis therefore, in conclusion, points out the need for a comprehensive view of the scriptures, if discrepancy
of opinion on theological issues, which may lead to schism, is to be minimized. Our recommendation then, is that, viewing the scriptures more wholistically, may take us a long way on the path of unity and tolerance, rather than division and exclusiveness which have riddled Christianity since its introduction to this country
Kamiruka, Jack U. “A Luo Christian Perspective on the Role of the Holy Spirit in Sanctification According to John Calvin.” Thesis, Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2007.
AbstractENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research project interprets Calvin’s views on the work of the Spirit in sanctification. It
then evaluates Calvin’s views from a Luo perspective. The study of Calvin focuses on the
1559 edition of the Institutes, while the evaluative study of his views is taken from the
perspective of the Luo of the Africa Inland Church (A.I.C.) of Kenya. The Africa Inland
Church was founded under the influence of Calvin’s legacy, particularly concerning matters
regarding Christian sanctification. Therefore an evaluative study of Calvin’s views from a
Luo perspective is relevant.
The study of Calvin focuses on Calvin’s views on “the Christian life” and specifically “the
Christian life as a life of Grace and Gratitude.” It is from these views that the evaluative
study of his views is undertaken from a Luo perspective. The chapters in the study are
developed in the following manner:
Chapter One forms the introduction to the study itself. It defines the “problem statement” of
the research project and demonstrates what is being investigated in the study. It outlines the
“purpose statement” of the research project and makes clear the contribution being made. The
“purpose statement” outlines the perspectives of Calvin’s views that are explored in the study.
The statement further points to the fact that a thorough study of the Luo also develops in the
process of the research project. This chapter of the study further states the limits of the study
of Calvin and that of the evaluation of his views. It states that the study only focuses on the
perspectives of Calvin’s views already outlined and the evaluative study of his views from the
perspective of the Luo members of the Africa Inland Church of Kenya.
Chapter Two centres on a study of how Calvin’s influence found its way into the Christian
practices and beliefs of the Luo. The chapter outlines a number of works published on the
study of Calvin through which Calvin’s influence is seen; a brief outline of Calvin’s life
demonstrating the nature of influences upon his own life through which he acquired skills that
subsequently became useful to him in his contribution towards the development of the
doctrine of the Holy Spirit; the cultural background of the Luo people; as well as the nature
and characteristics of the Christian beliefs and practices which form the background of the
Luo members of the Africa Inland Church. Such Christian beliefs form the basis on which
Calvin’s influence on the Church and the Luo people is evaluated. Furthermore, this chapter
of the study forms the basis upon which the succeeding chapters in the study are developed. It
is necessary to understand the manner in which Calvin’s influence found its way into the
Christian beliefs and practices of the Luo before interpreting Calvin’s views and evaluating
such views from a Luo perspective.
Chapter Three focuses on the study of Calvin’s views. It explores Calvin’s understanding of
the work of the Spirit in the sanctification of “the Christian life” and specifically of “the
Christian life as a life of Grace and Gratitude.” Concerning “the Christian life,” the study
demonstrates that Calvin understood the Spirit as the power that effects sanctification in the
Christian life, firstly, by bringing forth faith in an individual, and secondly, by working
through the aspects of faith, namely repentance, Christian life (a life of righteousness) and
The aspect of justification, however, which Calvin also discusses under “the Christian life,”
though an activity through which renewal into the Image of God takes place by the work of
the Spirit, is not a process through which sanctification takes place. The Spirit is only
involved in the work of justification in the sense that justification is imputed by God who
exists in Three Persons (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) and the Spirit
therefore forms part of the Being and function of the Godhead. Furthermore, concerning Calvin’s understanding of “the Christian life as a life of Grace and
Gratitude,” the study demonstrates that Calvin understood the Spirit to sanctify believers
through the elements of the Word, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and the Church. Calvin
understood the elements as means through which the grace of God is attained and gratitude is
demonstrated to God for His work in creation and salvation. Firstly, God’s gracious “acts”
are extended to the people through the elements and, secondly, individuals, as they observe
the elements, honour God, hence expressing gratitude to him, since the elements have been
instituted by him for this purpose.
Chapter Four deals with the evaluation of Calvin’s views from the perspective of the Luo of
the Africa Inland Church. It reconsiders Calvin’s views discussed in chapter three and
compares those views to those of the Luo. Consequently, a Luo response to Calvin’s views
develops. The chapter demonstrates that the Luo of the Africa Inland Church interpret the
work of the Spirit in “the Christian life” and “the Christian life as a life of Grace and
Gratitude” in a manner more or less similar to that of Calvin. Furthermore, the chapter
demonstrates vividly that, in spite of coming from a cultural background where belief in the
ancestral spirits is firmly rooted, the Luo make a distinction between the “Holy Spirit” and the
“ancestral spirits;” hence they submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in their Christian beliefs
and practices in spite of the fact that the concept “Holy Spirit” is translated in the Luo Bible,
the Muma Maler, as “Roho Maler” which, in plain “Dholuo” (Luo language), just means
“Clean Spirit.” The term “Clean Spirit” does not bear any reference to God the Father and
God the Son, compared to Calvin’s interpretation of the identity of the term “Holy Spirit.”
Chapter Five provides the Conclusion. It is in this chapter that the views of Calvin and the
Luo of the Africa Inland Church are reassessed. The chapter outlines the fact that Calvin’s
views have indeed had a remarkable influence on the Luo of the Africa Inland Church as
evidenced in the manner in which they respond to Calvin’s views. The Luo understand the
work of the Spirit in the sanctification of “the Christian life” and “the Christian life as a life of
Grace and Gratitude” in more or less the same way as Calvin did. This implies the enormous
influence of Calvin’s views on the people. Furthermore, the chapter also points out that,
though the Luo Christians understand who “Roho Maler” (Clean Spirit) is and understand his
related work in the sanctification of a believer, when the term “Clean Spirit” is used in a
context where the audience consists of non-believers, the non-believers in particular are not
able to make a clear distinction between what the “Holy Spirit” and “ancestral spirits” are,
since people from a Luo cultural background believe that not all spirits are bad. Some would
be seen as good depending on how they relate to the living – whether they return to haunt the
living or not. The “good spirits” may therefore be understood as “Clean Spirits” by
unbelievers. The chapter therefore concludes by offering two necessary principles for
interpreting the Holy Spirit in a Luo Christian cultural dimension. Those principles are,
firstly, that of focusing on the study of the Scripture and secondly, understanding the
dimension of “Community” in a cultural background where Luo traditional cultural values are
the dominant values.
Finally, the chapter points out that, though Calvin’s views are useful when interpreting Luo
views, the Luo need to focus, more than anything else, on the study of Scripture, in this case,
the Muma Maler – as Calvin also based his interpretation on Scripture.
Kretzmann, Oswin Garnet. “A Theological Inquiry into the Doctrine of the Sacrament of Baptism and Rebaptism in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.,” 2018.
AbstractThis dissertation discusses the topic of baptismal convergence in relation to sacramental baptism. It is a theological exercise arising from pastoral concerns, for which both Biblical and theological answers are considered and required. The study relates to the enduring problems surrounding the practice of infant baptism in the MCSA, with concomitant requests for rebaptism. Statistical and anecdotal information drawn from across a number of sources confirm that, in some regions of the world, the practice of infant baptism is in decline, with an alarming drop in membership growth from new conversions. Methodist Ministers also struggle to cope pastorally with members who, despite being loyal, take issue with MCSA baptismal policy and practice. These members either feel obliged to leave the Church, or are compelled to do so, because of the MCSA’s ruling that baptism is non-repeatable. Whilst in the past the MCSA has blamed the intrusion of rebaptism into sacrament squarely on Baptist and Pentecostal denominational influences, indications are that the MCSA’s baptismal woes also derive from its own understanding and practice of paedo-baptism. Attempts at resolution emanating from the WCC Lima Text Baptismal Directive seem however to have provoked new attempts at unity, and this enquiry into the possibility of the conjoining of two baptisms with current MCSA paedo-baptist practice is seen as a possible valid measure intended to bring unity to the Church, overcome the problem of rebaptism, and allow this rite to become more sacramentally and evangelistically effectual. Qualitative insights concerning baptismal understanding have been obtained from as wide a spectrum of scholars as possible, along with other sources of theological debate, and from various paradigms of consensus which are being tried and tested in various parts of the World Church. The notion of convergence as a possible alternative to rebaptism arises from the idea of combining both baptisms into MCSA practice in sacramental and evangelical tandem. The combining of these practices into a single sacrament is a gap issue which seems to carry potential, especially since a union between the two baptisms seems to be the logical next step towards baptismal unity in the Church. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral of Authorities is the framework guiding this investigation, with dependence on a qualitative method of research which has been used, not only to find out whether baptism, if practiced in this way, is theologically acceptable, but also to provide the opportunity for members of the Methodist Church to become more united in their search for the true nature of the Spirit of Divinity. The findings of this study are tested according toMCSA sacramental and evangelical hermeneutical requirements, because such principles form the basis of what it ultimately means for the Bible to be the highest authority for all matters of faith and practice within MCSA doctrine and theology. The modus operandi for this task is to find movement in the discussion of the tenets of a debate surrounding this issue regarding convergence within baptism, which logically marks the stages through which this enquiry must pass for conclusions which would be, as nearly as possible, accurate and objective, to be arrived at with regard to this highly concerning matter.
Lang’at, Robert K. “The Holiness Movement in Africa: A Historiographical Study of the Quest for Sanctification as a Theological Framework for Understanding the Emergence of Christianity in Africa.” Drew University, 2003.
Matthew, Lauren Claire. “Humanity and Salvation : Exploring Concepts of Humanity within the Spirituality of Wesley’s Understanding of Salvation and African Perspectives within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.,” 2013.
AbstractThis thesis seeks to explore the concepts of humanity within Wesley’s soteriology and African perspectives in response to the call of the leadership of the Methodist church of Southern Africa (MCSA) to develop theology that is informed by our Southern African context. The central problem of the paper attempts to understand how people within the life of the MCSA interact with an understanding of humanity that is formed within the frameworks of Nguni and Sotho culture as well as Christian perspectives. The thesis maps Wesley’s anthropology through his own experience of God and particularly within the trajectory of his soteriology. It also seeks unpack an understanding of humanity within the framework of Ubuntu. In attempt to ground the conversation within the lived experience of the MCSA the paper also draws in data from two focus groups that are comprised of laity and ministers in training, respectively as well as through feedback from questionnaires that the participants in the two focus groups completed.
The thesis makes use of an interpretive qualitative approach to explore the interplay of the different world – views in the lives of the participants as they share who they understand themselves to be and why they hold those particular views. The paper concludes with the observation of a pattern within the feedback from the participants that within the lives of the participants there seems to be a difference in their theoretical conception of humanity and their lived experience of their humanity. Within their theoretical understanding the participants were able to draw equally from their cultural perspectives and their Christian understanding, whilst within their lived experience, participants drew their understanding mainly from their Christian perspectives.
Munyika, Veikko. “Towards a Holistic Soteriology for a Lutheran Church in an African Religious Context : Utilising Luther’s Theology and the Owambo Traditions to Overcome a Spiritualised and Privatised Concept of Salvation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN),” 1997.
AbstractThis thesis contends that the individualisation, privatisation and spiritualisation of the concept
of salvation in the church in general and in The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia
[ELCIN] in particular, where salvation is confined to the soul and its escape from this evil world
into a blessed heaven at some future date after death, with the result that church members are
reluctant to strive for the quality of the present life as believers, must be overcome. This study
must be seen against the background of increasing secularism in Namibia. This encroachment
constitutes a serious challenge to the Namibian Lutheran Churches of which ELCIN is the
largest. The secularisation of a community renowned for its Christianity seems to indicate
deficiencies in the core message of the church.
The concept of salvation must be formulated in response to current deficiencies in the overall
wellbeing of humanity and reality as a whole. Such a paradigm of salvation may be enriched by
the holistic Pauline-Lutheran concept of salvation. The Lutheran message of salvation needs
contextualisation and Africanisation in order to pick up valid concerns of the Owambo tradition
for African Lutherans on this side of the grave. There is, therefore, an urgent need for theologians
in ELCIN to revisit their concept of salvation and to redefine it in the light of the original
Pauline-Lutheran concept of salvation on the one hand, and of the Owambo traditional concerns
for human wellbeing on the other.
This study recommends that ELCIN must integrate her message ofeschatological salvation with
her practical services so that it becomes obvious to her members that the latter is, in fact, the
consequence of the former and both are indispensable to shalom, that is comprehensive
salvation. Such an integration will be her highest token of gratitude for the message of salvation
which she received from the Finns albeit in the vessels of their own culture; the convincing sign
of her theological maturity, and the best possible way to maintain her relevancy at all times.
Mwangi, R. K. “Missio Dei: The Influence of Early Keswick Theology of Sanctification in Socio-Ethical Life of the East African Revival Movement (EARM), 1930-2015, in the Anglican Church, Mount Kenya Region.” Thesis, North-West University, 2018.
AbstractThe thesis investigates the influence of early Keswick theology of sanctification in the socioethical life of the East African Revival Movement (EARM), 1930-2015, in the Anglican Church, Mount Kenya Region within the framework of missio Dei. It starts with the proposition that early Keswick theology of sanctification is behind the beliefs and practices of walking in the light leading to splits within the EARM that affects church mission. This study poses one primary question, namely, does the Keswick theology of sanctification contribute to the socio-ethical understanding of walking in the light in the EARM and thus influence the mission of the Anglican Church, Mount Kenya region? Following historical and empirical analysis, it has been claimed that walking in the light has led to split in EARM. The study mainly uses qualitative research to document information from primary and secondary sources to analyse historical and empirical data of the current phenomenon. The principal data collection method is focused group discussion and a one-on-one interview. The research employs guided questions to elicit perspectives of respondents’ view of the prevailing situation. The data reveals six themes which are compared with historical themes to culminate into three clusters of conversion, worship style, and moral codes which hinges analytical summary of the current historical and empirical situation and informs undertaking to the preferred trend of walking in the light in EARM. The study has establishes that Keswick theology of sanctification finds affinity with East African socio-historical circumstances which enabled Keswick theology and East Africa sociological worldview to have some significant exchange of concepts and meanings primarily from the viewpoints of exclusion and inclusion. However, the study found that Anglican Church scholarship mainly explores EARM from historical, cultural and theological perspectives and thus have not documented any scholarship on its influence on the walking in the light in the mission of God, particularly in the Mount Kenya region. Indeed the majority of respondents except main stakeholders depicted ignorance of Keswick theology. As a result, the missiological tenets challenges walking in the light fundamentals and motivates Brethren’s participation in the mission of God. Thus when walking in the light is critiqued against the missiological foundations fall short of the mission mandate of the involvement in the missio Dei due to exclusive disposition. Consequently, when the current trend is placed against the mission statement, it is apparent that the prevailing situation of walking in the light has hindered mission in the Anglican Church of Kenya. Thus, ACK mission demonstrates the preferred scenario that suggests a change on the part of Brethren from exclusive to the inclusive predisposition of mutual Christian’s coexistence.
Okafor, Stephen O. “Concepts of Salvation, African and European : Prolegomena to African Christian Theology.” Ph.D., University of Leicester, 1983.
AbstractThe perception of God, man and salvation, which are related notions, are further bound up with the question of cosmology. A given primary interpretation or revelation (i.e. the meaning) of the world is the raison d'etre of a given religious system. God is meaning; meaning is whatever God (or 'God') is to a given religious system or culture-world; for instance, life (hence our term, ankhological), or mind (hence our nousological term). To both Jewish and traditional African religions God is life. This understanding pervades the biblical data. Jesus is its greatest expresser. The earliest Jewish Christianity had kept to this ankhological perception of God despite the disagreement over whether the Father is still the immediate source and focusser of meaning; Paul and Hellenistic Jewish Christianity maintained that Jesus is, since his resurrection, its immediate focusser; Palestinian Jewish Christianity rejected this 'modification'. The initial mass conversion of the Gentiles meant an inevitable clash between the ankhological and the nousological perceptions of God; the nousological perception was the bequeathment of the Greek world. The Gentile Church's insistence that the biblical data be brought within the nousological terms of reference gave rise to heresies, and to the undermining of the ankhological standpoint. Saint Augustine was a great believer in the nousological re-interpretation of the biblical data. The Western Church was converted to his view point. But the scientific spirit has marginalised both the nousological interpretation and the Western Church. African mission Churches are obviously nousologically structured. And contextualisation theology is a misleading attempt to adapt African cultural data to the nousological viewpoint. Misleading, because African congregations are primarily informed by the ankhological meaning. Instead what is demanded from African Christian theology is the recovery and the holding up of the ankhological revelation as the criterion of Christian theology, African or otherwise.
Omoge, Patrick F. “Christian Understanding of Salvation in the Light of Romans 5:1-11 and the Ikale People of Ondo State of Nigeria.” STL Thesis, Pontifical Urban University, 1985.
AbstractJohn S. Mbiti and Mercy Amba Oduyoye have contributed much to theology in Africa. Their immense contributions to the formation of academic African theology cannot be underestimated. The interest of this study is in their theological reflections on salvation in African Christianity as presented in their published works. Mbiti and Oduyoye approach salvation from inculturation and feminist perspective respectively. The study seeks to find out the key features of John Mbiti and Mercy Amba Oduyoye views of Salvation and in what forms do the two views converge and diverge. Textual and conceptual analysis was used for the study. Primary attention was given to their published works as well as the works of their critics.
The finding of the study is that Mbiti and Oduyoye agrees on most aspects of salvation. Their differences are basically Oduyoye’s additions from feminist perspectives. The two share a view of salvation that embraces deliverance from sin and reconciliation with God as well as deliverance from the spiritual oppression. They also agree that God, the father of Jesus Christ, whom African Christians worship, is not different from the God they had known in their pre-Christian religion.
However, while Mbiti focuses more on spiritual deliverance Oduyoye focuses on material impediments. For her, the African understanding of salvation as rooted in human rescue from material impediments must be maintained. But some African indigenous religious beliefs and practices, including some church practices that undermine human material well-being, especially the well-being of women, must be criticized and rejected. Central to Oduyoye agenda as a feminist liberation theologian is the critique of patriarchal tendencies in African Traditional Religion and Christianity.
Stebbing, M. L. “Concepts of Salvation Amongst the African Independent Churches in Chipinge, Zimbabwe.” University of South Africa, 1986.
AbstractThe following dissertation describes four African Independent Churches in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, setting them briefly within the context of Independency in Zimbabwe. It also sets out to discover whether these churches are as unorthodox and un-Christian as they are often thought to be. The dissertation centres around the theme of salvation since it is ultimately the question, ''Who, then, can be saved?'' (Mt 19:25) which Christians must ask in respect of these churches.
In the process of looking at what the Independent Christians themselves say, particularly on the matters of baptism, God, Redemption, the dead, sickness, witchcraft and sin and comparing them with what mainline Christianity says and has said over the ages, we have concluded that the Independents, at least in Chipinge, are surprisingly orthodox, preach and practise a faith which is undoubtedly Christian and so offer a way to Christ that genuinely leads to salvation.
Whitcomb, Michael D. “Creation and Salvation?: A Critical Analysis of South African Ecotheology.” PhD Thesis, Stellenbosch University, 2018.
AbstractThe accelerated rate of global climate change has been investigated by many seeking to understand its origins. In 1967 Lynn White Jr. published a short article in Science journal entitled “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis” wherein he claimed that attitudes of domination towards nature perpetuated and legitimized by Medieval Christianity, in conjunction with the power to destroy the environment provided by the progress of Western science, were to blame for the 20th century ecological crisis. This profoundly affected theology, as a causal link had been drawn between Christianity and the environmental issues in the world. Having led to the development of ecotheology, it can be argued that all work within this field is, in a way, a response to White. Thus, this project orients itself as part of that response, as it investigates the relationship between two doctrinal loci that have been affected by White’s accusation, namely creation and salvation. This discussion is carried out by means of a critical rhetorical analysis of the interaction between these loci in the work of three theologians. As the scope for this discussion, these theologians, Ernst Conradie, Klaus Nürnberger, and Jaap Durand all write from within a South African context, and all work within the discipline of systematic theology. Each has a distinct approach to how they make sense of the complex relationship between salvation and creation, and this inner logic is explored by focusing on select publications that highlight each theologian’s theological methodology. Comparisons and contrasts are drawn between the three as the discussion asks what the implications of each is for ecotheology in developing a relevant and practical theological response to the pressures of the climate crisis and the underlying accusation by White. Furthermore, this project asks what these three perspectives on salvation and creation mean for ecotheology in a South African context.
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