Philip Jenkins has highlighted the demographic shift of Christianity from the North to the Global South which includes Christians on three continents: Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Despite this development, the churches in Asia and Africa continue to focus their attention primarily on Christians in the West. Nevertheless, in the past two decades African Christians have begun to make contributions to theological thinking in South Asia.
Za mtu ni mbili–akili na haya.
The [best qualities] of a person are two—intelligence and modesty.
A Swahili proverb is apt in honouring our deeply cherished brother, Fr. Prof. Laurenti Magesa (1946-2022). News of his passing on August 11, 2022, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, prompted outpourings of grief and respect from across Africa and beyond.
From 31 August to 8 September, I had the privilege of participating in the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held in Karlsruhe, Germany, as delegate for the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. It was great to see the important role of Sub-Saharan Christianity acknowledged in the assembly, not only in the significant number of African delegates, but also in the role of Dr Agnes Aboum from Kenya as the principal moderator and the presentation of Dr Jerry Pillay from South Africa as the new General Secretary.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending a service held by the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Wezep. The church mainly consists of Eritrean migrants who have recently arrived in the Netherlands as refugees and has been meeting regularly since December 2017. I was invited by a family who were having their fourth child baptized.
One of the goals of the BEAT is to point readers to relevant primary resources on the internet that will help bring the subject to life. The aim is to show the connection between African theological discourse and the grassroots theologies of African Christian communities. In this post I introduce the primary resources section from a recent article on sacrifice and explain the rationale for the selection.
Some months ago, I was teaching a class on the contribution of lived theologies from different cultural contexts to intercultural theological conversations. We focussed on experiences of the Holy Spirit in Pentecostalisms worldwide. Three of the students gave presentations on this theme, drawing on examples from their own cultural contexts.
On Christmas Day 2021, South Africans woke with the news that our bishop has passed on. In no time, typical of the African storytelling tradition, stories about Bishop Tutu were all over the media. People from all walks of life shared their stories of how they met this loving, remarkable man. I will join this avalanche of endearing stories by sharing two, one before 1994 and one after 1994.
The death of the Ecuadorian theologian René Padilla on the 27th of April 2021 calls for reflection on the continuing relevance of his missiology today. Though the specific context of Padilla's missiological reflection is Latin America, his contribution to the birth of ‘integral mission’, or ‘misión integral’ in Spanish, has profoundly impacted evangelical theological discourse around the world.
The term ‘intercultural theology’ was first used to refer to a particular field of study in 1975 when Hans Jochen Margull, Walter Hollenweger and Richard Friedli started publishing a book series called Studies in the Intercultural History of Christianity. Hollenweger also used it to indicate a theological approach in a three-volume collection of shorter pieces. Intercultural theology only became the name for a specific discipline when a number of professorial chairs in missiology were renamed ‘intercultural theology’.
There was once a final-year student at a theological college in the West African sub-region. The student needed to take and pass one last course in the Spiritual Formation disciplines at the college’s undergraduate program. The task specified in the course description required the student to write a personal reflection paper that accounted for the life and ministry of “Holy” James Johnson’ (c. 1836–1917).
While doing research on Ethiopian Hermeneutics for the Biblical Hermeneutics encyclopaedia article, I came across a number of websites with valuable primary and secondary resources. Recent interest in the digital preservation of Ethiopian manuscripts has led to copies of paintings that were previously inaccessible being made publicly available for the first time.
Gerald West's account of African biblical interpretation suggests that how one reads the Bible is ultimately the result of one's 'ideo-theological orientation'. Does this mean that one's hermeneutical approach is merely a matter of personal choice? In this reflection I introduce two principles that are helpful when considering this question.