SOME AFRICAN SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM OF CHISTOLOGICAL INSECURITY

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The courage to abandon African traditional religions.

Christological security is necessary to empower the African Christians to break away from relying on African traditional religions. African Christians truly want to be authentic Christians exclusively committed and reliant upon Christ. They are driven into syncretism because, to them, Christ seems to be either detached from them or insufficient to address their immediate African problems. African Christians continue to retain a firm hand on African traditional religions, because they see them « as meeting real need by procuring salvation from social ills, the evil spirits and witchcraft, which they experience as ‘real’, while Christianity is sought to provide salvation in the hereafter » (Maimela 1991:9).

The confidence to face life.

In Africa, peace and prosperity are aspects that are constantly bombarded by witches and wizards, angry ancestors and other such evil forces. These evil forces frustrate progress, creating misfortunes such as infertility, crop failure, family discord and even death. As they embark on various avenues that lead to prosperity the Africans fear being intercepted and frustrated by the evil and gratuitous spiritual regime. Christological security will empower the African Christians to face life with confidence assured that no evil spirit or power will frustrate their intended expeditions. The assurance that Jesus Christ is sufficiently able to protect them, their families, their livestock, fields and all their investments will empower the Africans to face life and to adventure as far as they can in their pursuit for peace and prosperity.

Yielding to Christ as the Lord and Saviour of Africa

When African Christians are absolutely certain that Jesus Christ is sufficiently able to address their profoundest African problems, they will be compelled to yield to him as their Lord and Saviour. This is what Nthamburi (1989:58) meant when he said that Christ cannot be relevant to the Africans if he is unconcerned about their social, political, economic and spiritual realism of existence. Indeed, Jesus Christ’s right and authority to be regarded as Lord and Saviour in Africa is absolutely contingent on his sufficiency to grant the African Christians and their possessions security against the evil marauding regime.

Christ as Ancestor

The point of departure and methodology in the formulation of this christological paradigm is the traditional African concept of kinship and ancestry. This paradigm starts with the « African ancestral beliefs and practices and tries to confront these with the Christian teaching on the saviour » (Nyamiti 1984:9). African theologians of the likes of Charles Nyamiti, J. S. Pobee, Kwame Bediako and Francois Kabasele have articulated this Christology. John Mbiti’s kinship in Christ, when followed to its conclusion from the African perspective ultimately ends up in Christ as ancestor. These aforementioned theologians vary at several points in formulating this christological paradigm, but they all see African traditional religions as ‘preparatio evangelica’. In other words African traditional religions are legitimate preparation for the Gospel of Christ and are able to make a cogent and important contribution to African Christian theology.

Appraisal

In these christological motifs, the African theologians have used images that communicate security to most Africans. Indeed the ancestors, the traditional healers, the tribal authorities such as kings and chiefs and liberators are highly trusted African institutions of security. It is important for Africans to understand Christ through this particular aspect of their worldview. The point that must be underscored and be highly appreciated when evaluating these christological paradigms is the African theologians’ emphasis on the par excellence of Christ. The proponents of these motifs unwaveringly maintain that Christ is the Supreme Ancestor, the Supreme Inyanga, and the Chief of chiefs and King of kings. The ultimate aim is to help African Christians see the relevance and the adequacy of Christ within their African context and thus enable them to place their confidence in Christ only for all their existential and spiritual needs.

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The sense of vulnerability

According to the African traditional worldview, life is generally under threat from a variety of hostile forces. Stebbing (1985: 16) affirms that there is « much unhealthy fear in African life – fear of sickness, of death, of sorcery, permeates every aspect of life ». Imasogie (1983:63) also notes that to the typical African, it is mainly evil forces that that rule the earth that make life unsafe for all. According to Phathisa Nyathi (2001:121), « The traditional Ndebele man lives in constant fear of the evil that emanates from the evil spirits acting independently or through their mediums ». By this, he means that the Ndebeles, and indeed Africans in general, have a high sense of vulnerability to hostile spiritual forces. This is a common Bantu belief1 . They perceive and approach life like a hunted animal under the watchful eye of a hunter waiting an opportune moment to take a decisive pounce. There is, to most Africans, a powerful force hunting after them to destroy their life, family harmony, peace of mind, wealth and their health.

TABLE OF CONTENTS :

  • CONTENT PAGE
  • Acknowledgements
  • Summary Page
  • Scripture Quotations
  • Table of Contents Page
  • CHAPTER 1: THE AFRICAN SCANDAL OF CHRISTOLOGICAL INSECURITY
    • 1.1. Introduction
    • 1.2. The effect of insecurity in African Christianity
    • 1.3. The problem of the foreign Jesus Christ
    • 1.4. The benefits of christological security
      • 1.4.1 The courage to abandon African traditional religions
      • 1.4.2 The confidence to face life
      • 1.4.3 Yielding to Christ as the Lord and Saviour of Africa
    • 1.5. Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 2: SOME AFRICAN SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM OF CHISTOLOGICAL INSECURITY
    • 2.1. Introduction
    • 2.2. Christ as Ancestor
    • 2.3. Christ, as the Victorious Conqueror
    • 2.4. Christ as the African Ruler
    • 2.5. Appraisal
  • CHAPTER 3: THE CHALLENGE OF THE AFRICAN WORLDVIEW TO CHRISTOLOGY
    • 3.1 Introduction
    • 3.2 The African worldview of security
      • 3.2.1 The sense of vulnerability
      • 3.2.2 Religion: African source of security
    • 3.3 The challenge of the wholisticness of traditional religions to Christology
    • 3.4 Factors demanding a Christ transformed worldview
      • 3.4.1 The victory of Jesus Christ
      • 3.4.2 The reign and the presence of Christ
      • 3.4.3 The limitations imposed by the Fall
    • 3.5 The power of the Christocentric worldview
      • 3.5.1 It instills the awareness of Christ’s presence
      • 3.5.2 It induces transference of trust
      • 3.5.3 It accentuates the status of African Christian in Christ
    • 3.6 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 4: SECURITY IN THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
    • 4.1 Introduction
    • 4.2 The Divinity of Christ
      • 4.2.1 Methodology
      • 4.2.2 Jesus Christ: the God-Man
      • 4.2.3 The significance of the Divinity of Christ in Africa
        • 4.2.3.1 Security as the work of God
        • 4.2.3.2 The assurance of God’s presence
  • 4.3 Security in the Christ-Event
    • 4.3.1 Assurance of God’s identity with his people
    • 4.3.2 Assurance of the Satan’s defeat
    • 4.3.3 The testimony of Christ’s enthronement
  • CHAPTER 5: BIBLICAL IMAGES OF SECURITY IN CHRIST
    • 5.1 Introduction
    • 5.2 Delivered into the Kingdom of Light
      • 5.2.1 Deliverance in Christ’s mission
      • 5.2.2 The deliverance of the African Christian
      • 5.2.3 The extent of Christ’s deliverance in Africa
    • 5.3 In Christ
      • 5.3.1. The Ambit of Security
      • 5.3.2. The state of renewed life
      • 5.3.3. Relationship with Christ
    • 5.4 Adoption into God’s family
      • 5.4.1. The status of Sonship
      • 5.4.2. The benefit of newness
      • 5.4.3. The benefit of fatherly care
    • 5.5 The temple of the Holy Spirit
      • 5.5.1 The Christian as the temple
      • 5.5.2 The testimony of exclusive ownership
      • 5.5.3 The pledge of God’s empowering presence
    • 5.6 Conclusion
  • CHAPTER 6: THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSIBILITY IN THE SECURED LIFE
    • 6.1 Introduction
    • 6.2 Maintaining a Christocentric worldview
    • 6.3 Putting on the arm of God
    • 6.4 Being steadfast in times of suffering and trials
    • 6.5 Conclusion
    • BIBLIOGRAPHY

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THE SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST IN AFRICA: A CHRISTOLOGICAL CHALLENGE FROM AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS

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