Bible and theology in Africa

Authored by: Lovemore Togarasei

The Routledge Handbook of African Theology

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138092303
eBook ISBN: 9781315107561
Adobe ISBN:


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As African Christianity continues to grow, 1 the place of the Bible in African Christian theology requires close attention. This chapter is a contribution to this goal. The chapter reviews the place of the Bible in theology in Africa. This is indeed a very general area that covers a long historical period, almost from the beginning of the Christian religion if one considers the role played by African theologians such as Origen, Tertullian, and others in the development of Christian thought (Ngong 2017). A work of this nature, therefore, cannot afford to give an exhaustive treatment of this subject. What I intend to do therefore is to consider the place of the Bible in theology in Africa from sources of Christian theology in Africa. Specifically, I problematize claims by some sections of African Christianity that their theology is solely derived from the Bible. Systematic theologians discuss several sources of Christian theology. Some of the sources they discuss are the Bible, reason, philosophy, religious experience, tradition, revelation and culture, and context (e.g., McGrath 2001). Most theologians, however, limit the sources to four: Bible, reason, religious experience, and tradition, referring to these as the Wesleyan quadrilateral (Oden 1992: 332). But in some sections of African Christianity that we will focus on in this chapter, the rest of the sources are underplayed in rhetoric as they claim sola Scriptura.

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