Dialogue between African traditional religion and Christian theology

A sure way for the survival of the Church in Africa

Authored by: James N. Amanze

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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This chapter examines a decade-long argument in Africa: that to ensure the survival of the Church in the bowels of mother Africa, there is a need for Christian theology to enter into dialogue with African Traditional Religion (ATR). This chapter argues that unless Christian theology is contextualized in Africa, its message will continue to be irrelevant to the African people. The chapter will first define African Traditional Religion. It will then discuss the encounter of ATR with Christianity, focusing on the negative attitude that missionaries and colonial governments had toward this world religion. It will then examine the attempts that have been made by various theologians to engage Christian theology with ATR as a way of making the former relevant and acceptable to the African people. The chapter will end by examining how Canon Ronald Wynne, an Anglican clergyman in Botswana in the 1970s, attempted to contextualize Christian theology among the Hambukushu in Botswana as a model worthy of emulating.

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