Subscribe via RSS Feed

Samuel Waje Kunhiyop: African Christian Theology

Samuel Waje Kunhiyop, African Christian Theology (Hippo Books/Zondervan, 2012), 250 pages, ISBN 9789966003164.

Theology as a reflection on God and his creatures is eternal, but some of the questions we ask and our discourse about God are rooted in our experiences, cultural beliefs and worldview. Therefore our understanding of theology is also rooted in our culture. The author, Professor Samuel Kunhiyop, (the current ECWA General Secretary and Professor of Ethic at Bingham University, Karu, Nigeria) fully aware of this, produced African Christian Theology sequel to his African Christian Ethics. In this book, Kunhiyop discusses a myriad of themes and topics in African Christian Theology. This book, therefore, constitutes an excellent introduction to systematic theology in relation to the traditional African worldview. The book can be referred to as “African Systematic Theology”. The book is written to address questions that arise from an African context. It helps readers to discover how theology affects our minds, our hearts and our lives. It is a sort of contextual theology. If Christian theology will be relevant to the occasion of any local people, it must take in to consideration the context in which theology will be done, particularly their cultural worldview (this is Ngugi Moshete’s thesis).

Professor Samuel Waje Kunhiyop exemplified this fact in the book. He sets out his method from the outset of the book “though I write as one who is convinced that Christianity based on biblical revelation stands above other religions, but my own understanding of Christianity in African context is that it should take African situation seriously while seeking to be true and explicit teachings of the scripture.” The author maintains that “Scripture is always interpreted within a context; Africa is the context in which I seek the true meaning of Scripture” (Samuel Waje Kunhiyop, pxiii). With this view, the author explores traditional African worldview about God and how he reveals himself. The book, though simplified and abridged (as said by the author), is divided into ten chapters with one appendix. Each chapter covers the major themes of systematic theology in a lucid manner. That is, the book seeks to articulate theologies in a way that ordinary Christian can understand. To ensure that the book actualizes its purpose, the author sets out some important hints on how to get the most of the book. In this thematic analysis in each chapter of the goal the author sets to achieve is to “articulate a theology that originates from an authentic search for the meaning of Scripture in order to apply it to contemporary African life” (p.xiii).

One of the most important functions any biblically-based theology is its practical effect on the lives of Christians.

Chapter one, titled “Theology” is a sort of prolegomena to “doing theology” where the author sets out some basic introductory concepts that would make the whole understanding of the book easy for the beginners. He gave an empirical but brief definition of the word “theology” tracing the history of the usage. He also underscores the relationship between philosophy and theology, his own side of the debate on ‘if philosophy can be a useful tool for theology’ is that if the two areas of study understand their goal objectively enough they can be useful for one another. “Even critical philosophy has been used by God to open our eyes to some of our own blind spots” (p.2). One important thing in this debate, according to Kunhiyop, is the good role philosophy can play in our hermeneutical processes. Also, the author deals with the relationship of theology and other disciplines such as ethics and church history. According to him, ethics and theology are interrelated, because the ultimate goal of any theology is to enhance good behaviour among the Christians.[1] He finally discussed the question of what “shapes theology” (Revelation, Experience, Reason, Tradition), and he closes the chapter by pointing to fundamental principles and presuppositions that underlie any evangelical theological enterprise.

Pin It
Page 1 of 41234

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: In Depth, Winter 2016

About the Author: Godwin O. Adeboye, BA (First class honors-University of Ibadan, Nigeria), BA Th (ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja), MA (University of Ibadan, Nigeria), served as the pioneering Director of Research and Innovations at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Nigeria. He currently serves as the African Regional Coordinator at Shepherd's Academy, Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life, UK, where he is also conducting his doctoral research as a Langham scholar. In collaboration with the University of Pretoria, his research seeks to provide a theological model for the survival of Christian missions in Islamic political contexts. He is the author of Can a Christian Be Cursed?: An African Evangelical Response to the Problem of Curses (Langham, 2023).

  • Connect with

    Subscribe via Twitter Followers   Subscribe via Facebook Fans
  • Recent Comments

  • Featured Authors

    Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degree...

    Jelle Creemers: Theological Dialogue with Classical Pentecostals

    Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pasto...

    Invitation: Stories about transformation

    Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books<...

    Studies in Acts

    Daniel A. Brown, PhD, planted The Coastlands, a church near Santa Cruz, California, serving as Senior Pastor for 22 years. Daniel has authored four books and numerous articles, but h...

    Will I Still Be Me After Death?