Christian Theology and African Traditions

By Matthew Michael

A contribution to the engagement between Christianity and non-Western cultures, bringing Christian theology into dialogue with African traditions.

ISBN: 9780718892944


Christian theology is an increasingly non-Western enterprise now that the highest concentrations of Christians in the world are no longer found in the West. Christian Theology and African Traditions takes seriously the movement of Christianity from Western to non-Western settings and focuses on one place in particular: Africa. It repositions Christian theology and faith in order to engage the African traditions in the classical category of theology proper, as well as bibliology, anthropology, Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. Matthew Michael provides unique insights into the problems that these classical and systematic categories pose to African Christianity, and offers a theological blueprint for non-Africans interested in knowing the nature and shape of Christian theology in non-Western settings.

Consequently, Christian Theology and African Traditions goes beyond the mere criticism of Western misrepresentation of African traditions to seeing how the Christian theology in its systematic character engages the African traditions. With this methodological template, the work describes in the space of twelve chapters the different classical teachings of the Christian faith on God, scriptures, spirits and demons, the nature of the human person, the persons of Christ, salvation, the Holy Spirit, the church, and the future life in dialogue with some specific traditions of the African people.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 260

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Matthew Michael is the Academic Dean of ECWA Theological Seminary, Kagoro, Nigeria. Dr. Michael has taught and presented papers on Christian theology in non-Western settings, issues in Old Testament, and African spirituality and world-views in universities and seminaries across Africa.


Foreword by Dr Yusufu Turaki

1. Introduction
2. Kindergarten Issues
3. General and Special Revelation
4. The Scriptures
5. The Existence of God
6. Angels, Spirits, and Demons
7. The Nature of the Human Person
8. The Person of Christ
9. Salvation
10. The Holy Spirit
11. The Church
12. The Future Hope
13. Conclusion



Endorsements and Reviews

Michael’s treatment of the contemporary historical Jesus debate, the African christological quest, salvation, the Holy Spirit, the church, the spirit world in Africa, and eschatology is quite refreshing. This book promises to be an immense resource for students and teachers in Bible colleges, theological seminaries, and universities, and pastors and Christians at large in Africa.
Gwamna Dogara Je’adayibe, Nasarawa State University, Keffi

A well researched contribution to the necessary interaction that must take place between Christian doctrine and African traditions … A masterpiece in the sense that it sets a pace for the objective religious engagement in a pluralistic religious continent. It is therefore, recommended for students of Christian studies, comparative studies, African studies, and general public readers.
Richard Adetunbi Ogunleye, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 21, Issue 3

Michael alternates between summarising historical approaches to a wide array of theological topics and exploring African traditions … The diversity of the theological topics that Michael considers in this book offers an implicit rebuke to the too-seductive idea that all African theology can be boiled down to a position on homosexuality. Michael helpfully reminds us that there is much more to consider as we respond to God’s love in our lives.
The Revd Jesse Zink, in Church Times, July 2014

Dr Michael succeeds in keeping a steady focus on both imminent contextual realities in Africa and also transcendental biblical truth … I would recommend this book to anyone engaging in ministry with Africans, either on the continent or within the diaspora … this book will also prove beneficial to those who listen to, engage with, and learn from other cultural perspectives on systematic theological issues.
Rohintan Mody, in Churchman, Vol 128, Issue 3

The result is a systematic theology that will engage and stimulate African readers. Western theologians will hear in Christian Theology and African Traditions a clear and articulate voice of mainstream African Christian thinking.
Todd Statham, in The Expository Times, Vol 126, Issue 5

… a valuable contribution with its study of the relationship between systematic theology and African traditions … Michael’s extensive footnotes show his familiarity with a wide range of theological works. This, coupled with his knowledge of African tradition, provides a fascinating perspective on systematic theology. Readers will gain both deeper understanding of the challenges of communicating theology to the African world and new insights into Christian theology when viewed through an African lens. … The book will be particularly useful to missiology students and to theology students at the seminary level who wish to engage with traditions beyond the western perspective.
Randall McElwain, in Theological Book Review, Vol 26, No 1

The book throughout gives evidence of a lively, bold, and expansive mind at work, based on wide reading in the literature, with a fulsome apparatus of notes and bibliography deployed.
BookNotes for Africa, 2015