Christians and Churches of Africa: Salvation in Christ and Building a New African Society. By Kä Mana. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2004. Pp. 108. Paperback $18.
Jesus and the Gospel in Africa: History and Experience. By Kwame Bediako. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2004. Pp. xvii, 124. Paperback $18.
Beads and Strands: Reflections of an African Woman on Christianity in Africa. By Mercy Amba Oduyoye. Maryknoll, N.Y.: OrUs Books, 2004. Pp. xiv, 114. Paperback $18.
In these three books the medium is as important as the message because the production and dissemination of knowledge is a crucial aspect of the problem of African theological education. The three first appeared in a collaborative effort by Editions Clé, Cameroon, and Akrofi-Christaller Center, Ghana (through Regnum Africa), to publish the theological reflections of Africans at affordable prices. This is only one of the pioneering ways in which Kwame Bediako, the director of the center, has sought to define the theological enterprise in contemporary Africa. Orbis Books is to be commended for encouraging this effort by sharing these works with a global audience through their Theology in Africa series. Among the three authors, the anglophone voices of Oduyoye, who served as a deputy secretary of the World Council of Churches, and Bediako are more familiar. Mana, who teaches at the Institut Protestant de Théologie de Porto-Novo, Benin, introduces the scholarship of a number of francophone Africans.
Oduyoye strengthens the voice of Christian women in patriarchal African churches; Bediako delineates the critical African contribution toward the numerical growth and changing faces of African Christianity; and Mana reflects on a theology of hope or renaissance in the midst of African pathology, or recovery from "the devaluation of our presence in the world of today" (p. 27).
All offer …