By Tienou, Tite
International Bulletin of Missionary Research , Vol. 21, No. 3
Christianity in Africa: The Renewal of a Non-Western Religion.
By Kwame Bediako. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books;and Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press, 1995. Pp. xii, 276. Paperback $25.
Kwame Bediako is director of the AkrofiChristaller Memorial Centre for Mission Research and Applied Theology in Akropong-Akuapem in Ghana. His argumentation is rooted in the need to ascertain "Africa's significant place in Christianity's resurgence in the present century [against the background of] an increasing perception of Africa as marginal to major world affairs" (p. ix). This need seems to be the principle around which the book is organized. The fourteen chapters are divided into three parts. Part 1 is entitled "Christianity in African Life: Some Concerns and Signs of Hope." In the five chapters of this section Bediako wrestles with questions such as "Is Christianity Suited to the African?" (pp. 3-16) and "How Is It That We Hear in Our Own Languages the Wonders of God?" (pp. 59-74). He also examines the problem of African identity and Christianity (pp. 1738).
In Part 2, "Christianity as a Non-Western Religion: Issues Arising in a PostMissionary Setting," the author deals with broader missiological concerns. Here the focus is less on Africa.
Bediako returns to African concerns in Part 3, entitled "Into the Twenty-First Century-Africa as a Christian Continent: The Prospects and Challenges." The four chapters of this section represent the most engaging reflections in the book. In "The Making of Christian Africa: The Surprise Story of the Modern Missionary Movement," "The Place of Africa in a Changing World: The Christian Factor," and "Christian Religion and African Social Norms: Authority, Desacralisation, and Democracy," Bediako courageously faces the issues of Christianity in contemporary Africa. …