Christianity in Africa in the 1990s
Elphick, Richard, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Christianity in Africa in the 1990s. Edited by Christopher Fyfe and Andrew Walls. Edinburgh: Centre of African Studies, Univ. of Edinburgh, 1996. Pp. iii, 160. Paperback. No price given.
These thirteen papers-first given at a 1992 conference in Edinburgh-appear in the shadow of Africa's numerous crises. The authors-Africans and expatriates, scholars and religious workers-agree that Christianity is a vital force in these crises but differ on its quality and effectiveness.
Among the more pessimistic authors, Adrian Hastings deplores the mainline churches' declining commitment to Africanize Christianity, while Aylward Shorter describes an authoritarian, outof-touch Catholicism surviving only from "injections of foreign funds" (p. 24). James Wilkie recounts the fading of African ecumenism, and Louise Pirouet shows the failings of church-run programs for refugee resettlement.
Edith Blumhofer and Matthews Ojo report more positively on the burgeoning Pentecostal and charismatic movements, as do Kwame Bediako on African theology and D. Zac Niringiye on parachurch Christian organizations. Stan Nussbaum describes how African grassroots Christians, working with Western scholars, have produced Bible commentaries for Africa. And Lamin Sanneh, illustrating the intellectual vitality of African Christianity, mounts a Christian critique of the African state. …