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Arusha, Tanzania, Lutheran Sunday service, March 2018.

Arusha, Tanzania, Lutheran Sunday service, March 2018.

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By Fredrick Nzwili

 

The book, titled Addressing Contextual Misleading Theologies in Africa Today was unveiled today on 24 November during a symposium—the second of its kind—in Nairobi.

“The book …brings together voices from church leaders, ordained ministers and lay theologians from all regions of the AACC to engage in identifying, analyzing and deconstructing misleading theologies vividly,” said Rev. Prof. Bosela Eale, AACC director of Theology, Interfaith Relations and Leadership.

Eale said the group was accompanying churches to promote relevant contextual theology as a way of responding to the false teachings and practices.

A first symposium on the subject was held from 23- 27 October 2019. Participants including church leaders, ordained ministers and theologians from across Africa then observed that countless people were adversely affected by the harmful beliefs and practices related to the damaging theologies.

The conference mandated ecumenical fellowships to safeguard Christians from the misleading theologies and their merchants, among other recommendations. The book is based on papers presented at the conference.

Writing the books, the authors adopted a thematic format, breaking the publication into seven chapters. The first defines misleading theologies as teachings, doctrine or practice that ignore the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, or challenge or misrepresent the divine sovereignty of God.

In others, it tackles how misleading theologies effect health and healing, wealth and poverty, power and authority. While proposing approaches to tackle the misleading theologies, it also evaluates the possible impacts of government regulation in religious institutions in Africa.

“Wealth and poverty are addressed in the context of faith as a critical component under which misleading theologies are propagated in Africa today. The chapter (three) helps understand how the prosperity Gospel has propelled a paradigm shift in understanding material prosperity as a reflection of one’s faith in God and blessing, and poverty as lack of faith as well as a curse,” said Eala.

The sixth chapter shows existing gaps between Biblical teachings and practices in Protestant churches that allow the propagation of the theologies.

Rev. Fidon Mwombeki, AACC general secretary, said the organization desired to see people in Africa uniting to give robust contribution to theological thought and providing global leadership in such conversation.

“This is the key reason why AACC published this book,” said Mwombeki.

Regnum Books International, which is part of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies met the cost of the book’s publication.

“You have set us an example in willing to tackle these issues… because the church globally is in great need of doing this kind of reflective work,” said Dr Paul Bendor- Samuel Mbe, the director of Regnum Books International.

Fredrick Nzwili is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.