African British theologies explored
The theological talents of African pastors in Britain are highlighted in a new book from a Baptist minister
African Voices: Towards African British Theologies, edited by Israel Olofinjana, features contributions from 12 African pastor scholars based in Britain.
Israel explained that it is African Theology because of the presence of African Christianity, but it is also British because the new context, Britain, demands that African Christians contextualise the gospel for the multicultural British society.
The book’s aim is therefore to give voice to African pastor-scholars operating in a British context.
‘These are often voices not heard in our Bible colleges or theological circles, which is the reason why all 12 contributors are Africans,' said Nigerian-born Israel, minister of Woolwich Central Baptist Church in London.
‘I wanted to emphasise that Africans do indeed do theology, as opposed to popular opinion that they are good at pastoring large churches and leading dynamic worship. This volume succeeds in showcasing the theological talents within African churches in Britain.’
The book is divided into three sections, Missiology, Constructive Theology and Practical Theology.
Under each discipline are emergent theologies such as Reverse Missiology, Sacred use and spaces by African Churches, African Pneumatology, African Christology, Prosperity Gospel, Intercultural Ecumenism, Black Womanist Theology, Second-generation Africans and African church growth and spirituality.
It means that the book is helping to develop an emerging area of academic enquiry, namely African British theology.
‘An academic field located within the disciplines of African Theology and Black British Theology,’ said Israel. ‘This is theology on the move!’
The book was commended by Dr Joel Cabrita, Lecturer in World Christianities, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, who said, ‘While much research to date has focused on theology in the context of the African continent, Olofinjana argues that diasporic African identity – especially in the United Kingdom, his own area of particular focus – needs to be taken more seriously in its own right as a distinctive milieu of theological reflection.
‘The other key area of innovation is the volume’s focus on the intellectual production that is being pioneered by members of African diasporic churches themselves; this, then, is theology deeply engaged with practice and diasporic identity.’
Israel has authored a number of books exploring majority world pastors in Britain. Previous titles include Partnership in Mission – A Black Majority Church Perspective On Mission and Church Unity; Reverse In Ministry And Missions: Africans In The Dark Continent Of Europe; and Turning the Tables on Mission – Stories of Christians from the Global South in the UK.
He is also the director of the Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World, a network/training hub that aims to prepare and equip pastors and missionaries from the Majority World in Britain as well as to help indigenous British Christians and churches understand Christians from the South.
African Voices will be officially launched on 21 October at London City Mission.