The intermediatorial work of Christ through His threefold office : a theological appropriation from an African perspective
Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the midst of suffering, poverty and moral crisis, many Africans have never been able to rely on Christ as the only Lord and Saviour of their lives. In spite of their regular church attendance to the Church, many of the Africans so called believers have never stopped worshipping Ancestors, consulting Sangomas, and using witchcrafts whenever things go wrong in their lives. Thus for many Africans Christ has been perceived incapable to respond to the crises of their lives, and the Church has been regarded irrelevant to address the issues of Africans. For many Africans, Christianity is just a formality. As a consequence, many of African believers are still under the bondage of sin and demons as many churches are struggling to appropriately apply the meaning of Christ’s work of salvation in practical ways in an African context. Therefore, in the light of the brokenness and sinfulness of humans and the existence of tragedy, on earth, especially on the African continent and its syncretism, this study investigates the meaning of Jesus Christ’s mediatorial work in His threefold office for the redemption and liberation of human beings in general, and how can the mediatorial work of Christ be effectively appropriated in light of African contexts. Since the aim in this work is to explore the meaning of Jesus Christ’s mediatorial work of salvation for human beings in general and the manner in which his work can be appropriated in the African context, in chapter one, we have presented the background in which the tragic condition of human beings in general, and of Africans in particular, is viewed in need for the redemptive mediatorial work of Christ in his threefold office. In chapter two, we discussed the background of the messianic threefold office of Christ in its biblical and historical origin and meaning, some objections to the notion of the threefold office of Christ and, finally, some contemporary interpretations of the threefold office of Christ. From chapter three to chapter five, we thus strived to explain each of the three offices of Christ in its biblical and historical origins; and in its messianic function; in chapter four, on the messianic priestly office, we explained the theological meaning of Christ’s atoning work. We also discussed the contemporary meaning for each office. Finally in chapter six, we have concluded our thesis with a proposed Christology. African theologians stress Jesus’ central place within African Christianity and that there is a critical need to articulate the reality and significance of Christ in relation to the lives of Africans. African theologians are encouraged to articulate the image of Christ who is able to inspire the Church and Christians in Africa to follow the path of reconciliation, justice, and peace. Constructing African Christologies of reconciliation, justice, and peace poses a fruitful challenge to African theologians and Christians. This task entails constructing a Christology in which there is a meeting place where Christ is conversing with the soul of Africa. The Christological approach that has often been proposed by many African theologians is a functional one, known as "a Christology from below." In this Christology the main emphasis is on what Christ has done for our salvation, rather than Christ’s nature. With a functional Christology some names have been attributed to Christ to describe his function: “Christ the Witch-Doctor”, “Christ the healer”, “Christ the Medicine man”, “Christ the Nganga”, “Christ the Chief”, “Christ the ancestor”, “Christ the liberator”, and “Christ the king”. It has been pointed out that Christology in Africa will be meaningful and empowering only when we translate it to our contextual situation in daily life. When Africans are absolutely certain that Jesus Christ is sufficiently able to address their profoundest African problems, they will be compelled to yield to Him as their Lord and saviour.