Evangelical Christianity and African culture : a critical assessment of the salvific significance of the cross of Christ in Shona culture

Nakah, Victor (2007-03)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research investigates the salvific significance of the Cross of Christ in Shona culture from an evangelical perspective. It explores the typology of positions in evangelical Christianity and identifies the cross of Christ as one of its central tenets. The meaning of the cross is described and explained using diverse metaphors found in the Old and New Testaments. This research argues that the key metaphors used are drawn from the immediate context in which the understanding of the cross is sought because metaphors work within cultures where a shared encyclopedia can be assumed. The application is therefore that each culture and generation needs to contextually find ways of conceptualising and communicating the cross of of Christ. It is in the process of doing this that the Cross of Christ will have transformational impact in a given culture. The immediate context of this research is Shona culture and this culture is explored by looking at its typology of themes. Here the research identifies the ancestor motif as key to understanding Shona culture and religion as well as making sense of the Cross of Christ and its salvific siginificance. The reasearch argues that both the person and work of Christ, in particular what he accomplished on the cross, must be understood, expressed and accepted from an African (Shona) perspective if evangelical Christianity is to have any meaningful and transformational impact. The research therefore argues that the Christian calling is a cultural task. Christians are called to a cultural context and to fulfill this calling, Christians should neither take flight from the world of culture nor simply affirm it but engage it creatively as co-workers with God. The task of the church as a community of believers is therefore to bring about community transformation by affirming what can and should be affirmed in Shona culture and confronting what can and must be confronted. The understanding in this regard is that God acts redemptively towards reality through the church and he therefore uses Christians to bring about liberation, wholeness and soundness to communities when we trust in him. This can only happen when the evangelical understanding of the cross of Christ and its saving significance includes within it a· commitment to the world and to the task of bringing healing grace to the poor, starving and oppressed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie word die Christuskruis se verlossingsbetekenis (salvific siginificance) in die Shona-kultuur vanuit 'n evangelistiese perspektief ondersoek. Die tipologie van posisies in die evangelistiese Christendom word ondersoek en die Christuskruis word as een van die hoofdele geïdentifiseer. Die kruis se betekenis word beskryf deur uiteenlopende metafore in die Ou en Nuwe Testament te gebruik. Die mening wprd gehuldig dat die hoofmetafore wat gebruik is, verkry is vanuit die onmiddellike konteks waarin daar na die kruis se betekenis gesoek word. Die rede is dat metafore binne kulture werk waar 'n gedeelde ensiklopedie veronderstel kan word. Die toepassing is dat elke kultuur en generasie wyses kontekstueel moet vind om die Christuskruis te konseptualiseer en te kommunikeer. Die kruis sal in hierdie proses 'n impak van transformasie op 'n gegewe kultuur hê. Die onmiddellike konteks van hierdie studie is die Shona-kultuur wat ondersoek word deur die kultuur se tipologie van temas in oenskou te neem. Die voorvader-motif word geïdentifiseer as die sleutel tot antler se begrip van die Shona-kultuur en -godsdiens en om sin te maak van die Christuskruis en sy verlossingsbetekenis. In hierdie studie word die mening gehuldig dat Christus as persoon en sy werk, veral dit wat Hy aan die kruis bereik het, vanuit 'n Afrika-(Shona) perspektief begryp, uitgedruk en aanvaar moet word voordat evangelistiese Christenskap 'n betekenisvolle impak van transformasie kan hê. Hier word die mening dus gehandhaaf dat die Christelike roeping 'n kulturele taak is. Om hulle roeping in 'n kulturele konteks te vervul, behoort Christene nie van kultuur weg te vlug nie, maar moet hulle dit bevestig en kreatief as God se medewerkers daarby betrokke raak. Die taak van die kerk as 'n gemeenskap van gelowiges is om gemeenskapstransformasie te laat realiseer deur dit te bevestig en te konfronteer wat in die spesifieke kultuur gepas is. God gebruik die kerk en Christene om bevryding, heelheid en gesondheid in gemeenskappe te laat realiseer wanneer die mens in Hom glo. Dit kan gebeur slegs wanneer die evangelistiese begrip van die Christuskruis en sy verlossingsbetekenis die verbintenis tot die wêreld insluit, asook die verbintenis tot die taak om genesende genade aan die armes, uitgehongerdes en verdruktes te bring.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50711
This item appears in the following collections: