Reshaping South African Indigenous Theology on God and Sin: A Comparative Study of Augustine’s Confessions -- By: Gabriel Boitshepo Ndhlovu
Volume: CONSPECTUS 19:1 (Mar 2015)
Article: Reshaping South African Indigenous Theology on God and Sin: A Comparative Study of Augustine’s Confessions
Author: Gabriel Boitshepo Ndhlovu
Conspectus 19:1 (March 2015) p. 79
Reshaping South African Indigenous Theology on God and Sin: A Comparative Study of Augustine’s Confessions
Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, is one of the most influential church fathers whose views helped to shape modern Protestant theology. Many of his works are still studied by modern theologians. As an African he contributed to shaping a bible-focused theology that transformed Europe and the world. Many African theologians dream of reaching the international stature of Augustine. However, African theology in the present context differs greatly from the Greek-Roman world to which Augustine was accustomed. The continent is a boiling pot of different cultures, religions and conflicting worldviews. South Africa during the apartheid era was divided into different classes. The Christian community was divided by race and ideology. Western-style education and Christian missions brought a sense of awareness in the black South African communities. During this period, two types of theologies flourished. The first is Black Theology that is political and the second is South African Indigenous theology that sought to present theology in a way that connects and is easily acceptable to black South African communities. The
Conspectus 19:1 (March 2015) p. 80
South African Indigenous theology flourished with the African Indigenous Church groups, which currently enjoy more than six million members. The churches are diverse and syncretise Christian theism with African traditional religions. I will examine how the views of Augustine in Confessions could influence African Indigenous theology in South Africa.
This work will examine how the notion of divine providence and sin in African Indigenous Theology can be reshaped to present a more biblical view. The notion of divine providence and sin are fundamental in understanding African Indigenous theology in South Africa. Many theological views practised in black South African cultures are founded on these two views. I believe that when these views are reshaped to reflect the truth expressed in the scriptures, most of the theological concerns expressed by Western theologians can be dealt with.
Bediako (2004:49) states that there are two types of African theologies in the post-missionary era. The first is the liberation theology, which is the product of the anti-apartheid movement. This is known as Black Theology. Black theology is a product of the oppressed in trying to understand and deal with their political environment. Black Theology sees God as the fighter against and rescuer of the oppressed from tyrannical governments. The second is...
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