McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Ecclesiology, Africa, Theology, Revelation, Doctrine, Scripture, Inculturation
African theology is burdened with a major problem of identity, which stems from the lack of African history and memory in African theology. African theologians in the face of the delicate dilemma of creating a theology that is both African and Christian, have fallen into the epistemological compulsion to impose western Christian theological categories as foundational to African theology. Inculturation thus presupposes the already alien space on which the structures of the present ecclesiology is anchored. The result is a peripheral inculturation, a consumer ecclesiology, always seeking to solve its local pastoral problems in accordance with alien incongruous codes and canons, and a church that continues to look up to the west for theological products and directions for use. This dissertation proposes a retrieval of the West African sacred space as a proper site for West African theology. Anchored on the fluid conceptualization of divine embodiment and revelation, a string of tradition extant in the Hebrew Scriptures, in traditions that lay claim to the Hebrew Bible (notably Catholicism), and in African traditional religious cosmology, this dissertation establishes the West African sacred space as an independent revelatory economy. I contend that the fluidity model cuts the Gordian knot in the effort to develop an ecclesiology that is both African and Christian, yet, founded on the structures of an African revelatory space. A new ecclesiological scheme that though independent, and different from the western/Roman categories, does not diminish faith in Jesus Christ, nor destabilize the oneness of God’s people in the universal Church.
Kanu, C. (2019). God, Land, Identity: Divine Fluidity and a Spatial Ecclesiology in West Africa (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1826