Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2005


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Calvin L. Troup

Committee Member

Janie Harden Fritz

Committee Member

Richard H. Thames


Africa, catechesis, Ghana, Kaleidoscope Catechesis, missionary activity, rhetoric


The question about how to appropriately incarnate the Christian message among different cultures is a perennial one. The very first Christian Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15: 1-35) dealt with this issue and throughout the centuries different cultures have continued to battle with the same issue.

Within the African context, the question arises as to how Christianity can truly be Christian and African at the same time. In other words, how can faith become culture in Africa?

The answer to this question must be rhetorical. That is to say, the proclamation (catechesis) of the Christian message must be expressed in a language that translates Africans' relationship with Jesus of Nazareth and is understood by them. This means that catechesis must begin with the historical understanding that Africans (and for that matter, Dagaaba and Sisaala of Northwestern Ghana) have of themselves and of the world around them.

In this regard, the rhetorical significance given by St. Augustine (Bishop of Hippo) to the problem of incarnating Christianity in local cultural contexts will constitute the theoretical basis on which the rhetoric of kaleidoscope catechesis in Africa will be grounded. For Augustine just as for any African Church, there is no room in catechesis for repeating the sin of the sophists by denying the necessity of subject matter (Christian Doctrine) and insisting that forma alone is desirable. Rather a union of both matter and form must be concurrently pursued as a rhetorical endeavor.

Therefore, this study will critically analyze the rhetorical dynamics of catechizing cross-culturally and propose that a rhetorically robust catechesis, called kaleidoscope catechesis, is essential for faith development and maturity in Africa. The rhetorical function of kaleidoscope catechesis will be to incarnate the Gospel into the indigenous culture.