Do indigenous African religions offer African Christians a clearer view of Early Christianity? In what ways does the Early Christian imagination match the indigenous mind in ways that Western enlightenment worldview does not? These are the questions of the week. I am leaning on African theologian Kwome Bediako and historian of religion Harold Turner (not Victor).
Points four and five of the primitive imagination include: 4. a belief that humanity can enter into relationship with a benevolent spirit-world, 5. an acute sense of the afterworld.
For the fourth point, consider this text (Luke 1): Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear….”
For the fifth point, consider this verse (2 Peter): But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. THe heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare…But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Bediako notes, “Primal religions generally conceive of religion as a system of power and of living religiously as being in touch with the source and channels of power in the universe; Christian theology in the West seems on the whole, to understand the Christian Gospel as a system of ideas. And yet, when the apostle Paul described the gospel, that is what he wrote: ‘I have complete confidence in the Gospel; it is the power of God to save all who believe…’ Surely, this calls for a new idiom.”