Sunday, 19 February 2017

My Theological Journey: For Mission and Environmentalism

"Ignorance is the mother of all superstition, not devotion" - A.H. Strong

This year has already been a very eventful one for me, occasionally depressing yet assuring. No matter what life throws at you, sometimes if you are still fighting then it means you are gaining some grounds. Though am writing this in February, I believe 2017 has been my toughest year so far since my full adult life began. It is needless to sugar a pill and half; it's been a hectic first two months. But fighting while wounded on the battle field, I have still gained some grounds— my first book would be released next month, a vision I began nurturing 5 years ago.

Cover Design by Perk Pomeyie
But the best decision I believe I have made this year is to take 10months off active activism to study Theology. I chose to enroll in the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture because they were offering an MA in Theology, Holistic Mission and Development, and I felt that was what I was looking for as a foundation for my long term interest in combining Environmentalism with Apologetics. It wasn't a tough decision to make considering I knew I had to build and develop myself to communicate my faith coherently to make my activism relevant. Moreover, I wanted an opportunity to think, and think justly and I found one within walls of the Institute.

Theology as you know in this part of the world and age, is easily dismissed as another ivory tower of academia—rigidly intellectual and tacitly anti-spiritual and dangerous to faith. So theology is often packaged neatly in a box and stored away somewhere safe, while spiritual reality is pursued as a daily endeavor. This thought and practice is equally erroneous. Study is a spiritual discipline—so theology both intellectuality and spirituality. Indeed God commands us to love Him with our minds in scripture (Luke 10:27) so combining heart and mind to think is according to his will. Maybe, that is why we don't send our best to theological schools today. Centuries ago, theology was described as the 'Queen of the Sciences' and only the best and most brilliant students pursued it. It was theologians who thought for the rest of society.

The Global South is now the centre of gravity of Christianity, Africa is a Christian heartland in the 21st Century and this is the time to respond to culturally rooted issues and questions of faith and how to live it out in society. We have already been dispossessed both in culture and heritage and there is a need for a valid knowledge of how the self-disclosure of God through His son Jesus Christ shapes our entire existence and influence in society towards justice for all of God's creation. Once a while, you bump into people who reject Christianity because they claim it's a religion passed on by colonial masters. This is invalid. In fact, there were Christians in Africa—leading apologists for that matter between the 2nd and 3rd Centuries AD. That was before European Christendom as a matter of fact. That said, the Reformation was in the 16th Century, the Missionary Movement, 19th Century.

Tertullian (c. 160 to c. 225) an African lawyer had an enormous impact on Western Theology, a prolific author who produced an extensive corpus of Latin Literature. We can begin to re-think about how to respond to social issues of rights and justice when we gain a deeper understanding of the opportunity we have as African Christians in shaping global worldview as the Early Christians did.

We live in a society where injustice triumphs; perpetrated by the echelons of media, academia, judiciary, government, organized religion, politics, etc. But we have all looked on and watched the poor and voiceless and oppressed suffer and the environment decimated while we pursue our own prosperity and progress. This is in stark contrast to the Gospel. In fact, Jesus Christ came down on earth as a man to establish God's justice on earth. That is the Gospel—the Theology that challenges yours. 

In Luke 4, Jesus returned to the synagogue in Nazareth after being tempted by the devil. The book of Isaiah was handed to him and he read his mandate on earth (Isaiah 61). After that he closed the book and with everyone's gaze fixed on him, he declared, "today this scripture has been fulfilled in your ears". My theology is the Gospel justice for God's creation. What is yours?

1 comment:

  1. How you took your time and succinctly washed ashore the garbage of human gratification. You lifted me up again. I relate to this article so well.