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Stellenbosch Theological Journal

On-line version ISSN 2413-9467
Print version ISSN 2413-9459


VAN DER MERWE, Dirk. From Christianising Africa to Africanising Christianity: Some hermeneutical principles. STJ [online]. 2016, vol.2, n.2, pp.559-587. ISSN 2413-9467.

During the early church's initial expansion phase where congregations were established in Syria, Asia Minor, Achaia, Italy and Africa there were strong leadership structures in Alexandria, Carthage, Hippo Regius and Ethiopia. Over a period of two millennia the Christian church with a westernised character has spread all over Africa. Today there is a strong African consciousness and critical approach to Africanise Christianity, to decolonise it and to de-Westernise it. This research endeavours to contribute to the dialectic and critical debate and reasoning surrounding the Africanising of Christianity. There is the attempt, from a holistic perspective, to set some hermeneutical principles in place within this approach. This article approaches this topic from three perspectives. Firstly, it gives a brief overview of the spread and growth of Christianity into Africa with reference to six epochs to contextualise the reasoning in the following sections. Secondly, it points out some difficulties that were experienced during the rapid growth of Christianity and changes in its theology. During the past few decades Africa has not only endeavoured to regain its political and cultural identity, but also to claim an own Christian identity by Africanising Christianity. Thirdly, the article discusses some proposed hermeneutical principles that should be considered during the formation of a new Christian identity.

Keywords : Christianising Africa; Africanising Christianity; decolonise; de-Westernise; hermeneutical principles.

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