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The Dynamics and Contradictions of Evangelisation in Africa

An essay on the Kom experience

Peter Acho Awoh

Publication Year: 2010

This book critically discusses missionary Christianity and colonization in Africa as twin enterprises with a common ambition. While the colonialist set out to invest capital and reap profit, the missionary desire was to tend and turn African souls from damnation. It was this desire that drove the missionaries into the interior, propelled by the belief that no land was too remote to escape their attention and vigilance. It equally kept missionary zeal buoyant. The clarification of the concept of salvation within the Roman Catholic Church during the Vatican II Council set in motion the current lethargy that has in some places crippled the mission itself. In retrospect, one can begin to wonder why Africans became Christians. What reasons motivated the early adherents to cling to this foreign religion? Were there some internal deficiencies in African traditional religions, which the Africans hoped to remedy by joining the new religion? Or was it just part of the wholesale flirting with whatever was foreign and perceived to be modern? What baits were used by the missionaries to entice Africans? Christianity posed a danger to many of the time-honoured answers to African problems. These were the ìvaluesî Africans converting to Christianity were expected to abandon. Why have Christians continually returned to their abandoned roots in time of crisis? This moving, well argued, richly documented and empirically substantiated study concludes by cautioning against the stubborn drive at radical conversion to Christianity with scant regard to the imperatives of enculturation.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-x

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pp. xi-xii

In carrying out this project, I leaned heavily on several individuals, too many to enumerate and to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. However, I must render my fervent thanks to the Brother Superior of the Marist District of West Africa, Rev. Brother Yao Sylvain kouassi Kan, FMS, who personally encouraged me to move on when fatigue and discouragement set in. ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

Generally, missionary enterprise is rightly or wrongly associated with the colonial era, which ended in Cameroon as in most African countries in the 1960s. In fact, the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) declared independence from the Cameroon Baptist Mission (CBM) in 1954, while the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC), ...

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pp. xv-xxi

Almost a century has gone by since the first band of Sacred Heart Missionaries from Germany ventured into the Kom highlands. It was a journey of faith, a faith founded on the theology of the time, which provided the zeal for these men to abandon family and country. They were men according to modern standards ill equipped for the Herculean task ahead of them. ...

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Chapter One: Introduction

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pp. 1-40

The third phase of Africa’s systematic evangelization began in the nineteenth century, a period marked by an extraordinary effort organized by the great apostles and promoters of the African mission. It was a period of rapid growth1. The nineteenth century witnessed unprecedented changes on a global scale, which hitherto had not been witnessed by humanity. ...

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Chapter Two: Missionary Theology

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pp. 41-70

All missionary expeditions in all epochs of human history have been driven by a specific missionary theology. From Pentecost to the missionary endeavours of the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries to the present day, the theological underpinnings of mission have played an important role in either undermining or propelling the missionary fervour. ...

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Chapter Three: Motives and Methods

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pp. 71-110

The history of humanity has known many major turning points which have encouraged missionary outreach, and the Church, guided by the spirit, has always responded to them with generosity and farsightedness1. One of these major turning points was colonisation of Cameroon by the Germans in 1884. ...

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Chapter Four: Present Day Challenges

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pp. 111-180

Besides colonialism, one of the themes that have received a bad press from prominent Cameroonian writers is Christianity. Significant numbers of writers have portrayed Christianity and specifically Catholicism in often derogatory and pejorative terms. Some novels present colonialism together with Christianity as a collapsing enterprise. ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 181-184

E-ISBN-13: 9789956579983
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956578214

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: B/W
Publication Year: 2010