"Imagining a just and equitable African Christian community" : a critical analysis of the contribution of Theological Education Fund/Ecumenical Theological Education (1910-2012).
This study utilizes a systematic review method to assess literature about the Protestant Christian tradition to enhance theological education in the African context. It explores the development and transformation of African theological education in the period 1910 to 2012. A ‘follow the money trail method of investigation’ was utilized to expose the theological issues that African theologians fundraised for African theological education through the Theological Education Fund/Ecumenical Theological Education of World Council of Churches. These were perceived as crucial in developing an African theological education that promotes the principles of a just and equitable African Christian community. The primary data was extracted by utilizing an approach that demanded searching various media sources which included electronic databases. The search strategy for electronic databases was developed from the key words and phrases of the research question. The search yielded about 10, 821 results and having carefully perused through them, 169 primary sources were included in this study. This was significant as it helped make sense of a large body of literature and was a means of isolating and synthesising the main theories and pragmatics of African theological education. The insights gained from this study are significant as a contribution to the current search for a vision of African theological education that promotes the principles of a just and equitable African Christian community in the twenty-first century. The study makes two unique contributions in the search and vision for African theological education. The contribution lies in constructing an example of an African pedagogy of community of life which is based on education for life-giving. This pedagogy is based on the Bemba understanding of insaka which is a process of life-giving-learning methodology. This theme is as relevant for global Christianity as it is to the Bemba people in their quest for life-giving theological education. Another critical contribution lies in the understanding that through Africanization, African theological education has been in a process of acquiring its own unique character or theological identity. African theological education has shifted from a merely dogmatic orientation to praxis orientation. This is based on a theological pedagogy that recognises that doing theological education involves critical engagement in a missional process of liberation—of seeking fullness of life in its interpenetrative dimensions as spiritual-material starting with the least of the community, but embracing the whole of God’s creation. To achieve this, theological education has to cut across denominational allegiances, privileging of academic disciplines, and embracing the insaka pedagogy of life through ecumenical and trans-disciplinary approaches. The viability of African theological education resides in its critical engagement with the concrete societal challenges of the African peoples. As a result, this study argues that creating a just and equitable African Christian community to a large extent depends on embracing the life-giving pedagogy as an imperative in African theological education.
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