Theology – Missiology

About the book

F. A. Oborji Editor Ikenna Okagbue, Editor Kenneth Nnaemeka Ameke, TOWARDS AFRICAN MISSIOLOGYCOLLECTION OF ESSAYS, Xlibris Publishers USA 2020
This volume reflects on a credible and a new language of Christian mission in Africa. The author’s thoughts and approaches not only provide a missiological insight which contribute to the repertoire of expanding fresh ideas in the missiological studies but also serves the purpose of highlighting the active participation of Africans in the missionary mandate of Jesus Christ. In other words, the scope of missiology needs a contextualized interpretation. Thus, he proposes a proactive language for missiology in Africa thereby underlining Africans as normal and full members of the human family. In the light of the Vatican II mission theology, the new language should be based on the fact that Africans will grow and do better in admiration and not in sympathy. Interestingly, the arguments in this volume opens the space for the on-going discussions in the mission of the church in the era of secularization and post-modernity. Consequently, a new language for missiology in Africa will come from the retrieval and modernization of our African cultural matrix pursued from the point of view of the daily struggles of the Africans themselves for survival which also addresses Africans in the spirit of cooperation.

F. A. Oborji Editor Ikenna Okagbue, Editor Kenneth Nnaemeka Ameke, THEOLOGY AND SOCIAL ISSUES IN AFRICACOLLECTION OF ESSAYS, Xlibris Publishers USA 2020

The Volume speaks to us from the heart and engages the socio-political concerns in the Nigerian context through the lens of a theological approach. The author reflects historically the numerous consequences of the amalgamation of the ethnic groups of different orientations in Nigeria into one socio-political structure of the colonizers interests. This sociopolitical structure raises several questions than answers it pretends to offer the indigenous people. From a Nigerian point of view, the articles in this volume critically challenge the unjust formation of any nationhood in the Africa context. It points out how the sustenance of an unjust nation formation betrays the creed on which such a nation is established. “Truth conquers all” is the spirit with which this Volume is written. It is the truth that will set a nation like Nigeria free from the spirit of confusion and unperceived religio-socio-political syncretism. The awareness emanating from this volume suggests liberating steps from the unsuspicious colonial interests and the sustained feigned relationship with the colonizers which militate against the socio-political and economic growth, and theological orthodoxy of such a growing nation.


F. A. Oborji Editor Ikenna Okagbue, Editor Kenneth Nnaemeka Ameke, MEMORY AND PEACECOLLECTION OF ESSAYS, Xlibris Publishers USA 2020

The Latin adage “Si vis pacem, para bellum” (if you want peace, prepare for war) is usually interpreted as ‘peace through strength.’ It expresses the idea that being armed and ready to fight in order to defend oneself is a viable way of keeping the peace. However, the truism of the adage is expressed by the author who argues for peace and sustainable development of Africa at large in the light of the Nigerian/Biafra struggle. He intellectually equips readers with memories of the past lest the mistakes of history be repeated. The author uses the power of the pen as a weapon mightier than the sword, to discuss the structures of peace in the African context. He weighs in a balance, the need for restructuring and the right for self-determination; the way to freedom and collective effort towards development. This volume contains articles that propose potential and functional solutions to the perennial challenges presently facing Nigeria as a country. Interestingly, the reflections recommend steps towards cordial reconciliation and the liberating spirit that would catalyze the restoration of an emerging nation (the Republic of Biafra). The volume further expands the ongoing ideas and thoughts on a variety of issues that offer roadmaps to the contextual problems of the indigenous people as well as the Christian Mission and evangelical witness. Furthermore, the author goes on to demonstrate that when dialogue is employed, peace makes its way in the hearts of the citizens, which ushers in the flourishing of good governance and economic growth. Hence, justice, equity, peace, equal rights and opportunity become the bedrock upon which every nation-state is supposed to be founded.


F. A. Oborji, MISSION AND RECONCILIATION: THEOLOGY AND PASTORAL CHALLENGES OF SOCIAL VIOLENCE, Aracne Rome 2015
 

The increasing nature of conflicts and tensions in our contemporary society has challenged us to examine in this book reconciliation and violence from a missiological perspective and in the light of the Christian teaching and ministry of reconciliation. The book begins by relating the Church’s evangelizing mission to the ministry of reconciliation in the social realm, and thereafter discusses reconciliation in relation to elements of violence in the society, cultures and religions. It provides us with some basic arguments and reasons for language learning in human relations and shows how the abuse of words in our language of relationship in the social realm contributes to acts of violence and conflicts. It makes case for the “African Palaver” model as an emerging form of social reconciliation, and examines the role of the Church and of Christians in general as ambassadors of reconciliation in the social realm.


F.A. OBORJI, Christianity and Traditional Religions: Orientations for a Pastoral Approach, Leberit SRL Press, Rome 2009.
 
This small book posits the question of the theological value and catechetical role of traditional religions by relating these religions to the theological categories of supernatural, revelation and salvation in Jesus Christ. Since traditional religions are not revelational or salvific in nature, the book argues that it is from the perspective of the missionary theory of praeparatio evangelica that one may relate these religions to Christianity. The book discusses how the Providence has prepared the forbears of adherents of traditional religions for the reception of the Christian faith through the proclamation of the Gospel. The book examines the role traditional religions can play in this case by contrasting and relating these religions to the Christian teaching on revelation and salvation in Jesus Christ.

         This is a book, not only for experts and students of theology of religions but also for all those who work or live in those areas where traditional religions still condition the life of the people.


F.A. OBORJI, Teologia della missione: Storia e nuove sfide, Tipografia Leberit, Roma 2002.
 
Questo libro traccia quasi lo stesso tema che l’autore discusso nel suo libro, Concepts of Mission (Orbis Books, 2006). Il libro, Teologia della missione: Storia e nuove sfide,era l’edizione preparatoria della Concepts of Mission. Nel suo insieme, il libro discute come la missiologia sta oggi prendendo un posto centrale nell’educazione teologica, e come anche la teologia missionaria in modo particolare, è un aspetto privilegiato della scienza missiologica. Dunque, occore riflettere sull’origine e sullo sviluppo storico della missiologia quale scienza dell’educazione teologica. Nonostante il fatto che la missione fu “la madre della teologia”, lo studio delle missioni quale disciplina teologica è di origine recente. Fino alla fine del XIX secolo non esisteva uno studio teologico sistematico sulla missione come parte integrante della formazione teologica. Cioè, non esisteva una disciplina che si chiamasse teologia della missione o missiologia.
 

Questo libro presente una breve riflessione sull’evoluzione storica della teologia della missione quale scienza dell’educazione teologica. Lo scopo principale del libro è di fare una ricerca storica sui principali autori che hanno dato inizio a questo aspetto della scienza missiologica e di indicare le varie scuole di pensiero che si sono distinte in questo settore. Tuttavia, il libro cerca di indicare le vie per una ulteriore riflessione sulle tematiche principali di attualità proprie della teologia missionaria. Dunque, il libro non parla di tutta la missiologia ma è concentrato sullo sviluppo e sulle tematiche principali della teologia missionaria.


F.A. OBORJI, Towards a Christian Theology of African Religion: Issues of Interpretation and Mission, AMECEA Gaba Publications, Eldoret, Kenya 2005.
 
In this book, the author emphasizes the African concept of life as a central theme in both Christianity and African religious consciousness and tradition. The Africans’ preoccupation with life and its security provides the ingredients for our appreciation of their concepts of the divine beings, in particular, of God as the Supreme Being who is the “Ultimate reality” that is above all history and that is at the root of the religious formulations of the Africans. The value which the Africans attach to life, its prolongation and security is the basis for our understanding of their concepts of ultimate reality. All efforts in African Traditional Religion (ATR) are geared towards the protection and guarantee of life and its security. Right from the beginning of the renewed efforts in the study and appreciation of African cultural and religious values, theologians and other scholars have demonstrated that life stands out for the African as a value around  which other values find their meaning. Thus, studies in African religion and culture have shown that life is at the centre of the African person’s experience of ultimate reality and meaning. The search and project for life that is meaningful, its continuity and dynamic progress towards fullness and realization (ancestral status, divinization) are fundamental for the understanding of the African person’s perception of ultimate reality and meaning.
 

Though, it is difficult to change one’s frame of mind or perception of the other people, once it is formed as is evident today in the past and present Western scholarship on Africa, nevertheless, the author of this book argues that a positive evaluation of African religion and culture could produce an immense contribution to the study and deepening of insights into African culture and life. It is for this reason that the author has devoted attention in the book discussing the universal dimension of ATR in relation to Christianity and the Western thought-pattern. This book helps to appreciate the central place of African religion and culture in the work of inculturation and in the creation of new cultural identity and language learning for mission in Africa today.


F.A. OBORJI, Concepts of Mission: The Evolution of Contemporary Missiology, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York 2006.
 
This book is a comprehensive introduction to the history, theology, and practice of Christian mission. In nine chapters divided into three parts (“basic issues; “historical perspectives”; and “new perspectives”), the book introduces mission and mission studies. This is a book for theologians, missionaries, and church leaders who want a trustworthy overview of the fundamentals of mission from someone attuned to Catholic Conciliar and Post-Conciliar on mission.
 

The book embodies the contemporary missiology’s discourse on mission and globalization as well as the challenges coming from the missionary and theological perspectives of the Christianity from the global South. It sheds light on how a faith that is missionary in nature can be faithful to the Catholic heritage’s concern for unity while nurturing cross-fertilization from the many cultures in which it has grown and from the riches of other religious traditions among which it lives.


 

F.A. OBORJI, La teologia Africana e l’evangelizzazione, Tipografia Leberit, Roma 2004.

 
Questo libro è nella sua seconda edizione. Esso è la versione italiana del libro dell’autore,Trends in African Theology Since Vatican II. Il libro è uno studio sistematico degli orientamenti nella teologia africana e nei percorsi dell’evangelizzazione nel continente. Il libro traccia lo sviluppo della teologia cristiana nell’Africa contemporanea e affronta la teologia quale risposta alla realtà africana e quale sforzo coraggioso per l’opera di inculturazione e di promozione umana nel continente. Pertanto, il libro inizia con uno studio globale della realtà africana, delle provocazioni che essa crea per la missione, e con una breve presentazione delle fasi dell’evangelizzazione sul continente. Prosegue con una discussione della teologia africana stessa, entrando nei dettagli dello studio dei due orientamenti principali della teologia, l’inculturazione e la liberazione, ognuno dei quali presenta le proprie correnti e controcorrenti. Il libro affronta inoltre il concetto dell’immagine africano rinnovata della Chesa-come-Famiglia che rappresenta la sviluppo teologico più recente sul continente, ed addita le provocazioni che questa nuova immagine della Chiesa provoca per la teologia, esaminando alcuni modi per raggiungere una vera comunione ecclesiale fra i cristiani appartenenti ai vari gruppi etnici delle chiese locali dell’Africa, e fra le chiese africane locali e la Chiesa-Famiglia universale.

Queste pagine ci invitano ad apprezzare quanto i precedenti pardigmi hanno potuto fornire, per contribuire all’evangelizzazione dell’Africa; consentono di porre attenzione a quanto i Cristiani africani hanno da comunicare alla Chiesa-Famiglia universale; parlano della loro esperienza della grazia di Dio che opera nei loro contesti culturali socio-religiosi; parlano dei loro sforzi coraggiosi per interpretare i varis aspetti della fede crisiana partendo dallo loro prospettiva e dalla loro esperienza come popolo che è costretto a districarsi di fronte a crisi culturali molto profondo provocate dalla modernità, dall’instabilità socio-politica ed economica, dall’emarginazione, dalla povertà, dalle querre, dai disagi, dall’ingiustizia e da ogni sorta di umana sofferenza.


F.A. OBORJI, Trends in African Theology Since Vatican II: A Missiological Orientation, Leberit SRL Press, Rome 2005.
 
This book originally, was the doctoral thesis of the author at the Pontifical Urban University Rome in 1998. Already published both in English and Italian, the book is now in its second edition in the two languages. The book discusses the emergent theological thoughts in Africa and their consequences for the Christian mission in the continent. Emergent theological thoughts in Africa have continued to exert great influence and emotion both within and outside the continent. Many of the contemporary African theologians have been accused of being unjustifiably touchy in their reflections. But seen from another perspective, and with the focus on the proper incarnation of the Christian faith in Africa, the reflections are the missiological thinking of the newly evangelized. They are attempts by the African Christians themselves to interpret the Christian message and to provide models from their own cultural heritage for an African reading of the mystery of the Christian faith. Rooted in the common faith in Jesus Christ, his Gospel message, the Apostolic Tradition and teaching, and in communion with all the local churches of the universal Church-family, with the Chair of Peter as the centre of communion, they are attempts by the Africans to make their own contributions to the development of the common Christian patrimony. They are also efforts of the theologians to relate the Christian message to the socio-cultural, political and economic reality of Africa.
 
The book goes beyond mere analysis of the development and trends of Christian theology in contemporary Africa. It recognizes the theology as a vibrant factor in the African local churches and discusses it as a response to the continent’s reality, and as a courageous effort in the process of inculturation. Thus, it begins with comprehensive study of the African reality, past and present, and a brief presentation of the phases of the evangelization of the continent, with their results and open problems. Thereafter, it recognizes the effort so far made and identifies as the two main trends of the theology – inculturation and liberation (each with its own currents and crosscurrents). It also reflects on the African renewed image of the Church-as-Family as the most recent theological development in the continent, and indicates the challenges of the new image of the church to the theology, examining ways of achieving a real ecclesial communion among Christians of different ethnic groups in the local churches of Africa, and between the African local churches themselves and the universal Church-Family.
 

In this book, one discovers immediately that the path of African theology is relatively easy! African theologians seek spontaneously a more universal Christian theology that will connect them and their people with the whole of humanity and the history of salvation. Thus, in the writings of the African theologians, one sees the effort to link the African ancestral world view with the history of salvation in Jesus Christ. They do this by reflecting on the Christian faith and exploring the universal dimensions of the African ancestral heritage – their origins in the One Supreme God. Africans in Diaspora, who for circumstances of history were up-rooted from their ancestral heritage, also seek spontaneously of a world that is founded on the Christian vision of the universal dimension of the Kingdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ. In whichever case, the theologians began to realize the strength the Africans could draw from their ancestral history, and wanted to construct a theology that would bridge the gap between their colonial past and their new found faith in Christianity.


 

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing"

~ Martin Luther King Jr

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