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Towards an African Theology

The Igbo Context in Nigeria

Series:

Peter Chidi Okuma

Towards an African Theology. The Igbo Con text in Nigeria is a study about the challenge facing contemporary African theology today. It aims at transposing the theoretical doctrines of faith into practical guidelines. The author outlines the history, culture and life setting of the Igbo in Nigeria and develops a theological hermeneutics that would give an answer to African Christians’ present faith and situation. He discusses Igbo theology in praxis and as a discipline and considers what contribution Igbo theology could make to the church, humanity and world order.

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CHAPTER ONE. Can the Gospel Speak to Concrete Human Situations? 23

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23 CHAPTER ONE Can the Gospel Speak to Concrete Human Situations? Jesus Christ is God’s Conversation1 with humanity at its peak. He bridges the gap between Divinity and Humanity and so opens up the way to Communicative relations. Thus, during his entire life on earth, Jesus Christ repudiates to make a distinction between the secular and the cultic, between worship and actual day-to-day living. In the concrete reality of his time, as we know, “Jesus saw public worship not as the locus of a privileged access to God, but rather as a suspect thing, a vitiated thing. Jesus fought a ritual conception of the human being’s relationship with God, he fought an extrinsic conception of sancti- fication: “It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice”(Matt. 9:10-13; cf. Matt. 12:1-3; 15:1-20; John 5:16-18, 9:16, etc.). His obsession, if we may call it that, was with an approach to human persons, in whatever manner and whatever area that approach might be possible.”2 In the case of Paul, when he went to Athens, he spoke before the Athenian Council, the Areopagus (Acts 17: 22-23). He used the gospel to speak not only to the immediate culture of the people, but also ad- dressed the life-situation of the people, their very existence. The Gospel, culture and life are closely linked. In acting the way he did, Paul gave a great example of what today may be seen as the ‘contextualisation’ of the gospel – a process by which...

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