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The Church as Locus of Man’s Encounter with God

A Study of the Theology of Otto Semmelroth and its Implication for the Church in Africa


Chikodi Jude Ike

People make contact with the risen, glorified Christ and through him with God and God’s saving grace in and through the community of the Church, as it exists now in time and space as the Spirit-filled Body of Christ. This is a central and perpetual truth about the nature and purpose of the Church, emphasized by the Second Vatican Council and propagated by Otto Semmelroth. After nearly two centuries of being at the receiving end of missionary evangelization, the Church in Africa is trying to come to terms with the faith it received from European missionaries. This entails a reappraisal of the message it received. It has to be a historical, cultural, political and theological reappraisal. Theology is faith seeking understanding. A mature Church will evolve after this intellectual quest. With a study of the theology of Otto Semmelroth the author furthers this dialogue between European and African theology drawing the implications for the Church in Africa.
Contents: The search for a new humanity – Encounter with God as vocation of humankind – Salvation is encounter with God in Christ – The church as sacrament of encounter – The church’s ministry of word and sacrament – The necessity of the church for salvation – The church in Africa – Divine encounter in traditional African society – Towards a prophetic ecclesial community.