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Mission and World Christianity

Case Studies in African Holistic Mission

When: June 9, 2021, 1:00 pm - Wednesday

Session 1

Session Abstract

African Christianity has long been unapologetically holistic, refusing the Cartesian divide between mind and body, spirit and substance. The presenters in this session highlight historical and contemporary efforts to impact the arenas of health, media, and the environment with the good news of the kingdom. Taken together, these case studies in holistic mission present a sharpened focus for future creative and contextual Christian transformational endeavors.

 

Paper Abstracts

Conrad Kakraba, Heritage Christian College, Accra, Ghana, “‘Advancing the Kingdom of Christ and National Development’: The Missional Role of HCC’s Truth TV in a Hurting African Continent”

This past year Heritage Christian College in Accra, Ghana, set up “Truth TV,” an educational television station that reaches twenty-three countries in Africa and counting. This paper puts into conversation the media landscape in the context of African society with media studies at a Christian university. It asks what role a university-sponsored television station can play in the missional objective of a Christian university with a vision to “advance the kingdom of Christ and national development across Africa.”

 

Evans Lartey, Heritage Christian College, Accra, Ghana, “African Ecological Beliefs and Theological Creation Care”

This paper investigates African ecological consciousness and commitments and what they might contribute to an African theological ethic of creation care. Among the ideas explored that serve to preserve the natural environment are traditional norms and taboos, values of ecological interconnectedness and communication, and a sacred reverence for forests, rivers, plants, and animals. Such beliefs create a fund of ecological wisdom ripe for theological reflection on creation care, especially in light of Africa’s ecological crisis.

 

Alan Howell, Harding University, “Swapping Drinking Songs for Spiritual Songs: Skolia and Possession in Ephesians 5 and Mozambique”

The prevalence of both drinking songs and spirit possession among the Makua-Metto of Mozambique shaped the way in which Mozambican Christians interpreted Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Based upon their cultural context, they naturally heard chapter 5 addressing these two phenomena as interconnected topics. That experience led to an investigation into the background of the original recipients of the letter through the lens of drinking songs and spirit possession to see if reading this text in the “laboratory” of the Mozambican context can shed new light on contemporary readings of the Eph 5 text and provide an example of non-Western contextual interpretation.

 

Speakers

Nathan Bills, Heritage Christian College, Accra, Ghana, Convener

  • Conrad Kakraba, Heritage Christian College, Accra, Ghana, “‘Advancing the Kingdom of Christ and National Development’: The Missional Role of HCC’s Truth TV in a Hurting African Continent”
  • Evans Lartey, Heritage Christian College, Accra, Ghana, “African Ecological Beliefs and Theological Creation Care”
  • Alan Howell, Harding University, “Swapping Drinking Songs for Spiritual Songs: Skolia and Possession in Ephesians 5 and Mozambique”
  • Paul Chimhungwe, African Christian College, Manzini, Eswatini, Respondent
Speakers

Nathan Bills, Heritage Christian College, Convener

  • Conrad Kakraba, Heritage Christian College, “‘Advancing the Kingdom of Christ and National Development’: The Missional Role of HCC’s Truth TV in a Hurting African Continent”
  • Evans Lartey, Heritage Christian College, “African Ecological Beliefs and Theological Creation Care”
  • Alan Howell, Harding University, “Swapping Drinking Songs for Spiritual Songs: Skolia and Possession in Ephesians 5 and Mozambique”
  • Paul Chimhungwe, African Christian College, Respondent

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson delivering the CSC plenary address

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Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delivering the CSC plenary address.

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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