Administering The Church Through A Perception Of African World View, Culture Of Societies, Religion

It is vital to know a folks’s world view with a view to administer to them successfully. What can we imply by world view? World view is outlined because the “outlook upon the universe that is characteristic of a people. It is the picture the members of a society have of the properties and characters upon their stage of action.”

The world view of a folks governs their notion of the fabric and non secular universe and their response to the weather perceived throughout the universe. A folks’s world view decided their social order and their conventional beliefs. Africans have a world view which has outlined for the African a spiritual notion. It is not any marvel, then, that we discover in lots of at present’s church buildings in Africa a folks dwelling in accordance with the perceptions of two world views – that of African Traditional Religion and that of Christianity.

Are we proper to say Africans have a faith of their very own? Let’s firstly contemplate that which constitutes faith. One try to outline faith expresses it within the following approach. “Any system of beliefs, symbols and rituals that make life meaningful and intelligible”.1 E. Bolaji Idowu seems at faith as inherent within the innermost being of man and prevalent within the circumstances of life. It is all the time with us at each second of life.2 John S. Mbiti describes Africans as notoriously spiritual. From place-to-place throughout the continent, every folks has its personal spiritual system with a set of beliefs and practices. The faith of the African permeates into all departments of life in such a approach that it turns into tough or unimaginable to all the time isolate beliefs and practices from life-style.3

As one travels from place-to-place throughout the African continent, Mbiti’s assertion can readily be substantiated. One interacts with a individuals who have a perception system handed down by their ancestors. That perception system is inherent within the innermost being of the African. Therefore, we see a individuals who earlier than the Christian period in Africa practiced their very own faith.

The native church in Africa has the mission of the church to perform. Should it accomplish its mission via confronting and rejecting African faith or tradition? Or, ought to it accomplish its mission via a fusion of African faith and tradition which might improve the mission of the Church and fulfill its nature whereas letting the phrase of God take preeminence?

The author would subscribe to the final query. The final query stands consistent with the strategy of the mission of the primary century church. Paul included facets of the folks’s social framework (faith/tradition) which might improve the mission of the church whereas letting the revelation of God in Scripture take preeminence. It is vital, due to this fact, for the Pastor who would administer the native church in an African context to have a notion of African world view. He does so with a view to make his administering each biblically and contextually related to the folks.

We will now go on to contemplate facets of African world view and the need of African world view for administering the native church.

Aspects of African World View

1. View concerning the Universe.

Different tribal teams have myths which ascribe the creation of the universe to God. The nature and attributes of God are expressed via completely different names. The universe is conceived of as each seen and invisible.

There is regulation and order within the universe. This order is seen within the legal guidelines of nature, in ethical order which governs group life, in spiritual order which prevents the group from offending departed ancestors or the divinities, within the mystical order which is hidden within the universe. Power emanates from the paranormal order and is on the market to spirits and to sure human beings. Man sees himself as the middle of the universe. There he makes use of the ability of the universe with a view to stay in consonance with the universe.4

2. Belief in a Supreme Being

This Supreme Being is the Creator God. Myths amongst numerous African tribes ascribe the creation of the universe to God. The Mendes seek advice from him as Ngewo; the Konos as Yata; the Temnes as Kuru. The Ashanti folks of Ghana name him Nyame. The Yoruba name him Olorun which implies “owner of the sky.” There are numerous myths additionally which clarify the acute transcendence of God.5

3. Belief in spirits

Nature spirits are of two sorts:

i Divinities

These classes of nature spirits are conceived of as God’s brokers or personification. They are related to main phenomena of nature such because the solar, the moon, the celebrities, “the falling stars,” rain, storm wind, thunder and lightening.6For occasion, in Yoruba custom, the divinity sango represents the manifestation of God’s wrath; thus he’s the divinity of thunder and lightening.7

ii Spirits

This class of spirits are immaterial and incorporeal beings. They could on events, nonetheless, assume any kind in the event that they want to be seen. They are thought to be ubiquitous – “there is no area of the earth, no object or creature, which has not a spirit of its own.” These spirits inhabit bushes, rocks, forests, lakes, streams, rivers, animals bugs, mountains and hills. They are additionally related to sure illnesses.8

b. Ancestral Spirits

In African understanding, human life doesn’t finish in loss of life. The lifeless turns into a “living dead”. Ceremonies are carried out in honor of the lifeless and there may be dependence on the lifeless for cover, provision and good luck. It is the view that the lifeless can talk particularly via desires. The idea of “living dead” connotes that the ancestors have merely transferred from bodily existence to a non secular existence however they nonetheless stay an integral a part of the human lifetime of the dwelling kith and kin.9

4. View of Man

In African myths of the created universe, man is put as the middle of the universe. God is transcendent and he lives within the heavenly a part of the universe. Man lives on the earth and he turns into the one who hyperlinks the universe with its creator. African peoples contemplate the usefulness of the universe to man. Thus, man seeks what the world can do for him and the way he can use the world for his personal good.

Man is just not the grasp of the universe. He is simply the middle. Forces exterior of Man, within the spirit world, management the order of the universe. Consequently, Man’s main process is to stay in consonance with the forces that govern the universe via obeying the Laws of the pure order, the ethical order, the spiritual order and the paranormal order. The pure order has to do with ethical legal guidelines which the supreme being has given human communities with a view to keep sanity. The spiritual order has to do with obeying of taboos. The mystical order has to do with the ability contained within the universe.10

We have cited 4 broad facets of the African world view. It is these facets which account for the character of the group of conventional African communities. The group is influenced by the underlying philosophy that the non secular universe is a unit with the bodily universe. Therefore, for the African, the non secular universe and the fabric universe “intermingle and dovetail into each other so much so that it is not easy, or even necessary at times to draw a distinction or separate them”11

Practices inside African World View

What practices, then, emanate from the African Philosophy of the Universe? The pivotal follow is that of communal dwelling. In a village group, there may be the Chief, the elders and households. In some circumstances, some households mix to kind clans. Communal dwelling is described as pivotal as a result of it’s round it that different practices revolve.

There are legal guidelines which govern the communal construction. Such legal guidelines exist to allow the group to keep up concord with the non secular universe and derive advantages therewith. Therefore, it’s incumbent on everybody to maintain the legal guidelines. The breaking of group legal guidelines or taboos is sin as a result of it disrupts the ethical and non secular order.

Sin falls into two classes: Major sins and Minor sins. Major sins embrace violation of tribal taboos, such because the revealing of the secrets and techniques of a secret society; adultery with a neighbors or the spouse of a relative, stealing; homicide; and witchcraft. Minor sins embrace mendacity, dishonest, trespassing on a neighbor’s property, baby abuse, bitterness, disobedience, selfishness, failure to point out hospitality to strangers, unkindness, petty stealing and associated issues.

Major sins are handled at group degree whereas minor sins are handled by households or mates. Severe punishments are given for main sins. We want to notice that sin is just not an offense in opposition to God. Rather, it’s an offense in opposition to the group or in opposition to cosmic order. Therefore, forgiveness consists of the acceptance of the responsible particular person(s) by the group after the prescribed penalty has been fulfilled.12

Communal dwelling incorporates a number of practices. Let us contemplate some key practices. First, there may be the providing of sacrifices. Sacrifices are supplied to the character spirits (or divinities) when a taboo is violated, a sin dedicated, or when sickness happens within the household or dangerous desires or repeated failures in endeavors. sacrifices are supplied to push back evil spirits.13 Sacrifices are supplied to the ancestors as an act of propitiation or to hunt assist.14 Second, there may be the follow of initiation. Initiation transforms the person from an outsider in the neighborhood to an insider, it marks the daybreak of transition into maturity; it supplies a medium for schooling on tribal heritage.15 Third, there may be the follow of marriage. The household is the fundamental unit of the village. Marriage is taken into account a sacred act as a result of God gave it because the means for sustaining an on-going circulation of life on earth. He who refuses to be married is taken into account as committing a serious offense in opposition to society and folks won’t deal kindly with him.16 Fourthly, there are the observance of varied types of rituals: rituals for the new-born; rituals for deceased individuals; rituals for agricultural seasons et cetera.

The African philosophy of the universe and its resultant impact within the group of communal dwelling has led to the growing of African values. The following ten values are discovered amongst communities of African peoples.

1. Concern for sacredness of life

Myths amongst African tribes ascribe the creation of man to God, so life is taken into account God-given. Therefore, it should not be willfully and callously destroyed. In view of this, there are heavy fines and penalties for homicide. Some who commit suicide are denied funeral rites.

2. A people-Centered Orientation

The individuals are linked to the Chief who’s the divine ruler. A good Chief is one who’s people-centered and that might be mirrored in the best way he takes care of his folks. Africans place extra premium on folks.

3. A Sense of Community

The African doesn’t stay in isolation of the group. There is mutual help between the person and the group – the person contributes to the group and the group contributes to the person. Festivals and rituals contribute to the well-being of the group and provides a private sense of belonging to the person; thus, it’s necessary for each to take part. The extra critical crimes are these dedicated in opposition to society.

4. Respect for Age

Old age is a crown for the African. In conventional African society, younger males don’t sit in councils; relatively, it’s the previous males. This goes with the idea that knowledge goes with age. The previous of us are revered within the village.

5. A Holistic View of Reality

There is not any dichotomy between the sacred and the secular in African world view; no dichotomy between particular person and group; no dichotomy between the seen world and the invisible world. Reality is one unit. It can’t be compartmentalized.

6. Respect for nature and tolerance of different religions

Man is the middle of the universe; but, he doesn’t contemplate himself the grasp. He acknowledges forces exterior of himself, that are highly effective. Nature presents energy via natural medicines so man respects nature by dwelling in consonance with it. There can also be tolerance in direction of different religions and, typically time, syncretism outcomes.

7. Respect of historical past

There is a powerful historic consciousness in African world view. History informs the person or group in addition to instructs. A excessive regard is placed on historic values and traditions. Such values and traditions are handed on orally.

8. Concern for Morality

There is powerful regard for morals and ethics. Morals and ethics have extra of a group dimension relatively than a private one. We mentioned this earlier once we thought-about the class of sins. The motive for ethics is to keep up honor relatively than carry disgrace to the group.

9. Concern for Power

Man seeks to have energy to keep up concord with the universe. The African acknowledges his co-existence with good spirits and malevolent spirits. He seeks to acquire energy for his personal safety and for the safety and welfare of the group. It is on this regard that the medication males, the diviners, mediums and seers change into a legit entity.

10. Concern for the Now

There is not any distinct future within the understanding of the African. There is the emphasis of dwelling properly now in order to proceed in that very same standing when one dies and turns into part of the invisible world. The invisible world is interwoven within the seen.17

We have mirrored on facets of African world view in order to offer the pastor of the native church in Africa a concise understanding of he tradition and folks which represent the sphere of his administration. The native church within the African context has been strongly influenced by the types of Western Christianity introduced by missionaries of the colonial and post-colonial intervals. Some have created rifts between Christianity and African tradition out of ignorance of the cultural values. If the native church is to be administered biblically and contextually, then an understanding of the African world view must be given critical consideration.

Necessity of African world View for Administering the Local Church

Is a notion of African world view vital for administering the native church in Africa? There are a number of issues which after they’ve been mentioned may have the reply implicit in them.

1. The Nature of the Church

We ought to be aware that the Church is the ecclesia of God, the physique of Christ and the Koinonia of redeeming love. The time period ecclesia parallels the African understanding of group. The idea of ‘physique of Christ’ parallels the understanding of people-centerdness. The time period Koinonia parallels the useful facet of body-life within the African follow of group and people-centerdness. The pastor of the native church, then, already has a folks with a social construction which might improve the mission of the Church.

2. The Mission of the Church

The Mission of the church entails warning and instructing everybody with a view to current everybody excellent in Christ. Furthermore, it entails getting ready God’s folks for works of service.

Many have engaged in finishing up the mission of the church amongst African peoples however they’ve completed so from preconceived notions. Consequently, relatively than making a break-through, boundaries have been constructed. Others declare to have a notion of African world view however lack data of the mission of the church. Consequently, an African Christian Church is established during which all of African traditions, relatively than Christ, is the middle.

The pastor’s process in administering the native church can not produce optimistic outcomes for the Kingdom of God if he lacks two key elements: (i) A notion of African world view; and (ii) An understanding of the mission of the church. In Chapters one to 6 we’ve mentioned the weather concerned within the administering of the native church.

3. The picture of Western Christianity

Western Christianity has been equated with biblical Christianity. As a end result, the cultural components of the west have filtered together with the gospel as Western missionaries proclaimed the excellent news. That picture exists at present within the type of church liturgies, the musical devices which are used, within the type of dressing, within the model of music, within the construction of church buildings et cetera.

If a very biblically-centered African church is to be established in Africa, Western cultural kinds which don’t match an African world view must be changed by African thought-forms and practices.

4. The want to reinforce ministry

The African has a holistic view of actuality. There is a no dichotomy between sacred and secular, particular person and group, seen and invisible world. He is worried about group, seen and invisible world. He is worried about energy for cover and the conserving of consonance with the universe. Will a chilly, formal Christianity obtain the target of mission among the many Africans? No! He desires a vibrant Christianity – a Christianity with the manifestations of God’s energy and the assure of safety over him.

The pastor who administers and not using a notion of African world view administers a church the place the felt conventional wants of the individuals are not met. Therefore, the folks maintain on to that which meets their felt wants. Christianity, as such, turns into a faith of comfort or a household heritage or a group interactive group. It bears no Christ-centered substance for the folks.

5. The fostering of constructive Apologies

Jesus mentioned, “I am the Way, the Truth and The Life, no one comes to the father except through me.” (Jn.14:6). This declare of Jesus carries two facets to it: (i) the declare to particularity; and (ii) the declare to universality.

Particularity refers to distinctiveness. The distinctiveness of the declare is that it’s via Christ alone, on the idea of His substitutionary atonement for sinners, that sinful humanity can receive forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God and the reassurance of a future life in God’s presence.

Universality, however, refers to absoluteness. The universality of the declare denotes that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not meant just for the geographical zone the place Christ proclaimed His Gospel. Jesus’ fee to the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 confirms the universality of the mission of Jesus.

Therefore, in administering the native church within the African context the pastor has to interact himself in constructive apologetics. This would contain presenting the claims of Christ and absolutely the authority of the phrase of God within the Bible over tradition. But in doing this, the pastor should firstly absolutely perceive the Biblical world view and the African world view. Then he proceeds from this standpoint of complete data of each world views to find out three facets of the African world view: (i) facets that are diametrically against biblical world view; (ii) facets that are amoral in relation to the biblical world view. and want cautious interpretation; and (iii) facets that are complementary with the biblical world view.

The pastor must be concerned in administering the native church via group, via selling stewardship, via pastoral nurture, via mobilizing the church for evangelism and thru church planting. The three facets categorized above would drastically affect the pastor’s process in administering the native church within the African context. Constructive, contextualized apologetics can’t be fostered except the pastor has a radical notion of the African view of the world and the implications of that world view on African thought kinds and practices.

The 5 aforementioned issues give us a sure reply to the query which was posed earlier on this part. a notion of African world view is actually vital for administering the native church in Africa. It is unlucky, nonetheless, that in some conditions pastors should not have a complete data of the African world view. Consequently, they find yourself administering the church with a westernized model of theology. such uninformed pastors produce a congregation of misinformed individuals who could develop any of the next attitudes: (i) reject their cultural values within the title of a misinformed Christianity; (ii) inwardly reject the model of Christianity offered to them and firmly maintain on to their African custom in all its fullness; but they really feel compelled to stay within the church because of sure exterior situations; (iii) reject the church and its teachings and proceed of their African custom.

End Notes

1Jack Redford, Planting New Churches Nashville: Broadman Press, 1978.

2Annie Gressman, The Pastor (Kenya: Evangel Publishing House, 1957), pp. 9-10.

3Ibid., p. 34

4Fred Plog and Daniel G Bates, Cultural Anthropology (New York: Alfred A Knoff, Inc., 1976), p. 226.

5E Bolaji Idowu, African Traditional Religion – “A Definition” (London: SCM Pres Ltd., 1978), p. 1.

6John S Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy, (London: Heineman Educational Books Ltd., 1970), p.76.

7John S Mbiti, Introduction to African Religion, (London: Sheldon Press, 1976), pp. 32-40.

8Geoffry Parrinder, African Traditional Religion, (London Sheldon Press, 1976), pp.32-40.

9Mbiti, Introduction to African Religion, pp. 66-67.

10Mbiti, African Religions, and Philosophy, p.76.

11Idowu, p. 174.

12Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy, p. 83.

13Mbiti, Introduction to African Religion, pp. 32-39

14Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy, p. 75.

15Tolunboh Adeyemo, Salvation in African Tradition (Nairobi: Evangel Publishing House, 1979), pp. 54-56.

16Parrinder, pp. 72-73.

17Ibid., p. 62.

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