Challenges on matters of Faith in Africa:
An evaluation of Christian Faith, Reasoning and traditional Belief systems.
Dr Augustine Deke PhD
Dr Deke is a Professor at Team Impact Christian University and a lecturer at Zimbabwe Theological Seminary and associate college of Great Zimbabwe University.
The biggest threat to Christian faith in Africa is not poverty or political challenges but the influence of culture and tradition on matters of faith. African Christianity wants something tangible. Faith alone is not enough unless if it is associated with objects. Objects play a big role towards development of faith in traditional beliefs. In this respect, this paper intends to assess Christians’ understanding of faith without usage of objects. The relationship between reasoning and belief will also be examined. Why is it that those who claim faith in Jesus Christ seek other empowerment rituals? African culture is closely related to objects. Removal of objects in the day to day worship weakens African people’s belief in God. This discussion is not about sanctification (1 Th5:23) but ethical behavior of those who claim to be Christians in Africa. This discussion is also not about the impact of illiteracy or literacy on matters of faith because there is no biblical connection to that effect.
- The general background and purpose of the study:
There is no true Christian development without addressing matters concerning faith, reasoning and belief. The African church hardly applies reasoning on matters of faith due to culture influence. It has substituted reason with emotion. Definition of Spirituality has been derived from emotion minus reasoning. To a great extent, this has compromised Christian Faith and biblical standards at large. Do Christian really understand what it means to have faith on biblical basis?
Those who preach about Faith seem to deny or reject the element of reasoning in the hearers’ lives. The resultant confusion has led to abuse of Christian faith. Faith should not result in confusion. God want people who reason so that they can develop proper theology (Faith) of Him. If Christianity denies people to reason or let alone question some practices, it becomes a cult. Faith must not operate in a vacuum but where there is content and knowledge.
“Come now, let us reason together, “says the Lord.”Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isa 1:18) NIV.
The challenge with Africa today is not lack of education or resources. The biggest challenge this continent faces in all facets of social, political and spiritual life is lack of a culture of reasoning. This trend has been accepted as normal in the continent diverse societies. This culture has been embraced in church life. Reasoning develops knowledge and understanding. This helps develop personal conviction and belief in what people choose to follow.
For Christianity to convince the world, its philosophy of Faith and belief must have evidence (Hib 2:4). Christian belief must therefore develop and include theological epistemology. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. The term comes from two Greek terms—episteme (“knowledge”) and logos (“reason”). As one of the major categories of philosophy, epistemology addresses the limits of human knowledge including issues such as the definition of knowledge, kinds of knowledge, the degree to which knowledge is possible, and the relationship between the one who knows and the object being known.
However new recipients of the gospel struggle to balance or evaluate the received good news within the context of culture and ethics. The former tends to play a bigger role of influence when it comes to decision making. Questions such as “How can I know anything?” and “How can I know what is true?” become crucial in the development of Christian character. All such questions are related to epistemology.
Denial or the absence of Christian epistemology in the 21st century church in Africa has seen the rise of powerful cults or weak Christianity which is barren of reason and bankrupt of purpose. God hates ignorance. Ignorance develops weak faith. Christians must be knowledgeable of what they engage in. Abject ignorance breeds fanatism.
Ignorance has no defense before God (Hosea 4:6). Denying Christians to understand or let alone question what is purported to be of God is evil. God hates unreasonable and unreasoning Christians. Such do not belong to Him. Skeptics sometimes portray Christians as both “unreasonable” and “unreasoning”. The Christian culture only exacerbates the problem when it advocates for a definition of “faith” removed from evidence.
The unreasoning view of Christian belief is common among skeptics and believers alike. Critics think Christians accept truth claims without any evidential support and many Christians embrace the claims of Christianity. Dawkins is correct when he argues against forming beliefs without evidence. People who accept truth claims without any examination or need for evidence are prone to believing in myths and making bad decisions.
Sound and healthy churches and societies will only develop when people (followers) are allowed to ask for evidence. Suppressing this value only leads to a docile and weak society.
- Philosophy of Reasonable Faith
The church of the 21st century lacks reasonable faith. Christians are not called to make decisions without good evidence. Theology without reason creates problems for the church. The God of the Bible is a God of evidence. (Gen 1: 1-6). The Gospels are themselves an important form of direct evidence which should be understood by any given culture. That’s why the scriptures clearly appeal to Christians to have reasoned belief in Christ and not resort to the behavior of unreasoning creatures.
The mandate of the Great Commission was met through spreading the gospel by different dispensations of the church. When faith has reasoning, it ends up discovering new dimensions (not entertainment). Church history testifies on this point. Those with reasonable faith in the gospel made new discoveries for the kingdom of God. The 16th century saw the Pilgrim Fathers taking on new initiatives into the Americas. Worldwide adventures were made by other Christians up to the 17th century. Reasonable faith brings social transformation as alluded to in the book of Hebrews (Heb 11:1-2).
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony (Heb 11:1-2) NKJV.
The church in Africa needs to shift to a higher plane of operation. It must minimize entertaining spiritual beggars and focus on human and capital development in its modus operandi. Reasonable faith must have two components. It must have Substance and secondly it must focus on Things to come. God saw us in future and the same mindset should be in the church (Psl 139: 16).
Faith according to the book of Hebrews is about the future and not now. It is about knowing something is real. This type of faith does not put emphasis on seeing but believing it is real. It challenges human mental capabilities. It strives to tap into the invisible side of life because not seeing things does not mean non-existence. By virtue of having this faith, the church is made to understand the existence of things. Future plans and purposes are wrapped in this faith.
The book of Hebrews is simply calling for the church to explore the life which it has not yet lived. What the church is now is a picture of an incomplete puzzle. The complete potential or picture is waiting in the future. The opposite of reasonable faith is blind faith. This is faith which seeks to be helped without seeking to help. The result is spiritual colonization and slavery barren of reasoning.
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed. Jude 4:10.
The Bible uses the word “licentiousness” for “unreasoning” in a pejorative manner. To be unreasoning is to act like primitive. God clearly wants more from beings created in His image. The church in Africa needs to shift from the gospel of spectacularism to that of discovery and enhancement of life. Spectacular gospel puts emphasis on needs rather than development. (Jhn 6:1-2).
- Philosophy of Examined Faith
The church must move a step further and examine all the evidence at its disposal and to study the things of God with great intensity. All that we see around us is “Natural revelation” of God. The mountains, rivers, hills, trees and the list goes on, reveals natural revelation. When this is comprehended, the church will truly begin to worship God with the mind also.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38.
This kind of faith calls for reasoning and the use of the mind. In this respect, Christians are encouraged to examine what they believe critically so they can be fully convinced.
The following passages attest to this fact.
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.
The Christian mind must be able to examine and evaluate any presenting situation. This helps to develop a better understanding and appreciation of godly values.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
Ability to separate good from bad comes only when there is examining and reasoning in ones’ faith. Generally, denial of reasoning will only lead to fanatism and docility. (Rom 14:5).
Examined faith calls also for learning. Learning imparts knowledge. A lot of learning therefore must be the foundation of the church. Learning must be a process which is on going in the church so as to develop people with sound judgment.
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them…2 Tim 3:14.
- Philosophy of Evidential Faith
Evidential faith covers critical examination of any given scenario. God holds evidence in high regard. He wants the church to be convinced after it examines the presenting facts. Jesus valued evidence and continually provided evidence to build His case (Jhn 14:11).
Jesus continued to provide evidence to the disciples, even after the resurrection:
…until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Acts 17:30-31.
The earliest Church understood the connection between reason and evidence. They did not see these concepts as mutually exclusive. In fact, Paul often used direct evidence to build his case for Christianity: When a belief system fails to provide evidence, it becomes a religion.
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31.
- Philosophy of Proof-Making Faith
If believers use their minds, investigate the evidence and become convinced, something real will happen. The church must have the courage to use the same belief, logic and reasoning power as it was with the church fathers.
…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15
Christians in all disciplines of inquiry and discovery must use their reasoning power to investigate evidence. They must be active in the process of discovery. They must thrive to shape the destiny of their communities. Christians are not irrational, and Christian faith is not blind. The rich intellectual history of Christianity calls for the church to have reasonable, examined, evidential, proof-making faith. This kind of faith honors God and withstands skeptical criticism and personal doubt. The world wants to see the evidence of Christianity and not desperate Christianity. (Matt 24:10-13).
- Philosophy of Christian Faith and culture
African Christianity must not ignore the influence of culture on matters of faith. Culture, is the pattern of behavior and thinking. It is that behavior people living in social groups learn, create, and share. At conversion, most people remain glued to their cultures. Culture distinguishes one human group from others. Human groups in Africa have a background of animism. Introduction to any new belief system always develops into faith dilemmas.
A people’s culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, style of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, political and economic systems. Tampering with objects of a culture can affect people’s belief systems.
On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. Num 33:50-54 NIV.
This passage clearly shows that faith and culture are closely related. Destruction of objects resulted in weakening the enemy, implying that objects can be used as a source of guidance or channel of worship. Furthermore, we can read from the book of Kings on the effects of objects to religious beliefs of any given society.
Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin — even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also. Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things. The king asked, “What is that tombstone I see?” 2 Kings 23:15-17 NIV.
This passage shows how objects can influence a community. We note that African Christianity also has failed to come up with ways to break certain cultural traits which contradict biblical teaching. Culture is the most important concept in anthropology (the study of all aspects of human life, past and present). Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which many or all people live and think in the same ways. This, to great extent, has seen those converted to Christianity behaving the same on matters which appeal to their cultural background.
When the common rules of behavior, be they good or bad are embraced in the church, they tend to shape faith and develop new philosophy of Christology. The behavior pattern of such society can be reflected or accepted in the church. This is the case with African Christianity of the 21st century. Thus, the terms faith and culture are somewhat interchangeable in Africa.
(a) Faith in crisis
The overall behavior and faith of Christians must be influenced by the bible and nothing else. Some characteristics manifesting in African Christianity reflect signs of faith in crisis. Most Africans struggle between faith in God and traditional culture. In any given society, culture has several distinguishing characteristics. (a) It is based on symbols—abstract ways of referring to and understanding ideas, objects, feelings, or behaviors—and the ability to communicate with symbols using language. (b) Culture is shared. People in the same society share common behaviors and ways of thinking through culture. (c) Culture is learned. While people biologically inherit many physical traits and behavioral instincts, culture is socially inherited. A person must learn culture from other people in a society. (d) Culture is adaptive. People use culture to flexibly and quickly adjust to changes in the world around them.
Culture is symbolic: People through culture, can communicate with each other and understand symbols. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and exchange those thoughts with others. Language and other forms of symbolic communication such as art enable people to create, explain, and record new ideas and information.
However, Eugine A. Nida argues that culture should not be confused with the acts of behavior or the material artifacts, that is to say, culture manifests in various forms of human development. This covers and includes the ways of life or ‘designs for living” employed at any time. However, one can speak of a culture as the ways of life characteristic of a single society or a group of closely related societies. The accepted patterns of behavior by any culture will ultimately dictate and influence the lifestyle. Gospel dilemmas arise when culture clashes with the word of God.
One can also use the term “culture” in referring to the particular patterns of behavior of a distinctive segment in a society, in which case we often speak of a subculture. One exception to the above usage occurs in the phrase “material culture” which includes material artifacts as well as the skills employed in making and using them. Material culture covers both indigenous and imported artifacts. Meaning of life is also derived from such artifacts. The artifacts stand as tradition and history reminders. Life’s successes or failures can be attached to the artifacts. The Ephesians citizens demonstrated this to Paul.
About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.” Acts 19:23-27 NIV
The above passage clearly shows the crisis which emanates when matters of faith clash with culture. The situation in Ephesus reveals that material culture had influence on people’s belief system. The artifacts led to a demon driven economy, as seen by the resultant demonstrations against Paul. The introduction of the gospel directly challenged a belief system based on a certain culture. When things fail in life, chances are high for society to fall back to tried and tested culture.
The Ephesus case shows that people have the capacity at birth to construct, understand, and communicate through symbols, primarily by using language. Research has shown, for example, that infants have a basic structure of language—a sort of universal grammar—built into their minds.
Dr Stephen Meyer said that as scientists began to decode the human DNA molecule, they found an exquisite ‘language’ composed of three billion genetic letters. For it to be called language, it has been proved to contain the following elements: an alphabet or coding system, correct spelling, grammar (a proper arrangement of words) meaning (semantics) and an intended purpose. This proves that human beings’ social orientation plays a big role in molding be it culture or language of a society. Infants are thus predisposed to learn the languages spoken by the people around them. Language provides a means to store, process, and communicate amounts of information that vastly exceed the capabilities of animals. The same language stores culture from one generation to the other, hence the need for mind renewal at salvation (Rom 12;1-2).
(b) Faith is not temporary
The above mentioned factors contribute or affect human faith towards any presenting beliefs.
Since culture takes its course in the development of human beings from early stages of life, faith cannot override it overnight. Christianity must take cognisance of this fact and make efforts to comprehensibly develop peoples’ faith on a long term basis.
People are not born with culture; they learn it. For instance, people must learn to speak and understand a language and to abide by the rules of a society. The same should apply to faith of those who affiliate to Christianity.
In some societies, people must learn skills to earn money which they can then use to provide for themselves. In all human societies, children learn culture from adults. Anthropologists call this process enculturation, or cultural transmission. The church in Africa has missed this point. Little has been done on biblical cultural transmission to new converts. Transmission of biblical culture must be considered as the major priority for Christian development. Much emphasis has been placed on faith in God without elaborating much on transformation of culture. (which drives human actions). Each time people face critical situations, they necodimously consult their cultural points of contact.
Enculturation (culture transmission) is a long process. The church in Africa will remain an annex of western thought due to negligence of enculturation of its new communities. Just learning the intricacies of a human language, a major part of enculturation, takes many years. The church must devote more time in teaching the new converts the language and culture of the bible and less time on miracle crusades. Miracles only convince people to turn to Christ and nothing more. Biblical enculturation develops a community of Christians because culture last long. Miracles are temporary.
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (Jhn 5:39-40) NIV.
If diligently studied, the word of God can develop a sound culture for believers. A culture above human traditions and culture will be developed. Emotion does not work or contribute towards growth in the Kingdom of God. God wants His subjects to know and understand His will through intense study of His word. Denying people this privilege will result in ignorance.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15.KJV.
When people study and master the word of God, a new culture will be formed, through Christ Jesus, in those who follow Him. We can learn this from families. Families commonly protect and acculturate children in the households of their birth for 18 years or more. Only at this point can children leave and establish their own households. By the time children leave the home, a solid foundation of culture would have been imparted in the children. It is from the foundation that the children will derive their behavior.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Prov 22:6 NIV
The same principle applies in the church. The only way to develop Christian character would be through training and nothing else. This process ought to continue during the life time of the Christian. This results in formation of strong belief systems formed.
(c)Faith, Culture and self identity
When matters of faith fail to address the cultural land mines which converts experience in their day to day lives, confusion reigns. Self-identity usually depends on ones’ culture. Shifting people into a different culture—with which a people do not share common ways of life or beliefs—can cause a feeling of confusion and disorientation. Those of weak faith normally go through such experiences. As people claim to be in Christ, they must not be seen seeking other means of salvation other than Jesus Christ. Seeking other things instead of Christ means loss of identity.
Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Ps 34:9-10 NIV
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Heb11:6 NIV
We can also say that seeking other solutions instead of Christ is a sign of confusion in belief systems. Anthropologists refer to this phenomenon as culture shock. Paul Fritz in his sermons entitled ‘Social Hindrances in Cross-Cultural Evangelism,’ made two good observations on ethnocentrism. He stated that without realizing the role played by culture on matters of faith, many people fail to enter or grow in the kingdom of God because of social barriers. Many well meaning Christians have created unnecessary obstacles for millions of people due to socio-cultural stumbling blocks.
As the gospel is shared in indigenous societies, unshared forms of culture can also lead to tension. Members of a society who share culture often share some feelings of ethnocentrism. This is a notion that one’s culture is more sensible than or superior to that of other societies. Those who transmit the gospel might be viewed as culture colonizers, especially if they impose their cultural norms to communities reached. It is this fact which leads new hearers of the gospel to fall back on cultural reference in the event of crisis. While the gospel can be easily embraced, it is important to know that people remain attached to their social environment.
Ethnocentrism contributes to the integrity of culture because it affirms people’s shared beliefs and values in the face of other, often contradictory beliefs and values held by people of other cultural backgrounds. However, at its worst, ethnocentrism has led people to commit ethnocide, the destruction of other cultures. In no way should the gospel be presented as a threat to other cultures. Neither should it commit ethnocide. The word of God is above human culture. It condemns all that which is evil from any culture and upholds all that which is good. The feeling of ethnocide by a culture is another reason which leads the grieving to fall back to their culture as a defense mechanism.
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. Acts: 17: 11-18 NIV
The above scripture passage clearly shows us the challenges Paul had with various cultures. Besides preaching the gospel, Paul had time to reason with his constituencies. At some point if the gospel is not reasoned with the hearers, some areas of concern might be left unattended. Such areas might be of influence in the overall behavior of the convert.
Matters of Christian faith must also consider the implications of culture’s grey areas on spiritual development of people. Anthropologists call this cross-cultural understanding ‘cultural relativism’. Culture relativism simply means co-existing with other cultures or respecting other beliefs and practices that one does not share.
However, most anthropologists believe that cultural relativism has its limits. Paul in his book, Romans, prescribes renewal of mind for any culture which comes to Christ. This is the entry point towards Christian development.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12: 1-2. KJV
Mind renewal helps converts not to rely on tradition but on new information acquired. In theory, African Christianity is embracing extreme relativist approaches. The church is uncritically accepting the practices of all cultures, even if those practices contradict the bible or harm people. Cross-cultural exchange often results in what anthropologists call acculturation. This is when the members of one culture adopt features of another. The 21st century church has been mostly affected by the advent of globalization. This has resulted in polarization or weakening of the gospel through culture infiltration across the globe.
(d)Matters of faith and survival
The common denominator for people joining Christianity is to have eternal life and survival. Naturally people become Christians because of problems (Matt 11:28). People want solutions to survive and to overcome life’s challenges. The bible has promised the new convert with life. (John 10:10). African Christianity ignores the fact that when people become Christians, it takes time for them to disconnect with their inborn cultural patterns. Generally, culture is adaptive and helps human societies survive in changing natural environments.
When challenges arise, the immediate point of reference is always ones’ culture. With such background, it calls for faith to have evidence so that followers can be grounded in their newly discovered belief (Christianity).
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. Matt 15:2-6. NIV
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Col 2:8 NIV.
Tradition nullifies the word of God because culture and human traditions trap people into captivity. Besides the bad effects culture can have on society, it also has advantages such as human development.
The development and success of culture is seen in the world of commerce. To a great extent, exchange of cultures has benefited people, at least in the short term it has been passed on to new generations. If properly balanced with the word of God, the positive side of culture can be used as development drivers for Christian growth.
Challenges for the survival of faith within cultural ideologies are broad and complex. Material culture brought about by technology can disturb the flow of tradition in any given scenario. What Christian methods of family planning can be prescribed to a community which relies on herbs or withdrawal methods? Introduction of condoms can be viewed as evil or un-cultural by those of new faith. With time, these will be adopted. Adoption of the material culture can be seen as civilization. Later, the same civilization will metamorphorically change into a new culture which will neither be Christian nor indigenous. The new culture may be embraced as part of social culture or Christian life. The result will be confusion and moral decay. (2 Tim 3:1-5).
Another challenge to the survival of faith is ideological culture. Ideological culture relates to what people think, value, believe in, and hold as ideal. Ideology forms the foundation of reasoning on any matter considered to be a value by any given society. Without dealing with peoples’ ideologies, faith in Christ will be rendered useless.
Correction of Culture. Philosophy of Christian faith must require the local people to separate from practices which are prohibited in Scripture, such as idolatry.
Transition of Culture. For Christian faith to gain credibility, it must also teach against certain practices which violate Christian ideals, although temporarily tolerate them while allowing transition for the development of a more biblical faith would be ideal.
Functional substitutes of Culture. Christian faith may retain certain local patterns and practices while giving new believers a new content, meaning or purpose. This entails introducing functional substitutes in order to avoid creating a cultural vacuum in the lives of the believers. For example, using local songs and stories in worship.
At this stage the church must apply instructive object lessons which will bring relevance to the context. Without object lessons the hearers of the word will not be able to apply the bible in their context. Jesus used object lessons (parables) for His audience. In the majority of Jesus’ interactions with His audience, He used parables (Mk 4:34). He likened the Kingdom of heaven to seeds sown, (mustard seed, yeast) (Mt 13:24, 31 and 33; Mt21:33). For further understanding of His parables, the audience asked for explanations (Mt 13:36). Instructive lessons must be given to the indigenous hearers of the word. Object lessons familiar to African context and environment can help Africans understand the gospel from their point of view. Objects which are true to the word of God and applicable to human life and their experiences will develop peoples’ faith.
Fusion of Culture. Many cultural patterns and practices are neutral or inoffensive and, consequently, are not in conflict with the Gospel, namely, indigenous songs, the way of selecting leaders and attire. Christian faith should fully incorporate good traits from culture as the standard walk of life prescribed by the word of God. A rush in replacing peoples’ cultural values creates tension and resistance.
Consolidation of Culture. This refers to helpful additions from the Gospel. The Good News possesses values which enhance a culture with new meaning, purpose, and ideals, for example, husbands loving their wives, (Eph 5:19) masters loving their slaves (Eph 6: 1-5).
Culture as spiritual warfare: Diverging points of culture lead to spiritual warfare. Christian faith within human culture struggle to be faithful as it engages in spiritual warfare. This spiritual struggle, felt within every human heart and every cultural context, is not optional. It is rooted in the reality that the kingdoms of God and Satan stand opposed to one another through cultural friction. Christian faith, however, cannot reject human culture. Like Christ, who “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14), it must communicate in the languages and thoughts of human cultures.
Believers, are “aliens and strangers” in a foreign world (1 Pet. 2:11); they live in the earthlies but belong to the heavenlies (Eph- 2:6); they are “in the world” but not “of the world” John 17:14-16). Their very distinctiveness enables them to call the unbelieving from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God, from the realm of darkness to the realm of light.
Christians therefore enter cultural arenas “like sheep among wolves,” who must be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”(Matt 10:16) as they perceive what human, divine, and satanic influences shape particular cultural milieu. Ultimately, Christian faith seeks to bring every aspect of culture under the rule of God. Missionaries are God’s instruments to bring those ruled by Satan under the sovereignty and love of God.
- Philosophy of Christian Faith, Ethics and beliefs
We have covered in detail the implication of culture on matters of faith. To develop long lasting Christian faith, the Christian needs to understand that any culture’s behavior is guided by some ethics.
Ethic is primarily a set of principles that people use to decide what is right and wrong or beliefs that affect the way that people behave. In the propagation of the word of God and the overall Christian duties in communities, failure to understand peoples’ ethics will always lead to a clash of perceptions.
Ethics determine how people behave. An ethic influences behavior and galvanizes people’s values. Hebert and Menesses concured with this fact when they said;
“tribal communities put much value on land and they do believe that land is where the ancestors are buried. Its important features tell the stories of their lives, here is where great Chief Big Hawk defeated the enemy in the battle; that tree planted over there marks the grave of our great-grand-father who saved people from drought, over there is where our ancestors now live”.
Such beliefs do have implications on Christian faith when they preach in communities. This therefore calls for a new approach and need to develop a biblicaly based ethical framework. The first level in developing an ethical framework for Christian faith is understanding the role played by values within the context of belief systems.
It is therefore vital for Christians to understand ethical dilemmas each culture presents to the gospel. There are a number of ethical issues that face those who minister in the context of secular tradition and a multicultural world.
Communities which receive Jesus Christ take time to be transformed from their social perception of ethics. In most cases, traditional cultures are always at divergence with biblical ethics. Some cultures view the gospel as a weapon for culture diffusion, taking into account the geographical origination of the gospel.
Traditionally, the bible does have many scriptures proving the clash between Christianity and ethical issues. However, Christian ethics are based on the truth found in the bible. Christian teaching therefore sets high moral values for believers. The challenge for Christian faith will always be how to balance between circular ethics with those practiced in Christian communities.
Another point to note is that Christian ethics is prescriptive since moral righteousness is prescribed by a moral God. There can be no moral law without a moral law giver. Christians do not have their ethics in the standard of Christians but in the standard for Christians.
The Christian view of ethics is opposed to all other views. It approaches ethics from a Biblically fashioned perspective.
Christian faith draws its strength on the Great Commission as commanded in Mathew 28: 19 – 20. Ethic and values are the cultural “glue” which enables people and societies to function as a collective unit. Ethics consists of norms, that is, rights and wrongs that heavily influence the way in which people behave. Ethics also affect how people work together and how they pursue the goals of society.
On the other hand values are the beliefs and moral principles that lie behind the behavior standards; beliefs that have normally been formulated within the organization by a founding dynasty or a dominant management team. The same beliefs tend to be enshrined in individuals or any other organized community in any society. Christian faith needs to understand this before developing ministerial ethics.
Values are therefore important in the study of ethics and social behavior at large, They lay the foundation for the understanding of people’s attitudes, and their motivation. For example, individuals enter organizations with preconceived notions of what ‘ought’ and what ‘ought not’ to be done. As a result, values cloud objectivity and rationality. An understanding of what motivates human behavior improves community relations.
Jesus gives us an interesting example of values in the book of John when He met a woman at the well (John chapter 4:20-24). Her society believed in religious rituals and traditions which were done in mountains. She believed it to be right and true.
- Philosophy of Christian faith in modern society
New developments in the modern world have presented a new culture with new challenges for Christian faith. For the modern church to establish sustainable societies, it must revise its philosophy of Christian faith. A totally new approach to Christian faith has to be engineered for the relevance of the future church. Philosophy of Christian faith has to be incarnated into the people and place where it is preached. Though there are some challenges in the contextualization of Christian faith, the gospel of faith must be proclaimed in the hearts and language of the people.
The modern world is more into computer age hence the approach to Christian faith has to shift from old methods to new methods which are relevant to the generation. In the not too distant past, there was a time when most of those Christians who weren’t card-carrying at least had an understanding of the claims of Christianity, and assented to its view of the world and its morality, even if they didn’t have an active faith themselves.
- Philosophy of Christian faith and values
Any community members’ personal values entail the beliefs they hold and practice daily. Such values dictate people’s lives and are real. For communities to be changed, the philosophy of Christian faith must not ignore peoples’ values. Since time immemorial, values have been unchanging threads that hold together the constantly changing social fabric. Values are the ones which help churches and other organizations to achieve their mission. The reason why values cannot change is that they dictate congregational behaviour.
Philosophy of Christian faith must align personal values with faith. This will help peoples’ core beliefs to determine their future at the church, their overall effectiveness, and how well they will work together. To prove the effect of values on organizations and their missions, churches that have dynamic ministries will find that their people share most values.
On the other hand, churches that are struggling most often do not have people who share the same values. Just as it would be foolish for a couple with different values to marry, the same is true with the people and the church.
In order to achieve the mission which the church has been called to do, it has become clear that churches have to understand the role played by values in order to be effective. Most churches tend to focus on mission while ignoring the role played by values. If values are not appreciated, the overall development of faith and participation by members will be minimized, leading to confusion. Christian faith must therefore acknowledge that values instill life in organizations and are virtually – the ‘heart beat’ of organizations.
Christianity draws its strength on missions according to Mathew 28: 19 – 20. Research however has exposed the need for the church to formulate a definition of the word ‘Mission.’ The word mission does not mean reaching to the lost people only. It must cover the process of making disciples.
Mission in its totality must act as the cultural “glue” which enables Christians to function as a collective unit. Mission should consist of norms and values that heavily influence the way in which people behave, how they work together and how they pursue the goals of their faith. Mission therefore must formulate a Christians’ character, identity and reason for existence. This enhances development of faith in God. This also must be the major objective of the philosophy of Christian faith.
Under this discussion, Values therefore are important to the study of the overall Christian behaviour because they lay the foundation for the understanding of people’s attitudes, and their motivation. For example, Individuals enter an organization with preconceived notions of what ‘ought’ and what ‘ought not’ to be. As a result values cloud objectivity and rationality. This impacts negatively on the mission of organizations.
However, we also note that values and mission form the foundation of an effective organization. Just as Personal Values speak of what is most important in our lives, so a congregation’s values speak of what is most important to the church’s life. Basically, churches are value driven, not vision, mission, or purpose-driven. People act on their values, not their vision, mission or purpose.
Christian faith tends to confuse when it contradicts the bible. Ironically, society tends to pay more attention to the values we actually use (values in use) than those we say we believe in (the espoused values). This is proved by how members act and use their time.
Here we note that people tend to drift when they are unsure of organizational church values or confused about how they should be operating. The energy that goes into coping with, and possibly fighting about incompatible values takes its toll on both personal effectiveness and organizational (church) productivity. Once people are clear about their personal values and shared values, they know what’s expected of them and can better handle the conflicting demands of work and personal affairs.
The role played by personal values is very important and relevant to the effectiveness of churches and missions at large. Personal Values are central to the commitment of members to the mission of an organization. The future church must therefore develop the following principles in order to develop a sustainable philosophy of Christian faith;
(a)Proclaiming a theologless Christ
The modern world needs a new approach to Christian faith. The world is full of diverse beliefs. The challenge with Christian faith in such a world is how to present a theologyless Christ for people to be saved. This calls for Christianity to be defined within the context of the hearer of the word of the gospel.
The preacher’s personal culture must not supersede other cultures through the gospel. Without destroying other cultures, the summary message of the gospel must be “Repent, believe and receive”. New converts don’t need theological jargon or intellect in order for them to understand Christ. Salvation is an act of faith and acceptance of the living Lord.
Christian faith should simply call people to know and accept Jesus Christ. Christian faith is not complicated. What if we taught the story and let its spiritual meaning arise inductively rather than deductively, trusting the Holy Spirit at work through the Word? This enables the hearer to theologize within his/her own cultural framework.
I have long mused at the “theologyless” character of most of our authoritative documents in the church. For example, in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) it is striking that there is no explanation of what happened on the cross. The fact of Jesus’ death and resurrection is presented, but why this had to take place is not explained. The Gospel of John is a wholly different phenomenon, for it is about a much later stage in the church’s development and presents much of its theological reflection. In the initial gospel accounts, however, no theological background is given. We just have a story that is told, and the hearer must do his/her own reflection, self-discovery, and self-convincing.
Herbert Hoefer is clearly highlighting the need for theology to be silent and allow the Holy Spirit to regenerate the new believer. The future church must not impose on people what the bible is silent about. This might be misinterpreted as an attempt to colonize culture. The only language which will ever be understood by any culture is that of love. When Jesus died, for three days theology is silent on what was going on in the tomb. At the cross, when Jesus died, darkness covered the world. Theology is silent on…why? Jesus’ life and society during His time here on earth was greatly influenced by Jewish culture and tradition. The same culture and tradition does not apply to communities where the gospel is preached around the world. Peter in the book of Acts, had a wrong conception of the gospel. At one point he thought for new converts to become Christians, they first had to adopt Jewish culture.
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not,Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Acts 10: 9-15 NIV.
God wanted to show Peter that his perception of salvation had no biblical basis (Acts 11: 1-5). Peter had Jewish culture bias towards the gospel and the hearers of the gospel (Acts 10:34).
(b)Adapting to change:
Social changes affect peoples’ faith. The major challenge the church faces in cross-cultural evangelism is the rate and pace at which social change is taking place. Douglas Fagerstrom suggests that the key to preaching the gospel in changing times is to translate the message of the gospel into understandable terms for a new generation of hearers without transforming it. Trying to transform the gospel will only lead to confusion on matters of faith.
(c)Address felt needs:
To avoid further complications in the philosophy of Christian faith, the church must start with felt needs rather than real needs. Felt needs are the front banner and real needs are the back banner. When the gospel gets into a community, there is always suspicion from hearers. This is because, we hurry to introduce foreign concepts to people who are deep rooted in tradition. A clash between community and the evangelizing church is bound to happen.
This kind of approach is doomed to fail from the start. People will pretend to embrace the new faith for a number of reasons. It will be asking too much of seekers to enter unfamiliar surroundings.
When evangelists start with the felt needs of a community before moving to the real needs, they tend to win communities to God. Douglas argues that this process is God’s provision for the safety and security of mankind.
(d)Contextualize the gospel:
If preachers of the gospel ignore the contextualization of the gospel, the philosophy of Christian faith is bound to fail. Contextualization of the gospel implies making the gospel user friendly for a particular targeted group or community. This entails using a particular community’s language, symbols and images. Importing language, symbols and images may be misjudged as culture colonization. This will result in compromised faith and resistance.
Christians must not confuse acceptance and change. When a community accepts them, they assume the people have changed. They forget that change is a process. All the numbers which respond to the crusades or revivals are captured as part of the harvest. This is not true. New converts are supposed to be given space to grow. Their faith and theology of Christ takes time to shape, given the context of the environment. The following scriptures attest to this point.
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Heb 5:12-14 NIV
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 NIV
Scripture clearly teaches that the philosophy of Christian faith must be incremental and not instant. A good example of faith development is given by Jesus. He chose the twelve to make them disciples. He spent three years with them as they underwent spiritual transformation. The many questions they asked Jesus prove that it takes time to develop a persons’ faith. The ultimate goal of Christian faith is not about numbers assumed to be converted but disciples. This therefore brings us to the point that comprehensive Christianity involves sustainable development of converts through planned and sustainable teachings.
(e)Separating the gospel from our culture:
In most cases there is a temptation of imposing ones’ culture upon another culture during the process of disseminating the gospel. The most important principle in ministering to other cultures is to distinguish between the gospel and our own culture. We naturally assume that Christianity is what we believe and practice. At the same time we expect converts in those cultures to do the same. We translate our songs into their language, expect them to listen to sermons based on logic, and teach them how to elect leaders democratically. We are surprised and confused when they say that to become a Christian, they must leave their own culture. Our beliefs and practices are shaped by the gospel, but they are also shaped by our culture and history.
In our theology we use Greek categories of thought and seek to know the ultimate nature of things. Communal people use other categories and ask other questions having to do with such things as healing, drought, interpersonal conflicts and guidance in making everyday decisions. If the gospel is not separated from culture, artificial converts are bound to be harvested. We get a good example of this problem in the book of Acts.
Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! Acts 8:9-21 NIV
Simon the sorcerer had not developed his faith yet. We note this by the confusion he had about the source of the power for healing. This is a common occurrence among many Christians. They struggle when it comes to separating the gospel from evil cultural tendencies. This is so because many questions are left unanswered during the process of evangelism. For the gospel to create a new culture within hearers, the preachers’ own culture must not be allowed to supercede cultures of the reached communities.
Bernard Adeney further elaborates on the dynamics of culture. He says that culture must fall in the context of the bible. Not only the culture of the reader but also the many different cultures that lie within and behind the text. We can understand what we read only in relation to our cultural experience. However, everything that is written in the bible is located within the cultural experience of its author or editor. There is an overlap between the culture and that of the readers in every age. Adeneys’ assessment brings us to the point that Christian faith must appreciate other cultures without condemning them at face value. This will help impart the philosophy of Christian faith to new believers.
(f)A new Culture and Jesus:
The future church must strive to develop a new culture based on Jesus so as to establish a philosophy of Christian faith. Various situations affect matters of faith. In the first world, wealth has affected matters of faith. On the other hand, the third world is greatly affected by poverty and wars. All these factors affect Christianity.
In such contexts sin has demoralized and alienated people from God. God has anointed Christ to break the chains of sin and transform culture by reconciling believers to Him. Christ is not only the revitalizer of culture, but is also God’s designated agent of transformation.
In an attempt to negate syncretism in the Colossian church, Paul acknowledges Christ to be “the head over every power and authority” (Col. 2:9). The Colossians were tempted to fall away from Christ and depend upon the basic principles (stoicheia) of this world (Col.2:6-8). Stoicheia are literally the rudimentary principles, the ABCs, of culture. These are structures or rules which have been influenced by Satan.
Paul challenges the Colossians, “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles (stoicheia) of the world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules” (Col. 2:20). The “basic principles” are defined as the “rules” which limit the lordship of Christ since He is not their author. In Colossae, stoicheia included legalistic observance of the law, asceticism, the worship of angels, and rituals of handling, touching, and tasting (Col. 2:16-21).
By observing these strictures of Satan, the Colossians were losing their “connection with the Head,” Jesus Christ (Col. 2:19). In other words, the Colossians was allowing the rules lay down by Satan to displace the sovereignty of Christ. Although they considered themselves to be in Christians, they were still controlled by Satan’s rules because “fullness of deity lives in bodily form” (in Christ). Jesus must be allowed to shape peoples’ lives because He is the creator of mankind and in Him all things consist.
The fall of man resulted in human culture being formed around societal traditions. The coming of Christ Jesus ushered in a regeneration of human culture as well as a new philosophy of Christian faith. Preachers of the gospel must allow the Holy Spirit to shape the new convert’s culture basing it on the word of God.
Much fear grips those who want to follow Jesus in Africa. Animistic people know the power of the spirit world, and they fear evil spirits. It will be a great comfort for them to know that Jesus came to “tie up the strong man” in his house (Mt. 12:29), casting out demons. Jesus must be well presented to them so that they find a place of refuge. (Mt 11:28).
Our theologies must be as varied and numerous as the worldviews people hold. By fostering and offering theologies that are derived from a diversity of worldviews, we will enable many different people to resonate with the Gospel message. If this is put into practice, theology of the church would be as varied and rich as the cultures of the world. People could enter into the magnificent mystery of Jesus’ atonning work in a way that makes sense to them. New theologies would speak to those who are alienated from traditional paradigms. They would enter into the freeing walk with Jesus in the simple early church profession of faith: “Jesus is Lord!”
This paper found out that the major challenges to the philosophy of Christian faith are human culture and traditions. The future church must allow people to reason so that they can develop their faith against other belief systems.
The philosophy of Christian faith must take into consideration implications of poor communication. When matters of faith consider local values of any given society, this helps the locals to embrace the gospel. Any communication materials to be distributed must appeal and be relevant to the context. The gospel material must be designed with local graphic materials relating to what people understand. For example the bull fighting in France is not the same as in Africa. Learning aids must use local products.
Secular culture is ever moving away from Christianity. This calls for innovative and new communication strategies which appeal to peoples’ faith. Christian Faith will not be relevant to communities we preach to unless people understand what they are believing in.
Eugine A.Nida, Customs and Culture, Harper and Brothers, New York,1954, p281.
Seglie Mario, The Tiny Code that’s Toppling Evolution, The Good News Magazine, May-June-2005, page 4
Ed Matthews, Relationship Between the Gospel and Culture: The Continuing Debate, Journal of Applied Missiology Volume 01, Number 2, Oct. 1990
Kraft, Charles H. Christianity and Culture: A Study in Dynamic Biblical Theologizing in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. 1980
English Dictionary (MacMillan,2007), 500
Paul. G. Hebert , Elois Menessis, Incarnational Ministry (Grand Rapids; Baker Books House Co,1995 ), 119
Jeffery W.Van Wyk,CC106 Christian Ethics, page 8
P.J. Smit, Strategic Planning Readings (CapeTown: Juta and Company, 1999), 128
- Stephen Robbins, Organisational Bahaviour (Patparganj: Pearson Education, 2003), 63Aubrey Malphers, Strategic Planning, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 83.
- James Kouzes; Barry Z. Pozner. Leadership Challenge (Califonia: Jossy. Bass Inc, 1995), 218.
- Stephen Robbins, Organisational Bahaviour (Patparganj: Pearson Education, 2003), 63
Aubrey Malphers, Strategic Planning Readings (CapeTown: Juta and Company, 199), 79 – 87
- Argyris, Double Loop Learning in Organisations (Howard Business Review 55 (5) 1977), 115 – 125.
- Stephen Robbins, Organisational Bahaviour (Patparganj: Pearson Education, 2003), 63
Aubrey Malphers, Strategic Planning Readings (CapeTown: Juta and Company, 199), 79 – 87
- Argyris, Double Loop Learning in Organisations (Howard Business Review 55 (5) 1977), 115 – 125
Douglas F. Fagerstrom, Single Adult Ministry, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p283.
Paul G. Hiebert. Eloise Hiebert Meneses. Incarnational Ministry. Baker Books,Grand Rapids, 2000, p77
Benard T. Adeney. Strange Virtues, Inter varsity Press, Illinois, 1995,p46
Herbrt Hoefer, Proclaiming a “Theologyless” Christ hand of the Father., 98
Andrew Halloway, www.internetEvangelismDay.com/secular
 Eugine A.Nida, Customs and Culture, Harper and Brothers, New York,1954, p281.
 Seglie Mario, The Tiny Code that’s Toppling Evolution, The Good News Magazine, May-June-2005, page 4.
Ed Matthews, Relationship Between the Gospel and Culture: The Continuing Debate, Journal of Applied
Missiology Volume 01, Number 2, Oct. 1990
 Kraft, Charles H. Christianity and Culture: A Study in Dynamic Biblical Theologizing in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. 1980
 English Dictionary (MacMillan,2007), 500
 Paul. G. Hebert , Elois Menessis, Incarnational Ministry (Grand Rapids; Baker Books House Co,1995 ), 119
 Jeffery W.Van Wyk,CC106 Christian Ethics, page 8
 P.J. Smit, Strategic Planning Readings (CapeTown: Juta and Company, 1999), 128
 P. Stephen Robbins, Organisational Bahaviour (Patparganj: Pearson Education, 2003), 63
 Aubrey Malphers, Strategic Planning, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 83.
- James Kouzes; Barry Z. Pozner. Leadership Challenge (Califonia: Jossy. Bass Inc, 1995), 218.
 Ibid, 91 – 92
 P. Stephen Robbins, Organisational Bahaviour (Patparganj: Pearson Education, 2003), 63
 Aubrey Malphers, Strategic Planning Readings (CapeTown: Juta and Company, 199), 79 – 87
 Ibid: 79 – 87
 C. Argyris, Double Loop Learning in Organisations (Howard Business Review 55 (5) 1977), 115 – 125.
 By Herbert Hoefer, Proclaiming a “Theologyless” Christ hand of the Father.”, 98
 Douglas F. Fagerstrom, Single Adult Ministry, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p283.
 Paul G. Hiebert. Eloise Hiebert Meneses. Incarnational Ministry. Baker Books,Grand Rapids, 2000, p77
 Benard T. Adeney. Strange Virtues, Inter varsity Press, Illinois, 1995,p46
 Ibid, 48
 Herbrt Hoefer, Proclaiming a “Theologyless” Christ hand of the Father.”, 98